Dabi/Shigaraki Tomura

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Pairing
Pairing: Dabi (Todoroki Touya)/Shigaraki Tomura (Shimura Tenko)
Alternative name(s): Shigadabi, Dabishiga, Dabishi
Gender category: Slash, Yaoi, M/M
Fandom: Boku no Hero Academia
Canonical?: No
Prevalence: Popular within the villain fan community
Archives: Shigadabi Week 2020 AO3 Tag
Other:
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Dabi/Shigaraki Tomura, most commonly called Shigadabi, is a slash pairing within the Boku no Hero Academia | My Hero Academia fandom between the League of Villains member Dabi and the group's leader, Shigaraki Tomura. Their first meeting in Chapter 67 quickly devolved into insults and an attempt at the other's life from both. As they rarely interact directly in canon, leaving fans with plenty of space to imagine their encounters, this meet-ugly became the basis for the pairing. It is popular in the community of villain fans within the larger BNHA fandom, with 2,136 fanworks on AO3 alone as of April 2021.

Because they both have canon civilian and villain names, the pairs Dabi/Shimura Tenko, Todoroki Touya/Shimura Tenko, and Todoroki Touya/Shigaraki Tomura are becoming more popular.

Fandom Beginnings

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Any experiences of fandom conflict, struggle, triumph, milestones involving our favorite murder boyfriends?

The first Shigadabi fanfiction posted to AO3 is the explicit one-shot, Begging for Thread, by drunkenCharm on April 28th, 2016. The tags Hate Sex and First Time summarize early Shigadabi fanfiction content on AO3 perfectly; all fans had to go on were the killer Enemyslash sparks instantly flying when the two met, the fact that Shigaraki threw temper tantrums and spoke in gamer terms (while being confirmed a near shut-in because of All For One) up until his failure at USJ), and Dabi being the epitome of angsty, mysterious bad boy. It is a common headcanon that Shigaraki is a virgin, with experience ranging from negative to has only ever watched porn to incel. Perceptions of their early characters are, arguably, fairly accurate given how little of the two there was in the series then, lending to their staying power in the fandom.


Shigadabi fanwork can be actively found as of April 2021 on platforms including Tumblr, Twitter, DeviantArt, Tik Tok, YouTube, and Wattpad, in the forms of fanart, fanfiction, podfics, AMVs, cosplay, and more.

Relationship in Canon

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

This bonus postcard came with the release of Volume 28 in Japan. It's the closest to canon Shigadabi art the ship has so far, and is, at the very least, still technically Dabi & Shigaraki Tomura.

Because there are so few instances of them directly talking to each other, the times that they do (and don't) are highly scrutinized.


Boku no Hero Academia Smash!!

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Do you have good Smash!! pics of Shigadabi? How does a gallery underneath Dabi's bio sound?

As this alludes to itself as a gag manga (see Dabi's Smash!! bio below), many do not consider it canon. BNHA Smash!! does have more Shigadabi content than canon most likely ever will; the reader gets to see the League of Villains go about their day-to-day shenanigans and gives humorous and adorable situations a place in the otherwise life-or-death stressed group. We see how Smash!Dabi and Smash!Tomura interact, and Dabi's profile even explicitly clarifies their relationship:

"... [they] can't help but squabble like an old married couple."

Depiction in Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Shigadabi has been depicted in fanworks with a wide range of themes. Because of their villain status and tragic origin stories, dark themes are common. For that same reason, however, there are plenty of lighter themes and tropes prevalent, from fluff to fix-it fics where neither become villains. AU's are extremely popular for the pair.

Their relationship has been accused of being problematic, most likely due to the dark and PWP heavy content associated with not only Shigadabi, but villains as well. This stigma has unfortunately carried on into cases of harrassment and online bullying, only adding to the animosity between hero and villain stans set upon them by their favorite characters. See: Villain Stan and Hero Stan for more.

Popular Headcanons

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Height

One popular depiction is Dabi being more than the canonical 1 inch taller than Shigaraki. This could have come about from fans having to guess, as their official heights weren't revealed until much later in the series, as seen here in an impressive feet of fannish inference to figure out the League's heights in 2017: Dabi is determined to be the tallest, and looking at the manga panels, one would be hard pressed to disagree without 20/20 vision. It's also possible that Kohei Horikoshi hadn't decided their exact heights from the beginning as he mentioned not having planned on making it far enough to create official profiles for the villains.

