As the main protagonist of my hero academia, the heroic Izuku Midoriya, also known as Deku, has fought many battles since his debut in Episode 1. Izuku has held practice battles with his teammates and fought actual villains, learning a lot along the way. However, Izuku can only learn so much in the classroom – most of his growth took place on the battlefield.


Some of Izuku’s fights simply furthered the plot or averted disaster, such as when he defeated Gentle Criminal to protect the UA school festival. In other key battles, Izuku actually grew as a hero and as a person, gaining a new perspective on himself and his powers and what it really means to fight for justice. Izuku was often a totally different person after those fights, whether he won or lost.

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When Izuku challenged the villain Sludge to save Katsuki Bakugo

One of Izuku’s most formative fights took place before he had won One For All or enrolled in UA. A slime villain captured Katsuki Bakugo right there on the streets, and there was no hero around to save the day. Izuku, who had always admired All Might, reached a mental turning point and decided that from now on he would fight heroically to save others, with or without a Quirk. Izuku didn’t stand a chance until All Might showed up, but still, this brief battle is what set Izuku on the path to becoming a hero, externally and internally. Izuku decided that day that he was done running and making excuses: he would fight with everything he had to become someone really great.

When Izuku faced Muscular to protect Izumi Kota

izuku midoriya and kota izumi from my hero academia

Izuku gained real life experience fighting villains during the USJ event, but not much. The first real test of him against a bona fide villain took place during the League of Villains’ vanguard raid on the forest training facility, when the villain Muscular threatened Kota Izumi. For the first time, Izuku had to fight a life and death battle against an enemy who actually intended to kill him, and that changed Izuku. That night, the apprentice hero Deku dug deep to find his determination as a brave hero, and also inspired someone else along the way. Izumi’s was the first life Izuku saved in a real battle, and in that moment, Izuku learned how to be a true symbol of peace and reassure everyone, “It’s okay now. Why? Because I’m here!” Izuku didn’t utter those words in that fight, but his actions said them clearly, which changed Kota’s life.

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When Izuku fought to save Eri from the review

izuku with eri my hero academia

Izuku and his good friend Mirio Togata failed to rescue young Eri from Overhaul when they had the chance, and both hero students felt terribly guilty about it. Izuku and Mirio decided to participate in the Shie Hassaikai raid to make up for it, and they both took on Overhaul to rescue Eri for real this time. Mirio fell, so Izuku stepped up to save the day. Izuku learned a hard lesson about being bold and decisive and listening to his instincts as a hero, resolving never again to turn his back on someone like Eri when he needs help. Eri then used her Rewind Quirk to heal Izuku so the latter could use One For All at 100%, saving the day. Now Izuku is like a foster brother to Eri, and the whole experience made him wiser and more mature than ever as a hero and a person.

When Izuku woke up Blackwhip

Anime My Hero Academia Midoriya Blackwhip Issued Launch

Izuku grew as a hero when he fought copycat hero Neito Monoma and brainwashing hero Hitoshi Shinso during the joint training exercise with class 1-B. By then, Izuku was comfortable with his use of One For All, only to discover that his Quirk has more Quirks built into it, including Blackwhip. One For All was awakening at last to face his fate against All For One, and it was up to Izuku to wield these new Quirks and realize what they represent. Izuku initially struggled with his awakened powers, but with the help of Shinso and Ochaco, he got them under control. Now Izuku is a smarter and more flexible hero than ever with various Quirks, like a miniature All For One. Izuku also learned how to use these Quirks responsibly, such as when he held back with Blackwhip to end the fight fairly with the class 1-B team. Izuku immediately learned not to act recklessly with his new powers or abuse them.

When Izuku fought Class 1-A while going rogue

class 1-a vs. izuku in the manga

After a point, Izuku actually took his duty too seriously and convinced himself that he had to take on Tomura Shigaraki, the villain, alone no matter what. Izuku ran off and went rogue, fighting antagonists such as Lady Nagant until the rest of class 1-A caught up with him. Ochaco, Tenya Iida, and even Bakugo felt hurt that Izuku didn’t believe in their friendship power, and were determined to restore Izuku’s faith in them. Izuku went too far to selflessly take on the heroes instead of his classmates, and even fought his classmates to prove it. In the end, Izuku retired and learned again to fight alongside his 19 classmates as trusted friends and equals. Izuku will never become so rebellious or act like a self-destructive savior again.

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