Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Katsuki Bakugo is a character that I had the most trouble seeing, the most trouble grasping, the most trouble understanding. I was for a long time blinded by my hate for Bakugo but now I have purged myself of that feeling and I can see whom this character is, making his actions, his words, his violent behavior, coherent to me. The construction of this character is rather simple in his makeup but the way the environment, the people around him and a ever present child hood friend who see’s so much yet so little, made him who is, making him one of the most fascinating characters in the show. So without further ado let me explain who Katsuki Bakugo is and maybe by the end you will cleanse your hate of him too or just make you hate him more but then again your hate is not without merit because at the start of everything we were never meant to like him.
As the audience we are not meant to route for Bakugo, everything is set up by the author so that we absolutely detest this person and emphasize with Izuku. When we meet him for the first time he’s just been called out for beating up a small child in a 3 against one match, while Izuku is standing in front of the fallen boy trying defend him. Izuku is then promptly pummeled and this sets the scene for the relationship between these two, antagonist and protagonist. Flash forward ten years and Bakugo has gotten meaner and cruller with the escalation of blowing up Izuku’s property and saying that Izuku should jump off the roof, insinuating that he should commit suicide. At this moment there are no redeeming qualities in his person and the audience despises him allowing Izuku’s tale to be told unimpeded by Bakugo. It is only once they have reached U.A does the author allow us to see him in a different light and how he was shaped into the person that we see before ourselves.
When Bakugo manifested a quirk his personality began to shape around it. With everyone around him praising for winning the genetic lottery saying such things as, “An amazing quirk for an amazing hero.” This lead Bakugo to the conclusion that he was simply marvelous as his quirk made him better than everyone else. Constant praise can have negative effects on a person, for Bakugo this lead him to hold standards of what was and wasn’t permit able. A person with a quirk is normal, a person with strong quirk on the other hand is an exceptional person and without a quirk you could describe them as worthless. Keep in mind that Bakugo is making these conclusion at age 4, most 4 year olds have a very narrow view of the world or even understand it for that matter and since Bakugo grew up in relative peace his world view is incredibly small, what makes a person worthless or amazing cannot be put down in such simple terms.
With the pampering to his ego which was prevalent all through Pre-School through to Middle School came from the praise that he could be an exceptional hero with his quirk not his grades or lack of sock wear. Bakugo’s entire sense of worth, his entire ego is based around the idea of being the hero. With that praise it’s plain to see why Bakugo would see having a quirk is good combined with being strong and why this abusive behavior with Izuku began at all. The catalyst for this shift in personality towards Izuku was him falling into the river and Izuku trying to help him out. Because of this combined with the praise he got for his quirk, his world view became that he was the best and Izuku is the worst. This is why when Izuku tries to help him; it makes him feel like Izuku is looking down on him because he can’t understand why else “the worst” would think “the best” would need his help. Izuku was the failure, he couldn’t skip stones, he didn’t have a quirk, he was always messing up simple things and no one in his life corrected Bakugo on this, as time went on it was reinforced, Bakugo’s class mates admired him and always told him how awesome he was, and constantly mocked Izuku for being a failure, even with the teacher in the room, the entire class mocked and bullied Izuku and no one did anything to stop it. To Bakugo he couldn’t do anything and this answers why he was so enraged about Izuku trying to save him from the sludge villain. After he was rescued he’s feeling quiet low but when the hero’s gather around him complimenting his quirk even though with him firing it off when he was being held hostage made it impossible for the hero’s to get through and he would have most certainly died if not for Izuku’s interference but with the accolades of the Hero’s around him his superiority is once again reaffirmed and believes he could have gotten out of it on his own and see’s Izuku’ attempt at a rescue as him once again looking down on him. The more Izuku tries to help him or the higher he tries to climb Bakugo is always trying to push him down because the more inferior Izuku is made out to be, Bakugo feels all the more superior and with Izuku going to U.A Bakugo see’s this as an insult to himself as Izuku is at the bottom of society the inferior of the inferior and with Bakugo who has been told as a small child the he’s destined to be a great hero it’s a blow to his ego, after all Izuku was never meant to be more than a pebble in his path and yet they are headed down the same way.
