BakuDeku: An Analysis of a Toxic Ship
BakuDeku: A Toxic Ship?
BakuDeku is one of the most popular ships in BNHA and it isn't without reason. The childhood friend-to-lover trope is a popular one, used in classic ships like MakoHaru (Free!), WinryxEd (FMA Brotherhood), GerIta (Hetalia), HinataxNaruto (Naruto), to name a few. It's easy to see how BakuDeku could have risen to be a popular ship with this kind of cliche. However, it's also easy to see the numerous reasons that a romantic relationship was never possible between the two boys.
The first interactions between Katsuki Bakugou and Izuku Midoriya are shown in Chapter 1 of the manga, on the first page. It's a rough start, with Deku begging 'Kacchan' to stop as he tortures another kid. They were only four, and Midoriya is literally crying and begging Bakugou not to hurt the other kid. Meanwhile, Bakugou insults Deku and continues to beat him up, even using the nickname he made up for him to simply insult him.
BNHA Chapter 1, Page 6
There are flashbacks and the like to prove that their relationship wasn't always like this, in fact, the two were actually friends before an incident where Deku helped Bakugou out before their quirks developed. As I and many other fans have realized, Bakugou has come pretty far in his character development. It has also come to our attention that the entire hatred from Bakugou to Deku was a superiority complex.
After the incident from their childhood, Bakugou felt that he had to be better and stronger than Deku in order to become the number one hero. Bakugou certainly isn't the villain of BNHA, no matter how people see him. However, his character arc doesn't excuse his actions. He went too far when he told Deku to kill himself, and when he continuously disrespects Deku after they both not only get into UA, but they are in the same class. Yes, Bakugou does come to respect Deku after seeing his quirk and realizing that they're both reaching for the same goal, but they still aren't even friends at that point.
Another thing about BakuDeku is that the basis relies on Midoriya's continuing to want to be Bakugou's friend, both when he is being bullied by him and when Bakugou finally gets to a point where he respects Deku. While this seems like evidence of underlying feelings, it's something more like Deku holding onto what once was. He remembers when they were friends, when Bakugou was the leader and he was the content follower. Thus, he still calls Bakuou 'Kacchan' despite everything that's been done to him. Other characters address this, they can see that Bakugou has been a harmful presence in Deku's life and while they don't exactly tell him to stop saying it, it's obvious that Deku is holding on to what they once had.
While we could never know how Bakugou acts towards Deku in a romantic relationship, it's hard to see how they would come together romantically at all, even with evidence posed by BakuDeku fans. Firstly there was the bullying and constant abuse of Bakugou's quirk, then the reveal of Bakugou's superiority complex later in the series. They have a tainted relationship because of both Bakugou's mistreatment of Deku and Deku's own acceptance of this and the way he clings to the old 'Kacchan'. The two are shown to work well together in a fight later in the series, and though they would make a good hero duo, a romantic relationship is unlikely and would be toxic no matter how far Bakugou's character has come. There may be mutual respect, but I don't believe there are romantic feelings between the two of them.
This was never about which ship is the best, or whether or not BakuDeku was valid. It was just an analysis of their relationship and whether or not there could be a healthy romance between them at all.
Ship whatever you want, there will always be someone to fight over it with.