Why are all the male leads in anime a bunch of pussies?

If you’ve read this previous post , I apologize in advance. Thing is, a classmate of mine complained that my posts ‘lacked humour’ and he wanted me to troll something. But then , my troll skills have gotten really rusty. Studying for hours before writing doesn’t help much, but I digress.

Amazingly, I actually finished something this week  : Rozen Maiden. Throughout the first few episodes, I couldn’t help but wonder something when I see Jun get overwhelmed by the sudden inflow of random dolls which all seem to be able to overpower him. It’s a sentiment I’ve held for plenty of anime characters that I bet that most viewers have thought about once or twice.

Why is the male lead such a weakling/ coward/pussy?

Well, it’s not like this sentiment of hating on less-than-awesome male characters is one limited to only obscure segments of the anime kingdom. As you can see here , 21stcenturydigitalboy’s blogged about how Yuji ruined Shakugan no Shana for him. Well, he puts it on how the male lead is self-righteous and forces his ideals onto Shana.

But male leads are getting more and more feminine, or to be less gender-biased, more and more weak, to the extent that the idea of a male lead battling the bad guy involves his harem of girls who for some reason, are attracted to this walking pile of garbage, to battle the bad guy in his place, only for , in all-too-typical anime style, for them all to be defeated and the male lead to suddenly save the day. For instance, Omamori Himari, an anime that’s easily forgotten. Seriously, I can’t even remember the male lead’s name. But anyway, they battle the antagonist through giving the cat-girl, for some reason, Shana-esque powers and it’s all thanks to the male lead for some reason.

The leading example in this archetype of a male lead is Ikari Shinji, of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame. Ikari Shinji is not only the Highschool Hero,  but also the coward character of the cast as well as the butt of most of the jokes. Of course, in all anime fashion he manages to save the day every single time.  Not to mention every other female lead’s in love with him too.

So let’s check the details surrounding these male leads:

  1. They are all cowards (already explained) They may or may not be androgynous.
  2. They always happen to have a large group-of-friends/harem/amount of fuck-buddies who stick around to defeat the bad guy/take all the damage/ sacrifice their lives for him.
  3. All of them have Radiance Aura active at all times. Despite being utterly ball-less and a wretched character to begin with, they all manage to attract a large amount of people who like them for their characters.
  4. They all have some kind of immense power hidden inside them/ crucial to the plot line/ show that they have balls towards the end of the show.  For instance, Shinji may be a weakling and coward, but when piloting the EVA , he’s arguably the only one who actually has full grasp of the situation and fights (somewhat calmly), compared to oh, say, Asuka.

So given that most of these male leads are gigantic walking pussies who only demonstrate their skills at the very end for maximum plot effect, why do they exist in such abundance? Surely if they weren’t liked, they wouldn’t make so many similar male characters.

Exactly the point. They are liked. Why? How can a male be so weak and pathetic?

Well, gender roles are changing, or to be more exact, coming to an equilibrium. No longer do all the women get portrayed as housewives and mothers. They get portrayed as go-getters, competitive and headstrong workers in the modern workforce, while more and more men start to embrace the idea of being a house-husband. Girls get tougher and tougher, and guys, well, cry several times while watching Clannad. That sort of thing.

Anyway, a male possessing such distinct features isn’t much unique or even rare amongst anime. What this archetype provides , however, is for plot development.

Notice that only in the last episode do these seemingly useless characters actually do something. In Rozen Maiden, Jun shows his powers, running on water, dispelling Suigintou’s feather attacks and magically mending Shinku’s arm. In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ikari survives the longest, so to speak. In Shakugan no Shana, Yuji slowly learns how to actually protect his own balls.

As a result, these hollow shells for characters get filled with the liquid of awesomeness. Suddenly, they become explosively entertaining or possibly, even epic. As a result, the audience is wowed by this sudden transition, and then they start to like the character. If the male lead stayed useless through and through, well, I would hate that guy. But if he manages to become the main power in defeating the bad guy, maybe he isn’t that useless after all. In the end, it becomes sort of like a coming-to-age kind of story, or one with character development. One could argue how we see the character change throughout the show, how the character overcomes his personal fears and saves the day.

