In the world of My Hero Academia, one man has served as the symbol of peace for years, carrying humanity's burdens on his shoulders. Racing to fight crime in bright shining colors, All Might became a pillar holding up society's faith and protecting those in need. However, while his physique and costume embody the promise of a better tomorrow, one aspect of his design strikes an unsettling counterpoint -- his ink-black eyes.
It makes sense that this hero would have such an eerie look in his wounded civilian guise. When Toshinori Yagi lets down the strong façade of All Might, his stature and facial features resemble that of a skeleton. A gaunt jawline, scraggly limbs and wilted hair match the sunken stare of his stained irises. Yet even in this form, a marble of shining blue cuts through the middle. Why then does his heroic appearance, which instilled security in the hearts of many, opt for eyes devoid of any color or glow whatsoever?
My Hero Academia creator Kohei Horikoshi touches on this topic through All Might's bio in an early volume of the manga. He explains that All Might's shabby presentation possesses black eyes as a result of becoming a shadow of his former self. The loss of his mentor, his deteriorating medical state and years of shouldering the public's need for stability in a tumultuous world all wore him to near-fatal exhaustion.
Although his pupils still shine as the Symbol of Peace, these revert to black when his muscles, rigid hair and vibrant clothes take over, providing a full embodiment of the light he represents. These traits show All Might to be someone who holds strong regardless of the situation. However, they also betray a sense of fear and deep insecurity lurking below the surface.
Through supplementary material, viewers receive a closer look at what All Might's eyes looked like in action before his decline. The manga's "Volume Origin" story collection, the All Might: Rising OVA and the My Hero Academia: Two Heroes movie each provide a glimpse of Toshinori's early days as a professional hero. In his prime, All Might's crystal-blue eyes and white irises looked straight ahead with determination, unclouded by the physical and mental strain that would break him over the coming era.
It's no wonder that the horrors he faced reduced him to a man who needs to continually reassure the public in order to reassure himself. His battle to wrest control from All For One's grasp changed the bright-eyed youth, seen in the anime's fourth ending sequence, into a tired husk, exerting every ounce of strength to survive long enough to find a successor. While the media portrayed him as invincible, his darkened gaze shows that he is barely holding on by flexing.
However, aside from the light tucked away in his pupils, one characteristic of All Might's face in both his muscular and emaciated forms still rings with pride. As a hero, All Might came to be known for his reassuring smile beaming through the darkness. Although it took meeting Izuku for him to bear it in his withered form, All Might's grin still lights up the world, especially when watching over his students. Perhaps this smile, spreading across his face as he entrusts his hope to the next generation, should be the true focus of All Might's design. Now that he is retired, maybe he can finally drop his cover of strength and beam with genuine joy, knowing that as he said all along, everything will be alright.