My Hero Academia: Why Is Deku Quirkless? Explanation and Fan Theories

By Samona Punjabi / February 4, 2022

If you're an anime-only fan, the following article contains manga spoilers.

In a world where around 80% of the population is born with a superpower or a "quirk," our young protagonist Izuku Midoriya was born without one. From the beginning of the series, it has been implied that the world is an unfair place where people with strong quirks are revered while people without quirks are shamed and looked down on. Izuku's story is of a young "quirkless" boy who has always wanted to be a hero.

Deku looks up to All Might, Japan's number 1 hero and formerly the strongest hero in the MHA universe. Seeing how Deku desires to save people and become a hero for the good of society, All Might himself tells him that he CAN be a hero. All Might then tells Deku about "One For All," a quirk that has been passed down through the generations. Deku's idol All Might decides to pass on "One For All" to him, thus giving him the one he needs to become a hero.

All Might telling Midoriya he can be a hero.

While this is a touching story, fans have always wondered why Izuku was born quirkless in the first place. MHA has revealed that the former number 1 hero, All Might, was also born "quirkless" and was given "One For All" by his former master Nana Shimura. However, All Might was born when quirks weren't inherited by 80% of the world's population. In which case, All Might being "quirkless" is understandable.

However, Izuku is born in an age where most of the world has a quirk. In fact, by this time, having a quirk is so common that people who do not possess them are often shunned by society. Deku's mother, Inko Midoriya, is listed as a 4th generation quirk user, making Deku and the rest of his classmates 5th Gen. Fans are unable to come to terms with the fact that despite these facts, Deku was born "quirkless." So why was Deku born this way? Is there something more to Deku's quirk? Read on to find out.

Izuku's mom comforts him after finding out he's "quirkless."

Why Was Izuku Midoriya Born Quirkless? Manga Explanation Vs Fan Theory

Manga Explanation

"Quirkless" protagonist Izuku Midoriya always wanted to be a superhero like his idol All Might, the number 1 hero who saves people with a smile. Superpowers are known as "quirks" in the MHA universe and usually manifest by 4 or 5. Of course, there are rare cases of people developing their quirks later in life, but that isn't discussed much in the series.

Since Deku's quirk hadn't manifested presumably around age 5, his mother took him to a doctor to have him checked. The manga explanation states that Deku is quirkless because he has an extra joint in his pinky toe. Deku's doctor explains that early quirk research indicates that those without the extra joint "represent the next stage of evolution."

Deku's doctor telling him and his mom that they should give up on his quirk.

He implies that Deku is simply unlucky not to be a part of this evolution. The doctor also explains that it has become "increasingly rare" not to be born with a quirk. However, this explanation doesn't sit right with fans, especially after the latest revelations in the manga.

Fan theory about "the Doctor"

Izuku Midoriya surpassed the biggest obstacle in his road to becoming a hero with the help of his mentor, All Might, and his quirk, "One For All." However, after the introduction of a new villain affiliated with the League of Villains and All For One, fans decided to return to Izuku's backstory and are questioning if he was ever "quirkless" to begin with. One fan theory suggests that Izuku might have had a quirk stolen at a young age.

The theory stems from the character of "the Doctor," who has been introduced both in the anime and manga as one of All For One's most loyal followers. Dr. Kyudai Garaki, who prefers to use the alias Daruma Ujiko, is the one who technically saved All For One after his battle with All Might, which took place before the series began. When the manga revealed the character design for Daruma, fans noticed a familiar head shape and bushy mustache they had seen before.

Daruma wears a distinguishable pair of goggles, similar to the ones worn by the doctor who told Inko Midoriya to "give up" on the idea of Deku ever manifesting a quirk when he was a young boy. Though these characters bear a striking physical resemblance, it has not been confirmed if they are the same person.

The similarity in character design for Deku's doctor and Doctor Daruma Ujiki.

However, if Deku's doctor IS the same person working for AFO, it could mean that he has been stealing quirks from children all along. In addition, creator Kohei Horikoshi hinted that the doctor's crimes against children might go way beyond merely stealing their Quirks. In Season 2's 'Hero Killer arc,' a winged Nomu picks Deku out of a crowd. When Horikoshi was asked why a Nomu would target Deku specifically, he responded with a teasing drawing of Tsubasa, a character with a wing Quirk, who used to bully Deku along with Katsuki Bakugo.

Winged Nomu grabs Deku.

As we've seen from Kurogiri and Aizawa's interaction, Nomu's can sometimes retain the characteristics of the person they used to be. If Tsubasa had been used to create the Nomu, the monster might've retained his ability to recognize Deku. Furthermore, Horikoshi has also confirmed that Tsubasa is the grandson of Deku's doctor. Thus, this theory implies that if the two characters are the same, then Daruma Ujiki experimented on his grandson.

Tsubasa and Katsuki Bakugo when they were young.


If Deku were born with a quirk, the fact would alter his backstory a bit. However, it doesn't affect the struggles he has overcome and everything he has gone through to be where he is. Keep in mind that even if Daruma stole his quirk, Deku still grew up bullied and shunned simply for being "quirkless." This theory only adds to the atrocious crimes All For One and his followers committed if it is true. However, this is only a theory without any confirmation, so we can't be sure, but if it were true, it would make the villains a lot scarier than they already are!

Izuku was bullied for being "quirkless."

Read Next: My Hero Academia: Who is Izuku Midoria’s Dad?

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