Bakugou Katsuki/Midoriya Izuku

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Pairing: Izuku Midoriya / Katsuki Bakugou
Alternative name(s): BakuDeku, BKDK, KatsuDeku, DekuBaku, Decchan, Dekacchan, DekuKatsu, DKBK, Wonder Duo, SmashShine, BoinkDoink,IzuKatsu, Inflammable, "🧡💚", "💚🧡", "💥🥦", "🥦💥"
Gender category: Slash
Fandom: Boku no Hero Academia
Canonical?: non canon
Prevalence: Extremely high
Archives: AO3
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Katsuki Bakugou/Midoriya Izuku, known widely as Bakudeku or Dekubaku, is generally one of the most popular ships, and the most popular slash ship, in the fandom Boku no Hero Academia. It centers around the main character of the story, Midoriya Izuku and his childhood friend, turned bully, turned rival, Bakugou Katsuki; which has caused quite a lot of controversy between BNHA fans.

They are currently the most popular ship of the fandom in AO3, with over 34,000 stories.


Midoriya and Bakugou are childhood best friends. However when Bakugou manifests a particularly strong and powerful quirk, he begins bullying Midoriya for being quirkless and weak. This leads Bakugou to give Midoriya the mocking nickname "Deku," which is a play on the kanji (出久) that make up Midoriya's first name and a common insult in Japanese that's roughly equivalent to the English blockhead.[1] In doing so, Bakugou enforces the societal view that Midoriya cannot succeed in his dream of becoming a Pro Hero because he has no quirk. Midoriya calls Bakugou by his childhood nickname, Kacchan (かっちゃん, Katchan), which can be seen as extremely cutesy and girly.[2]

In the very beginning of canon, despite Bakugou having earlier told him to kill himself, Midoriya risks his life to save Bakugou from a villain attack and receives the One for All quirk from All Might. Because of this, Bakugou believes that Midoriya had lied to him about being quirkless when they begin attending U.A. and becomes angry with him. Midoriya attempts to explain that his Quirk was given to him, but is unable to elaborate beyond that without breaking the confidence of All Might. Bakugou doesn't believe Midoriya, and the lack of a proper explanation leads to him cementing his fear that Midoriya had secretly been looking down on him for their entire lives.

After a climactic fight in which Bakugou reveals these misconceptions and confides his own insecurities about his role in pushing All Might into retirement,[3] the two finally clear the air once and for all, and develop a mutually respectful rivalry.

After, Bakugo starts helping Midoriya train[4] to learn to control the many quirks that come with One For All and starts changing towards atonement for bullying Midoriya, getting himself impaled to save Midoriya's life and finally apologizing profusely to him. From then on, he started calling Midoriya by his first name, becoming the only character, apart from Midoriya's mom, to use his name instead of "Deku."

Because of their tumultuous history, Bakugo is both the person who knows Midoriya the best[5] and Midoriya's closest bond.[6] They see each other as inspiration, striving to surpass the other, with Midoriya even calling Bakugo his "image of victory"[7]; and Bakugo thinking about "catching up" to Midoriya while in a life and death situation.[8]


BakuDeku is the most popular ship in the Eastern BNHA fandom, and one of the most popular ships in the Western fandom. According to fandometrics on Tumblr, in 2018 Bakudeku was #16 on the most popular ships list.[9] There are over 34,000 works for the pairing on AO3,[10] and it has become the most tagged BNHA ship on the site, overtaking the similarly popular ships of Tododeku and Kiribaku.[11]

Common Tropes & Fanon

In canon fanfiction, it was common for the stories to include some sort of redemption arc for Bakugou in which he apologizes for his past behavior. This is especially true of early BakuDeku fic, which was written at a time when Midoriya and Bakugou's relationship was far more antagonistic. Now that the two are on better terms, there has been an increasing focus in canon fic on mutual character development and growth, as well as aged up explorations of their lives as Pro Heros, domestic fic, quirk accident and canon divergence stories.