A well known example can be seen here in fanart by justvritart. Shigaraki is depicted to be much shorter than Dabi, as well as commenting "warm" while he hugs him. This ties into another widely spread headcanon:

Body Warmth

Dabi having an unusually high body temperature because of his Quirk and Tomura being constantly cold is a common headcanon. Though it was revealed in Chapter 283 that Todoroki Touya inherited his mother's constitution (that is, his body is weak against fire and, presumably, heat), the headcanon is well loved and speaks more to the parallels connecting the two thematically. Shigaraki's side of the Hot/Cold Headcanon could be seen to be supported by his first words ("I'm cold.") upon waking in Chapter 272. Other such connections fans have noted:

  • Both their hair turning white (one theory being Marie Antoinette syndrome.)
  • Their tragic relationships with their fathers; both trying to get their sons to give up on heroism in the worst ways.

Warmth, by sushibomb on AO3, was posted on November 26, 2017 and is the most popular and concentrated depiction of this headcanon with 2,966 kudos, 295 bookmarks, 19,734 hits and only 1,226 words.

Shigaraki Tomura's Character

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Basically, much more is needed on "fanon" Shigaraki and Dabi!

He starts the manga off labeled a "man-child" by the Heroes; he is quick to anger when things don't go his way, and attacks potentially powerful allies for insulting him. His habit of scratching his neck is commonly theorized to be a symptom of his quirk, with a notable headcanon being that he suffers from a form of skin disorder that, more often than not, focuses on a depiction of Shigaraki Tomura that some felt strayed too far from canon.

As Shigaraki's character developed in the manga, a post on Tumblr by user echodrops highlighted the differences between his fanon and canon character, spurring discussion on his evolution and how it should be reflected in fanfiction.

Dabi's Character

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

A more "fanon" characterization for Shigaraki similarly shaped Dabi's. Early Shigadabi tropes, revolving around their volatile first meeting, included enemies to lovers and hatesex, adding to the pair's "problematic" perception by parts of the fandom. As the community and the character's popularity has grown, so too has the number of interpretations of their dynamic and characters.

Shigadabi With Other Ships & Polyamory

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Shigadabi commonly appears alongside DabiHawks, Chishig or Dabihaul (Shigaraki and Dabi paired with Chisaki Kai respectively), and Spinnaraki (Spinner/Shigaraki, usually in the form of a love triangle. Popular polyamorous relationships include Shigadabihaul, or Chishigadabi, Hawkshigadabi, and Shigadabi with Himiko Toga, Bubaigawara Jin, or Iguchi Shuichi. These ships can be seen most prominently in fanart and fanfiction.

Top/Bottom Conventions

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There has been some tension between fans in regards to who tops or bottoms, like any fandom, though the villain community is relatively calm due to its smaller size compared to the hero community. The rigidness of the older "seme" and "uke" classification is also off-putting to some in its perpetration of stereotypes; the fluidity of people and subsequent change in society since the height of their use could have contributed to the push towards terms in fandom that aren't so cut and dry. As it comes down to preference, there are plenty of both to choose from on AO3, as well as a Switch tag for both:

  • [1] Top Dabi | Todoroki Touya Shigadabi AO3 Tag
  • [2] Bottom Dabi | Todoroki Touya Shigadabi AO3 Tag
  • [3] Switch Dabi | Todoroki Touya Shigadabi AO3 Tag
  • [4] Top Shigaraki Tomura | Shimura Tenko Shigadabi AO3 Tag
  • [5] Bottom Shigaraki Tomura | Shimura Tenko Shigadabi AO3 Tag
  • [6] Switch Shigaraki Tomura | Shimura Tenko Shigadabi AO3 Tag

Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics is a fairly popular trope/AU/tag within the ship that ties directly to the top/bottom debate, as a top and an alpha are often associated with power and dominance while a bottom and omega are associated with submissiveness, though not necessarily weakness. The first instance of the tag on AO3 is Tomura Has a Bad Day by user HorribleDynne on November 12, 2017.