It’s much like the Disney and Ghibli movies of yesteryear, by which as long as you learnt the morals and pick yourself off the ground, you can conquer anything. It’s this kind of theme that never gets old. This kind of theme that continually changes for the better.  The themes always change, but the general feel is always the same. In Finding Nemo, perseverance overcomes all. In Ponyo, love overcomes all. There’s always a moral behind these movies. Something that the protagonist learns that enables them to break out of their shells and fly into the sunset of awesomeness.

So Jun’s tree eventually gets trimmed and grows, and he breaks out of his hiki-like lifestyle. Shinji gets the bravery to pilot the EVA and defend his fellow pilots as well as Tokyo-3. In a sense, it’s also an ideal representation. An ideal that people like to see : As long as you chan ge, you will 100% succeed.

IN conclusion , why do weak male leads appeal to audiences?

  1. Their character gets developed over time, eventually shattering the audience’s view on these characters.
  2. Although they may be cowards at times, they eventually show that they are great characters, with noble characteristics like bravery or love.
  3. They all have the power to make things right. Most of the time by fighting. Violently.
  4. There are infinite amount of ways to make such a male lead and yet have a different storyline.
  5. The story’s plot develops over time along with the character’s development. When the character is developed fully, the plot climaxes.  The plot itself may appeal more to the audience than the character itself even if they both go through the same amount of development. Are there any actual Shinji fans out there at all?

With that, I’m certain that as long as I get over my depression, I can score high for my End-Of-Year examinations.

Maybe I should rewatch Neon Genesis Evangelion, not just for more Rei, but maybe for Shinji.

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55 Responses to Why are all the male leads in anime a bunch of pussies?

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  2. ScotchNRoses says:

    The examples you mentioned, they all have something in common. They were leadin normal lives until one day something out of this world happened. (cliche) Because they have no prior knowledge of what is happening, obviously they will be overly cautious. There is one thin line between foolishness and bravery. If you were Yuji, would you charge into the battlefield without any combat experience or skills? You would merely become a burden and lose your life being stupid to not think for yourself.

    • Valence says:

      But that happens for say, almost 90% of the shows out there. For instance, Highschool of the Dead. But you don’t see him flipping out or hiding behind his combat-versed female companions, and he still enjoys the same amount of admiration from them. Cautiousness is a human instinct, but what bugs me is even after acquiring these skills, experience and knowledge they are still the same. Jun had enough time with these dolls , but his cowardice stemmed from his school. Shinji learns how to pilot the EVA but he remains the same character. Yuji, as 21stcenturydigitalboy had argued, essentially made Shana a less-than-effective Flame Haze.

      Then Yuji learns the skills, and eventually he manages to enter with some semblance of bravery. But what about the most part? He still relied on others to protect him, he still feared , he still was a coward. I mean, Margery’s servants seemed to have no qualms entering such a battlefield and they have no means of defending themselves either. Did they learn some kind of kung-fu before entering? Afraid not. So why did they enter at the same time with Yuji?

      because they’re side characters. People want to see the main characters progress. The side characters don’t need half the screentime. So in the end, no matter how much training or experience these guys receive, only in the end will they show their balls.

  3. Nopy says:

    What a coincidence, I just finished watching Evangelion. While I don’t agree that Shinji became awesome in the end, I do agree that there are too many weak male leads.

    Most of them do end up doing something good in the end, but for me, it’s more of a “huh?” moment rather than feeling that they’ve developed anything.

    • Valence says:

      Well, Shinji did not become awesome in the end. He just grew some balls.

      And I see you don’t like this archetype either. Only in those really good shows do they manage to pull this off. I mean, like all the darn harem shows out there do this and I hate every single male lead from those shows, not out of jealousy but out of the series being a steaming pile of dung.

  4. flyzice says:

    Yes, characters like Yuji (Shakungan no Shana), Tsukune (Rosario + Vampire), Yuto (Omamori Himari) are weak male lead characters that made me wanna jolt them to life to see what’s really going through their minds. It’s a constant “c’mon, what is it you’re doing?” from me. They’re indecisive, very confused and some lack the strong principles that usually build up strong characters.

    While I’m confused with the popularity of such shows, but perhaps they’re directed to certain viewers who has a special taste for strong women characters? I don’t know. At times, I even feel like asking the girls in those series the reason they fight for these men.

    • Valence says:

      As a general rule of thumb, all male leads from ecchi harem shows are walking towers of shit and piss. Yuji’s okay, but only at the end of season 2. Before that he was also a walking tower of shit and piss. They seem to lack something vital, something crucial, something most male leads have. Oh yes, a brain. And perhaps some testosterone and an actual libido. (It amazes me how they reject sex all the damn time from women they know they have no chance of getting ever again.)

