How My Hero Academia Perfectly Balanced the OP Shoto Todoroki

My Hero Academia depicts a world where Quirks, or supernatural gifts, determine a person's potential as a great superhero or a powerful criminal and villain. While the story follows Izuku Midoriya and his quest to become the Number One hero, his friends and classmates all had a leg up in training. Among those to make an immediate and impressive impact was Shoto Todoroki -- son of Endeavor.

Shoto is arguably the most powerful student among the U.A. school's first-year students, being born with the incredible Half-Cold Half-Hot Quirk. Early on, he frequently demonstrated how fierce just one part of his Quirk was. So, with that in mind, there could be concerns that Shoto is OP to the point of being dull and tension-free. However, he's consistently held back by his struggle to accept his Quirk and a jaded attitude.

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The Baggage That Comes With Shoto's Fierce Quirk

Original Shoto Costume

Having an impressive Quirk doesn't guarantee any hero student the right to reach the illustrious title of Number One. While Shoto has a big head start with his incredible gifts, he isn't immune to the troubles of the personal life that comes with his Quirk. His strained relationship with both of his parents and resentment for his father, in particular, left Shoto holding a hefty briefcase of emotional baggage that affected how he used his Quirk.

Shoto did not come from a healthy family; his father, Enji Todoroki, married his wife Rei not out of love but to create a super-child who would combine the best aspects of their parents' Quirks. Enji had several "failures" on his hands until Shoto was born. Thus, Enji pressured his son intensely to succeed and grow to realize Endeavor's dream of surpassing All Might. Shoto greatly resented this, understandably, and he learned to hate the fire half of his Quirk, refusing to emulate his father.

Shoto's dual-element Quirk is powerful, but at the start of My Hero Academia, Shoto was operating at 50% capacity, using only his ice to fight. Granted, that ice alone still made him a powerhouse, but it wasn't his true potential. Thankfully, during the U.A. sports festival, Izuku cried out, appealing to Shoto's sense of responsibility and honor as a fighter and fellow student, and his words got through. Shoto finally realized his full power was his own, but he still had a ways to go (such as when he held back against Bakugo and lost). His progress is consistently halted by doubts and speculation over accepting his Quirk.

Shoto Still Has More Room To Improve As A Hero

Shoto Todoroki took an exciting step forward when he broke free of his mental barriers and began wielding the flame half of his Quirk at last -- but he still had plenty of growing to do. Shoto's fire half was clumsy and uncoordinated, and Shoto faced an uphill climb as he trained hard to coordinate both halves of his Quirk. It wasn't easy, but by the time the provisional hero license exam began, Shoto could use both halves effectively against his foes, and he single-handedly defeated a whole squad of ninja-like students. Yet Shoto's attitude still saddled him with another drawback.

Shoto is no stranger to isolation since his father refused to let him play with his siblings when they were kids, instead having him focus solely on training. So even after joining U.A., he didn't have much experience working as a team or combing his Quirk with someone else's. Some heroes do operate alone, like Mirko, but most heroes are expected to be team players, especially when powerful villains show up.

When Shoto tried to fight the pro hero Gang Orca alone during the exam, he made little headway. What's worse is that his attitude caused him and Inasa Yoarashi to butt-heads and get in each other's way. At the last moment, both hero trainees finally teamed up and had Gang Orca on the ropes, but they ultimately failed the test.

Shoto Hero Costume

Shoto ended up taking the remedial test, proving that his mighty Quirk alone is not enough to get him anything he wants. Shoto had to face his mental baggage and attitude as a hero, and sure enough, he made yet more progress by learning to look after a group of kids and show his soft side (much to Camie Utsushimi's delight). All this humbled Shoto, and he emerged as a wiser and more mature hero who knows better than to coast on his Quirk or look down on others.

Talent or no talent, all hero students must be ready to learn and grow and not hold back or consider themselves a special case. Shoto has learned this lesson well, and his true potential is now his for the taking. Still, as shown in the Joint Training arc, he and all his classmates can improve as they continue going Plus Ultra.

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