Kirishima’s initial impressions on me indicated he could appreciate strength, had a bit of a one track mind and was a tiny smidge of an idiot. But as I got know this character those first impressions were not exactly true but also true. Let me explain.
While yes he appreciates manliness he does not go overboard in his devotion, during the hero’s vs. villains training exercise he mentions that an ambush is “unmanly” but Deku running from Bakugo isn’t. This shows that he understands the situation that Deku is in and his only option is to run. Showing the first instance that he has a brain between his ears and if this was a one off insight I would have brushed it off but this is merely a taste of the brains that he has. The sports festival arc where he convinces Bakugo to be on the same team with him using logic and a well thought out plan on how their quirks can complement each other for this task. He predicts that Sero will win race training. He brings night vision goggles when they go to rescue Bakugo knowing that they will need them and many more instances far too numerous to recall.
That is why Kirishima is one of the most intelligent characters in the show and unlike others of high intelligence he has emotional common sense, just look at his interactions with Bakugo. During the attack from the villains on the USJ he tags along with Bakugo with little fuss from him, taking his personality all in good jest. Bakugo’s temper is cooled by him, as he explains why he needs to keep a calm head during the calvary battle. This is a very important milestone for their relationship as it ultimately leads to Bakugo calling Kirishima by his name for the very first time in the series, giving us a indicator of where Bakugo puts Kirshima in his circle of thought even if he can’t admit what he is to him, at least at that point in time.
It comes to a head during the rescue arc as Kirishima is the only person who can reach out to him, as being saved by a friend wouldn’t hurt his pride. By accepting his hand the friendship is not one sided anymore but reciprocated and acknowledged. Repays him in the form of money for the night vision goggles, not using big explosions in the provisional license exam as to avoid hurting Kaminari and Kirishima, to cheering Krishima up when he’s feeling down, all are done after the rescue arc.
Now the reason I didn’t mention the friendship between the two in my post Bakugo |Hero|Villian|Friend|Rival is because in a case like this one the initiator here is more important than the receiver and yes Kirishima started this friendship. This ends up with me asking why he even started the relationship in this first place. All roads lead back to the USJ attack, when Kirishima saw him using a rational calm approach to the situation at hand. It was within this small moment that he became manly in his eyes. Thus beginning their friendship. Krishima’s relationship with Bakugo was always strange to me. For all accounts they should not get along, with their friendship exploding in a matter of weeks as how it was formed but I have found the reason why they get along at all. They compliment each other in terms of personality.
Where Kirishima hated his quirk when it first activated as it harmed him and was quite generic in nature, while on the other hand Bakugo loved his as it was powerful and was unique. They are what each other lacks or what have too much of, Kirishima with his inferiority complex and Bakugo with his superiority complex.
For those who don’t know an inferiority complex is described as a “lack of self-worth, a doubt and uncertainty about oneself and feelings of not measuring up to standards. It is often subconscious, and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extremely asocial behavior.” It seems really odd though for such an upbeat guy in an anime to have an inferiority complex but he does.
It isn’t apparent until the later chapters but there are some clues in the earlier chapters that do allude to his condition. The first sign was on the way to the USJ where he was putting himself down saying “My hardening’s strong against others, but unfortunately, it doesn’t look like much.” This is line is muttered at the very start of the series and again about a hundred pages in. “Even now I’ve been nothing but lack luster. When you’ve all become pros what should I do to keep pace?” After all the fights he has been apart of, all the improving he’s done to himself, he’s ended right back in the same place. It’s all been a long line of self deprecation with him unable to break this never ending-cycle of inferiority. He is trapped into by his own mind.
Kirishima cannot fight through his feelings of inferiority as he is kept being shown that he isn’t enough, that his quirk is not enough, even when shown evidence to the contrary that he is a great hero (When he gets a newspaper headline about Red Riot’s heroic act). It’s washed away in a stream of inferiority against the raging tide of his other classmates (or other people in different classes at the school) whether it be now or in the past.
He and Mina went to the same middle school though they never interacted. She was in the spotlight while Khrishima was in the background, she was a blinding shinning star that was hogging the stage and he was so drowned by her light that no one ever saw him. His childhood and early teenage life have striking parallels to each other. Growing up with classmates thinking they were weak, having to deal with bullies, had idols they both looked up to and gave them a helping hand in their darkest hour, outshined by a more popular classmate with a flashier quirk who were also planning on entering U.A. The similarities don’t just end there either. His motives for becoming a hero remind me of Deku’s as they both aspire to save people but the main difference he still tries to play the hero game by making himself flashier by dying his hair red with an amazing twist to it’s style, although I suspect him imitating Crimson Riot and this is not the first time he’s imitated his hero, naming himself Red Riot. Too bad this metamorphosis has led him to be the person he never wanted him to be.
Repeating Fourth Kind’s words in Fatgum’s office that boils down to his key personality trait. “Having a rambunctious guy in the office raises morale.” He never wanted to be that person, he wanted to be more than that guy cheering on the heroes from the sidelines encouraging them to save the day as they inspire others to join the amazing profession of herodom. He wanted to be someone like Crimson Riot, the man he looked, imitating his very nature hoping that he would become him or at least someone like him, as illustrated by Kirishima being the first to say they should go and rescue Bakugo he wants to prove himself as a real hero and see the perfect opportunity to do so. But his transformation with the outer change did not counteract with a inner change, as such with imitation when you look hard enough you can spot the faults and sure enough Mina spots it right off the bat when they re-meet. “How are you going to say sayonara when you’re still pulling that gloomy face. When you’ve actually overcome yourself deep down, come and tell me okay.” He is still the same person even with a new window dressing, which proves you cannot throw away a part of your self as a person is made up of so many different components and he must except all, the good and the bad.
With the soon coming foreclosure of the his emotional roller coaster in the Eri arc indicates he shall awaken to his lowest point, with his inability to protect Fatgum, a character such as Kirishma will take drastic measures to improve on himself and not in a positive way.
When is Hadou speaking to Mina about a student who dropped out of U.A, Kirishima is presented in a darkened manner with an oddly focused look on his face staring right at her. This could indicate that he knew the person who dropped out but as we have seen in his back story it is not credible instead it leads foreshadowing a possible destination where he drops out and peruses a sidekick position with Fatgum which is not the worst decision someone has ever made but this new environment will not help him, his issues are deeply ingrained inside of him so going in another direction will not help him they will just follow. What he needs now is someone who understands what he’s going through someone with a similar view on his position.
The person who may convince Kirishima to come back and help him with his inner hurdles would most likely be Asui. He was the first to comfort her when she admits her feelings of cowardice and regret for not going with them to rescue Bakugo. Kirishima opens up to people who admit there own weakness and shortcomings whether it be other hero’s or even villains. She may very well break this never ending cycle of inferiority he has stuck himself into as Asui is straight forward and won’t mince words getting to the heart of the problem.
The person he wants to be and person he is are too different creatures, once he comes to terms with his past self and stops trying to imitate Crimson Riot will he be able to transform into the person he so desires to be. Change cannot be forced with a bit of hair dye. I wish it was that simple.
Here’s a small segment I like to call. “Things that I couldn’t put in this post because they are not appropriate but at the same time appropriate for this situation.”
Kirishima’s friends used to call him Ei-chan which was adorable to me.
Kirishima’s natural hair colour is black.
The author describes him as “One of the social butterflies of class 1-A. The other is Kaminari.”
He came second in the entrance exam, right underneath Bakugo (Wiggles eyebrows suggestively).
After Word With Weird
The art you see at the top of the page was done by lowaharts, you can find him on tumblr. http://lowaharts.tumblr.com