On Bakugou’s Pride
I feel like
Bakugou is definitely one of the more complex characters in BnHA,
absolutely the one with the biggest personal arc, the typical
‘antagonist who is one of the good guys but also an asshole’.
It’s a trope, I’m sure.
My initial idea was to make a single profile for him, but something like that would quickly become a full length novel because there’s Way Too Much to unpack, so I'ma settle for a Whole Bunch of Smaller (but still Stupidly Long) meta’s.
Starting with: Bakugou’s Pride, and his self-image.
Also, since I’m far from the only person making BnHA analyses, shout-out to @saisai-chan who has posted just… so much Bakugou meta, and who has been very helpful in inspiring some of these ideas.
Bakugou’s Perfect Origin Story
Let’s start with
how stories work in the BnHA universe.
Horikoshi is writing a very self aware story. His universe is a modern one, in which marketing and imagery are important.
You can see it in All Might. This is a man that clearly gets his inspiration from American Silver Age comics. He’s flashy, just all-round GOOD and constantly spouting americanisms. And while he isn’t necessarily 'fake’ in the sense that Yagi’s personality definitely matches, it is also just that: a meticulously crafted image.
It even literally 'pops’ when he’s out of the limelight to reveal his true form.
In this world, heroes are celebrities, as such they project a certain image.
Even the kids know this. People like Kirishima are told that hero-ing is all about the ratings and the entertainment factor.
This is a world in which Stories matter.
I truly believe that Bakugou, being the smart sort of fanboy he is, is pretty damn genre-savvy. He’s well aware of the importance of images and stories.
You see, he had already decided upon his Perfect Origin Story, like, ages ago. From a very young age, he was destined for greatness.
Everyone kept telling him so, of course. He didn’t really have a reason to doubt this.
He’s shown as a kid sporting a bunch of yes-men and admirers. His teachers never seem inclined to curb that boastfulness. Before he arrives in UA, no one ever seems to try to take him down a peg. Like at all.
He can be blowing up Midoriya in a classroom with the teacher still present and no one even attempts to stop him.
This, incidentally, is a pretty
unhealthy way to grow up, and it did little to curb the crueler sides
of his personality.
But he still wants to be a hero. He wants the
money, the fame. He wants to WIN.
Please note that right now, he wants to be a hero for all the wrong reasons. Where Midoriya has this compulsion to help, where Kirishima is looking for courage and some sense of manhood, Bakugou just wants to be better than everyone else. Because, at this point in his development, he’s very much a selfish asshole.
And he’s determined to do be the best, by
also crafting the Best Origin Story.
He’s even made these rules for himself. 'I have to be the only one from this small local school to make it into UA’, 'I have to be always on top, never be helped’.
He’s completely fixated on 'the right back story’ because the fucker is a hero fanboy and he wants to Live the Life like the big heroes do it.
And Deku, bless him, is Constantly
Fucking up that Plan.
At least that’s what it must look like in Kacchan’s eyes.
But truth be told, Bakugou’s Perfect Hero Origin
Story has been falling apart since the very start of the series.
BnHA may be the story of Midoriya becoming the strongest hero, but it is also very much the story of 'how Bakugou’s self image got smashed into the ground over and over again’.
ready to enter UA, his Origin Story is already muddled.
Instead of the right debut under the right circumstances, he’s Sludge Kid.
Instead of never being helped, being the only on in his class to go to UA, being destined to greatness, he finds himself, literally, a side character, an antagonist even, in Deku’s story.
And I honestly believe that Bakugou, at some point, realizes this. Everyone likes a good underdog story. Part of the reason Bakugou is so angry with Midoriya when he finds out about his quirk, is because he feels Betrayed. Like Midoriya hid his quirk all these years just to have a proper 'rise to power’ story.
It’s a first crack in the perfect façade that Bakugou has created for himself.
Right now, he still believes in his ‘destiny’, but it won’t be for long.
(this is 3.4k words long. I’m sorry)