      Worse still, some of these shows have weak woman characters as well. Take R+V , my favourite example in what makes a crappy show that can be remembered but has no value whatsoever. Do any of the female leads garner your respect? Are they strong in any aspect? Heck, Inner Moka was great but she only appears so little, just to kick some random villain’s arse in less than a minute. I watched R+V FOR INNER MOKA.

      And also, as another general rule of thumb, all girls fall in love with the harem lead no matter how flawed he is or how rational the girls are. No buts.

  5. Well, male leads in harem shows seem to be afflicted by this more often than not, and unfortunately, that seems to be where a lot of the shows I’m watching tend to fall.

    But a few I’ve been impressed with? Well, you could argue Arararagi from Bakemonogatari is pretty bearable in that he’s not weak. Just a person who’s prone to always wanting to help people out. The characters in Shiki have also been solid and I do like Natsuno’s take-charge attitude. Working!!’s male lead wasn’t too bad either. He’s not totally spineless in his functionality.

    That’s all recent fare of course. If you were to look at older shows, Monster isn’t lacking for strong leads. Same goes for Guin Saga, where the main character is pretty badass all-around. I’m tempted to say that characters in fantasy epics seem immune to this weakness, Raki from Claymore excepted.

    • Valence says:

      I honestly don’t know a single harem show with a strong male lead, other than Bakemonogatari. But that doesn’t really fit the meaning of harem, now does it.

      Not to say I’m not impressed with any male lead that has been portrayed to be a coward. I mean, I went from anti-Shinji to neutral-Shinji by the end of Evangelion.

      And okay, will check those shows out. I need my fix of actual male leads.

  6. Azure Hoshizora says:

    Because they just are.

    This is a recurring unexplainable phenomenon in the world of anime that none of us will ever be able to explain.

    Oh and they are not just weak, incredibly dense and aloof at times too, especially to the female characters feelings of affections for them and stuff like that.

    • Valence says:

      Nothing in anime is unexplainable, or at least, cannot be explained to a certain degree. I’m sure something must have been going through the creator’s mind when he creates these characters, right? I doubt he or she just randomly writes down any character they think of and use them without any prior editing.

      The aloof lead is a different archetype. We have the moronic lead, but they occasionally combine with the coward archetype to form a truly detestable lead. I mean, for instance in some shows the lead does not get a chance to show his bravery or his lack thereof., but is commonly portrayed as an idiot.

      • Azure Hoshizora says:

        Maybe the directors are trying to motivate all the male otaku in Japn by telling them “Despite the fact that you are a wimp and rather useless, you can become a hero too!” thus this recurring trait in the lead characters.

        In most anime, I don’t think anyone would ever say that their favorite character is the lead, usually the heroines. We need better male leads in the world of anime…

    • Valence says:

      “Maybe the directors are trying to motivate all the male otaku in Japn by telling them “Despite the fact that you are a wimp and rather useless, you can become a hero too!” thus this recurring trait in the lead characters.”

      Coming-of-age , motivational story? Not really, since after the heroic feat they get bullied again. I don’t see that as rather encouraging in any way. Besides, not all otakus are wimps and useless people. That is a generalization.

      Also, when people like the heroines, usually the male lead is either a joke character, a wimp or simply weak. In male-lead heavy shows, people like the male leads better. Who didn’t like Kenshiro?

      • Azure Hoshizora says:

        Ah wells the Japanese themselves were the ones that came up with that stereotype

        This IS incredibly puzzling. Now it seems to depends on the targeted audience of the particular anime when it comes down to male leads. Maybe Haters just need someone to hate.

        I’m running out of ideas, lol.

        • Valence says:

          Why would they hate their male leads? I mean, these ronery people can’t be that bored, can they?

          (thinks of harem shows)

          Oh wait, I guess I can understand why the -guys- can hate the male lead.

  7. Ming Xuan says:

    It was manly tears, I tell you.

    Jokes aside, I hate those male leads, and I can’t for the sake of my life figure out why all those girls like him. Well actually I could. They are simply appealing to all those otakus out there that even wimps can be liked and the what nots. Delusions. It is how most main characters are plain, in terms of looks, personality and everything else.