Now he’s in U.A, in the same class with Izuku who should have never been able to get in but he remains unperturbed at least until the end of there first test where he see’s Izuku’s quirk in action and is visibly shocked then enraged at the very notion that Izuku even had a quirk because everyone knows quirks don’t emerge after the age of 4. Bakugo thought he had been lied for 10 long years, which poked into his feeling of inferiority as he thought Izuku was looking down on him yet again as he never once used his quirk or told him about it. Though we know as the audience that this quirk was only recent but to Bakugo it was basically Izuku saying he was unworthy to use his quirk on him. This leads to Bakugo violently confronting him during the hero’ vs. villains test when they are pitied against each other where Izuku stands up to Bakugo and owning the terrible nickname Bakugo gifted him when they were children making it his, which is similar to a punch in the way it is delivered as Izuku is making an escape from underneath Bakugo, the second go at breaking the measuring stick that Bakugo has created between the two of them, the first was in middle school after Izuku got into U.A and Bakugo was telling him he should have gone somewhere else but Izuku held firm in his resolve just as he’s doing now. After a brief cat and mouse chase, what follows is a brilliant fight between them with Bakugo clambering back for superiority and Izuku refusing to back down but it all ends rather quickly due to poor planning and execution on Bakugo’s part and brilliant planning on Izuku’s, with this encounter ends in tragedy for Bakugo as for the first time Izuku wins against him which has an enormous impact on Bakugo. He spent his life up until that point using himself and Izuku as opposite ends of a measuring stick and now he can no longer rely on that as that stick has been smashed to pieces. He’s on the verge of a panic attack, everything he has know everything that he has been taught to believe, that he is the best, that Izuku is the worst, that no one can beat him or even measure up to him. His reality is crashing down around him; it’s only when All Might gently brings him into reality that he stops panicking at least externally.
For the rest of the exercise he dwells on what happened but pays attention to his classmates as they take on there roles of hero and villain with gusto and pays attention despite his inner turmoil that is raging inside him. And is promptly shocked as Shouto completely immobilise his enemy’s with only one attack and unable to pay attention to the rest of the fights that precede this one. Pre-School through to Middle School he was the king, he was the best no one held a match to him in either grades or quirk and he thought the same would apply once he entered into U.A but that was merely an illusion and it’s a rude awakening for him to find that he just went to a shitty school where they had less and he was just the best there (his words not mine). When the day is over Izuku finds Bakugo and spills his guts about how he got his quirk but Bakugo doesn’t believe him thinking that he’s lying and trying to make him look like a fool all over again, so he refuses to believe a word about Izuku’s quirk although with the day’s events he’s not really receptacle to knew knowledge as a meteor has fallen on him. After his lose to Izuku he feels ashamed and angry for not being able to live up to his own expectations, what Momo said about him being motivated a grudge which held him back from coming out on top and finding out that he doesn’t have the best quirk around with Shouto’s quirk daunting him and out doing him even, going so far as to actually acknowledge that Shouto could definitely beat him if they ever fought, after his lose he vows to Izuku to work harder to reclaim the kings crown and those extras will see him as the strongest for that’s what he is, he may have lost in all the test U.A has given him but it will be the last of his loses, with that he stick’s back together his damaged measuring stick. You may think the villains that appeared at the USJ would have been a good way to show he is strong, but as they are villains they are beneath him. It isn’t until the school sports festival he is able to truly show his strength to those extras.
As you can properly tell by now Bakugo has a superiority complex and the sports festival showcases not one of the worst examples of his complex (that’s the mid year exam arc) but rather what will he do to himself and others to remain superior. For those who don’t know what a superiority complex is, it is a, “ psychological defence mechanism in which feelings of superiority counter or conceal feelings of inferiority.” “People with the complex have a need to be seen the same way as they perceive themselves, and this is often done in an aggressive manner, which sometimes verges on rude, to hurtful, and finally violent.” With his lose to Izuku, which resulted in him being seen as weak by others and what happened in the break room where Shouto told Izuku he was going to beat him. As it has been pounded into our heads by Kaminari and casual observation Shouto is the strongest in class, so for him to go out of his way and say I will beat you it can be translated to the viewer as “I know I can beat you but I acknowledge that you have someone watching you that is above my father and so there may be a strength that I cannot see but I will end up beating you,” but to Bakugo this translates to, “I see you as my rival,” which made Bakugo extremely volatile as this put Izuku on the same level as him, which for his own ego he can’t allow. So when he is brought up to the microphone he makes his declaration to take first place, enraging the other classes around him and