Come to think about it, Deku and Bakugo really haven’t interacted a whole lot this season. During the Sports Festival, Deku was largely concerned about fighting Todoroki and the two were also on their own during the internships. I suppose it was inevitable that the two would have to confront each other one way or another and it sure happened in spectacular fashion here.
All things considered, I think this exam was demanding quite a lot out of Deku. Like I do feel like Deku needed to be paired with Bakugo and very few students could even stand a change against All Might. But not only is Deku fighting the most powerful teacher (and #1 Hero), he has to do so with the one guy who has little to no sense of teamwork and camaraderie. And sure, Deku’s Full Cowling makes him less of a liability and Bakugo is powerful no matter how you look at it, but the real obstacle was always going to be Bakugo’s inability to cooperate with him.
I feel like whenever I say I like Bakugo as a character, it’s almost always begrudgingly so. His personality really is abhorrent; prideful in a way reminiscent of Vegeta but horribly lacking that character’s smugness or rough charm. I’m honestly surprised that after so many years of torment, Deku even still tries to be friendly with him. This isn’t exactly a two-sided relationship. But at the same time, there really is something fascinating about Bakugo. He’s smarter than he lets on; always analyzing his opponents, constantly thinking about the situations he gets himself into, and adapting to the situation when he needs to. And if anyone can even get through to Bakugo, it’s certainly Deku. Only could Deku remind him of his need to win as a way to persuade him to work together….and live.
I do find that flashback where Bakugo is admiring All Might rather interesting. Even though he is so different from Deku, both boys are evidently the product of one man’s influence. Whereas Deku is inspired by his mentor’s selflessness and kindness, Bakugo idolizes All Might because of his power and ability to win. Knowing this really does explain why Bakugo the way he is. Of course he wants to win on pure strength and power; that’s what’s been engraved in his head for so many years.
Even though Deku is completely in the right about passing the exam via escaping, Bakugo does make a strong counterpoint that they do need to at least fight All Might. Their teacher is simply too fast and too strong to evade and that’s while he’s wearing the weighted cuffs as a handicap. To my surprise, Bakugo is the real strategist of the fight; lending Deku one of his gauntlets to compensate for All for One’s physical strain and choosing to fend off All Might so that Deku can escape in his stead. I kind of wish Deku had more input in this fight though I do think his teammate had a point that he’s too fond of All Might to really think of fighting him. Still, that was remarkably selfless of Deku to attack All Might so that Bakugo can escape with him despite having a clear pathway to the exit.
The fight itself is pretty brutal to watch. It’s so chilling seeing All Might actually fight his students, especially when one of them is his protegee and surrogate son. If he was a villain, this world would be doomed. He does hold back but he sure didn’t pull any punches either and Deku and Kacchan do get injured quite a lot. Like, I’m surprised Deku can even walk let alone land a hit on All Might after getting New Hampshire smashed by his mentor. I can just imagine All Might preparing to strike while also thinking to himself “Aw geez, I hope this doesn’t kill them”.
Still, fighting Deku proved to be worthwhile for All Might since he realizes how far his student has come. Deku is getting a lot stronger and more able to use One For All and once again, he still proves that he’s as compassionate as he’s always been. Meanwhile, All Might also takes interest in Bakugo in how willing he is to win. All things considered, Bakugo would make a great hero if it wasn’t for his attitude problems. All Might occasionally tries to help him recognize his flaws though it doesn’t work quite as well he hoped. Oh well, points for trying I guess. Maybe someone should just refer Kacchan to some anger management sessions.