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BakuDeku: An Analysis of a Toxic Ship

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Jay is a student at the University of Kentucky and still manages to find time to watch and enjoy both new and old anime. BNHA is just one.

A frequently discussed ship in the "My Hero Academia" (also know as "Boku no Hīrō Akademia" or BNHA) community is the BakuDeku ship.

A frequently discussed ship in the "My Hero Academia" (also know as "Boku no Hīrō Akademia" or BNHA) community is the BakuDeku 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 cliché. However, it's also easy to see the numerous reasons that a romantic relationship was never possible between the two boys.

The First Interaction

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

This scene is shown in both the manga and the anime, exhibiting the 'childhood friends' equation of this trope.

This scene is shown in both the manga and the anime, exhibiting the 'childhood friends' equation of this trope.

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.

The incident in question: Deku helping Bakugou up and 'embarrassing' him.

The incident in question: Deku helping Bakugou up and 'embarrassing' him.

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.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


I like bakudeku and kiritodo they kind coot -v- on September 06, 2020:

I like kiritodobakudeku there all just so cute together

I ship BakuKiri and TodoDeku. Don't judge me uvu on September 01, 2020:

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I don't like BakuDeku mostly because even if Bakugo is getting better, he still isn't trying to fix what happened in the past. If anything, I call this Kirishima rubbing off on him. Not to mention that (I ship BakuKiri) claimed by Deku himself "You (Kirishima) are the only one he trusts enough to do this!" (Not exact quote, but close enough) Yes Bakugo and Deku are childhood friends, but I don't think you guys ship Kirishima and Mina, do you? If they were in a relationship, I think it would be Deku trying to keep it afloat the whole time. I prefer TodoDeku in this matter, mostly because they help eachother, Todoroki understand Deku's non-verbal cues (Stain) and other times where they work together.

Childhood friends does not equal destined relationship. In all seriousness, My childhood bestfriends sometimes acted like Bakugo. Thus pushing me away. Then I got a new friend group like how Deku and Bakugo have two different friend groups.

Mehhhhh idk dont judge on August 23, 2020:

I honestly think that shipping these two is fine. My current biggest ships are TodoDeku and BakuDeku (hear me out first before judging). Believe me, I am not forcing any feelings or something on anyone I'm just saying it could be cute. Like honestly I hate the part of Bakugo that bullied Deku. BUT y'all keep forgetting that Bakugo himself was a child when these two became friends. We all know how children need nurturing and stuff whereas Bakugo was praised for his every action by everyone. So he developed a superiority complex. (OK lemme interfere in my own convo and say this: I am NOT fetishizing LGBTQ+ relationships here, I myself am a very bisexual woman and am ready to fight everyone who talks against the LGBTQ+ community and calls me "toxic" for shipping gay couples). So as we all saw Bakugo is changing. I'm not justifying his actions because he did that 'til the age of 14 and continued to do so for quite a while in UA. You see the problem here is that he didn't get any guidance when he needed it. But then he got into UA where everyone treated him as an equal. No one except Izuku looked up to him (he a babie who doesn't know the extent of his own power, idiot ISTG..... I love him tho) so Bakugo held onto the last thing that wasn't out of the norm and continued his behavior. But we all saw how Bakugo finally broke down after All Might's retirement. We KNOW he's human and he feels too. In the manga, there's the scene where they're up against class 1-B and he knows about all of his classmates quirks and saves Jirou too. Ik I sound like a stubborn child here but y'all try giving him a chance. Your hate is blinding you and if you think about it, you are becoming like the old Bakugo too. There was this person in the comments saying something about how they don't like people changing Bakugo's personality in fan art and how they draw him soft. Like, fan art is fan art??? And we still don't know about how Bakugo behaves in a relationship like chill he's only 16. And there was this person who said that "bAkUgO caN't bE iN a rElaTiONshIp" due to his toxicity and that he'll never be. Like... TF??? People CHANGE. Bakugo deserves as much live as anyone out there if not more since he's in need of love. NOT praise. LOVE. So I say ship anyone you like (just don't make it incest and make sure to exclude paedophilic elements, that's gross). You're free to ship everyone and anyone as long as it isn't bringing harm to anyone. Ik BakuDeku isn't real and it won't be because *sigh* UraDeku (they're cute but I don't ship them as much as I should???) AND you are free to give your opinion as long as it isn't offensive in any sense. Signing off.

merlin on August 13, 2020:

i think bakugou just needs to get therapy before having a relationship and yall really think that if bakugou would have feelings for deku and accepts them that their realationship would still be abusive and toxic?