Fan Discussion

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Controversy and Discourse

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Other points of view are desperately needed for these to be complete!

Hero vs Villain Stans

There is extreme tension in the greater Boku no Hero Academia fandom between fans of the heroes and villains, effectively dividing them into automatic sides based on the characters they enjoy or stan. These two camps are commonly referred to as hero stans and villain stans, though "villain sympathizer/apologist" has been used with insulting intent towards those that love the villain characters. Discourse in this vein is related to the larger Fiction vs Reality debate common in the fandom, wherein it is argued that staning a character does not mean that you condone their actions, and in turn does not say anything about the stan as a person (besides their personal tastes). Because this ship involves the two most popular villains in the series, Shigadabi fans have dealt with this stigma.

Age and Fandom

Dabi and Shigaraki are also two of the older young adult characters that get the most screen time and character development, leading to many fans outside the series' "target age" feeling a greater connection to them as they present a more adult storyline than the main cast (who are largely teenagers in highschool). Fans can explore darker, more mature and complex themes easier because of their canon backstories; again, topics that attract an older, more mature crowd. This has caused tension akin to what many fandoms, especially shonen-based fandoms, have seen before. Twitter culture keeps strict user-set boundaries on profiles created with NSFW intentions, with a visible age of 18+ (or more) in a person's biography being needed to follow or the follower runs the risk of being blocked or softblocked. The Shigadabi community does have a considerable amount of NSFW content and continues to be heavily smut/PWP focused, so the boundaries set and respected by creators and consumers are incredibly important on sites without fan-specific tagging systems like Twitter.

Problematic

As mentioned above in "Depictions in Fanworks," the ship has been said to be problematic and abusive, most likely due to their canonical relationship, the content that first stemmed from it, and continued use of the ship to explore sensitive and taboo subjects.

Writing

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fanfiction

Examples of the tropes or genres shaping Shigadabi, alphabetized.

A/B/O
Gamer!Shigaraki
  • the idea of you by lloftvlly is a popular explicit fanfiction where Tomura is a streamer steadily rising in the scene and Dabi is a famous Instagram model with an onlyfans that Tomura signs up for. [I can't personally say if it's a popular trope for him to be a model in Shigadabi fanfiction, but if so this is also a good example.]
Slow Burn
  • Something Good, an ongoing explicit College/Civilian Shigadabi fanfiction by TheTeapotOfDoom on AO3, has 14/22 chapters and 221,311 words as of April 2021. It's often one of the first Shigadabi fics new shippers come across due to its word, hit, and kudos count, as well as it being one of, if not the first, purely Dabi/Shigaraki Tomura fanfiction that appears when sorting by those large counts.

PodFics

Meta-Analysis

  • bnha-analysis-library is a BNHA meta-analysis archive on Tumblr that "ATM, [is] mostly about the league and the flaws of hero society, but there are some of the hero students too, and some others." As pure Shigadabi meta-analysis is scarce, starting here would be a good place to dive into the villain community's BNHA meta-scene.
  • BNHA 273 - Shigaraki Knows Dabi's Name by cyavillain is the most traditionally meta of the three in the shigadabi meta tag on Tumblr as of April 2021.

