My Hero Academia has made smiling one of the central themes of the entire series. In My Hero Academia's estimation of what true heroism means, a superhero doesn't just need to accomplish heroic acts, he or she needs to do so in a way that uplifts the spirits of those they are saving. That typically means a hero needs to maintain a friendly and happy manner - punctuated by a bright, shining, smile. However, as Izuku has stepped out on his own to finish the battle with All For One, his hero persona as Deku has taken on a smile that's much more horrifying than it is reassuring.
Warning: My Hero Academia Chapter 319 SPOILERS Follow!
The latest chapter of My Hero Academia sees Deku battling a mind-controlling villain named Dictator, and losing badly. Izuku gets saved by Bakugo and his other friends from Class 1-A, who have been officially deputized by the school and Hero Association to fight alongside Izuku. However, Izuku doesn't react to his friend's arrival well: in fact, it looks like Deku is going to fight Bakugo, Ochaco, and the rest of his classmates.
Ayo, did anybody else notice how underneath deku's metal mask combined with torinos cape, it looks like a demons mouth smiling? Which is ironic when you remember that the mask itself was initially meant to resemble all might's smile. pic.twitter.com/EzSYIvS3SK— BakuGOAT (@LegitTAYJ) July 11, 2021
As you can see above, My Hero Academia fans have looked closely at what creator Kohei Horikoshi is doing with Deku's look during this dark turn in his character arc. When Horikoshi frames the character art like in the panel seen above, Izuku's Deku's mask (with its metal mouth) and the cape he wears (donated by Gran Torino), actually look like a terrifying grin, a la Marvel's Venom. It's a cool little character detail that speaks to where Deku is right now, mentally and spiritually, as All For One's gauntlet of hired goons wears him down to this lowest point yet (like Batman's "Knightfall").
Fans have been wondering what, exactly, has been happening with Izuku since he woke up from tapping into One For All's full power; his personality has changed completely, and fans are wondering if it's just the new weight of responsibility on his shoulders to stop All For One - or perhaps something more sinister, buried in the connection between OFA and AFO? Deku's Venom grin suggests there could be more to the latter theory than we thought...