[OWLS Blog Tour] Pride Goeth Before a Fall: Katsuki Bakugo

Hey hey hey owlets! Welcome to Archi-Anime’s stop on this month’s blog tour. As you know, I’m still kind of on a semi-hiatus. But I had to participate in this month’s tour! Especially when I’ve been completely engrossed in the Boku no Hero Academia universe; I had the perfect character for this month’s theme.

June’s theme is Pride”:

In honor of “Pride Month,” we will be discussing the word, “Pride” and its meaning. We will be exploring pop culture characters’ most satisfying and joyful achievements or skills that they possessed and whether or not these qualities could be seen as a positive or negative aspect in their personal lives and/or society.

This character choice was a no brainer. The level of pride he exudes has irked me from the get go. For as many times I’ve watched the series; the numerous discussions I’ve had with people about him.  I still struggle for the life of me to understand him; but I’m definitely trying my hardest to. Also, light spoilers, but nothing incredibly revealing to the plot overall.

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Katsuki Bakugo of Boku no Hero Academia is a character I struggle to get behind. I’ll be honest, I’ve disliked Bakugo very heavily because of his violent personality, his haughtiness and most glaringly his inflated ego. How does a character become so full of himself?

Ascension

Katsuki’s pride is a byproduct of his upbringing. In the very early flashbacks of his childhood we see that he and Izuku had been really good friends, and spent quite a lot of time together. Through Ikuzu’s eyes we witness the “greatness” of Katsuki. He’s a natural born leader – he led around the neighborhood kids.  He’s smart – he was one of the first in his group of friends to start reading. He’s charismatic – he’s literally the coolest kid on the block  Katsuki is just so naturally GOOD at everything that you’re drawn to him. Classmates are constantly barraging him with praise him for being talented and cool.

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His personality begins to warp with the introduction of his quirk; and it appears he’s the first in his kindergarten class to get one. Both peers AND adults alike start to shower him with relentless priase in pre-school. He starts to notice the stark contrast between Izuku and himself.  Why can’t Deku do this or that?  Why doesn’t Deku have a quirk? And being a 4-year old what other explanation can you give yourself but “Ah, of course! I’m just the best! Better than everyone here!” Hence, the bullying of Izuku begins.

The praise and admiration he receives goes unchecked by anyone, something his parents have realized, especially his Mother. She realizes her lack of teaching Katsuki how to be humble and how actions affect others has caused Katsuki’s pride to balloon to the point of no return. She only hopes that UA can help him where she failed and could not.

Katsuki not only exudes an alarming amount of pride which is considered to be the original and most serious of the deadly sins and yet, his pride is the culmination of a few other deadly sins: wrath, envy and greed.

These “sins” serve as the foundation of Katsuki’s pride. I wanted to look at the other sins and how they’ve built and affected Katsuki’s overwhelming prideful demeanor. In some cases a lot of these sins can be pointed to a source: Izuku. The feelings/emotions that these two feel towards one another are so complicated that they’ve lost the ability to communicate with one another.

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Greed

“An inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs.”

Katsuki has several types of greed. In the beginning of the series, the most apparent greed for wealth is apparent as he proclaims he’ll be the richest hero to his middle school class. Aside from the obvious materialism that is associated with Greed, Katsuki is also greedy for power (strength). Whenever he see him fight or watch All Might, he always makes a comment about how strong he is, how powerful he is; especially in the final exam in which he’s unwillingly paired up with Izuku. He idolizes All Might, so of course he want’s to be like All Might, so there’s a definite Greed to be better, to need more power, more strength. Lastly, Katsuki has a strong desire to be the best, to be the indisputable number one, so much so that he’s often seen as maniacal. Take the Sports Festival for example. He’s hell-bent on being number one, but an indisputable, unquestionable number one.

Greed is often associated with selfishness, and the need to take, take, take. Katsuki’s greed has come from the amount of positive praise he’s received over the years that inflated his ego into making him believe that he’s just the most amazing person in the world.

Envy

“a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.”

A lot of Katsuki’s complicated feelings are centered around his childhood friend and envy is one of the traits that is brought out by Izuku. Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m associating Envy with someone like Katsuki. This might be more of an interpretation of Katsuki, but let’s take a look back to the day of the sludge villain attack. Despite all the capable licensed heroes, Izuku was the only one to rush in to try to save him before All Might ultimately rushed in to save the day. From that day forward Katsuki never bullied Izuku again, even Izuku was quick to make not of it.  I think that Katsuki had realized that Izuku had a true sense of heroism, which is something that Katsuki himself lacks. Later on in the series, envy will become more apparent, but for the sake of this post I don’t want to post spoilers. But you bet you’ll see more Hero Academia posts around my blog that will most likely touch on Katsuki again.

Also, last but not least, let’s not forget that he despite being strong he envies All Might’s strength. He knows that’s the pinnacle of strength and what he needs to be. He envies that strength because that’s what it means to be number one.

