Midoriya always dreamt of becoming a powerful hero, and after gaining One for All, he finally has a chance of realizing this dream. However, he cannot escape his past.
He is nicknamed Deku, whose meaning holds him back. What does that nickname really mean? Will Deku learn to embrace this and move on forward?
1. Quick Answer
Midoriya’s nickname, ‘Deku’, was given to him by Bakugou when they were little. ‘Deku’ is another reading of his name 出久, and Bakugou uses it to mock him, as ‘Deku’ can mean ‘one who can’t achieve or do anything’.
He does so because Midoriya was quirkless at that time. Later, Ochako finds the nickname very inspiring because ‘Deku’ gives off a feeling of ‘I can do it’.
2. Why is Midoriya called Deku?
Since the start of this series, we have seen Bakugou call Midoriya Deku on countless occasions. As a part of a bad relationship stemming from their childhood, Bakugou mockingly calls Midoriya “Deku”.
The reason he calls him that name specifically is that In Japanese, the name of Midoriya Izuku is written as 緑谷 出 久.
緑 (midori) 谷 (ya) / 出 (izu) 久 (ku)
But, the kanji i.e the Japanese characters have more than one reading. Due to this 出(izu), and 久(ku), the kanji that make up the name of Midoriya have multiple pronunciations.
In one episode, Bakugo realizes that Midoriya’s last name can also be read as “Deku”.
So, according to Bakugo, instead of 出 (izu) 久 (ku), the pronunciation of Midoriya’s name is: 出 (de) 久 (ku)
Bakugou uses Deku as an abbreviation of the word Dekunobou which means “good for nothing”.
I. Does Midoriya like being called Deku?
While Midoriya might not have liked being called Deku due to its derogatory usage, after Uraraka gave it a different meaning, he grew up to love it. He even made it into his superhero name.
Bakugou nicknames Midoriya as Deku, meaning someone who is good for nothing. He did so because Midoriya was quirkless at that time and was thought of as an inferior.
Being an insulting word, he didn’t like this name before, but someone, aka Uraraka, changed the meaning of it, and that had a significant impact on it. It made him happy.
In an episode, Uraraka said to Midoriya, that Deku gives off a feeling of “I can do it.”
While “Deku” refers to someone who can’t do anything, it can also be the abbreviation of the word dekiru, which is the Japanese verb that you use to express the ability to be able to do something.
Using this, Uraraka relates the word Deku with the ability to do something. In other words, Deku means that Midoriya can do anything.
3. Who calls Midoriya Deku?
As a part of a bad relationship stemming from their early years, Bakugou mockingly calls Midoriya ‘Deku’. According to Bakugou, Deku means ‘good for nothing’ or ‘someone who can do nothing’.
Since Midoriya was quirkless before, he was looked down upon and hence was nicknamed Deku. However, after Uraraka gave it a different meaning, Midoriya has come to like this nickname.
4. Does Bakugou hate Midoriya?
Bakugou’s inferiority complex fuels his feelings towards Midoriya. Ever since he was young, he was highly admired and praised by his peers and teachers around him, especially once he got his quirk.
When Bakugou fell in a river and Midoriya – the quirkless nobody, offered him – the talented quirk user – help, he snapped and complicated feelings took root. Bakugou saw Deku’s support as a taunt at him for being weak.
After this, he started to continually bully and hurt Midoriya to remind himself that he was better. However, this hate gets even worse once Bakugou sees that Deku somehow gets into UA with some powerful quirk he suspected Deku had hidden. It doesn’t get any better from there.
Slowly he watched Midoriya become stronger and stronger. He watches him develop a close relationship with All Might – the hero Bakugou idolized.
Bakugou feels like he has to prove to himself and everyone around him that he is the one that is better and stronger than Deku of all people.
Just like Deku admires and aims to surpass Bakugou’s strength, Bakugou is afraid of Deku’s determination and how it might overshadow his own. His feelings towards Midoriya are a mix of rivalry and inferiority. Not hate from the look of it.
5. Are Midoriya and Bakugou rivals?
After the much-needed rematch between Midoriya and Bakugo, the two got plenty off of their chests. While the fight was fierce, and the two had plenty to say, they reached a new stage in their rivalry as they now understood where the other was coming from.
Bakugo had become frustrated by the fact that Midoriya, someone he assumed was quirkless, was becoming powerful and even had a close relationship with All Might who he idolized.
As for Midoriya, he became frustrated because Bakugo disliked him so much. All he wanted was to achieve the kind of power and victory that he always saw in Bakugo. But the battle between the two had them fight at full power, with the eventual result being Bakugo winning in the end.
Bakugo winning the fight put him on a literal and figurative equal footing with Midoriya, as they both won and lost a fight with one another. Through this fight, their rivalry morphed into something less toxic as the two were finally able to openly challenge one another.
The respect they showed each other after the fight revealed that their rivalry has entered a more civil stage, and now the two of them are free to chase their own paths rather than continually chase after one another.
6. About My Hero Academia
My Hero Academia is a Japanese superhero manga series written and illustrated by Kōhei Horikoshi. It has been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump since July 2014, with its chapters additionally collected in 24 tankōbon volumes as of August 2019.
It follows a quirkless boy Izuku Midoriya and how he backed the greatest Hero alive. Midoriya, a boy who has been admiring heroes and their ventures since the day he was born, came into this world without a quirk.
On one fateful day, he meets All Might the greatest Hero of all time and discovers that he was quirkless as well. With his diligent attitude and unwavering spirit about being a hero, Midoriya manages to impress All Might. He is chosen to be the heir to the power of One for All.