I don’t actually really want to weigh in on whether I think Kaminari might be the traitor (as the popular theory on tumblr goes) but I’m at least going to point out that he’s probably not faking the drawback on his Quirk. For one thing, it would literally just mean he has a stronger ability than a god-tier like Todoroki, who has his own drawbacks only mitigated by the opposing fusion of his abilities. For another, I’m not sure how anyone thinks he fakes his “wheyyy” face unless he’s using control of his electric synapses to stimulate drooling and snot (though honestly I’d be kind of impressed if that was it). Mostly though, is a piece of evidence I’m guessing most people haven’t seen:
Everyone probably recognizes the last page… more or less, but it’s been altered to fit with the two pages before it, which are only in the tank/collected volume. Definitely a hilarious set-up, but most importantly, the last panel on the first page-
“She’s got such pretty, round, acorn eyes, but… her strength is no joke either. Must I really blast her with a full discharge? Someone so pretty? So cute? I know - I’ll just have to ask her out after this is all over!! Yes!!”
This is Kaminari’s internal monologue. This literally is something no one else can hear. So unless we assume Horikoshi is just going lie to us about what characters are thinking to themselves, we should assume this is what Kaminari actually thinks/believes. That is - he plans to go all out against her and he assumes he’ll win. This means that he doesn’t throw the match or play the idiot - he actually does panic and get his ass kicked and end up shorting out. Does this mean he’s not the traitor? Not necessarily, though drawing attention to himself by winning the tournament might not be the brightest idea if he is - more on that later. But it does pretty well point to the fact that the drawback on his Quirk is real - he intended to win, and instead he ended up a blithering idiot.
This brings me to another point - Kaminari’s personality. If he’s the traitor, he wouldn’t want to draw attention by winning, right? Well, Kaminari is… not the brightest lightbulb. Just like I think the drawback on his quirk is real, I think his personality is real too. Oh sure, if he’s the traitor, there’s probably a hidden side to him we don’t know yet, but I also think the fun-loving, try-hard idiot we know isn’t just some big facade and he’s secretly a stone-cold killer. People point out things like “he know Hemingway!” “his room’s like it’s just thrown together!” “he insulted bakugou with fancy language” as hints that he has a hidden, smarter personality, inconsistencies with him being an idiot, but I think it’s perfectly consistent - he’s a huge try hard that tries to look cool and smart. So he knows pretentious (and useless) stuff like Heminway, he gets fancy-pants with his insults and he buys random shit that he thinks will make himself look cool even if he doesn’t really like it so none of it ends up sticking to a single aesthetic.
Could Kaminari be the traitor? Sure, but I figure either it’s unwitting or he’s just kind of a dumbass asshat like we know he is with some other motive, but we’ve seen his real personality (and will likely involve appealing to that side to get him back). I don’t think he’s coerced, since I doubt he could keep that a secret, and as I really, really doubt he’s secretly a super-cool OP boss. And that’s all only if he’s the traitor.
Anyway, I hadn’t seen anyone discuss the above points, so I thought I’d post it in the tag to make it more available, since i haven’t seen these pages on most manga site scans, and it gives us one of the only times we hear his internal monologue that I can think of off the top of my head.
Happy 54th Birthday (February 13th) to Henry Lawrence Garfield a/k/a Henry Rollins!
“There are so many hammocks to catch you if you fall, so many laws to keep you from experience. All these cities I have been in the last few weeks make me fully understand the cozy, stifling state in which most people pass through life. I don’t want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride. All you do is get to breathe and copulate and finally die. I don’t want to go with the smooth skin and the calm brow. I hope I end up a blithering idiot cursing the sun—hallucinating, screaming, giving obscene and inane lectures on street corners and public parks. People will walk by and say, “Look at that drooling idiot. What a basket case.” I will turn and say to them “It is you who are the basket case. For every moment you hated your job, cursed your wife and sold yourself to a dream that you didn’t even conceive. For the times your soul screamed yes and you said no. For all of that. For your self-torture, I see the glowing eyes of the sun! The air talks to me! I am at all times!” And maybe, the passers by will drop a coin into my cup.” — Henry Rollins