Bakugo is The Saddest Character in My Hero Academia!
Devastating rivals it's hard to count the number of shown in anime that use the trope of the pure-hearted protagonist and their abrasive rival and in modern anime one of the clearest examples of the stock shown in rival character is my hero academia's katsuki bakugo a fan favorite character whose unpleasant personality doesn't win many.
Hearts in canon bakugou primarily acts as protagonists izuku midoriya's rival and character foil but is that all there really is to him i don't think so it's pretty hard to boil a character as layered as vaca go down to an example of a classic trope but what else is there how does he both fulfill and subvert the shonen rival trope to answer these.
Questions we're going to have to define that term first so what do i mean when i keep talking about the trope a stock shown in rival by definition is an opponent of the protagonist often their teammate whose personality is much more jaded than that of the bright-eyed hero these characters usually start off stronger than the protagonist feel.
Threatened by their increasing power and act as spoiled to the hero's optimism thus the hero's growth serves to motivate them as he wants to stay a few steps ahead there are other stock trades that rebel characters often have but those are the ones that are most universal and that definitely sounds like bakugou to me what's interesting.
About that though is that bakugo didn't initially meet most of that criteria though horikoshi stated that he was always meant to be a natural born genius something most shown in rival characters are that's about as close as his initial design ever got to fitting that archetype though we all know him as an aggressive rash and often unpleasant.
Character he was actually originally meant to be a much kinder and more reliable character if that had been the baka go we met i suspect he might have served as more of a friendly competitor to midoriya instead of a true rival similarly to todoroki but since horikoshi decided that he would be too boring and made him a much less present.
Person to be around i think i can safely say he checks those boxes and while we're at it we have a few boxes for you to check off on make sure that you're subscribed to plot armor notifications on to never miss an upload and detroit smash that like button to show us a little love that being said referring to bakugo as a rival character would imply.
This arc revolves around that of whomever he is acting as a rival too and that would obviously be deku given their early history there is some truth to that bakugo and deku grew up in the same neighborhood and were childhood friends until bakugo's court manifested after which he began to let the praise he was getting for his incredible quirk go to.
His head neku who was quirkless became a frequent target of his bullying as bakugou believes himself to be above him neku's constant attempts to remain friends and help go impossible only fan the flames of that mistreatment though making bakugou feel insecure and driving him to lean heavily into the idea of his own superiority in that sense bakugou is.
A classic rival even though he was the one who started off with all the advantages he still feels extremely threatened by deku one incident from their childhood when deku tried to help him up after he fell into a creek has been a particularly persistent reminder of that for years it fueled bakugo's determination to maintain a superior.
Status always looking down in his rival and horikoshi even describes his personality as that of an abusive egotist that checks the personality contrast box for sure bakugou seems like a pretty standard rival character whose antagonistic history with the protagonist drives him to strive for the top a path that deku's growth often.
Muddies he is antagonistic towards others naturally gifted and determined to win at all costs especially over deku but is that really all bakuga's role of the story amounts to it might have been once but i don't think that's the case anymore i'd even argue that bakugo has outgrown that archetype somewhat over time functioning in the story as less of.
A rival and more of an inspiration and foil taking the lead growth and development granted this isn't an entirely new development as far back as the provisional license exam arc long before bakugou had rishi level of maturity has now we see izawa acknowledge that his drive and passion are inspiring to his classmates but even.
Back then it is an interesting dichotomy in spite of his poor treatment of most of his classmates who derisively refers to them as extras a lot of them look to him as a source of inspiration motivated them to push for the top and though it doesn't win him many fans his personality does make him a natural leader one whom people prove to be.
Surprisingly willing to follow we see that in the joint training arc when his classmates trust his instincts enough to go along with his plan even though he didn't ask for the input about it or even really run it by them beforehand it says a lot about his role in his class and in the story that people will do what he asked them to do even when they.
Object to how he asked and that trust illustrates something else that we see in the joint training arc the beginnings of bakugo's growth from an egotistical soloist to well somewhat of a team player his strategy in this forum iv fight with class b revolves around coming out of the battle with every single member of his team unscathed a.
Goal he accomplishes that win by saving approach is a step forward it's pretty clear from the outset that bago's initial approach heroics is a simple win at all-cost mindset focused more on his own glory than anything else he wants to win he wants to keep deku from serving him and probably more than anything he wants to continue to feel superior to.
