Note: This Editorial primarily focuses on Romance and Harem animes in general.
The gripes of most harem anime is that most of the harems come with male leads that the viewer most likely hate. They are either losers, jerks or even perverts. The prime example of the unideal male lead is Makoto from School Days (which everyone seems to want him dead, which in the end he does in the last episode) or even Keitaro from Love Hina for being a pervert and a loser. Male leads like this makes me cringe and want me to stay away from harem anime.
With the viewing of Shutto Sutherland, the jerkass (and abides to the Screw the rules, I have money!) that was introduced in Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (first season) episode 11 and again in episode 5 of Purezza when he gets angry at Alice-chan and decides to bully her… Great god, there is a reason why I don’t like these types of male leads in harem anime. They seem to make you angry inside and want you to punch them for the horrible things they do. These type of leads make your blood boil and want to take a chainsaw out… Well… that what is the feeling I had when he was bulling her and also pouring grape wine on top of Yuuto’s head.
So what is the ideal male lead if you don’t like perverts, jerks (or a-holes) or losers like them. The ideal male harem lead should have some of the following (although some are missing, these are the main ones):
– Nice and Kindhearted
– Not acting like a complete jerk
– Can be sarcastic
– Always help someone that needs it
– Is a sympathetic character or have qualities that allows us to sympathize with them than outright wanting to hate him
Here is the male leads I feel that are the ideal male leads (and the reasons below):
Okazaki, Tomoya – Clannad
Explained in my last two editorial posts about Nagisa, but it’s more shown in the visual novel. Although Tomoya may be considered a male Tsundere, he seems to be nice and kindhearted so far in Nagisa, Kotomi, and the Fujibayashi Twin’s arcs. Tomoya is a good example of a good male lead in After Story and later redeeming himself for abandoning Ushio as the same his father done when his wife died and is able to make it up and eventually save both of them after successfully collecting all the light orbs. He can also be viewed as sympathetic because all the hardships he went through with not getting along with his dad after the fight and Nagisa’s death.
Aizawa, Yuuichi – Kanon
Although sarcastic and having a personality resembling to Kyon’s, the anime and the Visual Novel more so shown him as a good male lead is that he helps all the 5 girls (but Nayuki’s arc, he shows it better in the VN than the Anime since her arc was shafted…. Kyon helping Shiori and Makoto in their arcs shown these qualities alot more. For Shiori, Yuuichi gives her the strength to remain strong and also caring about her and her health (evidently shown by him wanting Shiori to go home so she will get well although she still insists of staying out in the cold, waiting for that special someone she wants to meet). With Makoto, Yuuichi started to care more about her after she ran away from him after yelling at her for dropping Piro off the overpass and eventually bringing her home along with Piro. He also given up time up to her last moments and marrying her since that what she wanted. He also cares about Ayu (his lost childhood friend which he meets again), Mai and also Sayuri.
Ayase, Yuuto – Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu
Yuuto is a extraordinarily kind and nice person which makes him sympathetic… mainly because his sister, Ruko and Yukari make him do all the chores in the house, but there is another thing. Yuuto seems to accept everyone and does not discriminate people for anything which is why he is able to accept Haruka’s secret hobby. He seems to help others in several instances when the fat Otaku tried to take the last copy of “A Cat Bus Stop” in Episode 6, defending Haruka’s hobby against Gentou, Haruka’s father, giving courage to Haruka in selling doujinshi and able to sell 3 copies of it, helping Touka when she was injured, although she is a tsundere and the recent example is his speech defending the maids and butlers, saying that they are kindhearted people and they are more than just “servants” as the jerkass, Shuto implies. Although he isn’t as wealthy, his personality shows himself more as a gentleman than Shutto will ever be in his life. Oddly enough, he seems to be too kind to resort to any type of violence.
Kyon – Suzumiya Haruhi
Kyon is probably most people’s favorite male lead. Although sarcastic, he defends Mikuru (or tries to) from the wrath of Haruhi and also defend Yuki in Disappearance that if she is gotten rid of by the entity, he will use Haruhi to get rid of them. Also, you have to feel some sympathy for him since he have to do Haruhi’s outrageous demands, especially in Sighs when she went too far and her calling Mikuru her plaything and Haruhi smacking Mikuru on the head, which resulted in him almost punching Haruhi’s lights out, but prevented by Koizumi.
Kunisaki, Yukito – Air
Although he seems to be sarcastic, he seems to help all three girls (and tried to help Misuzu). Yukito’s evidently wants to stay by Misuzu’s side, but the kindness and helping the three girls are shown more in the visual novel, which I still haven’t gotten to yet, but I can’t say much. This is more evident when he begs for a second change to look after Misuzu.
This is pretty much my incomplete view on the ideal male leads, but while some may not agree with me… I certainly can’t stand jerky male leads in any type of romance/comedy/harem or you name it anime… It simply makes my blood boil and wish I could go in the show and beat the living lights of the jerky male lead.