Please Spare a Thought for ‘My Hero Academia’ Manga Readers, We’re Suffering Right Now
This one hurts.
MAJOR spoilers for My Hero Academia manga chapter 362
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how it felt like we were about to lose a major character in the My Hero Academia manga. After reading the latest chapter, I’m, well, kinda right? No one’s been declared dead yet, but boy howdy, it certainly LOOKS like a death just happened.
Originally, I suspected the big death scene would be Endeavor in his fight against All For One. During the fight, he had some major “I believe the children are our future” moments where he felt the need to push himself for the sake of future generations. However, as far as we know, Endeavor’s fine. Bakugo, however …
And look, I can’t believe I’m even WRITING such a sentence, but my entire Twitter feed is currently in shambles because it looks like our favorite explody boy just DIED. Again, it’s not confirmed, but it doesn’t look good – not just because of the visual at the end of the chapter, but because of everything that happened leading up to it. If you thought Endeavor’s inner monologue about his past not standing in the way of Shoto and younger heroes was raising the death flags, Bakugo’s moments in this chapter are gonna send those flags into outer space.
It’s heartbreaking, really, because Bakugo’s had such a great story arc full of an incredible amount of character growth. This chapter is full of painful reminders of his progress, of him being a kid with a dream, just like Izuku, and how he’s very much aware of his missteps.
What’s been great about Bakugo’s story is how it acknowledges the mental toll hero society has taken on these kids, but also how he’s worked hard to back up his promise to be a better person. The level of self-awareness he has is pretty admirable as he’s the first to point out his flaws and the first to try and do right by those he’s hurt. The Bakugo from the first episode hasn’t been around in a long time, so to see it all, potentially, come to an end hurts.
Bakugo gives it his all in his fight against Shigaraki, but there’s a terrible side effect to his upgraded hero suit that causes the sweat all over his body to explode instead of the explosions just coming from the palms of his hands. While this is going on, he thinks about everything Izuku’s been through and wonders if he can still catch up to him. Izuku stopped being the “useless Deku” to Bakugo a while ago, so much so that he doesn’t even use the insulting name he came up with as a kid.
Truth be told, out of all the characters in the manga (with the exception of, like, Izuku’s mother), Bakugo’s the one who knows him best. He’s the one who points out how self-sacrificial Izuku is and the one who leads the charge to talk some sense into him when he tries to do things by himself. He completely recognizes and acknowledges Izuku’s progress (and the flaws that need to be worked on), and it ends up being the last thought he has in the chapter before his heart gives out.
Is that THE All Might Card?!
While it’s easy to see how much Izuku looks up to All Might, it’s worth noting that Bakugo also looks up to the now retired number one hero. Bakugo’s personality makes it easy to forget that he’s a kid with a childhood dream and the reminders tend to be the kind that hit you right where it hurts. Back when he and Deku fought a second time, for example, Bakugo admitted to feeling guilty about All Might’s retirement. To him, it wouldn’t have happened had he been strong enough to not be kidnapped by the villains. This moment led to All Might actually apologizing for not realizing how much Bakugo was hurting at the time.
This chapter gives us another reminder of how much Bakugo looks up to All Might and how, deep down, he’s a kid reaching for a goal. It turns out he’s kept the All Might trading card he got as a kid this entire time. He’d been hoping to get All Might to sign it but admits to “being a punk going through some stuff” so he never got around to asking. The worst part? He’s got the card with him at the end of the chapter.
You brought his PARENTS into this, too???
As if all of that weren’t enough, we get a classic “the weather forecast is suddenly predicting rain” moment. With that comes a panel of several characters reacting to the fallen Bakugo… AND a shot of HIS PARENTS??? T-they aren’t even there, what the hell?!?!?!
All of the sudden, in the middle of this awful outcome for Bakugo, we suddenly see Mitsuki and Masaru Bakugo. Mitsuki comments on how her son doesn’t like the rain, and at this point, I’m laying on the floor in a puddle of tears. There are already enough tragic beats in this chapter, but I guess we had to have one more gut punch by showing a character’s parents randomly talking about how he doesn’t like the rain. I used to like the rain, but you know what? Not anymore. Not like this, not ever again.
Is Bakugo dead? I dunno, and I won’t know for another two weeks – assuming the next chapter picks up where this one leaves off. Fandom’s been going back and forth on whether or not he’s gone, contributing a hell of a lot of headcanons and fanart about Izuku’s reaction when he arrives on the scene. I certainly hope he’s alive, but damn, things are extremely grim right now.
(Featured image: © K. Horikoshi/Shueisha, My Hero Academia Project)
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