Oikawa Toru and Bakugo Katsuki, when looking at those two young men they seem like polar opposites appearance and personality-wise, yet they are much more similar than you think they are.
The one who seems like a perfect role model and setter, even a genius when you see his serve while the other aspires to become a hero clearly seeming successful with his quirk and strength.
Always smiling and not showing weakness while the other is always angry and… doesn’t show weakness?
And here it starts the similarities between Oikawa and Bakugo, let’s overlook the different worlds they live in one being normal and the other supernatural but focus on the people around them and their own attitude and habits.
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Overworking, the term used when one is doing more than actually being capable of, reaching a certain physical limit.
This point becomes easy to see if you start with Oikawa who is even called out for it by Iwaizumi for always doing too much, practicing more than he should leading him to even injure his knee like it was mentioned in season 1, episode 6 and it doesn’t stay with that one indicator.
In another flashback Iwaizumi and Oikawa are seen in their last year of middle-school, Iwaizumi stopping Oikawa’s excessive overworking with a headbutt making his nose bleed in the process and yells at him for his reckless behaviour.
Even on the day before the first Seijoh vs Karasuno match, Iwaizumi advises Oikawa to not stay up for too long when he saw him receive the DVD of Karasuno’s previous matches, fully aware of Oikawa’s bad habit staying up too late and watching through the night to be fully prepared.
On the other side we have Bakugo who seems to be naturally strong, but puts a lot of effort into constantly training.
He is often seen holding his arms or hiding his stiff muscles since he gets muscle spasms when he oveworks his quirk.
In practical training, exams and the training camp he is often seen as the one who is the first one to take action and stay as long as he can, putting his full effort in.
Moreover in the Uraraka vs Bakugo fight he obviously has muscle spasms and still went in knowing it would get worse, same goes as he fought against Toshinori with Deku at the end of season 2 and in several other fights around the school festival arc.
Deku is the only one mentioning it next to Toshinori, but despite everyone mentioning that Bakugo is strong those two are the only ones acknowledging the hard work Bakugo actually puts into his training.
Several times when people heave up his gauntlets they mention how heavy they actually are and despite their looks, he must have trained a lot to move around with them and withstand the recoil.
Even when it comes to cooking the meals or helping in the training camp arc, Bakugo tries hard at everything not wanting to slack or being seen as not capable, so when his quirk isn’t fit to light a fire he started to perfect his cutting skills to help out in the vegetables, Uraraka mentioning he is good at it while the others comment he probably did not want to feel useless at all
When Bakugo and Deku were grounded for fighting at the end of season 3, he was diligently and quietly doing the work he was appointed to, at a point the others made fun of him that he left dust but he mentioned it was Deku’s appointed work and that he wouldn’t leave it.
He even nagged Deku for not doing it properly showing his perfectionist side even to minor chores.
With perfectionism let’s jump over to Oikawa who is not much different in those aspects.
On his days off he trains younger kids, here as well his nephew.
In the manga shortly before the first Seijoh match Nishinoya mentions that he faced off Oikawa in middle-school, but that despite his serves were already strong back then he missed a lot more times back then making him think how hard he must have worked in that short amount of time to keep the misses very low with such a strong power serve.
Oikawa’s team as well are fully aware of their hardworking Captain and try to lighten the mood when Oikawa does miss at times, since he is a perfectionist and blames himself for mistakes most of the time they even tease him to get his mind off mistakes.
Being praised may sound nice, but being praised for the wrong things and not the things you wanted people to praise you for may have quite the opposite effect.
Like mentioned before only quite a few people are aware of the hard work Bakugo and Oikawa put in.
In Bakugo’s case only Aizawa, Toshinori and Deku actually mention and tell him that they see how hard he works, the burden he holds and all those pent up feelings of his especially towards the end of season 3 those things will be put clear on the table.
Flashbacks show that Bakugo was always praised for his amazing quirk since childhood, no one seeing his hard work but his quirk.
Completely rejecting the effort and endeavor he puts into making that quirk bloom, people give him the usual suck-up sentences like “must be amazing to have such a cool quirk” or “wow Bakugo is so strong, must be nice to be naturally talented” and similar things.
Even his own mother tells the teachers that they are the first two (being Aizawa and Toshinori) to see and talk about Bakugo for who he really is and acknowledging his hard work despite his rough and rude personality, unlike everyone else around him who just stick to him and praise him to be on his good side or make themselves look better.
Oikawa is sadly in the same situation, everyone telling him that he is such an amazing setter and that his serves are strong.
Yet they keep calling him a genius, smart and talented while throwing away all the effort, hard work, risks, frustration etc that came with his path of acquiring those skills.
There is even a chapter (it’s the 53th chapter to be specific) called, “Oikawa Toru is not a genius”, that is a whole topic for itself and would take a post to explain but simply said it’s pure effort that many deny which Oikawa put into his Volleyball.
A few of them experiencing it firsthand would be Iwaizumi and Nishinoya, especially the former one who is his childhood friend and tells him straight what kind of person he is, even in the third movie after the second match against Karasuno Iwaizumi tells Oikawa he wouldn’t change when it comes to Volleyball and he would always chase after it.