Others so the joint training arc is a pretty big turning point for him it's when we see him truly start to value others using his talents and instincts to lead instead of running off on his own and that is sort of the culmination of what he has learned in his time at ua up to that point and though his delivery still needs some serious work is.
Definitely more team player than rival so already by about the halfway point of what we have so far we are starting to see bakugo's role change not only is he far less rash when it comes to acting on his personal grudges but others take notice of and are inspired by bakugo's growth he is definitely no longer so obsessive by his rivalry as to pick a.
Fight with deku as an outlet for his feelings of guilt and inferiority he might still be trying to surpass him but there is more to him than just that rivalry he has even become willing to cooperate with deku helping him to trim a black whip and acknowledging to some extent that his childhood bullying was a result of his false feelings of.
Superiority it's pretty clear at that point which comes during the pivotal war arc that bakugou is a lot more than a rival not only is his relationship with deku with the slow process of being mended but he is starting to develop as a character in his own right outside of simply powering up to better keep up with the person he wants to surpass he's.
Willing to cooperate and is much more self-aware even if he's still not going to win any awards for best behavior and i mean we can't forget the fact that during the war arc he took a potentially fatal hit to protect someone he spent most of his life bullying if that isn't evidence of growth i really don't know what is since that point bako's recent.
Development has been a lot more of the same he is at the helm of the plan to retrieve deku when he goes off on his own showing both his concern for his rival and his status as a leader among his classmates he is actually the one to locate deku and inform the class of his whereabouts which i think really cements the central place they have at each.
Other's arcs fittingly bakugou is very involved in the class's efforts to bring deku back to ua of all these students efforts to convince him to do so it is his acknowledgement of his past wrongdoings that comes the closest to getting through to him the fact that many of the most important emotional beats in this battle are related to the.
Relationship between bakugo and deku says a lot about bakugo's role in the narrative there is a reason that in the face of deku's resistance it is his longtime rival whose words hit the most so why do we care okay so that's all great we get it this guy has grown a lot since his gremlin days but what's the big deal other than the obvious.
Redemption of a fan favorite character why does the story care about bakko's growth well i think that comes back to the point i just made about the reversal and the pattern of who saves who between deku and bakugo when we meet the two of them it very quickly becomes apparent that bako's hostility arose from a reoccurring pattern even when he was.
Quirkless deku was always trying to swoop in and save vakugo that made bakugou feel threatened fueling his inferiority complex and the superiority complex that he tried to use to cover it up and led to the fissure in their relationship that they are still trying to mend in a certain way then bakugou was actually the very first person to.
Truly believe in deku why else would he have felt so threatened by him and when you get into that you also have to get into the reversal of that pattern later on nowadays it's almost always bakugou coming to neku's aid and i think that is the pattern that he has intended to take from the start one of reversal no he will never be especially similar to his.
Friendly optimistic and nerdy rival but bakugou is developing qualities of leadership empathy and self-reflection that have mostly been afforded to deku alone and those things allow him to step into the saving role that deku used to hold in their relationship ironically even though his stated goal is to pass deku i actually think that the more he.
Comes into his own the more he resembles him that's why i say you can't really talk about bakugou without bringing up deku as much as he is his own character his motivations have always been tied to deku and it's hard to understand anything he does or his role in the story without acknowledging that fact i think it is safe to say that they are.
Simultaneously rivals close friends and foils at this point with chica rocky even referring to bakugo as midoriya's best friend at this point you might be asking what's a foil to answer that a character foil is a literary device in which the qualities of one character accentuate opposite qualities in another but i think the best example i can give.
Of bakugou and deku being foils is their childhood admiration of all mine as children both deku and bakugo want to be heroes like all my one day but even though it seems like they both have the same motivation when we get into the reasons why each admirer is all might so much it starts to become clear that they are actually not coming from the same.
Place at all bakugou as a child admires all might because he always wins a probable source of his obsession with victory in essence what he wants to emulate is all my strength and refusal to lose a younger deku instead admires the way that almighty is able to save people makako's desire to be victorious like all might while midoriya wants to.
Say people are in direct contrast despite manifesting in the same way both of them want to become the number one hero that's what i mean when i call them foils the example of their early inspirations illustrates how they bring out each other's strongest inequalities that go selflessness and bako's desire to win by having directly contrasting.
Qualities deku's kind disposition and bakugo's bluntless make for another pair of foiled traits so do bakugo's natural talent and deku's quirklessness see what i mean these two are created with different traits that make them contrast very easily there is a popular headcanon that when an older deku takes up all my mantle as he symbol of peace bakugou.
