BakuDeku: An Analysis of a Toxic Ship

Updated on December 27, 2018
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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.

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

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. | Source

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.

What's your favorite BNHA ship?

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Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        ElriAma 

        13 days ago

        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.

      • profile image

        ProudBKDKShipper 

        5 weeks ago

        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

      • profile image

        What 

        5 weeks ago

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

      • profile image

        bruh 

        2 months ago

        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

      • profile image

        yeet 

        2 months ago

        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

      • profile image

        ear 

        2 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Anon 

        5 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        ImALilBoy 

        6 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        yo más 

        7 months ago

        i mean i ship kiribaku

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