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.