When it first started in the pages of Shonen Jump in the summer of 2014, the editors of the magazine would have had no idea just how massive My Hero Academia would soon become.
The series, following protagonist Izuku Midoriya, centers on a world where most ordinary people are blessed with supernatural abilities, which naturally gave rise to the phenomenon of superheroes!
However, unlike standard American superheroes like Spider-Man, these heroes must undergo an intensive education and training regime to earn the title of ‘Hero’.
The series gained its popularity not just because of its awesome premise, but also on the strength of its expansive cast of characters. Not only is the protagonist Izuku Midoriya (also known as ‘Deku’) a beloved character, but many of the supporting characters also have their own strong fanbases.
Perhaps the most beloved of all side characters in the My Hero Academia franchise, besides Todoroki, is Katsuki Bakugo.
Bakugo might serve the role of the intense rival character for our lead, but there is a rich history between our protagonist and his foil that has many wondering whether they might become friends again. Do they ever become friends again? When does it happen? Let’s take a look!
Do Deku and Bakugo Ever Repair Their Friendship?
Within the first few chapters of the My Hero Academia series, we get some insight into Deku and Bakugo’s shared past. Before Bakugo’s latent superpowers blossomed, the two had a slightly uneven, but very caring friendship.
However, once Bakugo did develop his powers, he developed something of a superiority complex, believing himself to be at the top of his imagined ‘food chain’, with the powerless Deku at the very bottom.
From this point onward, their friendship crumbles entirely, and Bakugo soon shifts into a bully role, tormenting Deku every step of the way for lacking powers. Even once Deku gains his powers, Bakugo still proves to be a constant thorn in his side.
However, despite their rocky relationship, Deku and Bakugo do have some occasional moments where it seems that their friendship might blossom again. Let’s look at some of these moments.
Chapter 1 / Episode 1 – Deku Rescues Bakugo
In the first chapter and first episode of the series, Bakugo accidentally becomes a hostage to a villain who is able to absorb fellow quirk users. This occurs just shortly after Deku first meets All Might and becomes spurned on to become a hero, even if he has no powers.
Bakugo makes a desperate plea for help, which Deku responds to without hesitation. Despite Deku’s rescue, Bakugo is offended that a quirkless ‘Nerd’ was able to rescue him.
This moment proves that Deku would be more than willing to rebuild the bond, despite the torment that Bakugo has put him through. However, it also makes it clear that it would take a lot more for Bakugo to begin to repair the friendship.
Chapters 117 – 121 / Episodes 60 – 61 – Provisional Hero License Exam
During the course of the Provisional Hero License Exam, All Might decides to take Deku and Bakugo to receive some personal training. The two fight one another, to determine each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The two stand toe to toe for much of the battle, but ultimately the Bakugo stands as the victor.
However, in the presence of their shared idol All-Might, a number of home truths are revealed to Bakugo. Bakugo learns that Deku’s powers were inherited from All Might and that only a few people know such a secret.
Trusted with this secret, and having had a heart-to-heart with Deku, Bakugo begins to soften slightly, but not yet fully, as he and Deku agree to continue as rivals in order to motivate one another to push for greater results in their training.
(Beware, spoilers for the My Hero Academia abound past this point!)
Chapter 285 – Bakugo Rising
This chapter is a pivotal moment in Deku and Bakugo’s relationship. Despite still being hot-headed, and largely choosing to look down on poor Deku, in this chapter Bakugo decides to sacrifice himself for the sake of Deku!
Bakugo pushes Deku to the side, in order to take on the full force of an enemy attack. Luckily, this does not kill Bakugo, but it does render him incapacitated for the rest of the ongoing battle.
This chapter is titled as such to represent that this is a significant turning point for Bakugo, as he chooses to look to Deku as someone worthy of respect, rather than resentment. His sacrifice solidifies his willingness to repair their relationship.
Chapter 322 – Bakugo’s Apology
Finally, we simply have to talk about one of the most crucial moments in Deku and Bakugo’s rebuilding friendship. In Chapter 322, which was released on the 10th of August 2021, fans were finally treated to a long-overdue apology from Bakugo to Deku.
In this chapter, Bakugo finally begins to understand that his actions when he and Deku were younger were unacceptable and that they caused Deku a great measure of pain. “I’m sorry for everything”, Bakugo says in a moment of heartfelt soul-bearing. Bakugo admits that he has an inferiority complex, which explains why he previously refused to accept help from Deku.
After this point, the two clearly begin to have a strong respect for one another, strengthened by the hardships they’ve faced, and the yet-ongoing war that surrounds them.
While their relationship might still have some intensive healing left in store, and while Bakugo may still be wary of ever calling Deku a ‘friend’, it’s clear that the two are heading on that path.
This back-and-forth dynamic between these two characters is what makes them some of the most beloved characters in modern anime, and what makes their relationship so interesting to witness.