Kageyama may have seen Oikawa’s effort but it’s unclear if he actually acknowledged it since he is a bit socially inept and does only see the technical aspects of volleyball.
Like Bakugo, Oikawa has many people who praise him for the wrong things, like his amazing “genius” skills, others even calling him a monster, Ushijima even telling him he should have come to Shiratorizawa which was meant in a praising way but at the same time attacking Oikawa’s decision making and pride in what and how he does things.
Simply calling Oikawa smart disregards all the planning and observing he clearly does on both allies and rivals, which could be applied to Bakugo as well.
For some it may be obvious for others you might have a closer look to see the inferiority complex lingering inside of someone.
In both cases Bakugo and Oikawa, they might seem like over-confident young men but that’s just the shell hiding the many insecurities those both hold.
Constantly feeling the need to be approved and not being useless, working harder than anyone else while they are the most strict person when it comes to criticising their own skills, competing rather with their own self-satisfaction than with direct people yet they still have those rivals they need to beat, those who trigger that complex the most.
Leaving the rivals aspect for later, those two were always characters people tend to judge easily.
For Oikawa there are many who see him as an arrogant, narcissistic and overconfident guy who is condescending and mean when it comes to his opponents.
Taking a closer look, Oikawa always compliments and comments on the amazing skills of others, talking positively about their actions or in a case they lack something he points out the weakness that is obstructing the other player’s path.
In no way he is condescending talking about their weakness, but points out his mere observations while he even tells allies and enemies alike what they still need to polish, for example after Seijoh’s practice match he walked up to Hinata and Tsukkishima mentioning that they both are amazing yet they still have to improve their receives, serves and cooperation.
He did not mean it in a condescending way, this is clear when he tells them that at the inter-high match there are much stronger teams and rivals waiting for them and that they cannot simply rely on their current strength, which he finishes up with saying that Daichi already knows the facts he had explained to them, and Daichi showing that he really did.
On the other hand, when Oikawa makes a mistake, he keeps nagging to himself and apologizes immediately to his teammates mentioning it was his mistakes and making it much worse than it seems, while when someone else did the mistake he reassures them that it’s not a big deal and they can return the lost points or do better next time.
Every time he messes up he tries to smile and joke around to hide his insecurities and anxiety of making a mistake, or shifts the attention to someone else to calm his mind for the next move he should take, this is also clear when Iwaizumi mentions several times that he doesn’t like the pretentious attitude and smiles Oikawa puts on when nagging him for it.
Same goes for Bakugo, his perfectionism leads him to look much more mature and powerful than he actually is, meaning just like his classmates he is still a first year high-schooler, having ambitions and fears for his future.
Unlike Oikawa, Bakugo shows a much more aggressive and loud attitude to mask his inferiority complex that as well stems from his lack of self-appreciation when it comes to achievements and being strict with himself, causing him to scream, yell or even insult someone.
Did you ever realize that when someone mentions Bakugo’s mistakes he talks much faster than he usually does, throwing in a mix of insults and threats towards the person to shut up?
His sentences become even so fast that you need to listen twice to get what he actually said, and the words he says in that moment don’t even seem like he thought about them but are a natural reaction to criticism and mistakes.
When others make mistakes he points them out and in his own way tries to make the person realize their mistake, his overall rough attitude may seem scary but he is, like Oikawa, a very observant person.
As an example he did not underestimate Uraraka being one of the few who actually took her seriously in their fight during the sports festival and being on his guard, later even telling them what was so fragile about her showing that he acknowledged her powers and did not for one second think of her as someone who is lower than himself.
Another indicator that he is very hardworking is that he is despite his looks third ranked in the theoretical exams, since he is often seen screaming when his classmates starts to chatter for a bit too long or about unnecessary things it could show that he is focussing a lot on the actual lessons that are going in class and doesn’t want to get distracted causing him to get bad grades or make him lack in another aspect.
Here is another parallel, since Oikawa is also a person who is overly focussed he needs to take little breaks to close his eyes and recover for a bit since he is constantly in thought.
Since in boku no hero academia we pretty much see the scenes from Deku’s point of view we don’t get much insight of Bakugo’s thoughts and inner world beside the last scenes of season 3 in the Deku vs Kacchan fight.
Already starting with Oikawa’s first appearance in episode 6 of season 1 his introduction starts off as the one who is late since he just recovered from an alleged knee injury.
While many viewers thought that Oikawa wore the white knee pad for fashion reasons, sorry to disappoint you but it was a knee supporter for his bad knee which had resulted from excessive training and overworking.
Iwaizumi and even the coach seem to always have an eye on Oikawa if he stretches properly or is taking enough breaks fully aware that he would go overboard to endanger himself with the intention to satisfy his perfectionist self.
Bakugo is not far from that either, even when the league of Villains was not something that had directly to do with him, it was clearly seen that due to his pride and sense of wanting to become better he rushes into situations without much thought that they could endanger him.
Both characters are taking high risks in order to improve themselves.
