OPINION: The Ka-Boom Kid: Why Bakugo is the Best

A look at how Bakugo detonates the competition for best boy in My Hero Academia

While we often find ourselves fixated on the heroics of Midoriya, Todoroki, or All Might, we must never forget the true star (and best boy) of My Hero Academia. The hero in question holds a number of fantastic achievements, a strong will to be the hero everyone can rely on, and an incredible power to cash the checks his mouth writes. That’s right folks! We’ll be doling out the love to everyone’s favorite hero: Mineta.



Okay, not quite.


Today, we’ll be showering love onto our favorite explosive-tempered hero-in-training, the man who don’t need no childhood friend, the King Murder Explosion himself: Katsuki Bakugo!



In anime, tsundere characters often seem like they’re a dime a dozen. For the uninitiated, a tsundere is a character archetype defined by a character initially acting very cold or hostile towards another character, but gradually warming up to the other character (often, but not always, romantically). It’s almost tough to class Bakugo as a tsundere, though, not because he clearly cares for his classmates despite his temper and machismo, but because he takes it to explosive new heights.


Sure, maybe Bakugo comes across as the independent hero who don’t need no childhood friend, but if that was truly the case, why wouldn’t he just stay off to the side and simply avoid interacting with his classmates? Why put so much effort into greatness when, by your own admission, you top the class in skill and power? Because you have something to prove. More importantly, you have someone to prove it to.



For as long as he can remember, Midoriya has been a part of Bakugo’s life. From their early sandbox days, Midoriya has considered Bakugo a friend (despite their differences). But despite that, Midoriya never even flew under Bakugo’s radar until they both started at UA High School and the Quirkless kid with bravery suddenly began to challenge Bakugo's rank as the class’ top hero. Even before Midoriya was blessed with One for All, something about his spirit and drive lit a fuse inside Bakugo. And he channeled this long-standing rivalry into pure, unadulterated motivation.



Bakugo’s haunting grin, often fueled by his lust for a good fight, frequently shows up on the battlefield to great success. Unfortunately, because of the nature of his Explosion Quirk and his attitude, much of his surroundings go disregarded and become destroyed in the aftermath. But Bakugo isn’t just button-mashing his Quirk and hoping something sticks. As Best Jeanist put it, Bakugo knows exactly how to control and apply his Quirk. He understands that he can detonate the nitroglycerin he sweats, and that the more he sweats, the more he explodes. When not assaulting his opponents, he can propel himself through the air like a missile. Outside of his fighting skill, his grades are at the top of his class, meaning there’s brain to complement the brawn



Following his win during the Cavalry Battle, Bakugo went on to crush the competition with seemingly no effort. But after barreling through Ochako, Kirishima, and Tokoyami, Bakugo’s final round opponent, Todoroki, was more than just another stepping stone to victory. If he beat Todoroki, who beat Midoriya in the previous round, then it would simply be a fact that he was stronger than Midoriya: something worth more than any accolade. His strength and determination blasted through Todoroki’s song of ice and fire, landing him a spot the UA Sports Festival Winner, and thus the strongest UA High School student (although, according to Bakugo, it wasn't the complete victory he desired).



Despite his lack of anger management, Bakugo's outbursts are a key part of his character. He knows his strength. He knows his skill. And he knows better than to dance around those realities. Unfortunately, the League of Villains know this all too well. After scouting him, and subsequently kidnapping him, Shigaraki and his crew attempt to turn him to their side by playing into his desire to win.


One might take one look at Bakugo and assume he’s just a fight-crazed badboy with no concern for anyone but himself. But anyone who assumes that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even after being barraged with the villains' ideology on the flaws in a hero-based society, Bakugo stuck to his guns and blasted both Twice and Shigaraki in the face without delay. Nothing would turn him away from the dream he’s forever longed for, or the justice he stood for. Being a hero means protecting the world, and those who inhabit it – friends and rivals alike.


Perhaps most important of all, I think we can all agree Bakugo is a handsome ray of sunshine when sporting his Best Jeanist hairdo.



How about you? What do you like the most about Bakugo? Detonate some love for this explosive hero in the comments below!


Zach Godin writes about the manga he reads and collects over at his website, Uchuu Shelf. Feel free to say hi on Twitter: @zachjgodin

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