As far as AU fic go, A/B/O is by far the most common trope for the pairing along with the canon-specific au "no quirks".[10] They are also frequently portrayed as soulmates, with fic often capitalizing on Bakugou and Midoriya's complementary personalities and ideals.[12]


The largest controversy in BNHA fandom is over the acceptability of BakuDeku as a ship. Some fans disapprove of shipping Midoriya with his childhood bully and label the ship as "abusive."[13] This controversy is largely related to mixed opinions about Bakugou and his attitude, cultural nuances lost in translation, and fanon misconceptions about the extent of the ship's antagonistic history.[14] Many viewers and readers are repulsed by the ship in the first chapter alone, in which Bakugou tells Midoriya he'll never be able to go to UA and suggests Midoriya throw himself off the school's roof.

Bakugo is learning. He is developing as a character and as a person. Eventually he may even apologize to Midoriya, or maybe the two of them will even become friends, but the fact still stands. He was abusive. Midoriya is not required to forgive him, especially to the point of becoming romantically involved. VICTIMS ARE NEVER REQUIRED TO FORGIVE THEIR ABUSERS, EVEN WHEN THE ABUSER HAS APOLOGIZED OR CHANGED.

In order for the ship to be healthy, Bakugo would have to completely shift his worldview to the point that it no longer pains him to be around Deku. He would also have to apologize to Deku, and Deku would have to forgive him, and both of them would have to mean it. Deku couldn't idolize Bakugo anymore, either, because that idolization would reintroduce the power imbalance.

After all of these things have happened, then and only then will ba/ku/de/ku even be within the possibility of being healthy.[13]

The major problem with the controversy around Bakugou and Midoriya's relationship is that there is a distinct cultural difference between Japan's perception of bullying and Western perception of bullying. In many Eastern cultures, individualism is actively discouraged in favor of blending into the crowd leading to a disconnect between the "me" culture of the West and the "us" culture of Japan.[15] Because of this difference, bullying is considered a personal matter in Japan, and therefore the apparent lack of repercussions in canon is because what Bakugou does to Midoriya isn't necessarily interpreted as bullying in the context of Japanese culture.[16] That isn't to say what he does cannot be interpreted as bullying or that it isn't bullying, merely that the issue of whether or not their relationship is "healthy" for them is purely a Western issue with the canon. Bakugou's aggression is also not a big issue in Japan, because while he seems like a perfect example of toxic masculinity through a Western lens, Japanese perception of masculinity can be quite different[17] as best shown by Kirishima Eijiro's comments on "manliness" which tend to have less to do with actual qualities one might see as "manly" and more to do with being honorable and respectable.

Although the Anti BakuDeku subset of the fandom is relatively small, this vocal minority has lead some shippers to feel wary of people who do not ship BakuDeku, particularly those who ship popular "competitor" ships, such as KiriBaku and IzuOcha. The ship’s overall reputation within fandom is mixed, but appears to be slightly on the negative side. Fans of the ship have frequently been accused of "romanticizing" or excusing Bakugo's years of bullying towards Midoriya.[18]

WOW nothing like finding out that someone you really liked and looked up to ships b/k/d/k. “It’s just a TV show” omgggggggg shut the fuck up!!!! You really have the fucking nerve to say that to me???? “I don’t ship them in canon” UM????? So you only ship them when their entire backstory/formative experiences/ENTIRE FUCKING PERSONALITIES are changed???? That’s not a ship!!!! If you need to change that to make it okay, then you already know it’s wrong.[19]

This has caused some shippers to get defensive and lash out against critics, souring their reputation in the fandom. This behavior is especially prevalent on Tumblr and Twitter, where they will comment on critical metas.[20][21]

In August 2018, a blocklist made by and for BakuDeku shippers began circulating on Tumblr. The list consisted of well-known Antis, sorted into four tiers of "Yikes."[22] Reaction to the list was mixed, with some of the users on the list taking it as a source of pride and turning it into a meme.[23] Other fans pointed out that users who had not partaken in any form of harassment were in the top tier, well above known "pedophiles" and transphobes.[23] Overall, the blocklist has not helped the BakuDeku fandom's reputation.