    • Valence says:

      Yep. It’s shameless, I tell you. All of these female characters can be portrayed to be as clever as they want but in the end all of them fall in love with the same guy ._. I mean, really, some male leads are awesome but they don’t have an female brigade sniffing his clothing or following 3 steps behind him.

      No wonder people think anime is for delusional people.

  8. Maserbeam says:

    The anime world needs more Kyon. Kenshiro. Kyonshiro?

  9. Kendo Gazeat Loo says:

    Their character gets developed over time, eventually shattering the audience’s view on these characters.

    I usually doubt that statement a lot. Normally, I never see any gradual change in the characters in anime. For some reason or the other, they usually somehow banzai their way through fear and insecurity (and vague sexuality and noobness in general, but I digress) to somehow rise to the occasion.

    I have seen a couple of mangas which did this quite well, one of which is Bartender (its so gradual you never really realize it). Unfortunately, when I see the change, I don’t get why it happens, or the reason is one of lurv.

    Love needs to be nerfed.

    • Valence says:

      Sorry Kendo, but on my dashboard, I laughed when I saw your dp with the title. (Pussies.)

      Anyway, I digress from that.

      Although they may (quote:)banzai their way through things, they don’t immediately obtain that power. Often you get glimpses of it, hints of it before they eventually go through some kind of emotional scene or development before they eventually use that. For instance, in Rozen Maiden Jun realizes his love for his dolls (which is rather freaky if you ask me) and unleashes his power to help defeat Suigintou and repair Shinku. Never in any circumstance has a character used an immense power without prior development or hinting, unless they’re the antagonist.

      But you’re right, the worse possible kind of coward lead is one that never changes, not one bit for the better. While most of these coward or weak leads show they do indeed have their redeeming qualities, some just don’t.

      Like Itou Makoto. Weak and detestable throughout the entire series.

      Nice Boat.

      • Kendo Gazeat Loo says:

        Well, let’s go slightly deeper into this argument.

        Assuming that change is gradual, and most of the time that is how we mature, gradually, is it a bit strange that the characters that do somehow in a fit of emotional pique break their walls and suddenly attain specialness, after the entire scene, usually do not revert to their previous state of balls-less-ness? It is perfectly acceptable to me, to revert to their meekness, but at least are slightly more bold than the last time. But since the practical jokes are played on them to precisely do that, till the point that I get tired of it, is just sad.

        It is utterly strange to me, in the same way with ridiculous romance. In so many ways, I find it strange that a road to discovery about oneself is not fraught with backsliding and periods of depression (depression, and not angst, that one is overused).

        As for the slight hints, the problem with it is that with certain stories, authors/anime writers either use the plot device too strongly, and thus ruin it for me, because I will go ‘oh no I just know that in the next episode or two, wait never mind 30 minutes he will do something or something’. Or conversely, the other way round, where the author inserts hints so miniscule, so underwhelming that when I read the relevation, I go ‘huh? There was such a hint?’ and I go scrolling through the video or read the previous 100 pages just to realize that it was either 1) very obscure or 2) was placed much further ahead in the plot so that by now we would have forgotten about it.

    • Valence says:

      Of course, I won’t deny that change is gradual. Rome wasn’t built in a day. But I don’t find that these characters staying that way strange. Because they don’t stay that way. In every instance when these characters break out in a raging pit of emotional outrage, they immediately become ball-less when the thing ends. However, when the characters go through slow change, they tend to stay that way. So yeah, you’re right in the fact that these guys revert back to normal after the outbreak. However, this is where the key lies – revert to normal. Incensed and in a emotional pique they demonstrate their potential, but that’s because they’re emotional. They break out of their shells due to emotions. After they calm down, they go back to their usual selves. Why? Because change is gradual! These guys still continue to change, albeit not dynamic, instant change, but slowly, they do. Especially when the series is long or spans several sequels. Yuji went from ball-less, to ballsy, to ball-less, then back to ballsy eventually.

      I, for one, don’t find a road to discovery about oneself not being fraught with backsliding and periods of depression any bit strange. If so, what is to say about all those children’s cartoons out there, which teach the children to discover themselves? What is to be said about all the shows where the character sets out on a journey, and finds himself in the process? Is depression really necessary?