Art$uru on August 03, 2020:

no way BakuDeku is gonna sail the only good relationship Bakugo has with is Kirishima. smh

Finn on August 01, 2020:

I have only seen three episodes of MHA although I already love it and ship Bakudeku so does my sibling. Its cute and I just wanted to make sure it wasn't toxic before I started shipping it a lot, I'm looking forward to watching more of the show and hope you have a great day!

idek what to put here on July 25, 2020:

When I started bnha, I honestly started shipping Bakudeku from the moment Deku saved him from that villain in like the first episode. I couldn't help romanticizing their relationship and hoping, that with the result of character development and redemption they could get together or something. Now, I know they won't have any romantic relationship in the show (canonically anyway), but that didn't stop me from cultivating theories of my own from time to time. BakuDeku deserves some of the hate it gets, I will admit (kACcHAn wE WERe FivE), but honestly, this ship isn't even half as bad as some of the other crap that this fandom can come up with and it has validation and reasoning behind it.

First of all, don't even try and come at me with "it's just fetishizing the lgbtq+ community" because I myself am bi, and if one of them was a girl it would get less hate.

Anyway, my past theories are all basically Bakugou redemption stuff (which I kind of hate my self for) so here we go. 1) The reason Deku likes All Might so much is that when they were kids he used it as a common interest to get closer to Bakugou, but his love for heroes grew and grew until it was his life force 2) If we're looking at a romantic pov, which I don't usually do, it's a possibility that if Bakugou liked Deku (Ik he doesn't) then he might have some internalized homophobia and Deku is a symbol of those feelings and all that shit that he hates and wants to get rid of, so he wants to get rid of Deku too. Mix that with his anger issues and his superiority complex and you have his reasoning. (I'm not AT ALL justifying his abuse but I'm just saying if he ever had feelings for Deku in that way then that might be his thought process)

I think that the BakuDeku ship while being both toxic and abusive from an outside perspective, it still has validation and the fandom should stop putting other people down for who they think would be good together. Right now I am more of a TodoDeku shipper in the long run but I still get defensive about this for whatever reason. I'm not saying shipping All Might and Deku, or like, Nomu and Bakugou are okay but the hate is precisely the reason that bnha gets hate when its actually a really good anime.

I hope you understand why some people ship what they do now, and you might not agree with me but these were just my observations. :)

No one on July 22, 2020:

Anyways I’ll tell you a ship that is already canon

Aoyama x Aoyama

Also in my opinion bakudeku is sorta abusive and toxic people have their own opinions so please don’t hate on me.

The thing is seeing soft Bakugo in fan art is a lil weird for me, like why are you changing his personality?? In my opinion I don’t think Bakugo’s could really be in a relationship with a n y o n e yes I sorta ship Kirisaki butttt Bakugo’s probably won’t be soft to anyone

Also it’s pretty clear that uraraka and Deku are gonna be canon, there is nothing wrong with that ship they look c u t e together uwu

K thanks also Stan Aoyama ✨✨✨

Idk man on July 20, 2020:

I want to point out that there has been cases where translations of the manga (not sure if that's the same with the anime) have been altered possibly making the situation between Izuku and Katsuki appear worst than it actually is. For a reason BakuDeku in the east is much much more popular than any other ship. As well of people who claim to think it would be a toxic ship (which I see why they would claim that to happen due to their past) why would any other ship wouldn't be any toxic either? No, Bakugou does not hate Deku but instead he was blinded with this constant need of being better than everybody and he didn't needed anyone's help, so when Izuku tried to help him stand up when the rest of their friends only expected him to be 'strong' and stand up by himself, he felt threatened, he felt that he was looking down at him, he felt scared. Since a young age he's been a pretty egocentric kid because of the constant praise both teachers and classmates have brought to him, plus he didn't began going against Izuku until he sensed that he was 'looking down on him,' not when he revealed he had no quirk. Plus now this is not viewing their relationship as a ship, but I what I believe Horikoshi wanted to do. Now what Katsuki did to Izuku, that shouldn't be excused, it was horrible either way, but we have to think about how Izuku went through this and how he understood why he constantly brought him pain. This next statement I'm not entirely sure of, but I feel as if just because they saw Bakugou going to the extreme of using his quirk on him and telling him to jump of a building, they directly think he is the main reason of the hard time he had through elementary and high school when he wasn't the only one disrespecting Izuku. I feel people put him on the same level as a grown man that is known for being abusive in every relationship he has been. And kids that age just throw words like that around like honey, so when they grow up they'll see the wrong of their younger years. Again I'm not defending or justifying what Katsuki has done inevetably cause it is horrible, but everyone deserves a second chance (which I believe the movie A Silent Voice is a good example of what I'm trying to say)

