Episode 22 Bakugo vs Uraraka is a good episode, but also a massive waste of a dramatic opportunity. Spoilers ahead obviously.

Look, I know that the plot demands that Deku and Bakugo meet in the finals at the School Festival: My Hero Academia is primarily Deku’s story, and Bakugo has long been set up as his nemesis/rival.

Bakugo is also, to not mince words, a jerk face who needs to get whacked a bit so he can learn some humility. The series is clearly set up to ensure that Deku delivers the next whack in the finals.

Now let’s take a look at Ochaco Uraraka, and obligatory disclaimer: Ochaco is one of my favourite characters in My Hero Academia. Her mercenary attitude to why she wants to be a hero is grounded in wanting to take care of her parents, and even with that she can’t help being a generous, sweet girl who truly wants to help others. For example look at how she acted over the entrance exam in season 1.

Meanwhile she’s been watching Deku’s compulsive study of the Quirks of others and how he uses it, and has learned from it. So despite not having an openly offensive Quirk like Bakugo she enters into this match with a clever, well thought out plan.

A plan that effectively combined her Quirk with Bakugo’s, and that used Bakugo’s arrogance against him.

This sort of thinking is a huge part of the appeal of Girls Und Panzer, and see also this post on Pedantic Perspective (and which I’ve linked to before).

It’s partly why Deku appeals to me so much as the main character of My Hero Academia: he may be Superman one day, but until then he’s damned well going to think like Batman, and win on his wits.

Ochaco’s plan should have worked, and didn’t because the scriptwriters went with the lazy “he’s more powerful” trope (mostly because the plot says so).

With the background out of the way, here’s why I think having Ochaco defeat Bakugo would have been better dramatically:

  • Ochaco deserved the win anyway and there’s nothing anyone can say to convince me otherwise. 🙂
  • It would have provided an opportunity for Bakugo to learn a few things.
  • It would have validated Deku’s thinking and approach right before he faces Todoriki, giving him a boost.
  • It would have made an impression on the entire class.

Of these Bakugo losing probably offers the most dramatic potential: it could either be the event that sends him off the rails completely into being a villain, or it be the making of him as a hero. Right now, he’s just a powerful jerk face who could go either way.

But creating an entire class of heroes who think first, and reach for their Quirks second? That has all sorts of interesting possibilities buried in it.

All of that’s true, but ultimately I really just wanted Ochaco to win.

Because Ochaco. 🙂

Oh well, at least she gets some attention in the Season 2 ED (along with the rest of the great female cast):