his own class, as his actions have put a mark on them as well but he doesn’t give a shit. He simply see’s this as herding out the weak from the strong, he will leave no doubt in the minds of others and himself that he’s the best for with everyone coming at him and giving there all he can be assured of his place as the best, so what if his classmates get left behind, only if you they are strong will they survive, if not then they can just die. The first round of the sports festival begins with an obstacle course race shouto’s in the lead for the majority of this but as the ends draws closer Bakugo surpasses with Shouto heading towards the finishing line with Bakugo shouting out to him. “You. Your declaration of war was to the wrong person.” Seeing the end in sight and assured of his first place status despite still grappling with Shouto but due to the ingenuity of Izuku and the quickness of Shouto he is beaten once again by Izuku for first place and shouto for second place, he is rightly angry as his cockiness has caused him to lose out to his most hated person and to Shouto but he swallows down his lose because the fights not over yet and getting mad here will do no good for him. The second round of the sports festival everyone is crowding around Bakugo asking to be on his team but he can neither remember their names or their quirks, even Kirishima which was the person he worked with in the USJ fighting villains together. With the start of the second round Bakugo is all gun hoe about taking Izuku’s headband but when his get’s stolen he’s ready to blow someone up, it is only with Kirishima, calming him down does he evaluate the situation properly and takes action accordingly, getting his head band back and ready to take on Izuku but before he can the timer runs out and he’s left to stew as he has once again been beaten by Shouto. The third round of the sports festival Bakugo is paired up to fight Ochaco in his first fight of the round and he’s being cautious during their battle, he’s not taking any chances with her, she’d faced the same adversity’s that he has faced into the USJ and she came out without any injuries to her person. She went through each round of sports festival and came out the other side making it all the way here to face him, to him she’s no dainty girl she is a dragon. He does not know her full strength and is being cautious he’s done underestimating his opponents and overestimating his skills but others see his tactics as him playing with her, but as the audience we know he is being respectful for in this is square they are equals resulting in a intense match that pushes Bakugo to his limits and with her which penultimate attack she devised he uses her name in the middle of the battle, so far he’s only done that once and he was on the same side with Kirishima. He’s ready to go again but before he can even spark an explosion she goes down like a sack of potatoes and he’s left bitterly disappointed as she was truly a worthy opponent, afterwards he’s walking up the stairs thinking about their fight when he see’s Izuku walking by he then confronts him about the strategy she was using as it was clearly one of his harebrained schemes as he thinks Izuku was using Ochaco to mess with him. This makes him worried for Ochaco as she is such a strong bright star and he would hate for her to be taken into Izuku’s orbit of reckless abandon. But no he finds out from the horses own mouth that that strategy was her’s alone, she now has solely his respect and when Kaminari put’s her in a box as a dainty girl Bakugo refutes this with no yelling, no screaming, just words in her defence as he see’s in her a worthy opponent as she deserves that equality from all and after their match you can see him looking over her worried about her state of being. As the days events progress he beats his opponents into the ground each giving there all and for vice versa. It is only during his match with Shouto does he feel backhanded by him as he used both sides of his quirk against Izuku but not him, there’s is one thing that Bakugo despise more than anything than people looking down on him. It’s when those around him treat as if he’s unworthy, unimportant or weak, this is why he explodes at Shouto as he feels cheated by him as he believes Shouto was half assing their match. He was listening to the conversation between Izuku and Shouto, he knows about Shouto’s hatred towards his father and he knows that Shouto vowed never to use his left side but he did against Izuku, spitting out at Shouto, “If I can’t go above Deku, it doesn’t mean a god damn thing.” The match between them was unfulfilling from commencement to closing. For him he was fighting an opponent who refused to fight seriously but fought seriously against Izuku. To Bakugo, he was battling someone who had his nose up at him the entire time, mocking his attacks and just making a plain ass out of him. What even is the point about fighting some like that. Thus the victory against Shouto was empty and hollow, he eventually has to be restrained as he wants a rematch against Shouto for his piss poor performance and rejects the meddle presented to him growling out, “All Might this win…doesn’t mean squat. Doesn’t matter what anyone says. If I don’t recognize it, then that medal’s just garbage.” He forgot one very important rule in life as he turned the rest of the classes against class 1A and class 1A against himself, you can motivate someone, push them to the limit, get them to go where you need to go but a persons demons, will cause a major setback and thusly he is left unsatisfied with a burning desire to regain his once overall superiority that he was once so sure of at the start of the series as he is losing his grip on what he knows especially Izuku.
