Who Is Dark Deku and How Strong Is He Compared to Other MHA Characters?

dark deku strong

The My Hero Academia saga has certainly put Deku through a ton of traumatic experiences, and his recent appearance in the manga series has only sparked a flood of new questions among fans. The reveal of Dark Deku has painted this infamous anime character in a whole different light, and many still wonder exactly who Dark Deku is and how strong he is compared to other characters as a result.

“Dark Deku/ Black Deku” is the form of Deku seen after My Hero Academia manga Volumes 31 and 32, a result of Deku leaving the U.A. in order to become a solo vigilante. Dark Deku is quite strong, with heightened Danger Sense and the use of enhanced Blackwhip 24/7. However, since a true hero does not rely on power alone, Dark Deku may still be unable to defeat many Pro Heroes in a fair 1v1 battle.

Although seeing this terrifying version of Deku can feel shocking, he may still be the iconic hero we all know and love deep down. Stick around to find out everything there is to know about Dark Deku so far, including what caused the sudden shift as well as how strong Dark Deku is compared to some of the most powerful and skilled My Hero Academia protagonists.

Who is Dark Deku in My Hero Academia?

Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia generally painted Deku in a more innocent light, with Deku taking the role of a relatively powerless youngster in a world filled with talented heroes boasting powerful Quirks – at least, at first. Although, Deku would later receive One for All, a super special Quirk that he gained after encountering All Might, which granted Deku some incredibly impressive powers and abilities.

My HEro Academia Season 5 New Trailer Deku Screenshot.0

However, Deku has actually left his training at the U.A. in recent My Hero Academia manga chapters, opting to try out being a lone-wolf vigilante instead. While even this was believed to stem from goodhearted motives, there’s no denying that it has led to Deku embracing his inner dark side as the story progresses – eventually turning into”Dark Deku” or “Black Deku”, a character that resembles more of a monster.

Dark Deku has a pretty grim and malicious appearance, one that would better suit a villain in most instances. The character first was seen in the My Hero Academia manga drawings, specifically Horikoshi’s Dark Deku character sketches from the Volume 31 notes – as seen below thanks to fans on Twitter.

dark deku

Horikoshi didn’t hold back when introducing this terrifying version of Deku as well. He added descriptions and details along with the sketch, later translated and shared within the same Twitter post:

“According to Horikoshi’s character sketches of Deku from BNHA Volume 31’s manga, the Deku you see in the most recent chapters is called “Dark Deku” and is covered with blood, dirt, mud, and ash.”


Dark/ Black Deku was teased more in the Volume 32 promotion, seen below thanks to fans on Twitter. According to the promotion, Dark Deku’s iconic mask has been destroyed, giving it the appearance of a sinister grin.

dark deku 1

This is the appearance that Deku started taking after going solo, and it’s definitely the most frightening form of Deku to date – covered in darkness while flaunting claws, glowing eyes, and tendril-like “Blackwhips” that sprout from his back. His sinister and villainous features are further emphasized by Dark Deku being covered in various kinds of filth.

How Strong is Dark Deku?

Dark Deku is pretty powerful, albeit at the cost of Deku’s health and sanity. According to many My Hero Academia fans, he has some pretty good mastery over Air Force, Float, and Blackwhip, paired with some pretty impressive use of One for All – just under half of the Quirk’s potential at the time of writing.


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That being said, Deku was still amazing in his usual form as well, as Deku has multiple Quirks. The main difference seen between classic Deku and Dark Deku is the use of Blackwhip – not to mention his improved Danger Senses compared to regular Deku.

shigaraki takes dekus quirk

Dark Deku has Blackwhip activated 24/7, ready to take on anyone anywhere, and he can lift up multiple people simultaneously – with the strength to raise an entire bus if needed. Since his Danger Sense abilities are now stronger in this form, Dark Deku cannot be caught off guard as easily as classic Deku could.

Dark Deku Compared to Other My Hero Academia Characters

Many My Hero Academia fans have started ranking Dark Deku pretty high on the list, with some believing he could easily top My Hero Academia characters such as Ryukyu and Curst – or, Neijire due to her time-consuming attacks. With that being said, this would not necessarily mean that Dark Deku could actually overpower or outdo most My Hero Academia characters.

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Combined with the fact that Dark Deku isn’t all there, and being an amazing hero does not involve raw power alone, many My Hero Academia fans still believe that Dark Deku would not be able to best many characters such as the Pro Heroes. Certain abilities demand training, discipline, and many other aspects over time.

Many have highlighted that Deku may have the power, but he does not have the ability to do something truly meaningful with it – yet, that is. Some other students may also be able to either beat him in a 1v1 battle or at least reach a stalemate.

dark deku battle

There are some characters who could still beat down Dark Deku in theory, such as Mt. Lady who could deal more damage, while others may have skillsets that could combat Dark Deku’s damage output. For example, characters such as Miruko would be weaker than Dark Deku when considering strength and power, but she would have far more heightened and refined battle instincts that could still land her a win.

Spoilers alert, but Dark Deku does end up being stopped by other My Hero Academia characters in Chapters 320 – 322 of the manga series, shortly before they convince him to come to his sense. This was considering Dark Deku’s use of Blackwhip, One for All at 45%, and Fa Jin, which shows that Dark Deku would not have been able to keep up with others in this state.

Why Did Deku Turn Dark?

Although the My Hero Academia anime series is only just getting into the darkest parts of the protagonist’s difficult journey, the My Hero Academia manga series is already deep into the thick of it. The filth seen in Dark Deku’s form is believed to stem from Izuku’s battles.

dark deku 2

He left school after waking up in the hospital following the aftermath of an attack unleashed by one of My Hero Academia’s most iconic antagonists – the powerful and evil villain, Tomura Shigaraki. Villains began running loose, and Deku began doing whatever he could to help save innocents, no matter the cost – but, he started his descent by believing that he only hurt those around him.

Is Dark Deku Evil?

All of the blood, ash, and filth caked all over Dark Deku may give the impression that he’d been up to no good, but this is actually all remaining evidence of his battles. In turn, Deku didn’t even bother to take time to look after his basic needs – he did not bathe or wash his clothing for quite some time.

dark deku 3

This means that, although Dark Deku may have an extremely antagonistic aesthetic, he is not actually evil while in this state. However, Dark Deku still isn’t quite stable either, with a dark, grim, and unhealthy mindset that hurts Izuku more than anyone else, and would likely become progressively worse with time.


His transformation into Dark Deku did tease the concept of Deku turning evil, and many My Hero Academia fans started becoming understandably concerned. Fortunately, Deku does eventually return to his regular old self and also returns to training at the U.A. after the darkness was stripped away – thanks to the help of Deku’s friends.

That’s everything to know about Dark Deku so far, with images thanks to fans on Quora. Anime fans are eager to find out how this alternative self could translate in upcoming My Hero Academia anime episodes.

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