Boku no Hero Academia – 07

Boku no Hero - 07 -8 Boku no Hero - 07 -41 Boku no Hero - 07 -48

In a lot of ways, this is a series that doesn’t make things easy.

Boku no Hero - 07 -1By now, I think the reasons why Boku no Hero Academia has become a hit manga in Japan should be obvious from the anime – and I say this in full knowledge that the best parts of the story are still to come.  I would assume you’re either on the bandwagon by now or you’re not, because if you’re a fan of raw, martial spirit shounen in its most primordial form, BnHA should already be written in ink on your viewing schedule.  It’s not hard to figure out the appeal of this show because it wears its identity on its sleeve.

Boku no Hero - 07 -2That said, Boku no Hero can be a difficult series in a ways that should likewise be easy to see by this point in the story.  Deku’s journey is a hard one – he may have a quirk (and a powerful one) now but it’s not his in the way Kacchan’s (and all of his other classmates, too) is, and the difficulties that causes are already revealing themselves.  We’re used to seeing shounen protagonists tested along their journeys, but make no mistake about it – Deku doesn’t get a free pass anywhere along the route.

Boku no Hero - 07 -3Then there’s Kacchan.  What isn‘t difficult about Kacchan?  This is not an easy guy to love, that’s for sure.  And he’s not interested in being loved anyway – “feared” is clearly much higher on his totem pole.  I think Horikoshi rather ingeniously uses Bakugo to play with the notion of what a “hero” is in fact.  Can a bully be a hero?  Can a boy who unleashes deadly force against another in a mock battle exercise be one?  I’ve seen some anime viewers struggle with Bakugo, wondering when he’s going to become likeable, show his softer side.  Well, this kid is what he is – there’s more to him than what we’ve seen, and his relationship with Izuku is complicated, but he’s rough as four-dollar sandpaper and he doesn’t give a rat’s ass what you think of him.

Boku no Hero - 07 -4All of that makes this battle between Izuku and Kacchan a fascinating one to watch play out.  In the first place it’s obviously a joy to watch a studio like Madhouse or Bones draw a spectacular action sequence like this in glorious 2D, but there’s a lot more to this faceoff than eye candy.  Playtime this is not – there’s a tremendous amount of baggage between these two boys going back to when they were toddlers.  Make no mistake about it, this is deeply personal – and just as much so for Deku as it is for Bakugo.

Boku no Hero - 07 -5There’s quite a contrast at play here.  Bakugo isn’t remotely interested in being a good teammate – while Iida redefines “earnest” and babysits the target, Kacchan is really only concerned with kicking Deku’s butt.  Deku, meanwhile, is trying to win the game, to succeed at the task he’s been assigned to do.  And since he knows the consequences of using his quirk he can only try and do so by using his brain, which means not just using his otaku knowledge about Kacchan, but using Kacchan’s raw aggression against him.  Kacchan isn’t remotely interested in Ochako, for starters, which means she can scout out Iida’s location without the threat of any interference from Bakugo.

Boku no Hero - 07 -6All Might, meanwhile, has the unenviable job of watching from a distance and trying to decide when things have gotten out of hand.  This is personal for him too, which is probably what stays his hand long past when he knows that as a teacher, he should probably disqualify Bakugo and declare the hero team the winners.  Bakugo unleashes his quirk using his high-tech costume in a manner that could certainly have killed Izuku if he’d connected, under the flimsy reasoning that “If I miss, he won’t die”.  What seems to make him most angry about all this is that Deku refuses to use his quirk – indeed, that he’s had a quirk all this time and never shared it.  The message Kacchan takes away from that is that Izuku is taking him lightly – and Kacchan cannot accept being taken lightly.

Boku no Hero - 07 -7So who’s the “winner” here, in the end – the guy who gets the points for his team, or the guy who’s put the other guy in the hospital?  Again, I don’t want to make this too philosophical but I really think Horikoshi is asking some interesting questions about the nature of heroism here.  Bakugo is strong, fearless, confident – all theoretically admirable and heroic qualities, and indeed Deku idolizes him for them.  Deku is weak, anxious and unsure of himself – but he jumps in anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.  Which one is the real hero – or are they two faces of the same coin?  It’s Yuuei’s job to find out the answer, I suppose, and that journey is just getting started.