When the class is tasked with choosing their hero names as expected Bakugo gets his name rejected for being rather crude, violent and just plain unacceptable, as he decides on a appropriate hero name Izuku chooses his, Deku. That nickname has a lot of meaning to both Izuku and Bakugo, this nickname was created before their quirks came in so it reinforced the part that Izuku’s dream will remain that and as time on when Bakugo used this name to make him feel inferior to him but with Izuku’s declaration, “I always hated it. But then someone helped me see it in a new light. It took me by surprise but it made me happy. This will be my new hero name.” Before during the hero’s vs. villains test he stood up for himself using that name trying to make it his own and giving it a new meaning Bakugo just shrugged this off and continued on to do what he was doing but now it’s official. Izuku’s hero name is a permanent reminder that Izuku is trying get on the same level as him and he can’t allow that, so he tries to widen the chasm between them by bolstering himself to retain his best status. So he chooses Best Jeanist the number 4 hero as he will be able to give him the training he desires to achieve his goal, but the lessons are not what he is expecting as they are circled around appearance and public safety which are topics that he’s not particularly attuned to. As we know popularity plays a role in hero rankings and while saving people and assisting the police are important if you don’t have popularity you will never breach the top 10 list, by Best Jeanist grooming him he is trying to impart this lesson but Bakugo doesn’t care for the pointless show man ship as he the way he see’s it is that when a person is strong they are popular so there’s no need to pander to the people but as I know this isn’t true otherwise people wouldn’t have a problem with Endeavor. So what he’s taught cannot sink into his thick and instead bounces off of it and respectively learns nothing from his experience. When he returns to school and see’s Izuku with control of his quirk, he’s more than a little mad, his internship was basically learning how to look good while on the other hand Izuku learned how to use his quirk without destroying his bones, Izuku grew and evolved while he stayed the same. With the chasm closing more and more between them, he feels the sense of inferiority creeping over him which in turn makes it hard for them to make a compatible unit when they work together.
Bakugo’s sense of superiority comes from the praise he has received early in life and when he see’s he’s being looked down up he fights viciously against the object that offends him so. In the mid year exam arc he refuses to work with Izuku even if it meant winning, working with him bruises his ego far more than losing. By going off on his own makes him feel stronger thinking Izuku does not have the airs to even work with him and even while working with him Bakugo constantly has to remind himself that Izuku is a pile of shit because Bakugo has gotten into the mindset where he has to prove he’s better than Izuku to be superior. Izuku makes him feel worthless and so to bury those feelings he is constantly putting him down he even goes as far as physically assaulting in there match against All Might when Izuku mentions that he can’t possibly beat him even with the given handicaps but all Bakugo hears is how weak he is. To him it doesn’t matter that he’s fighting the number one hero, no matter how rational Izuku is being about his plans about the best way to get around All Might, all he can hear is Izuku saying to him is that he’s to weak to win a fight. Bakugo needs validation that he is the best, he hates feeling weak and Izuku has a tendency to do that as he see’s him with his nose looking down on him. So he convinces himself that Izuku is weak over and over and over again as the weaker Izuku is the stronger he feels, so he goes into fight alone, he doesn’t care that this fight will tear to pieces all he cares about is winning and he will go to whatever lengths to achieve it, that’s how much validation means to him. However the moment where it becomes apparent that he needs Izuku’s help to beat All Might he says he’d rather loose, this guy who has been bragging and boasting how he’s gonna take number one, this kid who would break his body to win, he would rather loose. Much like All Might is Izuku’s hero so to is he Bakugo’s, although they both see different sides of him and emulate accordingly, for Izuku the true purpose of a hero is saving people and for Bakugo the essence of being a hero is never loosing a fight. His entire’s lives motivation right there and he’s wiling to throw it away if he needs Izuku’s help, this upsets him to a degree that he cry’s mid battle but then he’s kicked in the face by Izuku and well he fights with him despite his own inner turmoil. Still after all is said and done Bakugo still doesn’t see him as a equal or a rival, which leads to many asking why does he allow Izuku call him Kaachan if he detests Izuku or anyone calling him a derogatory name.
You may notice how Bakugo doesn’t mind nicknames but he does care about derogatory comments made his way if it’s about him being a terrible hero or that he’s weak, I have found that the only reason these comments get to him is if he’s been brought to a partially low point in the story otherwise negative comments don’t bug him as much, after all once you reach the top you have already proved them wrong so there words lack any sort or truth or substance, the proof is in the pudding after all.
