Anime My Hero Academia

Why does Shigaraki Tomura wear the Hands all over his body?

The Meta Liberation Army Arc’s events allowed Tomura Shigaraki’s stature as a villain to bloom. Viz Media released Volume 25 of My Hero Academia earlier this month and it provides the readers a peek into the horrific origins of the villain that heads the League of Villains.


Shigaraki’s hands are not a mere decorative piece for intimidation purposes but it has a personal touch that links it to his violent past.

Shigaraki wears the hands of his dead family and the two thugs he kills after his quirk first manifested. They symbolize his complete transformation into ‘Tomura Shigaraki’.

However, it is All for One who creates the hand attachments for Tomura as a reminder of the incessant bloodlust that fuels him.

1. Why is He Covered in Hands?

Chapters 235 and 236 of My Hero Academia illustrates the painful and abusive childhood that Tomura Shigaraki grew up in. Born as Tenko Shimura, the boy was subjected to the residual resentment his father had towards heroes.

Why is Shigaraki Covered in hands?
Shigaraki Tomura | Source: Fandom

Much like any other kid that had witnessed the glory of All Might’s heroism, Tenko wished to be a hero as well.

And unbeknownst to him, he shared a personal link with All Might himself however, his life never got to such a felicitous point of being guided by him.

After being at the receiving end of his father’s physical abuse, Tenko’s quirk manifests one day. He discovers this when he accidentally disintegrates his pet dog and his sister Hana in a fit of confusion.

However, as the older Shigaraki reflects on these events, he states that he probably knew what was happening deep down and that once he reached the point of killing his father – he felt pure ecstasy.

After killing his family, Tenko stumbles across two thugs that try to bully him. We see All for One scout him and provide him hands to wear as a token for entering his new life as “Tomura Shigaraki”.

I. But Why Wear Them? [Creepy]

The hands provided to him by All for One belong to his father, his sister Hana, his grandmother, his mother and the two thugs he kills.

They’re given to him as a reminder of the hunger for killing and destruction that drives him (his infamous itch). The hands all over his body embody the pain and bloodlust he carries with him.

All for One pushes Tenko’s urge to kill those thugs that messed with him.

Why is Shigaraki Covered in hands?
All For One | Source: Fandom

There is a voiceover of All for One as he watches Shigaraki make his first kill which goes like this,

“I always want you to keep them close to you. So that these 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.”

Currently, Shigaraki wears 14 hands on his body. The most prominent of which is the one that covers his face. This is revealed to be his father’s and serves as a constant reminder of the abuse he faced at the hands of his father.

Ironically, it also symbolises the hatred both of them have towards heroes. This explains Shigaraki’s hatred towards society and the reasons why he hadn’t unlocked his full potential till now.

The trauma that he went through in his childhood served as restraints to his dangerous quirk.

 I wonder, looking back, how the burgeoning supervillain’s life would be if he had met All Might earlier in his childhood.

Tenko’s wish to be a hero was excessively stifled by his father, Kotaro, to the point that the fact that his grandmother was a hero was kept from him and his sister.

This was revealed earlier on but I’d like to add this for the wow factor – Tenko’s grandmother was none other than Nana Shimura – All Might’s mentor and the seventh successor of One for All.

2. What’s With the Constant Scratching?

Chapters 235-237 also addresses Shigaraki’s habit of excessively scratching himself.

Why is Shigaraki Covered in hands?
Shigaraki Tomura | Source: Fandom

Even before his origins were revealed, Shigaraki’s destructive and narcissistic attitude along with his excessive scratching alluded to a violent and oppressive childhood.

His childhood not only explains this habit but also the insane set of events where the grandson of one of the greatest heroes fell from grace so easily through All for One’s influence.

In the flashback, his parents attributed this habit to “allergies” that were increasing.

Though the root cause of these allergies was never explicitly mentioned, it was implied that one of the reasons was the repression of his emotions.

We see Shigaraki tell his mother that the flaring up of his allergies were due to the house itself and that the four-walled structure caused him unease.

From a third person perspective, it is obvious that this hints towards the oppressive abuse he faces from his father. The habit can be traced to his emotional well-being. However, that doesn’t seem to be the sole reason.

I. Shigaraki’s “Skin Condition”

His constant itching increases as the intensity and frequency of his father’s abuse increases.

Why is Shigaraki Covered in hands?
Shigaraki Tomura | Source: Fandom

Therefore, it is understood that the itching comes from within – not just from his emotions but from his powers as well. Shigaraki’s distasteful quirk of decay has an adverse effect on his body as well.

The excessive itching habit of his seems to be a side effect of that.

This habit has evolved through the years to become quite compulsive and is estimated to be effects of excoriation disorder.

Considering the mentally debilitating quirk he possesses and the childhood he had, one can’t help but pin him down as a truly tragic figure in the series – a dark reflection of Izuku Midoriya.

More on His Quirk – Decay

Shigaraki’s quirk, called Decay, is capable of disintegrating any solid object into dust via touch. Initially, he was only able to disintegrate objects that were within his hand’s reach.

The disintegration was rather slow and required all five fingers of his to touch the object. Shigaraki’s character development also came with the evolution of his quirk which reached dangerous heights.

Tomura vs. Overhaul(chisaki), Tomura Steal Chisaki Quirk Tomura Cut Chisaki's Hands [ENG SUB]
Tomura vs Overhaul

It was revealed that Shigaraki’s mental trauma acted as a block towards his full potential.

After letting go of his trauma and post his surgery, Shigaraki isn’t obligated to use all five fingers to activate his quirk and is seen using his feet to get by as well.

He can now destroy a person instantly and can even disintegrate a large group of people without touching them (through a chain reaction). Finally, he’s also able to control the activation of his quirk.

My Hero Academia Season 5 Announced For Spring 2021!

About My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia is a Japanese superhero manga series written and illustrated by Kōhei Horikoshi. It has been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump since July 2014, with its chapters additionally collected in 24 tankōbon volumes as of August 2019.

It follows a quirkless boy Izuku Midoriya and how he backed the greatest Hero alive.

Midoriya, a boy who has been admiring heroes and their ventures since the day he was born, came into this world without a quirk.

On one fateful day, he meets All Might the greatest Hero of all time and discovers that he was quirkless as well.

With his diligent attitude and unwavering spirit about being a hero, Midoriya manages to impress All Might. He is chosen to be the heir to the power of One for All.

Originally Written By Epic Dope

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Aparna Anand

Aparna Anand

Meet the Cat lover - Cats, food, anime, and novels always grab her attention. In her true comfort zone, she can be found sleeping or binge-watching shows. Loves to write and sketch about her one true love - Anime! Willing to adopt all the cats on planet earth...did we mention that?

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