KLEPT0 on July 05, 2020:

You can't justify them having any feelings for each other just because they were childhood friends. People forget that deku was friends with bakugo only until he was 4/ 5 at most. I can literally remember nothing at that age and they definitely didn't love each other yet at 5. Then literally for the rest of his life until he was 13, bakugo continuously bullied and mocked him, beating him as 5 year olds in the 6th page of the first chapter. This was when they were 5 year olds. Imagine what they did when they were older. I would feel only disgust and hate for bakugo as their friendship wasn't even that deep yet.

The ship is interesting but it is definitedly, if we are talking in the context of their actual characters,toxic and stupid. It is only valid if the fanfic writers make changes to the events.

Corey on July 03, 2020:

I get why people say BakuDeku is "toxic" but they have knew each other since kids and as they grew older they became closer and Baku doesnt bully him in that way anymore. Baku is like a tsundere toward Deku. Baku would never hurt if he truly loves him and he does. I think they would just have those childish funny kind of fights and would love each other very much. Torodoki and Deku I kinda ship but they werent as deep and I saw them as best friends. Ik that Baku only likes Kiri as a best friend. Its like their all best friends but what about Baku and Deku like bruh they need a best friend. Dont ship all their best friends together!

Die trash on June 29, 2020:

I personally think that Bakudeku is one of the worst ships in MHA/BNHA fandom. (This includes Pedo ships.)

They have absolutely no ship dynamic other than a terrible troupe that makes fan girls go crazy. (I am referring to the enimes to lovers troupe.)

Everyone in their 'ship fandom' is litterally horrible. They constantly put down canon ships and have close to no logic. (Izuocha.) I am not a shipper myself, but I do have an opinion on this.

People who ship bakudeku are probably 12 and have no concept of love or an actual relationship.

If bakudeku were an actual relationship they would probably have the domestic abuse hotline called on them. (Pun not intended.) Now don't go calling me a hater or a 'toxic shipper.' (Even though I have already clarified I don't ship anything.)

At the end of the day bakudeku is just a result of disgusting people who fetishize the Lgbtq+ community. (Though they would probably discriminate against a lesbian or somebody who it trans.) At the end of the day everyone is entitled to their wrong opinon. (If you are going to write back keep it civialized.)

please stop hating on us -._-. on June 15, 2020:

i think that ships are all about discovering the characters, yes the community has its toxicity, but hating on others ship like that is unecceptable, u probably wouldnt like us hating on ur ship (which we dont) so dont hate on ours.

i should be studying for my maths exam tmrw but here i am instead!! :) on May 10, 2020:

Personally I find BakuDeku quite interesting due to their dynamic and history. I think if it happened at this stage it wouldn't be a healthy relationship that's for sure, but what's appealing about it is the character development they would both have to go through. IMO saying a ship is toxic because of how they were at the start is kind of unfair because people grow and change from their mistakes all the time, and in fiction that's what makes character relationships interesting (not just romance). I'd rather it not become canon but I still like seeing/reading about their relationship because of how complex it is. There were definitely things I hadn't considered before reading this piece so thank you. People should be allowed to have fun in a fandom and ship people if they want (if it's not morally wrong!!)

