There are a lot of incredibly iconic villains in the history of fiction, and we’ve seen a lot of them in the world of DC. Of course, arguably the most iconic villain in DC is the Joker, whose overall maniacal way of doing things has caught the attention of many different fans. But the Joker’s influence has reached the shores of Japan, as there are hints that Dabi is My Hero Academia’s version of the Clown Prince of Crime. So, is Dabi inspired by the Joker?
While it was never outrightly admitted, Dabi seems to be inspired by the Joker as Kohei Horikoshi, the creator of the series is a big fan of American comic book culture. Of course, Dabi’s Joker reference is going to be much more obvious in season 6, episode 11, which is entitled Dabi’s Dance.
Dabi might not be similar to the Joker in terms of his powers, but he certainly is similar when it comes to his overall personality and the way that he goes about his business. Of course, the events of episode 11 of season 6 will reveal a clearer parallelism between him and DC’s Clown Prince of Crime. And that’s something that we are here to discuss.
What Is Dabi’s Dance All About?
One of the things that we always knew about Dabi was that he was a secretive character that was clearly hiding something about his past, as there were no traces of who he was and where he came from. Of course, fans also loved the fact that he came with a no-care attitude that made him look quite crazy while using his incredibly powerful Blueflame Quirk as one of the strongest members of the League of Villains.
Dabi was instrumental during the events of the Paranormal Liberation War arc because he singlehandedly defeated Hawks after the number 2 hero was forced to kill Twice, which was a clear showing of just how far heroes were willing to go to stop people that they believed were threats. After that, Dabi and the rest of the league hopped onboard Gigantomachia, who was on his way to Tomura Shigaraki.
Shigaraki, of course, struggled against the combined forces of Deku, Bakugo, Shoto, Endeavor, Ryukyu, and Eraser Head. He had already pushed his body to its limit after a final clash with Deku and failing to take his One For All Quirk made it clear that he was yet to fully bond with the All For One Quirk. However, the more interesting part is that Dabi is on his way to the battlefield during the entire time, as season 6, episode 11 is about to become one of the most iconic episodes in the history of My Hero Academia.
Episode 11 of season 6 of My Hero Academia is entitled Dabi’s Dance and is going to shed more light on the identity of the villain. It will begin with Gigantomachia finally reaching his master as he went to Shigaraki’s location to protect him from the combined attacks of Nejire and Shoto.
Dabi appeared on the back of the giant as he announced his arrival to the exhausted heroes that were yet to recover from the fight with Shigaraki. He was also quite pleased about the fact that both Shoto and Endeavor were present in the location, as that was when the number one hero called out his name.
However, Dabi made a big revelation when, instead of answering the “Dabi” name, he told Endeavor to call him by his true name, which is Toya. That was when both Endeavor and Shoto were shocked, as Toya is the number one hero’s eldest son and was believed to have died many years ago. Dabi removed his black hair dye to reveal that his hair was indeed white, just like the rest of his siblings.
He said that he had been watching his father the entire time. That was when a worldwide broadcast began, with a recorded version of Dabi discrediting his father and telling the entire world the things that he had to endure when he was a child just so Endeavor could have a powerful son that he could be proud of. Dabi also said to his father that it was wrong for him to try to think that he could simply move on from the things that he did to him back when he was still just a child, as he continued to taunt him while he was dancing like a crazy maniac.
Of course, the broadcast continued to play as the recorded version of Dabi revealed through DNA tests that he was indeed Toya Todoroki. He also said in the broadcast that Endeavor lacked empathy and that all of the pro-heroes were just hypocrites that were fooling society into believing that they were morally right. This coincided with doctored footage of Hawks killing Twice in cold blood to make it look like the hero actually killed the villain in a ruthless manner.
Dabi’s most famous line in the manga was:
“You must’ve thought, “As long as I face the future, I can be better!” I can tell you’re at a loss for words, so here’s the answer! The past never dies! Get it yet!? Y’reap what you sow! Let’s tango, you and me—Enji Todoroki!! A dance with your son, here in hell!!”
It was also revealed in that manga chapter that Dabi was actually saved by All For One and Dr. Garaki by transforming him into a Nomu-like monster. He also said that the only thing that has been keeping him alive the entire time was his hatred for his family. Dabi desired to die while attempting to kill the family that he felt turned their back on him long ago.
Of course, a battle between Dabi and Shoto began, as the villain was delighted about the possibility of him killing his younger brother, who was the “successful” experiment of Endeavor’s desire to produce the perfect hero that could continue his legacy.
How Is Dabi Inspired By The Joker?
But while all that was happening, the one thing that was clear in the minds of fans that read this part in the manga was that everything about Dabi in that very moment drew parallels to DC’s the Joker, who has always been the most iconic comic book villain because of his desire to see the world burn while unmasking the hypocrisy behind Batman and the other heroes.
Everything about Dabi in that moment—the monologue and the dancing—were clearly inspired by the Joker. Of course, we always knew that Kohei Horikoshi was a fan of American comic book culture, as My Hero Academia is basically a Japanese version of the hero culture we often see in Western comic books. As such, Dabi’s moment when he revealed his identity was a page right out of the playbook of the Clown Prince of Crime, who has always wanted to make the entire world see just how even the heroes themselves are some of the biggest hypocrites of society.
Dabi, who was scheming behind the scenes the entire time and was plotting a way to expose his father and the other heroes, was clearly Joker-like in terms of the way that he tried to unmask hero society to the public not only as a form of revenge on his family but also as a way of making the people see that the heroes that they looked up to were not entirely worth their respect and admiration. In a sense, by bringing down the number one pro hero in Japan, Dabi was trying to bring hero society down with him as well.
There is also the fact that Dabi’s maniacal dance in the manga was a clear way for the author to show the parallelisms between him and the Joker, as they were both menaces that reveled in the chaos that they were causing. This is why Dabi, although different in terms of his powers and backstory, is a clear product of the influence that the Joker has on the world of fiction.