Dabi is perhaps one of My Hero Academia’s most mysterious characters. His motives in the anime have remained unclear since his introduction and he makes it a point to set himself apart from the other members of the League of Villains. He even refused to reveal his true identity when he was asked by Shigaraki, saying he would only when the time was right.
Clearly, he thinks highly of himself. His enigmatic personality and strange alliances have led to plenty of fan speculation about his true identity and aims, generating quite a few theories aiming to fill in the missing parts of his backstory. Here are some of the more unusual ones.
Dabi's Quirk Is 'Skinwalking'
Dabi’s strange skin condition caught the attention of fans right away, with quite a few forming ideas of their own about why it looks that way. One Reddit user came up with one of the grislier ones: Dabi’s Quirk isn’t actually Cremation, but a skin-based one that allows him to tap into the Quirk factor of whoever’s skin he happens to be in contact with. He can only use flames because he’s wearing the skin of Endeavor’s lost son, Touya Todoroki. The My Hero Academia anime has hinted at there being a fourth Todoroki sibling who passed away under mysterious circumstances, after all.
According to the theory, Dabi was a villain seeking revenge against Endeavor for burning him and permanently scarring his skin. In order to hit Endeavor where it would hurt most, he kidnapped Touya and skinned the poor child. He then proceeded to graft Touya’s skin over his own so he could gain his Quirk and hide just how badly he was burned.
The theory continues that Touya actually survived being skinned. He’s just biding his time while honing his abilities in order to return and enact revenge on his kidnapper. If this theory holds true, his eventual reunion with his family is sure to be one of the series’ most impactful moments.
Dabi Is All For One's Pawn
Another theory posits that Dabi is actually another one of All For One’s many minions who was charged with monitoring Tomura Shigaraki’s growth. All For One predicted his defeat and tasked Dabi with monitoring Shigaraki's growth at close range in his stead. It continues that Dabi’s Quirk was only recently gifted to him by the top villain.
His Quirk being new to him would explain his struggles with it. Dabi is not as skilled at using it as Endeavor. Rather, his skill level is closer to Shoto Todoroki’s, who also only recently started using his fire Quirk. Both of them use wide-range sweeping attacks, with none of the dexterity Endeavour has displayed with his flames. His body also begins to burn after excessive use of his Quirk as it is not used to his new power just yet.
The theory is supported by Dabi’s rogue nature and unwillingness to comply with orders Shigaraki gives. Shigaraki also never seems to mind his attitude and instead continues to reward him. Dabi was made leader of the Vanguard Action Squad when they invaded U.A’s summer training camp. He was also gifted a High-End Nomu, which Dabi ordered to attack Endeavor, despite his insubordination.
If the theory is to be believed, Shigaraki does know of Dabi’s affiliation to All For One, even if he didn’t at first. But, why he hasn’t confronted Dabi about it remains a mystery.
Dabi Thinks He's A Todoroki
Another Reddit user posted a very interesting theory about Dabi’s origin. It blames all Dabi’s villainous actions on a troubled childhood filled with deception and manipulation at the hands of his mother.
The theory claims that Dabi’s mother was a mentally ill villain that was brought to justice by Endeavour. After she was captured, she swore revenge on Endeavor and spent her time in jail hatching a plot to take him down for good.
The theory continues that she arranged a Quirk marriage of her own as soon as her sentence was over. The goal was to give birth to a child bearing a similar quirk to Endeavor’s. When Dabi was born with an even more powerful flame Quirk, she was overjoyed. She stole him away and raised him on her own, continually telling Dabi that he was Endeavour’s son throughout his childhood. As he grew older, Dabi began to resent his absentee “father,” as well as his new family, since he believed Endeavor abandoned them for the Todorokis.
Oblivious to the truth, Dabi continued to train his Quirk in order to defeat Endeavor. The theory states that his scars were a result of him pushing his abilities to their limits. When his mother was satisfied with his growth, she advised him to join the League of Villains, believing that they would be the ones responsible for ending the heroes. His current position as a member is only a means towards securing his true aim: the end of Endeavor.
In short, Dabi's not a Todoroki. He just thinks he is.
Dabi Is a Revived One For All User
Yet another Reddit theory claims that Dabi is, in fact, one of the first users of One For All who was brought back to life by All For One. The theory is largely based on the similarity between Dabi’s silhouette and hairstyle to one of the previous users of One For All. The two share both a lean figure and spiked hair.
According to this theory, Dabi was reanimated for the same reason All For One chose Nana Shimura’s grandson to be his successor. It was another slap in All Might’s face. He meant to force Dabi to comply with his orders through force but that wasn’t necessary. Once Dabi realized how low the standard for heroes had fallen since his death, he joined the League of his own will. The theory continues that he now aims to purge society of hero pretenders and restore honor to the profession.