WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 5, Episode 9 of My Hero Academia, now streaming on Funimation, Crunchyroll and Hulu.
As the top two students of Class 1-A, Katsuki Bakugo and Shoto Todoroki make up one of the most interesting rivalries in My Hero Academia. Possessing similar fiery Quirks, the aspiring heroes are respected as teammates and feared as opponents. On parallel journeys, these young U.A. students have more in common than they may realize.
Both Bakugo and Todoroki have had to reinvent themselves over the course of the series. They are the only Class 1-A students to fail the Provisional Hero Licensing Exam, despite being the strongest. As Bakugo strives to surpass All Might, Todoroki aims to distance himself from his father's legacy. The two heated heroes fought once before at the U.A. Sports Festival, but they've both come a long way since then. Whose fire would burn brighter in a rematch?
Katsuki Bakugo's Explosive Quirk
Though his hero name suggestion -- Great Explosion Murder God Dynamite -- was quickly shot down by Lady Midnight, it perfectly encapsulates who this young man is. Bakugo's Explosion Quirk causes his palms to sweat a substance similar to nitroglycerin. He can ignite this substance to create a blast with size and strength of his choosing. The more he sweats, the bigger the explosion.
In the hands (no pun intended) of anyone else, this Quirk may sound slightly one-dimensional. Bakugo's use of it, however, makes him a true genius on the battlefield. In addition to dealing severe damage, he also uses his explosions to propel himself through the air. With extreme maneuverability and excellent decision-making in the heat of battle, this walking lethal weapon certainly has the right tools to be the future #1 Hero.
"Kacchan," as Midoriya calls him, is also incredibly creative, developing multiple signature techniques. For a close-range attack, he employs his Howitzer Impact, utilizing explosions to launch himself into a fiery vortex that he detonates on impact. For long-range, he's developed a move he calls his "AP Shot." Extending one arm, he uses his free hand to form a circle with his fingers against his outstretched palm to shoot a condensed explosive blast capable of piercing concrete.
Shoto Todoroki's Fiery Side
Shoto making his hero name Shoto is the most Shoto thing ever. Though he's much lower-key than Bakugo, Todoroki is still a force to be reckoned with. His Quirk, Half-Cold Half-Hot, is as overly literal as its user. It allows him to create ice with the right half of his body, and flames with his left.
The youngest child of Endeavor, the longtime #2 Hero, fiery power is his birthright. Unfortunately, due to his strained relationship with his father, the young Todoroki spent most of his life repressing the flaming half of his Quirk. As a result, he tends to rely on overpowering opponents with straightforward, large-scale bursts of ice and/or fire without much dependence on combat skills.
Nicknamed Icy Hot by Bakugo, the dual-powered hero-in-training does have a signature technique or two up his sleeve. Todoroki's most commonly used move is his Heaven-Piercing Ice Wall, which instantly creates an enormous glacier that can block or encase his opponent. However, his most powerful yet rarely used move -- only seen in My Hero Academia during the Sports Festival -- is Flashfreeze Heatwave. This move uses ice to cool the air before flames rapidly heat and expand it, creating a devastating burst of heat.
Bakugo vs. Shoto: Who Would Win A Rematch?
The U.A. Sports Festival's final found is the only time these two fiery teenagers have gone head-to-head. The match was hardly a fair fight, as Todoroki had yet to fully overcome his disdain for his flaming left half. This uncertainty resulted in an easy win for Bakugo, much to his chagrin. They've both grown quite a bit since then, so another bout would be a must-see confrontation.
In a battle of Quirks, Todoroki probably has the advantage in terms of raw power. However, Bakugo is a much better tactician and is more skilled with his Quirk. If they were to come to blows now, it would be a battle of wills that Bakugo would most likely win. Despite all of his growth, Todoroki still possesses a certain level of self-doubt. Bakugo, on the other hand, doesn't know the meaning of the word doubt.
Having learned to think of saving people as a form of winning, Bakugo is as close to a full-fledged hero as anyone in his class. Now that his obsession is no longer holding him back, King Explosion Murder is on a different level from his classmates that even Todoroki may not be able to reach just yet. In My Hero Academia, the person who wields the Quirk is just as important as the Quirk itself. Right now, Bakugo is the best version of himself while Shoto still has some work to do.