Warning: The following contains spoilers from the My Hero Academia manga. Read ahead for your own discretion!
The confrontation between Bakugo and All For One (AFO) in My Hero Academia chapter 409 is not just about Bakugo coming to terms with himself; the two fights occurring right now are sort of like each hero and villain fighting a mirror version of themselves, what they could have been.
When you really think about it, both of them, while fighting for different sides, share many similar characteristics, which might make you think, “Wait, who is the villain again??”
Bakugo and AFO bullied those around them
I mean, think about it: Deku’s relationship with Bakugo, in a sense, parallels Shigaraki’s relationship with AFO.
Both were born with incredible power and believed that because of the abilities they possessed, they were inherently better than others. Obviously, both wanted to pursue completely opposite paths, but it was that strong superiority complex that led to their dickhead personalities.
In simpler terms, both AFO and Bakugo thought they were “THE GOATS” and silenced anyone who said otherwise.
How Bakugo treated Deku as a kid was in the same sort of aggressive, bullying way AFO treated his brother Yoichi. Look no further than chapter one, where Bakugo literally tells Deku to KILL HIMSELF!
(MHA Chapter 1)
He was too aggressive on Deku throughout the initial days at U.A. High, especially in their first battle, where Bakugo only targeted Deku and completely ignored Uraraka (didn’t even bother remembering her name).
Bakugo’s obsession to surpass All Might and become the number one hero grew even deeper when he learnt the secret behind Deku’s power and in the night, he challenged Deku to a fight and got both of them into trouble just because he thought:
Bakugo’s self-pride and huge-ass ego were established when his friends used to gaslight his quirk and constantly praise him for his efforts. Through that, Bakugo thought he was born in royalty and everyone should bow down to him.
Similarly, All For One was just born evil and decided to take a jab at those with quirks because he wanted to be the strongest.
But the only teeny tiny difference is that All For One had nobody to guide him to the path of righteousness and receive that character development that Bakugo did. In other words, he never had a Deku in his life to challenge him. Instead, he only had his vessel Shigaraki who basically answered his every order.
The association you have with others matters a lot to how a character shapes up. Bakugo had Deku, All Might, Best Jeanist to keep him on the right path, thereby having the strength to cut off and throw away Shigaraki’s offer when he was kidnapped.
On the other hand, All For One had, to his head, a weakling brother. Therefore, he was never showered with any love and genuinely thought he could be the strongest because he killed the other quirk users as a child.
In this sense, Bakugo is kind of fighting his own demons right now. Having to completely anihilate his old flaws and stand proud as the reformed man we know him as now at this point in the story.
Deku and Shigaraki – the bullied
On the other hand, both Deku and Shigaraki are victims of hero society, having to experience the constant injustice and flaws that come with a superhuman society solely reliant on Superman wannabes.
The only difference is that Deku was approached by All Might and Shigaraki was approached by AFO, but this could of EASILY been flipped and the two could of followed completely opposite paths.
(Deku and Shigaraki)
These fight matchups also solidify the contrast between a villain like AFO and Shigaraki, with AFO being pure evil and Shigaraki just being a victim. Throughout the series, Deku has made it clear he’s been able to distinguish between those two types of villains, which has prompted him to save Shigaraki from the post-paranormal liberation war.
And this is why we fully believe Deku will save Shigaraki from the darkness that is AFO. As the two’s opposing natures represent the moral dichotomy of the story, this fight will help Deku become the number one hero of its era and the next symbol of peace!
The truth of the matter is that AFO’s defeat was imminent, but with BROKEN quirk, AFO can pull up some last-minute crap.
He desperately needed someone to save him, just like Shigaraki. His younger brother was that person, but AFO rejected him, and as we know, Yoichi wasn’t able to accomplish this, but Deku WAS with Bakugo.
This further proves why Bakugo is the perfect final opponent for the demon king, and that tiny difference is what has allowed Bakugo to prevail, and it’s all thanks to our boy Deku.