He only seems bothered during the Training Camp Arc when his nickname Kaachan is being spread across the forest this is from believing Izuku is once again trying to save him and as he has been a similar situation with the villains up in the USJ which combined with the Kaachan alarm brings up the irrationality that always pops up when Izuku is involved and heads straight into a dangerous situation. Luckily he is saved and that shocks him out his rage and he is able to process the situation rationally. If Izuku nicknamed him something punny about him going to turn out as a bad hero he would be enraged but it’s just a nickname that Izuku came up with when they were kids and if there is a deeper meaning to it Bakugo doesn’t notice, it to him it’s just a shortening of his name and it’s not the worst nickname ever made and he should know.
It has been noted many times that Bakugo doesn’t call people by there names he calls them extras or if he’s around them a lot he gives them a nickname typically coming from facial features. When he does call someone by there name it is a term of respect he has for a individual either as a friend, someone he looks up to or someone who has impressed him. The only case when he doesn’t use a nickname that describes facical features is Izuku for as children he got the name from the way the kanji was spelled which could be read as Deku and then he used it as a way to remind himself that Izuku is beneath him, after the school sports festival arc he does the same with Shouto’s nickname going from half and half to Mr. I threw the sports festival. To the people who have slighted him in some way or people he can’t understand he gives them nicknames describing who they are to him and the perceived crimes they have committed against him, Shouto and his perceived lack of respect Izuku and his inability to do anything right. It may sound strange that Bakugo believes Izuku’s terribleness at everything was a concept he could not grasp because he just couldn’t understand why Izuku was so terrible yet he was so awesome at everything, but now with everything that has happened the tables have been turned on him, as Izuku grows in leaps and bounds while he’s going at a snails pace.
When retaking the ball test a couple months later at the training camp Bakugo only throws the ball 709.6 meters form his original being 705.2 meters a growth of 4.47 and you can clearly see he surprised by this, it’s little growth not a huge big leap like Izuku has done and what a leap it is, he one the Hero’s vs. Villains test, he’s learned to control his quirk during his work experience while he basically did nothing while being under a prime hero, he’s angry at himself and his lack of development, here he began with all this potential at the start then he came to U.A. Every turn he has made seems to be in the wrong direction and when he feels like he’s moving he just standing still and the landscape rolls by. It doesn’t help that the chasm between Izuku and him is slowly closing up, adding in another chink in reality is created for himself resulting in him pushing himself to the limit training exceptionally hard trying to widen the gap once again but this proves to be in vain as the villains attack and he is inevitably captured and he takes to being captured to a live fish on a fire pit, there’s a lot of flailing but nothing can be done to save him.
When the villain alliance offers a position to him among there ranks he nearly blows up Tomura as a pointent rejection. Even though he is betting with his very life in this situation he tells the truth, which is actually quite admirable, as he has never lied, he may not be able to admit certain truths to himself but every word that comes out of his mouth is complete honesty. Whether that’s how he views hero’s or how he should be as a hero even following the rules to a completer tee, even in a life threatening situation and doesn’t engage the villains when Aizawa resends the order of permission to battle, trying his best to become an upstanding hero because as much we are meant to think of Bakugo as a villain he won’t ever become one. Bakugo is basically the antithesis of that old saying “you either die as a hero, or live long enough to become a villain.” The narrative pushes the fact that yes Bakugo does act rather villainous at times but it also continually slaps us in the face with how dedicated Bakugo is to becoming a hero like All Might, this his life’s goal his one and true motivation and it all comes together so perfectly in this scene. He values the path of a hero not for others but for himself, despite how twisted that view is on what a hero does we are assured that he would never walk the path of a villain.
Bakugo’s views on what makes a great hero is as follows.
- Never loses a fight.
- Beats the enemy to a pulp.
- Do not except help.
Emulating All Might in all aspects or at least what he see’s from him the one part which is that hero’s never loose a fight rather than saving people. When we see a person that we look up to people have a tendency to only focus on small parts that they have shown and what makes them cool to us and ignore everything else about them because of how miniscule they appear to the beholder registering as unimportant.
