At the center of the drama on My Hero Academia is the enigmatic bad guy Dabi, who in Season 6 made a startling revelation that many viewers had been anticipating since his very first appearance. Dabi, a member of the League of Villains, is stoic and composed in appearance, but fans were intrigued by his strange blue flames and murderous intent as he preaches justice, leading to the gradual spread of theories about his origin. The idea that Dabi is the long-lost member of the Todoroki family was one of the most popular ones.
In Season 6, this popular theory was proven correct when Dabi declares that he is, in fact, Toya Todoroki and that Endeavor is a false hero. He makes his statement known throughout Japan, surprising everyone except the fans who predicted it from the start. Those who devised the theory and patiently waited were not disappointed in the least. The timing of Dabi's reveal may have encouraged fans to stick around through the series' low points. However, Dabi's withholding of the truth is necessary for an effective narrative – and a brilliant villain.
A Writer's Job Includes Enticing the Reader
Every genre of storytelling needs to have a plan for when to reveal information and when to keep it a secret. The overt use of this is most prevalent in mystery novels where the main characters are expected to deduce the solutions for themselves. In romance, information about shared emotions or tragic pasts is withheld to subtly test the lead couple, and even in action movies, character and possibly more information is revealed later to advance the plot.
Realistically, people withhold information about themselves for a variety of reasons, so it adds to the human element when a character does so. The explanation for the person's withholding reveals a lot about who they are as a person. Another benefit is the ability to decide which information should be revealed first and when which is especially useful for storytellers.
By the time Dabi is introduced in the latter half of My Hero Academia Season 2, viewers already knew about the hidden scandal of Endeavor's abuse. As more details of the Todoroki family and Dabi are separately revealed, fans began to connect the two more and more. The moment Dabi's blue-flamed Quirk was revealed, the Dabi/Todoroki fan theory became the biggest in the fandom, and resolving this question became a critical reason to watch the series. This maintains viewer interest, which is certainly critical for a long-term series like MHA. The payout for fans' long wait is the key timing of Dabi's reveal, and how it shapes the narrative and his character.
Japan as a Whole is Shaken by Dabi's Big Reveal's Timing
Tomura Shigaraki, the head of the League of Villains, is irritated by Dabi's refusal to use his real name when introducing himself. When the time is appropriate, as Dabi says he will do, there are no hints as to when that time will be at this point. In the "U.A. Forest Training Camp" arc, he may make his debut during the League's assault. It could have been a dramatic turn of events when his blue flames were revealed along with his identity, but he was aiming for something more meaningful than drama.
Among the chaos of Season 6's all-out war between heroes and villains, Dabi sees an opportunity to reveal his identity when he is confronted by Endeavor and Shoto, his father and younger brother. Dabi uses the reveal of his identity and his father's ugliest side to sow further mistrust of heroes across the nation as a result of societal unrest and civilians questioning their heroes' effectiveness. The shocking revelation of Endeavor's abuse, as well as his own son's transformation into a notorious villain, is the final domino that reshapes the world they live in.
Dabi's Resilience and Skillful Plan Speak Up in My Hero Academia
This moment is not only used as a critical plot device in MHA, but it is also a brilliant reveal of Dabi's character. Dabi's goals were clear from the moment he lost contact with his family: depose his father and destabilize the Hero society. As previously stated, there are numerous occasions when he could have shared his tragic backstory but did not, and this deliberate withholding of information demonstrates how driven Dabi is by his specific goals.
It's not about his rage against the world or his father; it's about striking the most powerful and effective chord to bring them both down. His patience and ability to wait for the perfect moment to strike add depth to his character. It says he's calculated, passionate, intelligent, and one of My Hero Academia's most callous villains, given how much he enjoys seeing his father and society crumble.
Whether viewers predicted his secret or not, Dabi's big reveal is one of the most effective and critical moments of MHA. The scene took several seasons to build upon, but it was worth the wait because of the critical damage dealt to the main heroes and society overall. Moving forward, there is the promised fight between the hero Shoto and his older brother, Dabi, and the challenge of salvaging the peace the latter has broken. Even with the Todorokis' secrets being out in the open, there's more to look forward to in this unfolding series. All these critical elements would have never been possible without the careful handling of Dabi's biggest secret.