Fanart

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Cosplay

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Doujinshi

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  • 死柄木くんはだれのもの? (Shigaraki-kun belongs to who?)
    SFW: Yes
    Artist: ankrnbs on Twitter
    Summary: This is a high school AU, in which Dabi and Chisaki are 3rd year classmates while Tomura and Toga are in the 2nd year together. Dabi is known to be an unapproachable delinquent who never made any friends. Tomura, on the other hand, is known to be popular and always surrounded by classmates like Toga. Despite Dabi’s lone nature, ever since he and Tomura met they have naturally been drawn to each other and started spending a lot of time together casually. It all starts getting more complicated when Dabi overhears his classmates speculating about Tomura and a girl from another class dating after they had been spotted being close together. It bothers Dabi enough to confront Tomura about the rumors and the younger of the two can tell that there is more to it than just pure curiosity. Quite evidently Dabi, who usually always seems so unbothered, is jealous..
  • 花に嵐 (Blossoms bring storms)
    SFW: Yes
    Artist: ankrnbs on Twitter
    Summary: Tomura receives expensive sake from Re-Destro as a gift and because the rest of the league is busy he gets Dabi to join him for a few drinks so he doesn't need to drink alone. As they are drinking, Dabi and Shigaraki realize that this is the first time they hang out like this, just the two of them having a casual conversation. However, as it turns out, Tomura is quite the lightweight and Dabi quickly notices that he’s not holding his alcohol well. That’s how Dabi ends up having to take care of a drunk Tomura... but rather than being annoyed about having to deal with his boss like that, he notices that he finds his leader quite endearing.
  • 嘘はよりよき愛を生む。 (Better love comes from lies)
    SFW: No
    Artist: yoruno175 on Twitter
    Plot Summary: Dabi and Tomura have a casual sexual relationship. However, this time, as they sleep together, Dabi pushes some buttons and figures out that Tomura seems to enjoy it notably when he is gentle with him while whispering sweet love confessions that may or may not be lies.

Fanzines

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fan Communities and Events

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Fan Communities

  • Twitter has an active Shigadabi community as of April 2021. Since the mass move to Twitter from Tumblr, largely due to the Tumblr NSFW Content Purge, many authors have adapted to the format and write drabbles or headcanons by adding as many 160 character tweets as they need to finish. There's an awe-inspiring amount of artists there as well! You'll be happily lost in that hashtag for hours.
  • Tumblr has an active Shigadabi community, though it is rare to see fanfiction posted there; posting the link to the fic, often officially posted on AO3, and a summary with proper tags is much more common due to the restrictions on NSFW fanworks. Reader-Inserts featuring Shigadabi can be found here and cross-posted on AO3. Tumblr is, however, a goldmine of Shigadabi fanart, in mediums from digital to watercolor!
  • Wattpad currently has 699 stories under the Shigadabi tag as of April 2021. There is evidence of some creator/reader move from Wattpad to Tumblr in the BNHA Reader-Insert community, though how it will effect shipping Wattpad and Tumblr is yet to be seen (or at least documented here). Maybe a surge of Shigadabi content on Tumblr?

Events

  • Shigadabi Week - Tumblr Twitter
    • The first Shigadabi Week was advertised on December 18th, 2017 with the week running from January 7th-13th of 2018. The prompts for each day were: Domestic, Fight, AU, First, Food, Clothes, and Crossover.
    • The second was held June 3rd-9th, 2018. The prompts were: Games, Date Night, Swap, Fantasy, Hair, Touch, and Fruit.
    • The third Shigadabi Week went from January 20th-26th, 2019, with the prompts: Fantasy, Lies, Snow, Child, Kiss, Strength, and Space.
    • The fourth was from July 14th-20th, 2019, and included the prompts: Future, Warmth, Memes, LGBTQIA+ Headcanons, Soulmate AU, Date Night, and Swap AU.
    • The fifth Shigadabi Week ran from October 13th-19th, 2019, with the prompts: Flirting, Habits, Dinner Date, Games, Animals, Dreams, and Halloween.
    • The sixth went from October 24th-31st, 2020. There were three options for each day that participants could choose from, or combine in various ways for a unique prompt. It was the first time the event distinguished itself as +18 and accepted NSFW and SFW fanworks to allow for more creative freedom. The Twitter account was utilized to better share the NSFW fanwork that would have been at a bigger risk for deletion on Tumblr. A Shigadabi playlist was created on Spotify and Youtube, where people could send in a song to add through Tumblr or Twitter. The prompts were: Bittersweet/Fantasy/Memories, Ugly/Horror/Family, Cute/Mythology/Childhood, Captured/Mystery/Trust, Civilians/Steampunk/Teamwork, Deadly/Magic/Distance, Redeemed/The End/Darkness, and a Free Day.
  • Shigadabi Valentine Exchange - Tumblr Twitter
    • The SVE was an +18 event for February 14th, 2021 where shippers filled a form to enter and were paired with another creator to exchange Shigadabi fanwork.

Links and Resources

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Citations