Just Here on May 07, 2020:

Ive always liked BakuDeku. Many people say it would be toxic and I dont agree or diasagree. He has a bad temoer and thats it. If he and Deku were to date, I dont think he would punch him or beat him up. Bakugou doesnt seem like someone who would do that to his lover. Plus he didnt bully Deku much. When he burned his hero analysis book, his friends said he went a little too far. The farthest he went was blowing up a book? How could someone bullying him and do that. He could have completely distroyed the book but he didnt. I admit he did go far telling him to jump off the roof. However, he wouldnt have said that if he knew Deku would actually do it. He got really mad at his friends when he caught them smoking and he got mad when they suggested cheating in the arcade. He said if he did that he would never get into U.A. If he encouraged a suicide, he would NEVER get into U.A. I think he said that beacaue he was mad at the moment and he had faith in Deku knowing his strong mentality. Also, when he beat up a kid when he was 4, he was 4. Little kids dont have a mind in whats wrong and right. Toddlers could tear off the wings of a butterfly and not know thats wrong. There are no other incidents of that happening. That means he grew up and learned. He did hurt Deku badly in U.A in one of the Ovas but he was under supervision and they were having a battle soooo... Overall, I dont think there was really any bullying and it wouldnt be very toxic. Bakugou would yell at Deku for his mistakes and Deku with his strong mentality could handle it. If he couldnt handle it, there would be no way I would ship it. Plus BakuDeku look good together. I respect other ships of course but I do have an opinion on it. TodoDeku, they have no history, not that big a relationship either. The onely other ship that makes sense is Uraraka and Deku. I dont like the ship because I dont like Urarska but you can ship it if you want. I just think the ship I enjoy the most is BakuDeku.

Vi on April 28, 2020:

All you beautiful little people who ship Bakudeku and have respect for other couples even don't ship them, let's get to know each other :3

a multishipper on April 22, 2020:

as a multishipper and bakudeku as my otp, i was pretty much unsure if i was gonna go with the pairing. I've seen other people's reasoning as to why it was a "good" ship, and since im easily convinced i just wanted to make sure if i was still gonna go with it.. im a sucker for childhood and rivarly tropes when it comes to shipping (or whatever its called) which is kind of why i ship it. i dont why i ship it, maybe its because its gay, maybe its because i have low/bad standards in shipping, who knows, i have my own opinions and taste in shipping and thats fine. idc is it becomes canon or not, but in the end, no matter what, we can all ship whoever we want (except for those that are a grownup and a child, thats just pedophilia), just as long we don't fight and argue about it cuz srsly, we're talking about people who dont even exist and ships that are non canon (except for "canon" ships of course) you do you and do whatever you want.

I am a ginger on February 26, 2020:

(I'm sorry but bakudeku is my least favorite ship and the people that ship it aren't any better)

Not to be insulting or anything but the people that ship bakudeku are kind of mean and defensive. Like in any ship convo an insult to bakudeku their shippers will start going off about how their right and everyone else is wrong and then act like their being respectful so that they don't get hate (even they are haters themselves). Also if anyone proves them wrong in any way or gives a promising argument they pretend that they don't exist and ignore the fact that they thrmselves might be a little bit wrong. Take roseship on reddit for example. You may not know who he is but he is a bakudeku shipper and he is a great example for those types of shippers. (just search up "is kiribaku cannon" and he'll do everything that I said these types of shippers do. Some of the people that are in these comments are good examples as well. By the way (sorry if this is long) when you look at the poll you see that most people voted for bakudeku but that's because bakudeku shippers came onto this website to find closure for their ship or to start fights with the people that agree with this article (or they just came onto this website to disagree with everything this person said) and again if you think I'm wrong just look at the comments and all of the bakudeku shippers did what I explained and are just arguing. ( This is just what I have witnessed and I think I have made a promising case. Also I am not saying that all bakudeku shippers are bad but the ones that I have seen so far are. Just be more respectful is what I am trying to say and you can have an opinion but don't treat everyone like crap if they don't agree with you. In fact if you listen to them maybe you'll find something out you didn't know and you might just change your mind.) "slapes book down" I rest my case

Getting defensive over an imaginary relationship for fictional characters is kind of pathetic on February 25, 2020:

I’m not one for ships in general, but I do understand why fans love/hate it. It used to be relatively unhealthy at first, which explains the hatred, but things changed as time went on.

The presumed toxicity in their relationship was apparent in earlier seasons when they truly didn’t understand each other, and the foundation of their relationship was built on envy, competitiveness and infatuation etc.

However, after their fight, they started to build a relationship built on mutual respect and true rivalry, which opens the path to a non-toxic, healthy relationship. Recent developments favour their friendship, and I’m hoping the writer continues to build on their dynamic as well-written 3-dimensional characters like these two are rare to come by.