      Slight hints are what they are- slight hints. They’re not there to make everything too obvious. If everyone could tell what would happen next, what’s the point? Hints are there because they’re ambiguous. They’re not there to inform the reader the direct outcome, or at least inform them easily. There is a certain amount of ambiguity to it. Why? It builds suspense. It builds fanbases. People devote time to discovering these hints and explaining them, much like literature. The point was not to find these subtle hints. Hints cannot be too obvious simply because that defeats the purpose. Neither is it the point to find the hints after the hinted story actually happens. Hints need not be understood by all, but they are still effective all the same.

      • Kendo Gazeat Loo says:

        Ah well, since I don’t want to post yet another long post, I guess I’ll just summarize the previous post into these pointers.

        -I can’t stand overused plot devices, and that is what kills me.
        -I love character change, and it should be gradual, and not a ding-a-dong
        -Hints are left there for us to pick the pieces together, not for it to be lost in some maze where it is left for us to not see, or dismiss till the author, after deciding that ‘that’s about enough’, pulls the revelation out of the hat, which makes absolutely no sense as to how it got there, even after the 3-4 readthrough

    • Valence says:

      Allow me to summarize mine as well.

      -I can’t stand overused plot devices (WHO CAN?) but perhaps to a certain extent. Really, it’s about how they pull it off.

      -Same sentiments on character change. Even if the character does have sudden change I expect some gradual makeup before that. As such, Rozen Maiden and Evangelion were acceptable.

      -Hints may lead us to the end, but this applies more to plot-heavy shows which have episodic plots. Most of the time these hints are not very obvious, although they do help us. If the author does leave hints, the hints gradually get more and more obvious until the revelation occurs.

      -However, if it can’t be identified even after the 3rd or 4th readthrough, then yeah, the hint sucks (since it’s completely lost), or the hints were not even on intention. Sometimes we over-scrutinize things. I suspect literature does that often.

  10. Hogart says:

    There are quite a few decent male leads, but the problem is that kids don’t want to see Bruce Willis in a romantic comedy. They want to see someone just as much of a pussy as them somehow becoming a “real man” (trademark). It doesn’t have to be believable, it just has to happen.

    I agree that it’s ridiculously common though. It’s like anime writers don’t know how to write a boy who isn’t a pussy. It’s too tempting because it’s easier to turn them into men, I guess? That’s why I really liked that annoying lead in Natsu no Arashi.. such a rare archetype in anime these days.

    As for me, I’d rather see a Sai Akuto than a Shinji any day. It’s nice when the guy deservedly gets the girl, rather than some pansy who doesn’t really earn or deserve a perfect girl. I’ll admit that my favorite male leads are the “pussy” male leads, such as in Spice and Wolf or Kemonozume​. They’re realistically pussies.. not just pussies for the sake of being pussies.

    As a side note, how often do the women earn their men? It always seems to be the other way around. Aside from Taiga, I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head.. and even that’s stretching it. They’re usually perfect to begin with (aside from obvious and minor flaws).

    • Valence says:

      Which is why the male lead appeals to them. ‘Everybody loves’ a coming-to-age story, a story of triumph over unsurmountable odds. Same goes for all those disney movies, family movies and whatnot. You’re right- doesn’t matter if it’s completely implausible, as long as it happens.

      But yeah, it’s so common to the extent that people start to generalize that all male leads are of such ‘noble calibre’. Have you ever had anyone tell you that Japan and/or anime is perverted? Hell, a newspaper columnist in my country wrote that the reason people have underage sex is because of pornography and anime. It’s because of this sexual humour being too common that people regularly generalize it as standard for all shows.

      I actually liked Sai more than Shinji. Shinji was annoying for the most bit (I MUSTN’T RUN AWAY) but Sai was awesome all the way, and he gets the girl(s) of his dream to boot. Unlike Shinji who masturbates to his supposed crush’s comatose body, Sai has balls. Balls that aren’t just there to help him masturbate, but balls that would eventually help him in having sex, if you catch my drift.

      I wouldn’t call Lawrence a ‘pussy lead’.,Sure, he’s cowardly at times but he has his shining moments too. He’s not a pussy all the way, unlike certain other shows. He shows he has good characters, and he can actually accomplish things well. Thus, although he may seem like one at times,. he doesn’t exactly fit the archetype.

      And also, women never earn their men. Even in Toradora. I don’t recall Aisaka getting Ryuuji through just her own efforts. It was Ryuuji who caused them to ‘elope’ , who caused her to realize her feelings for him, and who worked to get her love as well. It’s a mutual sentiment.

      How often do females earn their men in real life? Hardly, and less so for anime.