Oikawa constantly serve spiking the ball, missing a lot in the beginning, injuring himself and even more.
Bakugo’s gauntlets as well, his hero costume and the things he tries out with his quirk and uses it along the costume bear a high risk and danger to his own body, the recoil alone is powerful enough to cause his body damage when not being careful yet he still sees it as necessary for his own growth.
Both are stubborn and won’t change that habit no matter how many times they seem to feel the risks on their own bodies or being constantly nagged on.
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The rival relations as well are so similar for both characters that it’s odd that two people who seem so different are actually very alike.
First we have Oikawa who has unbeaten Ushijima as a rival he sees far ahead of him, wanting to surpass him since junior high but sadly never had the chance to do so.
On top of that his genius junior Kageyama is at his back and drawing closer to becoming better than him with much faster pace.
In both cases Oikawa always felt they were looking down on him, for Ushijima that he never could beat at full strength and for Kageyama who seemed to utterly respect Oikawa but at the same time was fixated on beating him as well.
Full of fear that he would be replaced by Kageyama in junior high and then get beaten by him, tossing his chances for nationals out.
Bakugo again, is pretty much the same.
We have Todoroki who seems unbeatable while he used only one side of his quirk and already is strong, still he never looked at Bakugo just like Ushijima seemed to not see Oikawa as a proper rival (in Oikawa’s eyes).
For Bakugo it looked like Todoroki was thinking less of him as he didn’t take the competition as seriously as his other comrades and was even mad as he won while he never used his fire quirk.
It wasn’t a victory since firstly, Todoroki was occupied with other thoughts (the look at me part that Bakugo was talking about) and secondly Todoroki used only half of his power against Bakugo unlike when he fought Deku., which made him feel like he was looking down on him.
Here again we have not the junior-senior relationship like Oikawa and Kageyama, yet it’s very similar looking at Deku and Bakugo.
They have been childhood friends and acquaintances ever since, but there was always a certain distance between those two, first we have Deku who Bakugo always saw as an annoying clingy quirkless boy, still there were situations where Deku showed much more heroic sides rushing to help others.
Therefore he was acknowledged by Toshinori to be his next successor and inherited One for All, of course Bakugo is not certain until the end of season 3 where the cards were laid in front of him.
The frustration of Deku rapidly drawing closer to his back and surpassing him strength-wise, and on top of that Bakugo always thought that Deku looked down on him since he used to follow him, compliment him even due to his bullying and kept his quirk a secret.
In that sense Bakugo always knew Deku’s observations and analysis skills alone were advanced as he showed in the series many times not being surprised which amazing tricks he pulled off, but the fact that Deku could become an actual threat and reach a position where he could look down on Bakugo, made their relationship just as worse as the one between Kageyama and Oikawa.
Another common thing especially when it comes to their relationships between Kageyama and Deku is that even though they seem like such a big threat, trigger their inferiority complex the most and burdens them with the immense pressure of needing to advance as fast as possible, they still grow through those two rivals.
Oikawa mentioned in the last minutes of the second Seijoh match, that through the match against Kageyama he realized he did not reach his limit yet and that there is still room for more.
Bakugo at the end of season 3 tells Deku, despite the fact he was chosen by Toshinori Bakugo still won against him and that he won’t lose, becoming even stronger, as he continues to challenge himself with a now acknowledged through rival he needed in order to grow further.
In the end Oikawa does not hate Kageyama and same goes to Bakugo when it comes to Deku, because to a certain point they might be their rivals but for Oikawa Kageyama will still be his cute junior and for Bakugo Deku will always be the nerdy childhood friend.
After analysing their rival relationships, there are still a lot of losses that came with it.
Both Bakugo and Oikawa have big dreams and high aspirations, therefore the perfectionistic nature leads them to ambitiously overwork themselves to reach that goal.
One wants to head to nationals the other wants to become the greatest hero.
And yet… both of them failed, or at least somebody obstructed their path.
Oikawa never made it to the nationals even in his last year in High-school, losing the chance to defeat Ushijima and accomplish his long desired goal.
For Bakugo who admired Toshinori just as much as Deku did, the hero he loved and respected the most chose the biggest threat, his rival, as a successor and even worse it Bakugo felt responsible due to the abduction incident in season 3 that Toshinori had to retire and cease to be the symbol of peace.
Leading Bakugo to take on a heavy burden and fail his provisional hero license, falling back behind Deku who was acknowledged by his role model and the person he respected the most.
Both of their chances were taken by their pressuring feelings, heavy burdens on themselves and their biggest rivals.
Yet both of them won’t give up because after all they are the kind of people chasing after their dream no matter what.
Iwaizumi told Oikawa that he is the person who would always chase after Volleyball, and Bakugo declared that he would surpass them all, Todoroki, Toshinori and Deku as he won’t back down.
Two very different characters, in two different worlds and yet so similar.
Do you think so too?
Any other similarities that I missed out ?
If yes leave a comment and make the list bigger!
Of course you can insert your thoughts on both, similarities and differences.
Until next time, since the tea is sipped – wait, someone burned the herbs…