ElriAma on February 03, 2020:

I'm extremely proud of all the people who've stood up and explained BakuDeku more. The negativity toward the ship is really unfair, and I honestly think you should've looked into the relationship between Bakugou and Midoriya more before making this article. I REFUSE to hate on ships because I know that so much goes into it. I also don't fully base ships on what's going on cononically, because fanfiction often drives two or more characters closer when it comes to shipping. A lot of the time, there's more story behind, and it isn't just what's already there on-screen or paper in canon. It's fusing that with whatever happens next. And with how much the relationship between Bakugou and Midoriya has been looked into, I can't help but get mad at the lack of understanding and genuity I see.

ProudBKDKShipper on January 08, 2020:

I will respect anyone's opinion on ships except the close minded ones. Bakudeku is not about abuse and bullying, its not "toxic". Bakugou would NEVER date anyone he doesn't respect, that's just his character. They would need to be on equal ground and understand him on a deeper level. There is one way to learn this, through experience. Midoriya has been there since they were kids. Years and years of knowing, idolizing, and just being together! Kirishima, Uraraka, Todoroki, and etc have barely anything compared to that. And the aggressive persona Bakugou displays is how he was raised. Little time and one relationship won't change that. He also won't open up easy with anyone. But with the respect he now is starting to show Midoriya and the years of experience with each other, its a start. I believe that in time Bakugou and Midoriya will heal. There will definitely be scars! But their relationship will be the most perfect nuclear trainwreck ever. They can help each grow with Midoriya's kind and forgiving nature who can square up when needed. While Bakugou can be a person who lifts Midoriya up, challenges him to be better, and they can take care of each other in their own ways. Neither boy is perfect and that's what's great about this ship! And honestly, Kiribaku? Ruins Kirishima's character, they don't know enough about each other, and have only known each other for less than a year. You can't fall in love with a person until you KNOW them. Same can be said for most ships. You need time to grow and Bakugou is still growing. Respect, even though hard to achieve from Bakugou, isn't the only thing that is needed. (*cough* *cough* Bakuocha fans *cough* *cough*) He is an aspiring hero, he respects everyone to a certain degree. So in that case, if anyone else in class 1-A had to fight him, he would've shown the same "respect" he did with Uraraka. You can ship what you want to ship, but don't go after others period. Especially if all you can do to support your ship is: "Yours is abusive" "Its cute" or "They're friends" or even the respect card. You ship your ships and we will ship ours. Have a nice day, and don't hate on FICTIONAL ships please. (Insert golden rule here) :3

What on January 08, 2020:

The ship its self is not toxic, but the fanart, thats a different story.

bruh on December 17, 2019:

it's a ship with conflict that's about them solving their misunderstandings and moving on somewhere in the future, it's really not toxic

yeet on December 07, 2019:

ok so here’s my opinion

Bakudeku is a good ship and I honestly do ship it. All ships are valid (other than teacher / any grown up x student) and everyone can have their own opinion however, i feel like the tododeku and kiribaku shippers can come off more toxic than the bakudeku ones and people keep saying it’s an abusive relationship but think bout it, bakugou literally hates everyone any ship with him would be toxic no matter their history or friendship. So yea, kiribaku could also be “abusive” just look at how many times bakugou has hit kiri XD but anyway I don’t think it’s toxic, I don’t think any ship can be toxic, except for the grown up x child one and honestly it’s an anime come on, no one is getting hurt, no one is ok with abusive relationships, just let everyone be

ear on November 25, 2019:

i used to ship bakudeku but i've come to my senses and now ship IzuOcha and Kiribaku.

Anon on September 08, 2019:

Do I ship BakuDeku? Yes. Do I think it could ever be canon? Nope. Too much bad blood and history. Not gonna stop me from hoping that one day they’ll finally move past their... past, though.

ImALilBoy on July 25, 2019:

I know a lot of people hate BakuDeku. But in all honesty, personally I think it's one of the, if not, possibly the best ship in BNHA. I'm putting aside my bias for this ship and I'm gonna say it's no doubt a flawed relationship. Their childhood relationship is one of the main reasons for that, constant bullying, being put down, clinging on to being friends. I hated the ship at first, but if I think about it now, there is no other relationship that has come as far as these two. How they interact, how they always misunderstand and challenge each other, how both of them don't give up. I can honestly say that no relationship will come as far as these two, no matter if it's romantic or platonic, it's undoubtedly for me the best relationship. They have a love-hate dynamic if they were to have an attraction for one another and I'm all up for that.

yo más on July 21, 2019:

i mean i ship kiribaku

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