anyway so here’s my BakuDeku essay from all the way back in chapter 327 lols.
so back when The Apology Chapter came out, I mentioned that I had mixed feelings about Katsuki calling Izuku by his actual name. here’s a quick breakdown of my concerns.
I am deeply invested in both Katsuki’s character arc and the entire BakuDeku relationship trainwreck.
owing to the above, questions like “do these two actually respect and trust each other?”, and more specifically, “does Bakugou actually respect Deku?” are really important to me, and I would dearly like to believe that the answer is “yes.” on a similar note, I would also really like the answer to “is Bakugou really as much of an asshole as he makes himself out to be?” to be “no.”
however, if these things really are true -- that Bakugou’s genuine asshole days are behind him, and he really does trust and respect Deku -- then at some point the follow-up question needs to be asked, “why does Bakugou keep calling Deku by a cruel and insulting nickname?”
and again, if we assume that Trust and Respect and Not-An-Asshole are all in fact true, then the only acceptable answer to that question would be, “because he doesn’t actually think of it as an insult, anymore.”
which makes sense, actually! because Kacchan has unflattering nicknames for just about every person he interacts with. Shitty Hair, Half and Half, Dunce Face, Ears, Ponytail, even Hag and Old Man. it’s just his thing, and we all know he doesn’t mean anything by it. so why should “Deku” be any different? it’s just him doing the same thing he always does. hell, if anything, he put a lot more creativity and effort into “Deku” than he does with most of his nicknames lol.
so yeah, not only do I have a vested interest in Kacchan using “Deku (affectionate)” rather than “Deku (derogatory)”, I think it’s supported by canon as well. but here’s the problem, though. if “Deku” isn’t an insult, then the symbolic gesture of switching from “Deku” to “Izuku” is basically meaningless. or at least it should be meaningless. because basically all you’re doing is switching from a nickname to the person’s actual name. the only way it would actually have meaning is if it truly was an insult after all. because in that case, then it’s obviously a huge fucking deal. it’s powerful af, and shows how seriously Katsuki is committed to becoming a better person and doing right by Izuku. which is good stuff, actually.
but anyway, so that’s my dilemma. on the one hand, “either Katsuki didn’t respect Deku, or else he was still being a straight up dick to him all the way up until chapter 322” is a thought that takes a lot of the wind out of my sails, and retroactively makes a lot of my favorite moments in the series much less appealing. but on the other hand, that scene in chapter 322 truly was excellent, and the emotional impact of him switching to “Izuku” at such a crucial moment was a big part of that, ngl. anyway, so I’ve been kind of torn on the whole thing.
until 327, that is.
I read this, and everything just clicked at last. it was like, ohhhhhhhhhh. because,
when he starts to address him, “Deku” is what automatically slips out. it’s what his mind naturally defaults to when he isn’t consciously thinking about it. (in fact, the name “Izuku” apparently feels so unnatural for him to say that it’s spelled out in hiragana -- “いずく”, rather than “出久.” almost like he has to sound it out in his head lol.)
BUT, he then catches himself and makes the correction.
so that’s two reveals there. the first is that he genuinely does think of Deku as “Deku” first and foremost in his mind, just like Deku thinks of him as “Kacchan.” meaning that it definitely is not meant as an insult. it’s just his name, like how I’m using it myself in this very post. Deku is Deku.
and the second reveal is that the apology wasn’t just a one-time thing. he is actively committed to making this change moving forward. he is trying very hard to do right by Deku, and he thinks part of that is calling him by his actual name.
so he doesn’t think of it as an insult, but yet he still feels obligated to make the change. ??? what exactly are we missing here.
and actually, the answer to that is pretty damn obvious in hindsight lol.
because the Kacchan we are dealing with now is a Kacchan who finally has learned to see outside himself. meaning that he’s no longer looking at things from just his own perspective, but from other perspectives as well. in other words, I was overlooking a very simple explanation for “Izuku” this whole time. he’s not doing it for his benefit. he’s doing it for Deku’s.