This gives us a clear view on how Bakugo views hero’s and it is quite squwered although not the worst reason to become a hero (Looking at you Mineta). The reason that Bakugo wants to become the number one hero is because he wants mainly to reaffirm that he is the best because despite the over flowing confidence he has this little nagging voice in is head that he’s not the best and it sounds a lot like Izuku. When it comes to Izuku all logic and reason tend to fly out of Bakugo’s head. In the villain’s vs. hero’s test instead of forming a strategy with his teammate he abandons him and goes to confront Izuku about hiding his quirk, the same thing happens in the cavalry battle when Izuku beat him out for the 1 million points and the only reason he doesn’t go after him is because someone who shall remain nameless stole his headband and instead made him his target, then we have the mid year exam where Bakugo refuses to fight with him and so on, it’s because of one reason why this happens and that’s because of what is to him, his foil and a lot of the time often by accident Izuku makes him feel inferior and so he hurts him repeatedly because of this but lately those feelings of inferiority are more enhanced. In a weird combination of Izuku making him feel inferior and arriving at being at the best High School in the country for the majority of his life he was the best and that was constantly being reaffirmed by teachers, students and a healthy dose of self confidence. But through a series of misadventures and failures he is beginning to feel inferior and when a person with a superiority complex feels inferior they will do anything in there power to feel superior once more and we see Bakugo putting himself in situations where he can prove that he is still the strongest still the best and with the escalating evidence of him feeling he is inferior this leads to him getting into situations that are counter productive to him actually becoming a hero such as not working with others unless absolutely necessary, not willing to be protected until he’s almost killed by a villain, then he allows himself to be protected because these villains aren’t on the same level that he fought at the USJ these guys might actually kill him so he sticks with the group to avoid death and then quiet unexpectedly he’s captured and in his last few minutes he tells Izuku to stay and not to save him, not because he can’t take being saved by Izuku but because he is afraid for him and scarred what the villain’s will do if they get his hands on him, the villains wanted him and only him brought back, who knows what they would do to a person if they weren’t the target.
With Bakugo captured by the league of villains Kirishima makes a plea to rescue him with the only people willing come are Izuku, Momo, Shouto and Iida but the rest refuse not wanting to get involved as the pro’s are on the case but Ochaco’s argument is the most compelling saying there rescue squad will be in vain because, “I’m pretty sure Bakugo will feel disgraced to be rescued by everyone.” She makes a rather solid point and ever since her fight she has gotten a new understanding of his character. With his attitude to others believing they are beneath him which makes it difficult for others to reach him, as his ego would be to badly wounded and cause him to push back rather violently against the hand that was trying to save him, so there are very few who can get to him and actually help in a time of crisis especially if Izuku was there for him he we would need to trust and respect this person and not make him feel inferior while at the same time has been able to be truthful to him, someone he respects. What we have now is a very short list with only 3 names and the one name at the top is Kirishima.
With the battle between All For One and All Might raging around Bakugo with him wedged in the middle fighting against the villains to try and get out of the position that he’s in unable to escape, then dashing out of the ruble comes Izuku carrying Kirishima with his hand outstretched beckoning Bakugo to take it and escape this mess and with no hesitation he takes it. If anyone else would have done that Bakugo may not have taken the opportunity to escape and instead relied on himself to get out on his own. I know Bakugo realizes the position that he’s in but when it comes to Izuku his mind becomes irrational he would only see Izuku and no one else, if we look back at the scene all Bakugo can see is Kirishima and Izuku cannot be seen at all it’s like he has been blended into the background, when Bakugo looks at Kirishima at that moment all he can see is Kirishima asking him follow him on the way out. So to get anywhere with him you would need Kirishima he makes the irrational part of Bakugo’s brain become rational. Whenever they are together Bakugo doesn’t blow up as much or makes stupid tactical decisions when they are put in the same situation with each other. This happens due to how Kirishima and Bakugo 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 and ends up outraged when someone has a similar quirk which led to a brief rivalry with Tetsutesu from class 1B that didn’t end until Kirishima beat him in a arm wrestling match, while on the other hand Bakugo loved his as it was powerful and unique to the point that during the time before he entered high school his classmates worshiped the very ground he walked upon. They are what each other lacks or what have too much of, Kirishima with his inferiority complex and Bakugo with his superiority complex and with such a complex a person has trouble conveying feelings of gratitude as when Bakugo say’s he took Kirishima’s hand to get out of All Might’s way, that he just grabbed his hand out of convince denying there friendship verbally but not internally. Bakugo at this point in the series let’s his actions speak rather than his words. The earliest example is after the sludge villain attack he respectively didn’t abuse Izuku for 10 months, a silent thank you if there ever was one. In this situation he’s acknowledging the friendship with the repayment of cash, beating up Kaminari to get a chuckle out of his classmates, not using explosions in the provisional license exam when he was around Kirishima and Kaminari and verbally uplifting Kirishima when he is down, all are done after the rescue arc. With Bakugo rescued there is a look of trepidation on his face, unlike last time with the sludge villain incident the hero aren’t telling him he is an awesome hero, this time they are asking if he’s okay. He doesn’t say anything instead just having this heavy cloud of shame over his head at being captured and what that has lead to. He then retreats home where we get a glimpse into his home life and see how he’s treated by those closet to him and it paints a questioning atmosphere leading to us asking was Bakugo abused.
