Shigaraki Tomura’s portrayal in My Hero Academia was as a villain who was nothing but an errand boy for All For One. But as time and story progressed in both, anime and manga, we could see that Tomura was slowly taking the centre stage as the main villain. One of the standout features of Shigaraki is the hands that he uses all over his body. However, the hands that he uses is not just a fashion statement from a villain and has a legitimate backstory behind it.
In the manga, we get to dive deeper into the psyche of Shigaraki. We see that Tomura is previously known as Tenko and is the grandson of the Pro Hero Nana Shimura. Tenko’s father was not a fan of the heroes, thanks to the cold treatment he received from his mother. And so Shigaraki as a child had to face a lot of issues due to the abuse meted out by his fathre. But one day his quirk awakens and unable to control it properly, he ends up killing his family. You can read more about this in our previous post which details Shigaraki’s dark past.
Why Does Shigaraki Tomura Wear Hands?
After he killed his family, Tomura was adopted by All For One. And through him Shigaraki was introduced to the villain Doctor Guraki. The doctor realised that Tomura moved based on his emotions. Tomura had reached a point of mental breakdown because of his actions and was on the edge of despair. The Doctor and All For One fanned the hate in him and directed it towards the heroes and the hero society.
To keep the despair in him alive, the doctor gifted him the hands. Shigaraki wears 14 hands in total across his body. Those hands belonged to his family and the other two people that Shigaraki killed. He wears the hand of his father on his face. That keeps on reminding him of the horrors his father caused him and their mutual hatred for heroes. Shigaraki wears the hands because it reminds him of the pain caused due to his past actions. The hands remind of the bloodlust that he has and also helps to keep his quirk and unstable emotions in check.
“I always want you to keep them close to you…So that those feelings never fade. His Family’s hand will restrain him… keep him in check… with his memories locked away, it’s only his unstable emotions that float to the surface. And that unease… Look he’s keeping his own quirk in check subconsciously.”All For One
The hands around his neck came from his mother. The hands on his upper arms came from his maternal grandfather. The hands on his elbows came from his maternal grandmother. The hands on his wrists came from his older sister. The hands on his shoulders and sides came from the two random men who made Tomura angry.
The hand he wears on the back of his head is a replacement given to him by All For One after he used his Quirk to destroy his father’s other hand, later to be revealed as Nana’s.
Those hands were a reminder to Tomura that it was Heroes who failed him and it was Heroes who led him to have such a horrible fate. In his fight against Re Destro, one of his hands gets destroyed. Later on, he destroys the hand of his father covering his face as a symbolic representation of him getting over his past and moving ahead.
Such is the history behind the creepy design and fashion sense of Tomura Shigaraki. It’s a sad story throughout. It makes you want to sympathize with him and yet hate his guts. As the story progresses he becomes more confident in himself and his abilities unlike at the beginning. This character development is what makes him one of the best-written villains in recent times.