Whiny men in anime?
September 1, 2012 12:15 AM   Subscribe

Why are there so many whiny supporting male characters in anime?

I was watching Claymore when I realized this wasn't the first time I've seen the whining male sidekick to what is usually a strong female lead.

He reminisces on good times and bad, he continually asks "why?" and "why not?" like a child, he screams her name from afar, he begs for the heroine not to kill _character_ when he's a newcomer to an already set situation, he blubbers and bitches and whimpers, and he cries ALL THE TIME.
This isn't always reserved for a male sidekick who's a young kid either. Often, the sidekick goes through some sort of personal growth and STILL ends up sobbing or screaming or snapping at the end of the show.
I know I've seen tons more such sidekicks than just in Claymore, but I can't think of the shows now of course.

Contrast this with Mugen and Jin from "Samurai Champloo" and Ashitaka from "Princess Mononoke", both shows which paired strong female leads but kept equally strong male characters.

Is this some sort of Japanese male's fantasy or what? I just don't understand why it's so common since it sometimes seems to end up ruining the show.
posted by DisreputableDog to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think it's a wish-fulfillment thing. Anime is pretty notorious for having unremarkable male protagonists with pathetic streaks who are adored by gorgeous, powerful, amazing, perfect women. The female protagonist with the whiny male sidekick is a variant.
posted by schroedinger at 12:50 AM on September 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by XMLicious at 12:57 AM on September 1, 2012

I don't have time to go through and look in detail, but it sounds like this calls for TVTropes... StockJapaneseCharacters
posted by corvine at 5:48 AM on September 1, 2012

My theory is ... Japanese male social structures are so highly rigid that female characters are seen as the embodiments of freedom and self-actualization. If all you're ever going to be is a salaryman, and all the male figures in your life are on the same salaryman train, then a character like Major Motoko is an aspirational figure, while the whiny male figure represents the guys in the audience.

They don't want to marry the tough female. They want to BE the tough female. Bonus points if she's a cyborg.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:57 AM on September 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

They want to BE the tough female.

Maybe. But if you look at the long history of harem comedies, there's an element of reassurance there. Yes, you might appear to the world as an ordinary guy, but even inside you there is something special that summons goddesses to your side.

You might have to spend your life wearing The Suit, but you can comfort yourself with the hope that what you are inside is worthy.
posted by SPrintF at 10:54 AM on September 1, 2012

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