「爆豪勝己：オリジン」 (Bakugou Katsuki: Orijin)
“Bakugou Katsuki: Origin”
What you believe in, and how deeply you believe in it, will reveal how you do when the chips are down.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a hundred times more if the anime gods gift us with more HeroAca seasons, but Bakugou Katsuki isn’t a character many people could do well. His attitude towards others, especially Izuku, is reprehensible, and his goals are skewed, but he never trips over the line into becoming the full-on villain he seems so suited to be, and every time you think he’s lost himseful in his rage, he’s actually testing his opponents and searching for ways to win. He’s a fragile character, one whose rigid adherence to a “win or you’re scum” moral framework makes him a dangerous individual, but he neither does evil nor does he break. I keep expecting it! So much pressure is built up, and he’s ripe for a good defeat to beat some humility into his shitty ass. But he doesn’t.
The reason is not only his power, his mind, and his wicked-sharp wit, but because his whole self-conception is built upon the idea of winning. To him, hero = winning no matter what. That’s what makes him fragile, because he thinks winning = hero, and if you don’t win, you’re nothing—which means one defeat could shatter him, and because it entirely ignores the moral dimensions of why you’re fighting, or for what. But the pressure he puts himself under, to win or his entire self-conception comes crashing down around him (a death of self, of sorts), forces him into a perpetual corner, and he seems to thrive under this angry desperation. Katsuki, as he is now, can never be happy, and he is still a huge threat of turning into a villain. But he keeps winning, even if it means shattering his arms or fighting on far past his ability to affect the outcome. He’s twisted, and often reprehensible—but damn if he isn’t good at what he does.
Izuku, on the other hand, isn’t so concerned about winning. He wants to! He badly wants to be a hero and live up to the trust All Might placed in him, and not failing this test is part of that. But like we saw back in the tournament, winning is not #1 on his mind. When he was facing Shouto, he could have won had he done everything in his power to do so—which would have included holding his tongue and not helping Shouto come to terms with the power he got from his father. But to Izuku, it’s more important to help others. His conception of a hero is not winning. To him, hero = saving others.
That’s why the last moment of the battle was so beautiful, and why I watched it with a wide smile matched by only Izuku himself. Everything else in the episode was the Katsuki show, even him finally admitting that he needed Izuku’s help—or at least resigning himself to using the damn nerd. But the last moment, when Izuku turned back, socked All Might in the cheek, and ran for the exit with Katsuki in tow, shows what Izuku believes. When the chips are down, and when it truly matters, Izuku believes that heroes save people. That’s who he is.
Next week we get to see a villain more concerned with his popularity than whatever it is he’s supposed to be doing. Sad!
- Katsuki’s worldview might be fragile, but a little counter-evidence: for the first half of the episode, Katsuki’s self-identity prevented him from seeing Izuku as anything but the lowest of scum, someone who, were Katsuki to even accept his help, would automatically be a kind of defeat. Yet he ends up using Izuku anyway. Katsuki doesn’t change gracefully, but he can change, and he can so it quickly.
- I think All Might was having fun playing the villain. Him and the Principal were the only ones that really got into the role. The Principal was still the best, though.
- Just how much money does UA spend fixing up all their training areas? Cementoss alone can’t do it all. Maybe they can get Momo to help with the windows and such.
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, I’ve begun blogging again! The latest post: Help Houston.