My Hero Academia: Is Shigaraki Becoming a Better Strategist Than Deku?

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for My Hero Academia Chapter 332, "State-Of-The-Art Hypersonic Intercontinental Cruise…” by Kohei Horikoshi, Caleb Cook and John Hunt, available now in English from Viz Media.

The My Hero Academia manga heats up in Chapter 332, “State-Of-The-Art Hypersonic Intercontinental Cruise…” The ongoing battle between Shigaraki and America’s top hero, Star and Stripe, nears its conclusion. The tide of the battle may have made it seem like Star and Stripe had the upper hand, but Shigaraki has utilized his tactical analysis to potentially grant him the opportunity to deliver the finishing blow. Seeing how Shigaraki has been toying with Star and Stripe, might he be able to also out maneuver Izuku Midoriya (Deku) and All Might?

From the moment they first encountered each other in Chapter 329, Shigaraki acted like he already knew how to deal with Star and Stripe. He didn't intercept her convoy by mere coincidence; he is going to make sure she doesn’t come in contact with the Japanese heroes under any circumstance. He knows the advantage the heroes would have if they had access to Star and Stripe’s power and the backing of the United States. Shigaraki is not only thinking about this fight, though. He realizes that by defeating a foreign version of All Might, other countries might think twice about sending their own high-ranking heroes to aide Japan during this crisis.

Throughout the entire battle, Shigaraki assesses Star and Stripe carefully, and figures out how her Quirk, New Order, works. He understands it, mocks its abilities and decides that he wants to acquire it for himself. Normally, a fighter has to be especially crafty to figure out their opponent's abilities. In Shigaraki’s case, he can take the full force of someone’s Quirk without worrying about dying. His super-regenerative ability is a cheat code that allows him to keep a cool head in the midst of battle. This is advantageous for him, considering how he went all out the first time he faced the heroes, after acquiring All For One, without thinking about the end game, until his mentor stepped in.

Now, not only does he figure out how to work around Star and Stripe’s Quirk, he comes up with an escape plan to dodge her most devastating attack: State-Of-The-Art Hypersonic Intercontinental Cruise Punch. The amount of concentration it takes for Shigaraki to focus on creating an escape tunnel at the precise moment of impact shows how he is constantly thinking a step ahead of Star and Stripe. Even though she is the Number One hero in America, the villain makes her look like a small-town sidekick.

In the end, Shigaraki’s greatest advantage is Star and Stripe’s heroic heart. A real hero does not sacrifice their friends. When Star and Stripe is given an opportunity to deal some damage to him by blowing up one of her allies, she refuses to make the rash move. Consequently, she grants Shigaraki the ideal opportunity for a deciding strike. He is most likely going to steal her quirk, but might not get away with decaying her body. In the moment her Quirk gets stolen, her allies may be able to save her from death.

Shigaraki is not afraid to suffer tremendous amounts of damage, and is getting better at assessing a battle. Normally, villains enter the fray of fighting without considering how to make their next move more advantageous. Shigaraki, on the other hand, has demonstrated his remarkable strategic level up. It will be interesting to see how he fares when he battles Deku and All Might in the future.

About The Author