Anime Brew: Examining the ship between Midoriya and Bakugo
Disclaimer: There will be some spoilers in the later half of this. If you’re not all caught up, you have been warned!
My Hero Academia (MHA) has an interesting take on the hero’s journey. It’s still nothing that we haven’t seen before, but watching the hero Izuku Midoriya doing his damnedest in staying true to himself without falling to Katsuki Bakugo’s bullying is amazing.
Their relationship is notable in that Bakugo has always made it a point to bully Midoriya since they were children. It intensified once Bakugo got his quirk and Midorya found out he would be quirkless. If you have been watching you already know what happens so I won’t waste your time summarizing what happens.
If you aren’t caught up with season three however, I caution you to stop reading here as I will spoil the heck out of it.
Season three of MHA to me highlights what kind of patience Midoriya has in this one sided friendship with Bakugo and he owes him nothing. A few episodes ago, the League of Villains kidnapped Bakugo and Midoriya enlisted a few of his classmates, after being severely battered by the villains to go rescue him. Say what you want, but I wasn’t exactly pleased with this decision. However, it highlights what’s so terribly unequal about this so called friendship.
Just imagine being in this situation, and some of us have, there is someone out there so cool that you admire and want to be like, but they treat you like crap. They go out of their way to treat you like crap and they want you to know that you are crap. Rather than taking the hint and moving on, you stick around pushing yourself harder and harder to become cool so that this person finally notices you and stops treating you like crap.
It sounds masochistic but it happens and it pains me to see Midoriya go through this. A part of me wants to know why he chases after someone who quite obviously doesn’t want anything to do with him. Even as he is being kidnapped, Bakugo tells Midoriya NOT to come after him. If it was me, I would have said “Vaya con Dios” and hoped for the best. Maybe some will see him saving Bakugo as a noble gesture (as his classmates did) that a hero should never give up trying; but there are times when after you have tried to reach someone, that you have to let go. You have to let go because sometimes the moment you think you have successfully broken through to that person, they pull the mat from under you and drag you down. Consider that even after he was saved, he still winds up giving Bakugo a hard time showing what a total prick he is. Sure, eventually in the show we probably will get a contrived scene where Bakugo will grudgingly acknowledge Midoriya’s skills but that moment still feels like a long ways off. However, I would have loved seeing Midoriya say, “Yo, f**k that dude, I am trying to get my shine.”. Even All Might said save those you can reach but Bakugo just keeps swatting those reaching hands away.
What’s even more insane is as you watch the series, there are other people in Midoriya’s circle who admire him for is resilience and his bravery, yet, it seems like Midoriya is always measuring himself to Bakugo. There are plenty of classmates with natural born quirks who already look up to him and it astonishes me that he doesn’t he hasn’t tried harder to measure himself up to others like Iida or Todoroki.
To a degree I feel sorry for Midoriya but on the other hand, he is going to have to have a “coming to Jesus” moment to understand that no matter what he does. Bakugo will never respect him short of giving Bakugo a good and thorough asswhupping, or better yet…Midoriya will have to learn to stand on his own two, instead of trying to please someone who doesn’t really want to be his friend. We know it but will Midoriya ever realize that he can do better?