The Dark Side of Male Characters – Weak-Minded Male Leads

Artist: santa (sunflower)

Last week, I focused on how females are being more capable. Some may be asking, what about male characters? While I have seen a few shows with strong males such as Kritsugu Emiya from Fate Zero or even Ledo from Gargantia, most of the romantic harem comedies or slice of life have weak beta male characters. I blame myself for watching a lot of these shows, but there are some things that really bother me a lot about them. (Image Source)

Compared to the tough and even hot-blooded males in shouen or mecha anime, most of these harems have pretty generic male leads (although there are some exceptions). Males in harem anime are mostly kind and interested in getting a girlfriend of some sort. They look pain and have a dull personality. I think the reason they are like this because it supposed to represent the viewer, mostly an Otaku audience so they can relate to him. Not only that, it seems that the producers or even the author want to place more emphasis on the girls, not on the male lead. If you place more importance on the main lead, it won’t be that interesting depending on the story.  Of course, this leads to bad results because there are only some I liked because of their personality. However, a good amount of them have the pervert dial turned to 11 or lack a backbone.

The main problem with male leads in harem shows these days are their indecisiveness, or they don’t know what to do. These are the type of male leads that annoy me. They are too afraid to do something when it’s obvious that he loves that girl or the girl loves him. They just make excuses or mope around.  Some of these examples are Tamako Market’s Mochizou, Yuuto from Nogizaka Haruka and the weakest male lead in the world, Takashi Haneda from Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai whom annoyed the heck out of me since he didn’t answer when a girl asked him out. Of course, if this is real life, no girl will go out with them since most do not like indecisiveness. But overall, most guys are not like this in real life, unless they are beta males.

To make matters worse, most male leads have bland or unpleasant personalities. You can compare all the typical male leads and they will have something in common. A good amount of them are weak, don’t fight or just plain stupid for the sake of comedy. However, the pervert aspect depending how it’s done can become really annoying. Lets take Oniichan no Koto, which is probably the worst romantic comedy I have seen before I dropped. it The main lead, Shuusuke is not only a big pervert, but also really stupid. While I can stand some level of perverseness, too much of it can make the show completely unwatchable.

On the other hand, while I detest most male leads because of Sturgeon’s Law, it doesn’t mean that all male leads in slice of life or romantic comedies are bad. Here are a few examples of male leads I liked:

  • Any Lead from Key – Well I can ramble on this all day, their male leads tend to be cynical, but there is something I like about them as they come from a difficult situation, but come out strong as they figure out solutions to problems. For instance, Tomoya from Clannad is a good instance of this. He still gets a job after he graduate even though he can’t lift one of his arms. Also, he tries to save Ushio from the same fate after he started taking care of her.
  • Kyon from Haruhi Suzumiya
  • Oreki from Hyouka – While he wants to lead a low-energy life, his problem solving skills is one of his interesting aspects.
  • Kodaka from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – While people complained about shoving Sena’s awkward confession as he still faced some psychological problems, at least he has a spine and know how to deal with the girls. Also, he looks manly compared to other male leads.

Overall, I think that there is still a good amount of interesting male leads, but they are pretty rare these days. It’s obvious that male leads receive one of the most generic personalities not just to make the girls look better, but have them come to him. At the end of the day, I would like to have a male lead that has a good personality in a harem/romance/slice of life anime with some flaws rather than an indecisive, stupid and/or overly perverted male lead.  While it can work in a few instances depending how the comedy is carried out, it just doesn’t work for me. After all, nobody wants to see the same thing over and over. 

6 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Overlord-G says:

    This is why I mainly search for shows with female leads and hardly (if any) guys for the girls to drool over. Guys mainly shine in action shows and SoL shows and, once a moon, rom-coms. Other than that, male leads are usually lame and deserve to be tortured on a daily basis.

    • chikorita157 says:

      I admit that I tend to enjoy shows with a mostly female cast not because of the cuteness factor, but the healing feeling of it. But still, they are hard to find, except for magical girl shows of course as they mostly have a female cast.

  2. melissa says:

    I’ll admit harem leads can be annoying but I still would rather have them than going down that “other” route

    • chikorita157 says:

      I think there needs to be more strong mind male leads as mentioned what I wrote as there are too many male leads that are so similar. Sure, some can be enjoyable, but of course, Sturgeon’s Law always applies.

  3. I hate weak male leads more than anything. It ruins a story and makes it retarded. I like the traditional hero who can be what I wish I was and who I want to be. Weak male characters are trash and people who make that shit should just stop. I prefer there to be a balance between male and female. But I WILL prefer a strong male protaginists saving the girl.

  4. kratoscar2008 says:

    Most Harem animes follows the same porpuse as VNs wich is to present the consumer with many girls and decided wich who the protagonist ends with and since the consumer doesnt get a choice like in a VN then animes must leave that to personal interpretation and thus why the lead must be indesecive.

    Good blog post.

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