doy. everyone else probably figured this out ages ago and I’m just really slow lol. but the thing is, I was just so used to analyzing pre-Jakku Kacchan that I didn’t take into account just how much he’s matured. the old Kacchan would have never stopped to consider how Deku might feel about the nickname “Deku.” so long as Kacchan himself knew it wasn’t an insult, it was fine. Deku should just be able to read his mind, obviously!!
but this new improved Kacchan keeps surprising me by doing these absolutely wild things like considering other people’s feelings and shit. maybe Deku doesn’t like the nickname, huh?? ever stop to think about that?? maybe he doesn’t like being called “useless” by the guy who bullied him for an entire decade. what a concept! maybe you should stop and think about these things every once in a while!! fuckin’ geez. anyway so that’s what I imagine Kacchan’s brain must be like nowadays, and it’s just the greatest thing lol. keep it up, kid. you’re doing great.
anyway, and there’s a whole second essay’s worth of content I could (and hopefully will, at some later point) get into about whether or not he’s actually right, because I suspect Deku’s feelings about Kacchan are extremely complicated. and it wouldn’t surprise me if, prior to the apology, Deku (who as we know doesn’t take himself into account) wasn’t even aware of how complicated those feelings really were, or how deep they actually ran. and I think that’s one of the reasons why he hasn’t given a real response to said apology yet. he has a lot to sort out.
but that said, I do think he is being 100% truthful now when he says that “Deku” is fine. now that he is finally on the same page as Kacchan, and knows that Kacchan doesn’t mean anything by it. to be clear, I’m not saying that Deku actually was bothered by the nickname in any tangible way prior to this, or that their renewed post-DvK2 friendship was secretly toxic, or anything like that. but what I’m trying to say, I guess, is that there is a small -- but significant! -- difference between understanding the concept of “Kacchan is actually a very caring person, but he tries very hard to hide it, and his bark is definitely worse than his bite”, and understanding the concept of “Kacchan cares about me, too; I am also included in the Caring.” and I think that Deku understood the former, but not necessarily the latter. not until Kacchan finally opened up in chapter 322.
but now that he does understand, there are definitely no further objections to be had. Kacchan can use the name. he has permission. not only that, but unless I’m reading Deku very wrong in that bath scene, he actually prefers “Deku.” no reason to bring it up, otherwise. “oh btw Deku is fine”; translation: “okay seriously though, now it’s starting to feel weird.” agreed, Deku. agreed.
anyway so that’s it! btw do you know that it took me a month to realize that I was trying to fit two entirely separate essays together into one post for absolutely no reason? and that it turns out that when you don’t try and do that, posts are actually very easy to complete? anyway so yeah, we’ll save the “Deku and Kacchan are both utterly blind to the fact that the other one cares about them (not just in a general way, but in an Important Way), and both of them are equally unaware of just how badly they secretly need the other’s emotional support and approval and forgiveness, which is why Deku had his mind completely blown in chapter 322, and Kacchan is inevitably going to get his own mind blown at some near point in the future, and they are both definitely going to cry, and it’s going to be fucking great” essay for another time lol. these fucking kids.
Post-327 ficlet; Bakugou x Midoriya
The two haven't talked about the apology yet.
Band practice was no less frustrating of a team exercise than it was the first time around. What's worse, damn Earjacks insisted they run through the routine as many times as they could in one evening. Though the 2A kids didn't like talking much about it, they knew they only had limited time for a respite. By the time Katsuki made his escape, he was ready to retire from all socializing forever. Still, he detoured past the common area, where the recently retrieved nerd was catching up on classwork with his equally nerdy friends. Katsuki stopped, and then leaned against a wall, intending to only observe for a moment. Then, much to his misfortune, fucking Pikachu caught him and tried to get him in another conversation about the band. It took way more to intimidate any of his classmates now, and by the time Pikachu got the very explosive message, he just barked out a laugh and a good night. It definitely caused a scene, and the other students in the common area also laughed - even when Katsuki growled at them too. Damn lot of them could never leave him alone. "Kacchan?"