  11. hiroy_raind says:

    There are some way not to make a “weak” male lead not annoying, one of them being not to make the character growth too sudden (like showing the character’s worth way late on the season while he’s still a pussy the episode before).
    But I do agree on how there are just too many of them lately, it’s becoming somewhat an annoying cliche.

    • Valence says:

      Yeah, that’s my point. They start off as pussies, then slowly after time they grow, and eventually they become overpowered dicks, before reverting back to their usual selves.

      But seriously, name any 10 series and I think about half contain such a male lead….

  12. Baka-Raptor says:

    The common answer is that loser otaku want to watch losers like themselves. I say that’s backwards. The truth is that loser otaku don’t want to watch strong, sexy, confident men getting all the girls. Then they’d all get depressed and whine about how nice guys finish last. Good luck selling DVDs.

    • Valence says:

      Well said, I guess. Watching other losers like themselves win also makes them depressed, too.

      Nevertheless, DVD sales flourish for some reason.

  13. doriinatrix says:

    Because its moe~
    But yeah, you raised some pretty valid points. Though for NGE, Anno made Shinji a pussy to represent the spineless/hopeless generation after the economic bubble burst, Or at least, I read that somewhere. Maybe I should write a post about that.

    And >actual Shinji fan
    you called? 😛

    • Valence says:

      Weak male leads= moe? I always though that was the weak female lead who could be somewhat considered as ‘moe’.

      You’re a Shinji fan? Cool. My school’s a all-boys school, and everyone who’s watched NGE seems to be anti-Shinji except me. I’m just meh towards him.

      But if Anno had a reason to make Shinji a pussy, now that the economy is back , why are there still so many pussies?

    • Valence says:

      There’s a term for such a lead? I had no idea.

      Anyway, male leads are getting weaker while female leads are getting stronger. It’s almost the ideal society where gender roles have reached an equilibrium.

  14. howeirong says:

    Weak male leads are there, reportedly, as an “avenue for the viewer to interact on a less superficial level with the story”. In other words, a character archetype is provided that is even less able than the viewer himself, and that the viewer is able to laugh about and look down on. Something like how a jock would look down on a “nerdy geekish loser”. I guess.

    Power-ups exist because otherwise, there is no way to include noobish male leads that viewers can laugh at spontaneously with a reason for the female harem to gain interest in the male lead. Since it is usually in the occurrence of the power-up period that causes a female to gain interest in the lead.

    A character that isn’t wholly a loser is, in fact, Keitaro from Love Hina (yes, that most definitive of harem comedies). Yes, he did start out as one, and remained as one for much of the series, but in the end he character-developed until he had the ability to constantly expectation-subvert (a constant trait of Akamatsu mangas, belonging to only the manliest of men). It’s interesting to see that much development, really – and it doesn’t really go back down in the end either.

    • Valence says:

      Well, although you have explained what is the purpose of the weak male lead, and why he gets all the power-ups, one question still remains : why? Why are they in such abundance? Surely , the creators must have other , better ideas than reverting back to the cliche overused weak male lead, right?

      All weak male leads are expectation-subvert, but they always end up on square one after they’re done. It’s almost as though the females fall in love with what’s “inside” them rather than who they really are.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Actually i think the real question is why do males like their females so strong? Looking at all the various highly popular female characters in combat type anime, most have no problem protecting themselves + others. Soft types like Orihime seem to be getting less popular (Rukia outranks her is most polls now i think)

    It may simply be a desire for a female who is not so dependent on the guy (aka clingy) or maybe an increase in risk adverseness and hence a desire for having a girl who can be like a mother and “take care” of the guy.

    A real balance between male and female characers in the same anime would be, IMO, more like Cowboy Bebop where Faye and Spike are both pretty much capable to taking care of themselves while still exhibiting attributes more related to their sexes

    • Valence says:

      In my opinion, female leads aren’t getting any much stronger any time soon. Nearly in every show they cry for the most mundane of things, and cave in to the slightest bit of pressure. When the female lead is exceptionally strong, the male lead seems to be moderately strong as well.

      If the girl is clingy on the guy, then the guy must have been a strong lead, or it’s just another fucked up harem show. Even harem shows can have non-wimpy male leads, and same goes for the reverse harem. Of course, we like to see girls care for guys, and vice versa, but must the male lead be such a pussy for this to be accomplished?

      Faye and Spike are great examples of how to make dynamic male and female characters without making either of them ridiculously stereotypical or weak.

