My Hero Academia's emotional Bakugo moment matters more than you think
My Hero Academia season 6 just set a new bar for the series as it paid off more than 100 episodes of storytelling in a little over 20 minutes.
Season 6 has been getting stronger and stronger each week thanks to the way it masterfully spun many, many plates in its first half – before switching to some big, dramatic storytelling in its adaptation of the manga's 'Black Hero' arc.
All of that came to a head in episode 23 when Deku was finally confronted by the entirety of UA High's Class 1A, who demanded that he a) put an end to his increasingly emo ways, and b) maybe took a shower.
My Hero Academia's main character had been dodging their calls for a few episodes now, after realising what every good superhero has to at some point; that his presence puts the people he cares for in immediate danger – especially now big bad All For One is out to get him.
My Hero Academia treated us to an extended trip down memory lane in the conflict that followed, as Deku's acquaintances shared memories of times his heroism helped them out. We revisited everything from grand gestures, like Izuku helping Iida defeat season two baddie Stain, to small interactions like assisting Kyoka make a schedule for the School Festival.
It was a genius stroke of storytelling that reminded Deku both how much his friends cared about him, and how much his situation had outgrown what they could handle (or so he thinks).
As viewers, it also reminded us just how much we love Class 1A. Seeing vignettes of the show's many, many arcs made the potential destruction of UA feel that bit more real – but also illustrated how well My Hero Academia has balanced its seriously big cast over the course of 136 episodes.
On top of all that, the episode also delivered a conversation that fans have been anticipating for nearly eight years; Bakugo telling Izuku how he really feels (unfortunately not like that, #BakuDeku fans).
The core of the conversation is Bakugo apologising to Deku for bullying him, explaining that he felt inferior even when he wasn't sure why, and finally calling him by his real name, Izuku. Whew. It's a lot of emotional unburdening for a My Hero Academia character famous for being "the shouty one".
Bakugo unpacks his emotions in a straightforward way, but his honesty is what makes his speech feel real. He says: "I looked down on you our whole lives because you were quirkless.
"You were obviously way behind me, but I felt like you were way ahead of me too. I didn't like it. I didn't want to see it. I didn't want to accept you."
The animation during this scene shows them both as children and adolescents – highlighting their shared history as it jumps between flashbacks and this dramatic confrontation in the rain.
And as we see Bakugo and Deku in different UA school uniforms it's hard not to feel sorry for the former as he says: "Every day I was made to feel how strong you were and how weak I was."
Unlike typical shōnen protagonist rivalries, Bakugo and Deku's relationship has never really been a major plot driver for My Hero Academia. Far more often than not, Deku responds to Bakugo's outbursts and bullying with affection – seemingly unperturbed by the latter's attitude.
In fact, their rivalry has primarily been a method of characterising Bakugo. His hot-headedness is contrasted with Todoroki's calm, his anger with Deku's optimism.
There are moments, like in season five when Bakugo learns the truth about One For All, that their shared history becomes the thing that motivates him and drives him forward.
But it's also clear from his speech that the anger and jealousy he feels towards Deku is what holds him back so often. Deku isn't bogged down in disliking Bakugo, which means he doesn't have any issue helping his friends, or asking for help himself.
Ultimately the way these two characters orbit each other and slot together means that now we have a resolution on Bakugo's side, the future is wide open for them.
At the end of his speech, Bakugo notes that "It's not something that'll work itself out just by saying it out loud, but it's how I really feel, Izuku. I'm sorry for everything", which is a surprisingly mature opinion.
In this episode My Hero Academia decided to pull the trigger on one of its longest-running relationship dynamics.
When you add that to the ongoing Todoroki family drama, it really feels like My Hero Academia season 6 has been about healing emotional issues as much as defeating the worst supervillains around.
And with only two episodes to go, we’re excited to see where it all ends up.
My Hero Academia season one to six are available on Crunchyroll, and season one is available on Netflix.
You Might Also Like