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I just finished watching the first season of My Hero Academia. It was pretty good, a lot to like about the show but before I move onto the currently airing season 2 I’d like to get my thoughts on season one down less they be diluted by it’s sequel.
So what do I want to talk about regarding this show? The powers, the humor, the occasional inconsistencies, the universe’s hero-villain dichotomy? Well not any of these things specifically though I may touch on them.
No, I want to talk about my favorite character thus far, Katsuki Bakugo.
Before I go any further, a disclaimer. This one is one hundred percent my opinion, it’s about how I specifically relate to Bakugo, not how everyone does.
So like I said, why Bakugo? Why not All Might who would be easy to idealize like Midoriya does, or Midoriya himself probably the most universally relatable character in the show being that none of the audience themselves has superpowers (I assume).Or why not any number of the colourful cast of characters we are presented with once we get to U.A. High? Because out of all these characters, Bakugo is the one I find I have most in common with.
Maybe this seems odd, I don’t know if he changes at all during the course of the second season and/or manga but I relate to him for what is shown to us during season 1’s run time.
I relate to this narcissistic psychopath more than anyone else in this series. because I too am a narcissist, my blog’s tagline will inform you of my borderline psychopathy. And the best thing about him is, he’s not a bad guy and I don’t perceive myself to be either.
So let’s get into why I personally relate to Bakugo so much and where him and I differ.
The Jack Of All Trades, Master Of One
I really wish they’d expanded on Bakugo and Midoriya’s past more, this isn’t to say they don’t explore it enough, they give us ample time with these two as children but I would’ve liked to see more of how Bakugo became like he is today.
He’s noted by Midoriya as being pretty good at whatever he tries, he could be a leader, he could be fearless, he could be good a footballer. But it’s not until he manifests his quirk and has praise lavished upon him for it that he “goes down the wrong path”.
This was where I began viewing Bakugo as a nuanced relatable character as opposed to just a standard asshole rival or anti-hero or whatever they were going to make him. I understand this motivation, I myself, when I was younger, was always pretty good at everything I did, but I was never the best. I was the kid no one minded having on their team for sports, but I was never the captain.
So when I was about 7-8 and I found that one thing I was the best at, my entire life became about it. I think I was 7 when I first joined an acting class for children and found that I both loved it and had some natural talent for it. 7 years later when I’ve had the practice to improve my talent my teacher told me that they thought if I tried to be a professional I would succeed without a doubt. I was of course ecstatic and this, in part, has lead to my overall love of media and also my incredibly high self-worth. Because when I joined that acting class and was told that by my teacher, I found what I believed to be the key to success. Confidence.
I was much older than Bakugo when I found this way of life, so I remember what it was like to not be this way. When I say confidence is the key to success, I don’t mean that, for instance, believing I’m the best poker player in the world will make it so but that believing that will allow me to be the best poker player I can be.
So coupling this blinding confidence with one’s natural talents can make them achieve great things. Bakugo embodies this, he’s a bit of an asshole about it, but he is consistent in spouting his belief that he will become the top ranked hero. When he found what he was good at he was adamant he would become the best at it.
But having this talent and ambition is what leads to his skewed relationship with Midoriya, and what makes that so great.
Winner By Default
Why does Bakugo hate Midoriya so much, especially at the start of the show? One could put it down to Bakugo just being a bully, but I don’t think that’s the case. Midoriya doesn’t have a quirk but Bakugo sees him as a threat. His biggest and perhaps only threat to his quest to be the no. 1 hero.
Why is this? Because Midoriya is better cut out to be a hero than he is, we see him realise this in a flashback when he falls int a river, instead of asking if he’s OK like the rest of the kids, Midoriya jumps down immediately to check if he’s OK.
Midoriya is his worst nightmare, somewhere in his mind Bakugo knows he’s only the best because Midoriya was unfortunate enough to be born without a quirk, that if he had one he’d be leagues ahead of Bakugo. That’s why he hates him, that’s why he keeps telling him not to try and challenge him, because he is not 100% sure he’d win. Because Midoriya is the better hero. It’d be like knowing you’re only the best in the world at what you do because the one guy better than you suffered a career ending injury before he/she reached her prime.
You see the world doesn’t just care about outright power, if that was the case villains would be incredibly popular too, so even if he’s not the most suited to it personality wise, Bakugo has to become one to get that praise and justification he seeks.
One of my favorite scenes in the show is, after their first practice battle, Midoriya comes to tell Bakugo of the nature of his power, as Bakugo has repeatedly said or rather screamed at him the accusation of him hiding his quirk from him.
When Midoriya tells him he inherited his power from someone else, Bakugo is having none of it. He says, despite how little he wants to admit it, that Midoriya won and he agreed with the girl who criticized his battle practices. How he watched the others fight and thought that he couldn’t beat them all.
Then All Might runs up to him to give him some reassurance, telling him that he must learn from his mistakes to grow as a hero. But Bakugo stops him in his tracks, telling him that he doesn’t need to be told he’ll be great to be so, that he will be the best. He takes this failure and it doesn’t crush his ego and make him the good subservient supporting character I thought it would. He takes it and uses it as fuel to further his desire to be the best.
He’s stubborn, he’s an asshole, he’s a narcissist. And I love him.
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Thanks for reading,