My Hero Academia proves why it’s the GOAT of Shonen anime with “Deku vs. Kacchan Part 2.” It’s everything fans expected it to be, and so much more. On the surface, MHA seems like just another hero trope anime, but once the layers are peeled back it’s an emotional ride towards discovery and living life to its fullest. “Deku vs. Kacchan” is a brilliant deep-dive into the psyche of those who bully and have ended up on the receiving end.
As an overweight nerd who’s been bullied all his life, there’s an inept attraction towards Midoriya’s character. He’s got a heart of gold and cares more than he should for those around him. Which is why All Might chose Deku to be his successor. Left hanging in the wind, however, is Bakugō.
It’s easy to see Bakugō as a nothing more than an egotistical bully whose only purpose is to be recognized through the power of his Quirk. But “Deku Vs. Kacchan” flips the script and reveals why Bakugō is the way he is. Midoriya thinks he understands Bakugō and Kacchan believes Deku is nothing more than an insect who needs to be squashed. In the end, however, they are meant to be so much more.
What intrigued me the most about “Deku Vs. Kacchan” is the emotional layers peeled back to expose Bakugō’s true nature. Pride is a pitfall for many, even for nerds who get bullied. In the case of Kacchan, his pride is all he has. It’s only natural to feel for Deku and laugh at Bakugō when he acts like a spoiled jerk, but how many of us actually took time to wonder why he acts the way he does.
Kacchan admired and looked up to All Might just as much as Midoriya did, and yet, he wasn’t chosen despite having a powerful Quirk. To Bakugō, his Quirk is his identity. To have someone like Deku (who had no Quirk) surpass him has thrown his emotions into a hot mess. Hence, why the fight between these two needed to happen.
“Deku Vs. Kacchan” is all about airing these two characters dirty laundries, letting emotions fly so their true purpose and destiny can be discovered. Midoriya and Bakugō are complete opposites of one another, making them perfect rivals. All Might is aware of this (including his part in creating it), and once the emotional baggage is shed, he lays the truth upon these two young heroes.
It’s not about who bullied who or who’s the stronger. It’s about discovering how their personalities can improve one another on their path towards becoming the world’s greatest heroes. Kanchan’s strength is skill and Deku’s lies in his big heart. Separately they can only grow so much, but in working together as rivals, they can surpass their limitations.
There’s nothing proper about bullying, and it’s a serious issue which continues to be ignored by society. The answer isn’t in silencing the bullying, but in discovering why one feels the need to do it.
“Deku Vs. Kacchan” gave fans an amazing fight for the ages, but it also taught us the value of learning to understand one’s emotions. Bullying doesn’t solve anything, and neither does ignoring it. Emotions are an intricate part of who we are, and once we learn how to let them out and grow past them, then we can begin our path towards a true Plus Ultra destiny.