As the current main foe of any best-selling Shonen manga, you’d have to be a pretty unique character to make it interesting. It can’t just be any old bad guy; you need a compelling back story to sell the whole antagonist act without it becoming stale. And Tomura Shigaraki falls into that category, by being one of the most warped characters in My Hero Academia. But, hey, just because he underwent experimental surgery on his megalomania, doesn’t mean he isn’t human, right?
Yeah, so, about that. Fans have already known that the All-For-One protégé had Nomu controlling abilities, but they never quite imagined that Tomura himself could also be a Nomu. Though, it does make sense. Like it takes one to know one, and at this point, he has undergone enough transformative experimentation that puts him into the ‘artificial human’ roster. But does that mean that he is a full-on Nomu, subservient and all? I don’t think so. At best, Tomura is part-Nomu, a humanoid with full consciousness.
The problem with classifying Nomu at all is having to discern what makes for an artificial human in the My Hero Academia universe. Because, when you look at how Quirks work, the line gets a little muddled. Nomu is undead meat bodies constructed from the spare parts of those individuals with a Quirk that lost their lives. They are heavily modified minions, turned grotesque under the knife of Dr. Kyudai Garaki, a member of the League Of Villains.
Nomu has been noted to answer only to their creator, but more recently we saw them being controlled by Tomura as well. And, of course, modified humans or humanoids aren’t anything new to the My Hero Academia lore. So, with that being said, how do they impact the plot? Well, that’s the topic for today’s segment of Lore Analysis – where we take a deep dive into the mythos of popular franchises to see what they might be hiding!
Nomu: Super Soldiers For The Bad Guys?
The whole idea behind My Hero Academia is fairly simple. It’s good guys VS the bad guys (which is Shigaraki Tomura and the League of Villains in this case). It’s about the struggle of the Pro-Heroes, gifted individuals who study and work throughout their life in the service of humanity, going up against the Villains, who use those same Quirks to cause havoc and destroy everything around them.
It’s pretty straightforward when you get down to it. Heroes use their Quirks to save the common folk from the Villains, who can be working individually or be part of hate groups like the Paranormal Liberation Front. And these Villains will go to any means to gain an upper hand. So, to have a resource of mindless drones that they can send out to weaken the Heroes for them? That would be an easy sell.
And that’s exactly what the Nomu is. They are artificial humanoids, collaged up from remnants and corpses, completely devoid of independent thought. Think of them as a zombie army under your control, killing without any remorse and dying without it too. Because they are just heavily modified versions of their dead bodies, they retain their Quirks but also a multitude of others to raise the stakes This makes them extremely dangerous, something their creator is very well aware of. So, when the experiment takes place, their brains stop all higher functions, leaving them at the mercy of their owner.
After all, that’s their purpose, to serve.
Tomura Shigaraki And His Humanity:
So, how does Tomura Shigaraki play into all of this? Well, Shigaraki Tomura went through the same surgery as all the other Nomu did, and then some. He’s the culmination of every experimental technique the good doctor has in his arsenal.
And, when you see him post-op, you see the inhumanity come through. Tomura becomes single-minded in his pursuit of the All-For-One Quirk, almost like it was programmed into him. Some fans believe that even the way he talks now is highly suspicious, like he’s a mouthpiece for his guardian, All-For-One.
Which wouldn’t be unbelievable, considering how much All-For-One influenced him growing up. Likely, inheriting the Quirk didn’t come without a few catches.
So, the most popular theory here is that Tomura is a Nomu only when it comes to his modifications. But that he might also be subversively influenced by All-For-One!