Though his mother has been seen to slap him and ignore him on occasion she is not abusive from all things considered, she does care for him as when she interacts with Aizawa remaking, “I supposed that’s why your words at the interview made me so happy, Mr. Aizawa. Ah…this school sees Katsuki for who he really is. That’s what I thought.” When speaking about his well being she says, “ For a while there, I’ll admit I was worried. I wondered what would become of my little boy. Lo and behold, he came back home without even a scratch.” To allege that Mitsuki holds no maternal concern for Bakugo is simply not true. She knows of his potential but also knows about outer shell of superiority and arrogance makes him a difficult person to deal with. She knows, she and her husbands actions have had a hand in spoiling him and also similar to his teachers and classmates she does not care for his attitude the way she has come to deal with him is to give his personality right back to him which does not seem to be the right way to take it but in accounting for Bakugo’s behavior it seems to be the right course of action as the only way Izuku was able to get Bakugo to listen was to yell right back at him. If Horikoski wanted he could have explored an abusive past with Bakugo but he didn’t, the author doesn’t beat around the bush and explores topics like this with Shouto. For the violence comment, that doesn’t confirm any sort of abuse, especially not on the level of what Todoroki endured. From what I can tell it was possibly an attempt at ironic humor, that just seems to fail. Others want Bakugo to be abused because it would be easier to explain his behavior than massive ego fluffing but the fact remains that the cycle of abuse does not refer to trans-generational abuse. Much in the same vein as “queer coding,” “cycle of abuse” is being used erroneously. The term comes from a social cycle theory developed in 1979 by Lenore E. Walker that specifically examines the pattern of behavior in an abusive intimate partner relationship, not a parent-child relationship. The only scenario in which this phrase would be applicable is if the topic were about Endeavor and his wife’s relationship but it’s not. With the constant incorrect use of the phrase, the idea that it was imminent that Bakugo would become a bully is also a common misconception. With it’s reparation in media, it’s not unbelievable that people would come to the collusion about this, but the study’s show that it’s rare that children who were abused become abusers later in life. In addition to that, Katsuki doesn’t really react to his mother the way the average abused child does to an abusive parental figure. He doesn’t appear afraid in her presence, he openly challenges her, calls her names and argues with her. This isn’t to say this is present in all abused children, but the way Bakugo acts does not lead to the conclusion he was an abused child, just a rather prideful child who has a tendency to blow up a lot. Especially when he doesn’t get what he wants.
When the provisional license exam arc ends with him not receiving his license, mainly on how he treated the civilians during the rescue portion of the exam, he is devastated and I’m celebrating because finally this bastard is being punished for his shitty behavior. Aizawa has punished him in past by stepping in and saving Izuku from Bakugo and trust me the narrative has punished him plenty being saved by Izuku from the Sludge villain, winning the sports festival, being placed with the number 4 hero and not learning a thing, being saved once again after he was kidnapped, then being kidnapped again. But never has been punished for the way he acts by authority that is the hero association. All his life he has gotten away with being a total abusive asshole and now he has to pay up. He feels so weak now and the cause for this feeling is with Izuku, for him everything leads back to Izuku.
After All Might talks with his parents Bakugo goes to have a chat with All Might about Izuku asking what he meant to him. He’s oddly subdued in this scene I have very rarely seen him like this the closet scene to this was after the sludge villain except he’s not as angry and just subdued here. Bakugo has a swirling ball guilt inside of him as a series of events that has occurred surrounding him has caused All Might to retire. He was watching Izuku who was looking up at All Might on the screen when he said “Your Next.” Izuku started crying, when Izuku is under emense emotional strain does he cry but it’s usually loud and disruptive to the point people get doused in his tears, but these tears that he’s shedding are quiet tears and when he sheds those it’s usually for heart break or worry, a friend turning on him or trying to save a an old pal who is in trouble. While All Might is someone he look’s up to he should be blubbering like a baby so for him to being crying in such a way tells Bakugo knows that there relationship is much more deeper than what is shown on the surface. He knows the answer to the question but he ask anyway he wants conformation and then he asks about what Izuku means to him as he can tell that they are close. Bakugo doesn’t appear jealous just disappointed maybe there was something more to Izuku if All Might found something worthy inside of himself and take him under his wing. The man who he has looked up to his entire life, the person he wants to become and yet even though All Might has been teaching him for about 6 months they are no more closer then they were at the beginning of the school year, yet Izuku has gotten close to him, a person he thought would amount to nothing. He feels regret here as he’s missed out on something that he couldn’t see a quality that he skipped over on and was not able to comprehend and for a while he doesn’t think about him but after the mess with the provisional license exam he begins to think of everything that’s happened so far and does the only thing he can understand what All Might saw in him, by beating him up.
