Wild speculation incoming.
Also: massive spoilers incoming for people who don’t read the manga (I’m putting anything post-season 1 under a cut).
Y’all know UA has a mole problem, yeah?
I’m far from the first to come up with a theory on this, but I’m happy to note that I did (I think) arrive upon a new suspect.
For context: after the villains attack UA, it becomes increasingly clear that someone in that school is a traitor. They’re either working for Shigaraki, or as a subsidiary of his ‘sensei’.
Deduction methods: I’m mostly going by elimination, Sherlock Holmes style. Also, I’m basing myself on the following classic narrative rule: If you’re going to have a traitor in the midst of your cast, you have to introduce them way before anyone knew there even was a traitor. If a writer goes ‘oh, here’s our traitor, the person that showed up right before they got found out’, that is lame. Like… super lame and I give Horikoshi more credit than this. Dude put cameos of several characters in the very first chapter of the manga. He knows what he’s doing.
The villain invasion
Let’s start with the first time we see Shigaraki and his cronies in action (incidentally it is also the part where BnHA stops being a high school slice of life romp and starts getting Serious).
So, the invasion starts with an electrical cut-out, which shuts off the trespasser sensors. Then the villains use Kurogiri’s ability to flood in.
Straight off the bat, the following teachers are proven innocent, by virtue of nearly dying trying to protect the students:
- All Might
The following are also out of the picture for really messing up Shigaraki’s plans. I mean. There is such a thing as acting to avert suspicion, but for a spy this probably goes too far:
- Izuku (duh)
- Todoroki, Bakugou and Kirishima
- The five kids beating up/sabotaging Kurogiri at the entrance: Iida, Uraraka, Shoji, Sato and Sero (Ashido is present but doesn’t actually do anything).
- I’m going to put Snipe on the Innocent List as well, for shooting the hell out of Shigaraki.
Right here, that’s like half of class 1-A in the innocent pile. Please note that I’m not taking off any of the other teachers that show up to Save the Day. That’s their job, you see. Not coming along to save the kids would make them suspicious.
People that are Highly Suspicious after this incident:
- Aoyama and Hagakure: where they go tho?
- Kaminari: because of the electric blast at the start. However, it is heavily suggested that the electric villain that captures him, Momo and Jirou is the one messing up the sensors.
- The rescue mission exercise was a surprise. At least to the students of 1-A. This makes it less likely that the traitor is one of the class and more likely that they are faculty. Although any spy worth their salt could, of course, have snuck into the teacher’s office.
- The villains, and this is a major point in Izuku’s water fight, don’t know the kid’s quirks. If the traitor is 1-A or, for that matter, someone who regularly teaches them, they should probably know them at least a little? They had that physical test and everything. Again, though, I can’t really rule them out because the info they gained from the test is vague at best, and they may not have had the time to relay it fully.
With that said, let’s go to the next incident.
Everything from this point is a Manga Spoiler, so please beware.
The forest camp
Now this is an interesting one.
Again: villains attack our heroes, this time both classes 1-A and 1-B.
Accompanying them on the boot camp are homeroom teachers Blood King and Aizawa, and the Wild Cats hero group.
Aizawa mentions several times that they took serious security measures, that the place is only on a need-to-know basis. Again, I’ll be putting people in the Innocent pile merely on actions that mess up the villain’s plans, not actions done that could conceivably be a cover.
The ones already on the safe list are disregarded (like, yes, I know Aizawa is amazing, so are Izuku and Bakugou. They are Innocent unless they do something stupidly suspicious).
So, in order, on the Innocent list:
- Yaoyorozu (for saving most of 1-B with her gas masks) and Awaze, Tetsutetsu, Ibara, Kodai and Kendou
- Also gonna put Tokoyami here, since he (sorta inadvertedly) beat up Moonfish, and Asui for trying to save Bakugou
- Aoyama actually redeems himself by saving Tokoyami and (almost) Bakugou here
- If we follow through with the ‘getting themselves nearly killed’ rule, then Tsuburaba, Honenuki, Hagakure and Jirou are also innocent.
- In the post story panels, some more 1-B kids are shown unconscious, including Bondo and what appears to be Kaibara
Our Suspicious pile is rapidly getting smaller, since a large amount of 1-B is now proven innocent.
So who is Highly Suspicious this time?
Anyone in the lodge. This is the safest place to sit the whole attack out. It’s only ever attacked by fake versions of Dabi. If a traitor was working with the villains and actually on the grounds, this is the best place for them to be.
Who is here?
- Ashido and Kaminari
- Sero, Satou, Kirishima
- Blood King
So let’s look at some leftover suspects
In Class 1-A there’s not many left.
Kaminari: this guy has a whole theory about him being the traitor (part 1 here and part 2 here, both by the incredible @msleilei). And while I understand the theory, I’m not really buying it? To fail the exam, to place himself outside the camp… for one, that’s Joker levels of pre-planning and I kinda don’t see him do that? More importantly though. While Kaminari didn’t join his buddies on the ‘save Bakugou’ mission, he did know about the plans. Wouldn’t he have at least mentioned it to his villainous employers? That whole raid came as a complete surprise to the bad guys.
There’s some more arguments in his defence, @red-riot-kirishima-eijirou sums them up quite nicely here.
Ashido: mostly a suspect for being in all the right/wrong places. The same argument goes for her though: she knew about the hide-out raid.