God fucking dammit, where the fuck - "Don't sneak up on me like that!" Izuku, now standing before Katsuki instead of seated with his friends, winced apologetically. But Katsuki noticed an overarching sobriety. "Can we talk?" Katsuki swallowed, and edged off of the wall. He tried to ignore the sudden drop of his heart. Izuku hadn't responded to the apology yet. Hell, besides suggesting that switching names would be 'too hard' for Katsuki - what a fucking joke, Katsuki could do whatever he wanted! - the softly treading nerd hadn't passed a verdict on their newfound friendship. He wouldn't turn Katsuki down... would he? The damn nerd was an annoyingly faithful adherent of the 'Religion of Kacchan.' But as Katsuki followed Izuku to a more private location, he remembered Ground Beta, remembered everything he had ever thrown at Izuku, and suddenly he wasn't so sure anymore. Admiration could be held at a distance. Izuku never owed Katsuki any form of forgiveness. "Er," Izuku interrupted Katsuki's anxieties once they found a suitable location, "I was told that you were the one who organized my retrieval." "Yeah," Katsuki confirmed, more casually than his actual state of mind. And then suddenly Izuku was bowing. "I am very sorry for the trouble I caused you!" "Wha- the hell are you doing!? Stand the fuck up!" Izuku did so, only appearing more unsure. "But -" "You don't have to apologize for shit like that!" Katsuki insisted, using a friendlier grammatical form of address - hoping Izuku would get the message. When Izuku nodded, Katsuki breathed out in relief. Finally. Maybe now the fucker wouldn't see himself as a liability. Well, Katsuki could dream. "For a long time, I've wanted to ask you," Izuku started again, fidgeting a little, "why were you so convinced that I was trying to humiliate you all these years?" Katsuki frowned, and then tsked, his memories slipping even further back to the time they were brats. The two getting soaked in that stream, Izuku holding his hand out... "Cause unlike how I was playing at being a hero, you always were a hero," he answered. Izuku's eyes widened. Katsuki continued. "And I didn't think I could ever be weak enough to need a hero, but there you were, even as a quirkless loser, saving me anyways. It pissed me off." "Oh, Kacchan, I'm so sorry, I never meant -" "Shut it! Don't put words in my mouth! That shit doesn't piss me off anymore, okay?!" He huffed again, and then looked back at Izuku's open, affectionate expression. He used to hate that face, used to hate what that care and affection represented: that Katsuki was somehow lacking and needed someone to look after him. It felt patronizing. Well, now he knew the truth. He was lacking. He was weak. He did need help sometimes. And so did this stubborn self-destructive disaster of a childhood friend. "From now on," Katsuki held up his hand, palm open, in offering. "I look after you, you look after me, got it?" Izuku, predictably, burst into tears. Then, less predictably, the nerd launched himself into Katsuki's space in a death grip of a hug. "What the - I didn't say you could - dammit Izuku!!!" Katsuki waved explosive palms about, but Izuku was undeterred. After growling and cursing some more, Katsuki gave in to the humiliation, and offered a light hand of reciprocation on Izuku's back. He quietly listened to his friend's elated sobs. And then he found himself melting into the complete safety of Izuku's presence, that he had always felt around this young hero but had been too egotistical to accept. Just like Izuku had declared that Katsuki was a closer hero to him than All Might, Katsuki felt the same. Izuku was his first real hero. When Izuku pulled back from the hug, Katsuki pretended he wasn't disappointed. "Oh, wait," Izuku said, a flash of sadness crossing his expression, "do I have to call you Katsuki now?" "Hell fucking no!" The damn nerd's eyes sparkled once again. "Okay, Kacchan!"
i will never stop thinking about them. they are boyfriends and nobody can change my mind.
i just think that them
this trio has my heart and I love them
Inspired/referenced by that scene in bnha chpt. 327! Hope the band gets back together LOL.
Please I’m dying they are so CUTE
Ahhhh Momojirou crumbs 😍