Might become the symbol of victory and i think that is a pretty good illustration of what i'm talking about if that ended up being true that would make them rivals and allies who have similar goals but opposite approaches it's a little cheesy but i really think that idea has a way of demonstrating how they are similar even as they act as each other.
Spoils because of that a big part of baku's story is to accentuate deku's and vice versa it's kind of thorny to go there because i don't want to imply that he's not his own character because he is but in the end his actions and growth are overwhelmingly influenced by deku he kind of can't separate their arcs without undermining the whole point of.
Bako's role in the story thus far what's fascinating about where he is now in the manga is that he is focusing entirely on the success of his team rather than his own he has gone from an egotist whose core belief is in the superiority of his own quirk above all others so a much more grounded hero trainee who was able to recognize that nearly everyone around.
Him is as incredible as he is no longer convinced that he has to stand alone at the top to be worth anything bakugo is if not exactly humble able to admit that he is no longer the absolute best of the best it's hard to understand how huge that is for a character who used to be so obsessed with his own superiority and that i think takes his character in an.
Interesting new direction going into the future however there is a lot more to bakugo's growth than just that since his skill improves greatly as well as his mindset billy has always been proficient with his quirk he has been gradually improving his skills possessing a greater variety of ultimate moves the power and resilience of not large scale.
Attacks and the finesse to control the magnitude of his explosions if he doesn't want to harm his target to gain these new skills he is trained diligently even going as far as to stick his hands in boiling water to expand his sweat glands since the magnitude of his explosions relies heavily on how much sweat he can store up this exercise was.
Probably meant to let his body accommodate more sweat and that in turn has increased both the speed at which he can propel himself using his quirk and the damage his explosions can do bakugou's quirk has always been a source of both pride and a stumbling block but even so he has neither rested on his laurels nor let it impede his progress.
And he has remained committed to improving the scope of what he can do with it what's next one of the shonen rival hallmarks that i didn't mention earlier is that the protagonists optimistic selfless ideals usually defeat the rival cynicism in the end we have seen a lot of that already as like i said bakugou learns from deku but.
Mighty also have something to say about how his arc is going to end i actually have a feeling that it might as of the most recent chapters of the manga bakugo is with the group that is confronting shigaraki in ua's flying fortress faced with what honestly looks like certain death for at least a few of them he has finally learned the importance of.
Teamwork on the deepest possible level acknowledging that his actions have to be oriented towards helping the collective that is already one huge example of deku's team player personality rubbing off on his rival but where else is that going to lead well we sort of have to acknowledge the possibility that that newfound.
Willingness to cooperate might lead him to sacrifice himself in order to clear a path for his fellow heroes to quote the words he used in chapter 358 i mean given who they're up against it's entirely possible but i don't see that being the case because narratively i just don't think it would be a fitting conclusion to his arc maybe such an.
Ending would be used to illustrate that an initially self-serving character had become more selfless or to motivate deku to muster the colossal effort it would take to beat shigeraki but if not i can't think of any reason why it would make sense to kill off the new dragonis of the series there just isn't any obvious reason why death would be a.
Suitable end to his arc so then what well even if it's not his life i don't think bakugo is going to get out of this one without sacrificing something and that would still be an example of the ever self-sacrificial deku winning their clash of ideologies formidable as bakugou may be it's shonan and the one who believes in the power of friendship.
And self-sacrifice is pretty much always going to be shown to be right at the end but it also would probably ring hollow with a lot of readers ibaka were to be taken out of commission entirely that's why i think he's probably going to have a rinse and repeat of his war arc experiences here at the end he'll risk his life to protect somebody or just.
Point blank when the fight and suffers a serious injury but in the end he makes a full recovery and goes on to continue to contend with deku for the number one hero spot of course it's assuming that the hero rankings are even still a thing anymore by the end of the series which is another can of worms that i'm not going to open up here on the other hand.
I'm kind of torn between thinking that makes sense and wondering if it would feel like cheating if he escaped two brushes with death in similar ways but on the other hand i feel like the ending of mine here academia would feel a little hollow and both his protagonist and his rival didn't live to see the final chapter after all they sort of.
Never existed independently of one another in the story they're closely tied to each other quite literally from the first chapter but honestly i could be wrong and that's what's so fun about bakugo's role in this story because it subverts some rival tropes while fulfilling others it's hard to know what is coming next but in the comments let.
Us know what you think the future of bakugou is going to look like as always i'm slice of otaku thank you all so much for watching and have an awesome day i love you