My Hero Academia's manga has taken a darker turn with its War Arc, and some fan-favorite heroes may soon find their heads on the chopping block.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers up to and including My Hero Academia, Chapter #277, by Kohei Horikoshi, Caleb Cook and John Hunt, available in English from Viz Media.
My Hero Academia has recently taken a darker turn with its intense War arc (also known as the Paranormal Liberation War arc), in which Japan's Pro-Heroes rally in a last-ditch attempt to stop Tomura Shigaraki's rise to power. Thanks to him acquiring the All For One Quirk, Shigaraki now has access to a formidable arsenal, and his own Decay Quirk allows him to unleash a massive area-of-effect attack that promises instant death to all it touches. Despite the death of the villain Twice, all the momentum is firmly on the villains' side, and in the next few chapters, we're very likely to see the death of at least one fan-favorite character.
It's hard to say how this heroes vs villains war will end, although the general fan consensus is that the heroes will lose. One thing is certain, however: should Shigaraki manage to steal Deku's One For All Quirk, there will be nothing left to prevent him from bringing Japan to ruin. A lot of heroes on the frontline would lay down their lives in a heartbeat to avert this outcome. Here are the five most likely to do just that.
With Eraserhead injured and most of the hero back-up support occupied fighting the "nearly high-end" Nomu, it's only a matter of time before Eraserhead falters and the heroes have to contend with the powers of a fully-unleashed Shigaraki. Let's not forget that Gigantomachia and the rest of the Paranormal Liberation Front are en route, too, and Shigaraki has some Quirk-erasing bullets in his pocket.
Considering Eraserhead has proven himself to be the main thorn in Shigaraki's side among the hero forces, it's a reasonable prediction to say one of three things will soon happen to him: death, the loss of his Quirk or someone sacrificing themselves to save him.
As an elderly mentor figure to Deku, Gran Torino never had the greatest chance of surviving the series. For a while, he seemed to be safe after escaping Shigaraki's massive wave of decay in Chapter #272, but ever since he began fighting Shigaraki in close quarters combat alongside Eraserhead, Rock Lock, Manual, Endeavor, Deku and Bakugo, his chances haven't looked good. Shigaraki is after Deku, and he'll surely slaughter Gran Torino for interfering if he gets the chance.
Worsening matters, Gran Torino's super-speed makes him the perfect candidate for taking a deathblow meant for someone else.
So many uncertainties surround Hawks since we last saw him critically wounded in Chapter #271. With his signature red wings completely burned away, it's unlikely he'll ever regain the use of his Quirk if he survives this arc. Until we know if his condition is stable, however, worrying about his Quirk may be a luxury Hawks fans don't have. The #2 Pro-Hero was told the villain Dabi's true identity, after all -- a secret no one has yet lived to tell.
Keep an eye out for the next time Hawks appears in the manga. It'll either be his dying words or confirmation of his survival.
Ever since Endeavor began his redemption arc over 100 chapters ago, he's had more death flags than anyone in the series. Redemption Equals Death is a common trope in all forms of media, after all, and he could easily bite the bullet now that he's mostly been forgiven by his family. The vision he had just prior to the War arc -- of his wife and children happy together with him absent -- also has a foreboding element to it.
It seems unlikely that Endeavor would die without his son, Shoto Todoroki, there to witness it, so Endeavor fans can at least find comfort in the fact that Shoto is currently aiding evacuation efforts in another section of the city. While it would only take a manga panel or two for Shoto to join him on the frontlines, the death of Japan's current #1 hero would surely require more build-up than what we've seen so far.
Of all the characters on this list, Bakugo is the least likely to die given that he is Deku's main rival in the series. But it's not an impossible outcome either. Caught in the middle of a showdown with villains far above his own weight class, fans have speculated that he could even die saving Deku. As Bakugo mentioned to Deku in Chapter #274, he and Gran Torino are the only ones on the battlefield that know the secret of One For All, as well as how vital it is that Shigaraki doesn't take the power for his own.
Bakugo also makes the list because another possible outcome: losing his Explosion Quirk to a Quirk-erasing bullet would be a fate worse than death to him. As an ex-bully that used to torment Deku for being Quirkless, Bakugo becoming Quirkless himself sounds so poetic that it might just happen.
At the end of the day, no matter which of these characters ends up Quirkless or dead at the hands of Shigaraki, it'll signal a major turning point in the My Hero Academia manga.