Koda, Mineta and Ojiro: by the simple reason of not being heroic enough to be ruled out. Again: hide-out raid pretty much scratches them off.
As for 1-B. We actually got a lot of them on the Innocent list, which warms my heart because these kids are every bit as brave and cool as the ‘main’ class. Give them all the love.
Having said that:
Monoma: Was in the lodge. Appears to have motive, though not particularly against All Might I guess. I’m gonna be an ass here and go ‘too friggin obvious’. He’s mostly a comic relief character. I will buy a hat and eat it if he turns out to be the traitor.
The rest of class 1-B: harking back to the first narrative rule. We really don’t know enough about these kids. We haven’t seen much of them. It wouldn’t really be shocking if any of them turned out to be the traitor.
Extra notes on the students:
Kirishima: there is a really fun theory that, despite (or because) of his behaviour, Kirishima is the traitor. I don’t buy it, mostly because it would break my friggin heart. But it’s a good read by @red-riot-kirishima-eijirou. It basically plays on Kirishima’s possible past as a villain, or the kid of a villain.
Tooru: yeah, I dispelled her earlier, but this is really a rather good one. Like a Really Good One. Especially since Tooru falls outside the ‘hide-out raid’ argument. She was unconscious in the hospital when the rest of 1-A discusses their plans.
This is definitely one of the more convincing theories I’ve seen so far. Still, I’m more inclined to go with ‘Tooru is a coward’ than with anything else. Mostly because she very nearly got herself killed during the training camp which, if she’s such an amazing spy, would be a dumb thing to do.
What about the staff?
I said earlier that it seems more likely that the traitor is faculty, rather than students. Focusing mostly on the ones we actually somewhat know, here’s a breakdown:
Nedzu: mostly suspicious because he has reason to hold grudges against humans, and also because he stalled the heck out of All Might during the UA invasion. Interestingly, this is the same thing that proves him innocent? Yes, All Might was late in rescuing students, but he was literally the reason the villains were even there. Him being late gave the kids and Aizawa some time to thin the horde a little, meaning All Might didn’t have a big crowd to fight. Also, All Might only barely made it in Muscle Form. If he’d been there since the start, he’d have reverted to Skeletal All Might before the end of it.
Recovery girl: can’t be it, for the simple reason that she doesn’t just know about All Might’s condition. She is one of the few people who knows about One for All. If she worked for Shigaraki, he would have also known, and he’d know why Izuku is so special. He doesn’t. He’s mostly mildly confused and frustrated by the kid.
Cementoss, Present Mic and Midnight: Would they know the location of the training camp? The camp was changed at the last minute, with the specific reason to keep its location on a ‘need to know’ basis. Since none of these people have any reason to be near the training camp, they’re don’t ‘need to know’.
So that leaves….
Blood King. You know there’s a reason I put him last, yes?
Yes, my money is on Blood King.
Hear me out.
I honestly never thought of him until I started crossing people off the list, and started putting stock into things like the lodge location. And honestly… it makes sense?
If we go back to the invasion: as a teacher he knows the schedule. Heck, he probably helped create the damn schedule. Please remember that this is a school with two classes in the same course. 1-A and 1-B are bound to have very similar curricula. They have literature, English… and rescue class. I dare say All Might and Thirteen staged (or planned to stage) two of those rescue mission classes. The villains just so happened to conveniently attack 1-A, not 1-B.
He shows up at the end with the rest of the heroes because essentially, that’s his job. Any harm has pretty much been done by then. We also don’t see him doing much other than carry Nedzu around.
At the training camp, he’s present and, as mentioned, at the lodge. And here is where it gets interesting. We do see him fight, but the only dude he harms in any way, is a clone of Dabi. He overpowers him almost immediately but again, he’s not actually hurting Dabi. If he knows it’s a clone he could go all out even if they’re on the same side.
Furthermore…. That’s a handy circumstance, isn’t it? We know Dabi specifically attacks the lodge like that to keep the people inside occupied and away from Bakugou. Remember, the whole point of that raid is to steal Bakugou and Blood King is too ‘busy’ keeping kids safe from a fake Dabi during the entire raid to go out and prevent that. He doesn’t try to stop Aizawa but he also, rightfully, assumes the guy won’t be able to save every one of them by himself, especially since Bakugou is on the other side of the forest when the attack hits and there’s plenty of villains in between. Before Deku comes up with the info, Aizawa is probably not even thinking about saving Bakugou. In any normal circumstances, King of Explodo Kills would be one of the people least in need of rescuing (together with, like, Todoroki).
I could be wrong, but I don’t see Blood King show up during the hideout raid or the 8 Precepts raid.
So much, so coincidence. Right?
One more thing
In which I bring it home.
Remember Shigaraki’s motive for invading UA?
One of the main reasons he set up this plan, is to defeat All Might, and he thinks he can do it, because he was given intel that the dude is weakened.
Who the hell told him?
There’s a few options, of course, his All for One could have deduced it, but why would Shigaraki doubt information from his master? He trusts that man more than anything in the world. I believe he got this tidbit from his spy. Someone he’s not entirely sure of yet.
At this point, none of the students, apart from Izuku, know about his true form.
However: several of the teachers do know. Cementoss does. Aizawa does. Nedzu does. Recovery Girl does.
I’ve already ruled these out.
You know who else knows?
Blood King does.
Slaps both hands on the table
The vamp did it!
This is of course, just my theory. The more traitor theories I read, the harder it gets to figure it out.
Who do you think it is?