In July 2022, a "DekuBaku manifesto" was posted to the AO3, immediately sparking controversy over t/b ship dynamics, which is already a constant point of debate on Twitter. While obvious bait, the piece was disguised as "opinion based" and compiled a bunch of data that "proved" fandom was shifting towards DekuBaku (top Deku, bottom Baku), that DekuBaku had more content than BakuDeku (top Baku, bottom Deku) on the AO3 and Twitter, and that people who preferred BakuDeku were mischaracterizing both Bakugo and Midoriya, homophobic and perpetuating heteronormative tropes.[24] The piece did it's job on starting a fan war in the AO3 comments and on Twitter, with some people speculating about who had written and shared the piece and then attacking users they thought responsible or who were only mentioned in passing on the work itself.






Fanart & Fancomics



Communities & Resources


  1. ^ Iseli, Marcel. The True Meaning of “Deku” in Japanese, Archived version. Linguaholic blog, published 10 January 2019. Accessed 10 Nov 2019.
  2. ^ The Meaning of the Kanji Name: Bakugou Katsuki “My Hero Academia”[Dead link]. Posted 8 April 2018. Accessed 10 Nov 2019.
  3. ^ Deku Vs. Kacchan part 2
  4. ^ BNHA manga 284, Catch-a-Kacchan
  5. ^ BNHA manga chapter 319
  6. ^ Shigafo to Bakugo, BNHA manga 367
  7. ^ BNHA chapter 119 Deku vs Kacchan 2
  8. ^ BNHA manga 362
  9. ^ 2018’s Top Ships, Archived version Fandom on Tumblr. Posted 28 November 2018.
  10. ^ a b Bakugou Katsuki/Midoriya Izuku tag on AO3. Snapshot saved 25 September 2022 showing 33638 works in the tag. This does not include works that are log-in locked and therefore not viewable from a public backup.
  11. ^ 僕のヒーローアカデミア | Boku no Hero Academia | My Hero Academia tag on AO3. Archive Snapshot from 26 September 2022.
  12. ^ Save to Win, Win to Save, Archived version, posted to Tumblr by pikahlua, 7 August 2021.
  13. ^ a b 2 am thought of the day, Archived version. Tumblr post by obsessionic. Accessed 10 Nov 2019.
  14. ^ Mythbusters: Deku and Kacchan Edition, Archived version. Tumblr post by osakakitty. Posted 27 March 2018. Accessed 10 Nov 2019.
  15. ^ Branding 'me' in a 'we' culture.[Dead link] Posted 25 July 2012. Accessed 10 Nov 2019.
  16. ^ On Being Bullied in Japan, Archived version. Blog post by E. on This is Japanese Life. Posted 12 Jun 2013. Accessed 10 Nov 2019.
  17. ^ 草食 “Soushoku:” Men and the Changing Definition of Masculinity in Japan, Archived version. Posted 16 Feb 2015. Accessed 10 Nov 2019.
  18. ^ [1] Posted July 15 2021. Accessed on April 7 2023
  19. ^ Tumblr post.[Dead link] Posted 5 Aug 2019. Accessed 10 Nov 2019.
  20. ^ not to be the "uwu dont be so mean person" but..., Archived version. Tumblr posts by gontagokuhara, hananokuzu14, and endeavorphobic. An example of a BakuDeku shipper commenting on a critical post.
  21. ^ the point was that bakugou is often times the final... Tweets by sapphicdkbk, LegitTayj1. Posted 22 September 2022. Another example of a BakuDeku shipper commenting on anti-BakuDeku posts.
  22. ^ the list, Archived version. Posted 21 Sept 2018. Accessed 10 Nov 2019.
  23. ^ a b the memes, Archived version. Posted 21 Sept 2018. Accessed 10 Nov 2019.
  24. ^ Screencapture thread of the manifesto, Archived version