Wrath

“an intense emotional response usually involving agitation, malice, or retribution. It is an emotion that involves a strong uncomfortable and hostile response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat.”

Katsuki has a bristling personality, there’s no question about that. He’s really rough around the edges, and exhibits a ton of agitation specifically towards Izuku.  He takes out a lot of his aggression on Izuku and what he represents as stated previously in ‘envy’. It should be noted that due to Katsuki’s physical nature, it can be inferred that this is the only way he can express himself rather than communication and words. 

His wrath is a reaction of his inferiority superiority complex. Meaning, he’s covering up his glaring insecurities by acting brashly towards Izuku by putting him down, mentally and physically, while exuding an air of confidence and praising himself. As Katsuki watches Izuku learn to control and use his quirk at alarming rate, I’d say it’s clear that his insecurities of being the best are being threatened, especially when those around him start to recognize Izuku as strong and start to look at him as the worthy rival versus him.

Another important point to note as part of Katsuki’s wrath (this is the part I struggle with) is that he’s so blinded by it, he doesn’t realize that Izuku has ALWAYS admired him and looked up to him as his hero next to All Might, if anything Katsuki is the closest he could emulate and look up to. He takes Izuku’s concern to be disdain and ridicule, because how could someone as strong as Katsuki ever need the help of someone weak and quirkless, so he reacts by bullying him. He’s also so blinded by his wrath, he doesn’t listen to All Might’s advice and concern during the Final Exam because he’s too focused on his anger towards having to work with Izuku and anger that he’s not strong enough to beat All Might.

Izuku was once the weak and the poor defenseless friend that trailed behind Katsuki all the time. But now that “friend” is slowly but surely closing the gap between them with each conflict that arises. Katsuki is afraid of Izuku passing him up and being the one left behind, and that makes him feel nothing but rage, because he’s supposed to be the strongest and the best between the two of them.

Cracked Armor

Hairline fractures are slowly starting to form in Katsuki’s pride the moment he starts classes at UA. First he loses in the mock battle against Izuku because he was so blinded by his wrath to think coherently. Then he starts to realize that he’s not as amazing as he thinks. He takes note how stupid his strategy was, and how strong Shouto Todoroki and the rest of his classmates are as well. He’s starting to realize not the special kid he thought he was.

But the biggest crack in his armor is Izuku. Izuku is a double-edged sword for Katsuki and I’m pretty certain of that. Izuku’s weaknesses had bolstered his pride, because they were so drastically different from one another; they were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Yet, coming into UA they’ve switched roles. Izuku is well received, popular, and everyone seems to take inspiration from him. Izuku is acknowledged by others for his strength and pure-hearted heroism and reluctance to give up. They recognize him as a worthy rival, overlooking Katsuki.

However, Katsuki doesn’t realize is that he has everything needed to make a great hero. Everyone has acknowledged his natural combat skill, his intelligence and his drive, but his prideful personality holds him back from becoming someone likeable, relateable and inspirational.

These fractures have slowly been building since the day that Izuku came to save him from the sludge villain. His pride continues to grow and it grew exponentially worse in the Sports Festival Arc leading into the Final Exam. His pride is hitting its maximum level and the small fractures are on the verge of breaking him completely open.

But what will happen to Katsuki after the fall? Can he change for the better? How will he change? Or better yet, WILL he change? Can he truly acknowledge his faults and become the true hero that he’s meant to be?

Final Thoughts

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Katsuki, is a character I dislike because of his treatment of Izuku. But, I won’t give up on him. I’m not turning my back on this character. Just like Deku, I won’t give up on Kacchan. I know he’s bound for greatness, he HAS to be. He and Izuku have a pretty good idea of how the other works, it’s almost innate because of how long they’ve known each other. Honestly, when Katsuki does express emotion it really is only in front of Izuku, and to me that speaks volumes about their relationship. Only Izuku has seen Katsuki be vulnerable. For the life of me, I want them to patch things up. I want Katsuki to apologize to Izuku, and for them to repair and rebuild what was lost. Can Katsuki find redemption?

The answer is…. maybe? I’m teetering the edge of love and hate for Katsuki Bakugo, but I’m leaning towards yes.  If he can learn to humble himself and learn to take responsibility for his actions, which he slowly but surely is in the manga, he has the makings of a real hero, and paired with Izuku, they could definitely be The Wonder Duo

Katsuki will have to hit rock bottom and address the sins that plague him. In order for that to happen, his pride will have to fall.


Thanks for stopping by Archi-Anime and checking out my post on pride! I am completely enamored with BNHA, so much so that I am planning to make a series of posts related to this series/fandom and Katsuki again.

That just about wraps up this month’s tour here at Archi-Anime. Thoughts on Katsuki? Comments? Questions? Feel free to leave any in the comments!

And don’t forget to check out Mistresses (Yaoi Playground) OWLS post on My Brother’s Husband here.

And look out for Karandi’s post on her site: 100 Word Anime.

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