Shikimori’s Inuzuka Is Just Like Bakugo’s Original Design in MHA

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie, a fun new rom-com anime series of the Spring 2022 season, stars the clumsy but kind male lead Izumi Yuu and his ultra-popular girlfriend, Shikimori. It’s a fairly conventional high school rom-com for the most part, but certain elements of it should remind fans of other popular anime as well.

The main characters of Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie may call to mind Komi Can’t Communicatebut the side character Inuzuka is surprisingly reminiscent of Bakugo Katsuki from My Hero Academia. These two boys have a remarkably similar hairstyle, but their shared qualities run quite a bit deeper; Inuzuka is what Bakugo was once intended to be.

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The Unexpected Early Designs of MHA’s Bakugo Katsuki

A variety of characters in Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia manga were significantly different in the early design stage, such as Uraraka Ochaco having the costume and Quirk of Mt.Lady and Kaminari Denki looking like a villain. Meanwhile, Midoriya Izuku’s childhood friend Bakugo was originally designed as a friendly and gentle boy, almost like a next-door neighbor. An early concept sketch even shows the cheerful Bakugo saying “Anyone can do it if they try!!” To make this character more exciting, Horikoshi changed him to his more intense and hot-headed current state his, but perhaps proto-Bakugo lives on after all.

In Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie, Izumi’s friend Inuzuka has the same hairstyle and a similar color as Bakugo’s own hair and eyes, which fans were quick to notice. This is likely a coincidence rather than a reference to MHA, but all the same, it’s intriguing how Inuzuka’s appearance and personality make him similar to the prototype Bakugo. No doubt the equally friendly Midoriya would prefer the Inuzuka-style Bakugo, but alas, there are good reasons why the MHA character was rewritten as a hothead and Inuzuka is a nice guy. It suits the needs of their respective anime series.

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Why Shikimori’s Slice-Of-Life & MHA’s Superheroes Don’t Mix

Inuzuka and Bakugo have the same preliminary design, hairstyle and even the same role as the main character’s friend, but there are reasons why the two boys diverged at some point. While it would be heartwarming to see Midoriya getting along with an Inuzuka-style Bakugo, that paradigm would actually hamper the former’s character arc — and My Hero Academia would be less thrilling, as Horikoshi once feared. Characters designed for shonen action and those designed for feel-good, slice-of-life anime are simply built differently.

Even if Bakugo and Inuzuka look the same, they must not act or think the same. Bakugo’s fierce attitude and explosive Quirk make him an ideal foil, rival and counterpart for Midoriya. Meanwhile, Inuzuka was placed into a gentle slice-of-life story where everyone gets along just fine, and there is no fighting at all.

This calls for an equally sweet and charismatic character to blend in with the likes of Shikimori and Izumi, though Inuzuka does have a slightly sharper tongue and shorter temper. He only has slight traces of Bakugo’s hot temper in him, making him ideal for Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie.

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