My Hero Academia is being told from the perspective of Deku after he's become "the world's greatest hero," but he wasn't always that way — something that's clear to viewers from the very first episode. The anime follows Deku as he receives One for All from All Might and works toward becoming the next Symbol of Peace, showing fans all the obstacles he had to overcome to do so.
And there’s a reason All Might chooses Deku as his successor; the boy is brave and empathetic enough to become the Symbol of Peace, even if he needs more training to master his inherited power. But as much as Deku usually deserves All Might’s gift, there are a few moments that will leave fans questioning whether he really was the best choice.
10 Deserved It: When He Tried To Rescue Bakugo From The Sludge Villain
Let's be honest for a moment: Deku deserves all the accolades just for putting up with Bakugo throughout the beginning of the series. But the fact that he's willing to throw himself in harm's way, even without a quirk, to save a boy who just told him to jump off a building is telling.
Sure, Deku’s too nice for his own good. But he's also willing to save people who don't necessarily deserve it, and that's the true measure of a hero and the future Symbol of Peace.
9 Didn't Deserve It: When He Told Bakugo About His Borrowed Quirk
If the new Symbol of Peace is going to have the responsibility of wielding One for All, he needs to handle that power with care. And telling someone who hates you about your "borrowed quirk" is the exact opposite of that.
Deku gets lucky that Bakugo cares enough about All Might’s legacy to keep quiet about their shared secret. Still, telling him was a careless move on Deku’s part — and one that could have had far worse consequences.
8 Deserved It: When He Saved Todoroki
Deku is pitted against Todoroki for the U.A. High Sports Festival, and he has every reason to let the other boy hold back. At this point in the series, All for One is unpredictable and difficult for him to control, and any advantage he can get would be a blessing.
Still, instead of using Todoroki's refusal to use his left side to his advantage, Deku tries to convince his opponent that he should embrace his quirk in spite of what his father has done to him. In a sense, Todoroki becomes the first person Deku ever saves. And that Deku helps him, knowing it will cost him the match, is an impressive and heroic feat.
7 Didn't Deserve It: When He Went Around Breaking His Bones To Use His Power
Deku’s biggest flaw is how careless he is with his body and quirk, and this is especially true early on in the series. Before he’s able to master using One for All, he wreaks havoc on his body to use it.
While Deku’s willingness to hurt himself in order to use his quirk can be seen as having a strong resolve, it also does a massive disservice to himself and those he could one day save.
6 Deserved It: When He Fought The Hero Killer
Fans can debate whether or not Deku is worthy of being the next Symbol of Peace, but one person has already made that decision. The Hero Killer, Stain, deems the boy worthy of being a true hero after facing him — an honor the villain previously only reserved for All Might.
Stain makes this judgment based on the fact that Deku is genuinely concerned with saving people, as opposed to seeking vengeance or winning praise. And while we can’t agree with everything Stain preaches, his assessment there is spot on.
5 Didn't Deserve It: When He Immediately Wanted To Run During Finals
Apart from being careless with himself, another major obstacle Deku faces when it comes to mastering his power is overcoming his perception of All Might. He idolizes his mentor and predecessor to a point that probably isn’t healthy, and this becomes clearer than ever during his final exam.
When he and Bakugo are forced to face All Might, Deku can only think of running, insisting they’ll never stand a chance against him. It’s not a great attitude for the next Symbol of Peace to have, and he might do better to adopt Bakugo’s mindset — accepting that, to be Number One, he will have to surpass All Might one day.
4 Deserved It: When He Almost Died Saving Kota
When the League of Villains attacks their summer camp, Deku and his friends are forced to get real experience fighting villains. And Deku proves himself worthy of One for All when he defeats muscular — even if he damages his arms pretty badly in the process.
The most noteworthy part of Deku’s fight with Muscular is that he risks his life attempting to save Kota, a young boy who openly expressed his dislike of heroes and Deku. Again, Deku has a tendency to do whatever it takes to keep people safe, even if he won’t get a thank you for it — and that will help him on his road to becoming the next All Might.
3 Didn't Deserve It: When He Lost To Bakugo The Second Time
Most of the rude things Bakugo says to Deku are biased by their incredibly messed up feelings toward one another. But what he says to Deku after beating him in combat a second time during “Deku vs. Kacchan, Part 2” does ring true on some level: If Deku is going to inherit All Might’s legacy, he’ll need to work harder than anyone. And that means not losing again.
Deku’s come a long way from the first episode, but losing to Bakugo during season three shows he has much further to go before embracing his role as All Might’s successor.
2 Deserved It: When He Rescued Bakugo From The League Of Villains
“Meddling when you don’t need to is the essence of being a hero.” All Might tells Deku this, as the boy has a tendency to dive headfirst into situations he doesn’t belong in. It serves him well, though, it’s allowed him to save people on multiple occasions — including when he and his friends set out to rescue Bakugo at Kamino Ward.
Refusing to put rules before saving people proves on its own that Deku is worthy of being the Symbol of Peace, but that he saves Bakugo without technically breaking the law truly drives that point home.
1 Didn't Deserve It: When He Couldn't Tell Nighteye What He Had To Offer
It’s clear that Deku has honorable intentions in wanting to become the next Symbol of Peace, but the fact that he’s unable to verbalize his reasoning to Sir Nighteye doesn’t bode well.
It isn’t enough for Deku to want to be like All Might. If he’s truly going to be worthy of becoming Number One, Deku’s going to need to know what he brings to the table and why.