My Hero Academia: Bakugo Shows What It Takes to Be the Next Number One Hero

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for My Hero Academia Season 5, Episode 9, "Early Bird!," now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation and Hulu.

The Joint Training Exercise arc of the My Hero Academia anime is pitting Class 1-A and Class 1-B against one another. So far, both have had wins, losses and even one draw. More recently, in Episode 9, Katsuki Bakugo got his moment in the spotlight -- and he doesn't waste it.

Unlike the other battles between the classes, this one begins and ends within the same episode, making it the quickest yet. Bakugo is the reason for that. At first glance, he seems to leave his team behind in his wake, but he's actually much more thoughtful than that.

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Bakugo had taken the time to think through the match beforehand, knowing who the opponents would be from Class 1-B. He assumed, correctly, that they wouldn't think that he had changed very much from the Sports Festival and used this to his advantage, surprising them at every turn.

Under the watchful eyes of both Midoriya and All Might, Bakugo showcases his new temperament in battle. Initially, the episode only shows us the first part of Bakugo's plan, which is to simply follow his lead. This leads us to think that maybe he hasn't changed very much. But once the opposing groups meet, it's clear that there's a lot more to his plan. Knowing that he has the most power and mobility of his team, he uses both to mount a full-on offensive, and has his allies support him.

When they are trapped -- which happens almost immediately after they are fooled by Setsuna Tokage's plan of attack -- Bakugo comes to save them. Likewise, when Bakugo seems to hit a dead end against Yosetsu Awase, Jiro and the others are there to back him up. The team understands where their strengths are and how best to utilize them.

Their seamless teamwork is all part of Bakugo's plan, which, when fully revealed halfway through the match, clearly included the thoughts of his team members. This shows how far Bakugo has really come. Though his mannerisms are still rude and aggressive, his heart is now in the right place in terms of being a hero and his dream hasn't budged. He still wants to beat Midoryia and become the next #1 hero; it's this very drive that has transformed him for the better.

Bakugo understands that being a Pro Hero isn't just about getting the bad guys as quickly as possible. It's about being efficient and protecting both the innocent citizens and the other heroes by your side. All Might even says that he got "chills" by his performance when Match 4 is over. Bakugo's team wins quickly, effectively and injury-free. More importantly, his acceptance of his team members earns him his peers' and mentors' respect.