  16. Fidelis says:

    I haven’t watched these and most of the shows I watch(ed) are very different. My most recently watched show that goes closest to the subject was Amagami, or rather episodes 5-8. Why only those? Because. Anyway, the show is sometimes called a harem, and since it’s based on a dating sim, it sort of is. But every girl you can court in the game gets her own four episodes.

    I didn’t watch the first episodes but I was given to understand the lead was a weakling. One criticism of the series I see from time to time is that the lead is also too generic, originally being a player avatar. But he was fine in the episodes I watched. It’s the different relationship dynamic. I didn’t project myself onto him though. Just enjoyed the story for what it was.

    • Valence says:

      He kind of fits too, when you think about it. At times he’s just a cowardly pervert, but it seems that his personality changes each arc. The omnibus format is confusing.

      I don’t exactly see how he’s too generic, since he changes every 4 episodes, but I guess people are tired of the usual innocent angst-ridden highschool boy as a lead.

  17. alucard13mm says:

    since these toons are geared mostly to male audiences.. perhaps the male characters are pussies because its something the japanese/asian male can relate to? o_O

  18. Yi says:

    Jun is not the worse of them, but Shinji is indeed intolerable. Weak male leads is something that I find really annoying.

    I think many authors probably came to a similar conclusion when designing the characters. Make him weak but build on that character, and eventually show a breakthrough at the climax… etc. etc.
    It sounds good on paper, but rarely does it actually make for an interesting or even likable guy. God I hate Shinji.

    “Are there any actual Shinji fans out there at all?”

    • Valence says:

      Jun is okay. Shinji is the true epitome of weak. His only merit is being somewhat dependable in combat. Some compare him with Nobita (?) from Doraemon to see who’s the biggest loser in animedom. Apparently there are Shinji fans, but a tiny, tiny amount. Doriinatrix professes to be a Shinji-fan.

      Now, although I’m not vehemently opposed to Shinji, he’s not a very good (read: bad) lead.

      And yeah, it seems to be the case. It’s always the usual pattern. A plain guy overcoming his fears and becoming powerful and breaking through at the climax, often with help from girls who place themselves in sexually suggestive situations all the time, so as to provide the lead with some kind of growth . . .

  19. Canne says:

    It’s easier to make the weak become the strong and simultaneously provide the ‘character development’ fans wants.

    • Valence says:

      Character development is shallow. Doesn’t really exist. They just lump everything that happens to the character under ‘character development’.

  20. ippius says:

    Weak male leads are so irritating to watch sometimes….

    that’s y there’s only one of them per show right 😛

    • Valence says:

      Male Lead, of course there’s only one per show. There’s only one male lead character who lacks an amazing amount of balls, and all the other male characters grow extra balls to make up for it.

  21. Melissa says:

    So just because a character doesn’t pick up a ak-47 and goes “rambo” in a building that automatically makes them pathedic and weak? True strength comes from overcoming an obstacle in life, not how many times you can pick up a sword and slice through stuff. I mean no disrespect it’s just my opinion.

    • Valence says:

      True. Your opinion is correct too. But what I’m talking about isn’t this true strength virtually every lead seems to possess in the end. The problem is, ‘true strength’ is one thing, but what I’m talking about isn’t just strength. I’m talking about bravery. Courage to do what is right , at the moment itself, to protect his or her interests and friends, and not just ‘moral’ courage.

  22. Melissa says:

    I see…okay then

  23. Hi, strolling down for some picture grabbings, i’ve happend to bump in these blog. I’m a huge fan of anime. We’ll in the anime, more or less 90% realistically is portrayed by these lead men. They are weak, because we, consciously or unconsciously, compared them with their comrades or enemy who portrayed a more masculinity. Same as when we thinks his getting stronger, we compared. But the truth is, each one of them has their own weakness, and compared with the lead men its not that far. Try to have reflections. We, ourselves are saying, “If I were him, I would rather to do this…”, but the truth, when your on the same situation, 90% is the probability that you will do the same.. that’s how pathetic we are. Lead men just portrayed “us”. You maybe against me, but it’s true. Have a time of reflection in you, flood those memories that have the same situation as those lead men and judge. It is a real side of life, that’s why we are so attracted/emotionally entwined with the character, it could be self-denying, anger, envious, irritated. etc. Because we have the same wavelength of emotions/situations that we are self are struggling.

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