With all of his frustration finally built he takes on Deku to what’s so great in him that All Might took him under his wing and to see if this entire time was he wrong about his aspirations. In this fight everything comes out much how you pierce a simple and squeeze with the puss falling out like the emotions they share between each other, with Izuku promising not to become Bakugo’s punching bag anymore and Bakugo finally lets out how this whole time he thought Izuku was looking down on him and that’s why he hurt him so viciously. After all of Izuku’s analysis he finally understands Bakugo and feels he can beat him but instead he loses and Bakugo wins but surprisingly he finds no victory in it, because he can’t understood why he won, he had All Might training him keeping him up. All Might chose Izuku and yet he has proven he is better than Izuku so how could he win against him. After so much repetitive hitting to his now fragile world view finally shatters, up is down, down is up, to be smart is to be ignorant and ignorant is to be smart and all of his actions, the way he is has lead to All Might’s end and is racked with guilt and when Bakugo see’s him again after his fight with Izuku, he asks why All Might picked Izuku and not him to receive his quirk, All Might goes on to say, “Despite being powerless, he was more of a hero than anybody else. I judged it was my responsibility to help him stand in the arena, and not you who had long standing in it.” Izuku was weak but he had a heroic sprit and Bakugo doesn’t understand as he has the same possibly more of a heroic sprit than Izuku and is even weaker sputtering out, “but I’m weak even though all I wanted to do was become strong like you. But cuz I’m weak now you’re like this.” All Might carefully explains that it was always going to end up this way no matter what he did it was always going to end up this way. Seeing Bakugo’s distress he imparts his wisdom onto him about how to go about being a better hero. “To obsess over victory the way you do, young Bakugo and to want to rescue who is in trouble, the way you do young Midoriya. If you’re lacking in one or the other, you won’t be able to maintain your own sense of justice as a hero.” And Bakugo begins to realize he needs to change and although very slowly we see it happen, offering advice to Izuku and being less of a rage monster to those around him but nothing concrete nothing to solidify this is a permanent change, from experience I know people can backslide from how they use to be to how they are now but this is a permanent and lasting change.
During his provisional licensing make up classes he finally acknowledges his faults when he see’s himself in the young children and changing there views and utters the words I would never thought would caress his lips at the beginning of the series to a young boy who is so much like him self, “if all you ever do is look down on people you won’t be able to recognize your own weakness.” Criticizing his past actions a acknowledging they were wrong for someone like Bakugo that is a huge devolvement. From the start of the series we have a boy filled with rage intoxicated on his own power and slowly as everything progressed illusion after illusion shattering in his face as he realized to continue onwards he couldn’t continue as he was, he needed to change to become the hero he wanted to be because that is his life’s goal he just needed a little perspective on the matter and a little therapy can go a long way.
Now we haven’t been shown that Bakugo has gone to therapy but when class 1-A decides to put on a dance for the rest of the classes during the school cultural festival he’s shown to be quiet adept with the drums. I seriously doubt Bakugo would sit down with a therapist and talk about his woes but after being held hostage by the villains I am hesitant to believe that U.A would leave him by checked over by a professional to see if he was brainwashed, music therapy would allow him get his rage out in a healthy way while being able to sit down and talk with a trained professional and which leads to his all around improved attitude as self improvement cannot always be done alone.
Bakugo is one of the most human characters I’ve come across, his flaws, his view of the world, his pain and self doubt are all things we can identify with as for his story were seeing a young boy growing up from a boy who said he didn’t need All Might to save him to a young man who thanked him for his help. Normally I would say he would backslide into his past self but going backwards isn’t what he does, he sticks to the path he has chosen and if he’s going to divert he needs a really big push to de-rail his path like a meteor or a freight train. But I’m happy he’s going down the right path now as I can feel a large weight has been lifted off of him and because of this I know one day I know he will be able to walk with Izuku, side by side and everyday that gap closes just a little amount . What was once protagonist and antagonist has now become a beautiful rivalry the likes of which I have never seen before.