 

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14 comments

  1. T

    What an intense episode! I’m glad we got to peek at Kacchan’s backstory–which makes him a little easier to understand, but doesn’t redeem him (and this is one of those things that make Kacchan captivating for me). So much rage, this shounen. I’m looking forward to the next episode since it’s still a close look at him.

    That said, so Todoroki talked. I neither loved it nor hated it. What did you think?

  2. Can’t say much based on one line. But we know what we’re getting there – not much mystery, really.

  3. I am surprised you didn’t bring up the comparison yet, but it’s pretty amazing how Deku in a way seems like a superhero version of Baby Steps’ Ei-chan XD. Lots of analytical abilities and overall geekery aimed at the purpose of besting those who bring their physical superiority to the field.

  4. There are similarities, but I think they could hardly be more different in terms of personality. Ei-chan grew up with no interest in tennis (or sports) altogether, and only picked it up because he made an intellectual calculation that he’d be able to study better if he were more physically fit. Maybe I’d say Deku is a bit of a cross between Ei-chan and Onoda from Yowapeda.

    The newest translated chapters of Baby Steps are intense as hell, BTW. The scanlations have slowed to a crawl, too…

  5. Ah, yeah, personality-wise you’re right. I guess what struck me was more the unusual approach of having “the geek” as MC – as you said about Baby Steps in any other manga someone like Ei-chan would have been merely a quirky secondary character.

  6. K

    if this was star wars bakugo would be a jedi in training that eventually went to the dark side….Loving this show and can’t help feeling the HxH vibes I get from it…

  7. T

    Is Bakugo Kylo Ren? Just kidding–kind of. I’d say they’re not so far apart once it comes to destructive brattiness.

  8. C

    Feels really good that this season we have both Jojo’s and Boku no Hero airing. Both are great, but Boku no Hero suffers next to Jojo’s insane creativeness.

    Still, Boku no hero wins in the production values department and in how they handle the music.

  9. M

    It is a tough task indeed going up against Jojo’s.

  10. P

    Because I have not read the manga, ever since episode one I have been trying to figure out what Bakugo’s deal is. In the last episode he made it very clear that he hates that Deku fights even when he is afraid. From this I thought that maybe Bakugo had some tragic backstory in which someone close to him was hurt or killed because they fought a losing fight even thought they were afraid. This episode showed that Bakugo’s attitude is really just tied to his very personality and an ego that was cultivated through always being the best. I really do appreciate this much more than a plot convenient backstory that would have been easy to insert. Bakugo’s character feels much more alive because of this revelation. His actions can be understood so much better, and his character has much more room to grow. I like Bakug. He is an interesting and dynamic character, and I’m glad the author put as much thought into him as he did with Deku.

  11. I feel the same way though for me I actually read the manga right up till the point before end of this fight and I was bickering “What’s with this guy?” LOL’.

    Only to have them answer it the very next chapter and episode in the show, I found it so revelatory and it made sooo much sense that I couldn’t believe that I didn”t piece it together before.
    Of course, the wunderkind that has been praised pretty much all his life and has a powerful quirk would have a massive superiority complex, rendering any and all kind actions by Deku as pity. And of course he would rage out when he found that Deku had a quirk (presumably all along). The poor thing is wondering why Deku doesn’t respond to him the same way others do.

    Sometimes you watch shounen anime and the motivations for character’s actions are so bombastic and over the top that you forget sometimes it’s just some teenagers dealing with their powers and with one another.

    Looking forward to see what it is Bakugou realized at the end of the fight, also Okamoto Nobuhiko is doing an awesome job with this character.

    *shamelessly jumps on the Bakugou train*

  12. M

    Bakugo is an ass.

  13. h

    kachan’s ability and deku wasted arm reminded me of bomber vs Gon
    anyway,BNHA connects so well with me,love it

  14. Not unintentional, I sometimes think.

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