Sometimes, Your Self-Righteous Dumbass of a Male Lead Shits All Over Everything

It’s common practice for an anime to feature a male lead whom the audience can easily relate to, and therefor usually holds to society’s moral compass. It’s also common practice for that male lead to have one or more female love interests, and not uncommon for one of those love interests to follow a conflicting moral compass. This creates a “Defrosting the Ice Queen” situation, wherein the lead tries to bring his love interest over to what he views as ‘the side of righteousness.’

Being as I’m at ends with society’s moral compass and have a deep hatred for self-righteous people, I’m always wary of this trope. However, surprisingly, I often find it to be justified. For example, take Revy, the Ice Queen from Black Lagoon. The male lead, Rock, tries to change Revy and create some sort of moral base within her, but he does so because her attitude and actions are self-destructive. He gradually admits that while he doesn’t approve of her criminal way of life, he understands it, and he makes it clear that he wants Revy to change for her own sake, so that she can find happiness instead of wasting her life.

Defrosting Ice Queen done right. Art by nilitsu

Mikiya, the male lead from Kara no Kyoukai, takes an even more brazen approach. He’s very firmly against murder, not because society says it’s wrong, but for his own personal reasons. Ice Queen Shiki is obsessed with murder, but Mikiya falls in love with her anyway because he doesn’t believe in her capacity to actually murder anyone. There’s a point in the series where Mikiya demands that Shiki not murder someone, for the simple fact that he doesn’t want to saddle the burden of sharing love with a murderer (not that he’s actually unwilling to do so.)

I’m fine with these characters – in fact, I have a lot of respect for them, because their moral pressure is an attempt to help the Ice Queen find happiness. What pisses me off is when a guy demands change from a girl because what she does “Just Isn’t Right.” And I’ve figured out that this is why I hate Shakugan no Shana.

Shana was doing fine at the start of the series. She had no reason to feel bad about the things she did, because they were part of her job as a Flame Haze. She takes a professional approach to her work and is annoyed when Yuji keeps complaining about what she does. She’s not just a joyless “Rei-type” either, as we see through things like her love for melon bread, the way she gets distracted by random objects, and her embarrassment over being seen half-naked by a guy.

If Yuji was acting in the interest of forming a relationship with Shana, then it wouldn’t bother me, but that’s not the case. He accuses Shana of being cold for referring to herself as “just a Flame Haze” and for not having compassion for people who die – he tries to force the morals of society onto someone with no reason to conform to them, and whose situation he in no way understands. How she performed her job was really none of his god damn business.


If anything, the ways that Yuji changes Shana only cause her more problems. Emotions are created within her that complicate her job. She somehow ends up falling in love with Yuji, but he doesn’t seize that opportunity for their joined happiness. If he’d just followed through on their feelings for one another, I could have forgiven him, but instead he is an indecisive fuck who’s bitchiness throws Shana into emotional turmoil.

This might sound fucked up, but Yuji’s influence made me unable to like Shana as a character anymore. I loved her at the beginning of the series to the point that she could have been one of my favorite characters – that’s why I could never bring myself to give up on the show no matter how much it spat in my face. But the sad truth is that Shana turned into a character that I can’t like or respect. It’s no different from losing a friend in the real world; If one of my friends started hanging out with a bad crowd and turned into a jerk, then I wouldn’t want to be around him anymore. Because I like him, I might try and change him back to the way he was, but I don’t get that opportunity with a fictional character. For me, Yuji, and any other self-righteous male lead, is ‘a bad crowd,’ and when Shana started hanging out with him, we slowly grew distant until we lost contact somewhere in season 2. [F]

Has a male lead ever ruined a series for you? What about him made you want to kick his ass?

79 thoughts on “Sometimes, Your Self-Righteous Dumbass of a Male Lead Shits All Over Everything

  1. I couldn’t even watch Angel Beats because of the main character. I just really hated him. But Shakugan no Shana is probably the most prime example I can think of. Yuji was just so damn pathetic.

    • I’ve only sen the first ep of Angel Beats – I enjoyed it a lot, but I don’t remember much about the protagonist.

      What’s funny about Shana is that I remember thinking Yuji wasn’t that bad when I first watched it, but rewatching the first ep and watching the movie I wanted to fucking strangle him to death, tear his head off, and kick it into a woodchipper.

  2. Not a male lead, but Gundam 00’s Saji Crossroad attempts to dissuade his ex-girlfriend from continuing to fight using mobile suits by saying “This isn’t suited for you. You’re a gentle girl.”


    • That post was fucking hilarious and you know a character is bad when he can piss me off without even seeing the show lol.

      • oh the hate I’ve heard about saji over the years

        i’ve only watched the first ep of 00 so I don’t know personally. it’s on my next gundam to watch list after I finish Wing or G Gundam. sorry bright, lord of the chickens. you’ll have to wait in line again.

  3. I’ve bitched about it before but Touma completely ruined Index for me. The seigi no mikata trope really bugs the crap out of me. Ally of justice my ass.

    The safest way of watching Shana is to watch the OP and ED sequences and Shana-tan, nothing else.

    • I’m surprised at that, because I really liked Touma. He just seemed to me like a guy who was really down on his luck but hated to see a nice girl suffer and was willing and capable of doing what it takes to save her. I don’t remember the ally of justice line, but I at least think that he took his actions based on a personal need to act and not be a bystander rather than doing so because it was just the ‘right thing to do.’

      Or maybe I just like him because he’s a male lead who actually fucking kicks ass. I don’t know. I have this weird bias towards Index that I can’t even really explain.

      • Nah I think Touma’s speil (especially by the end of the show) was Nakama crap which is almost as bad. I just generally don’t like characters that expound at length about their personal morals. I thought Touma’s give-a-shit, this is so troublesome, why do i have to deal with this attitude was all a big hypocritical statement. He wants to be the hero. It’s not like he randomly walks into shit, no he purposely does everything he can to get involved in whatever it is that’s going wrong. Plus the whole amnesia thing was just painfully stupid. Why did they need to give him amnesia? I thought it was kind of cool at first because he didn’t get all emo about it but at the same time it did absolutely zero for his character. As time went on it was mentioned just a few times. I honestly could have watched Touma before and after he got amnesia and seen absolutely jack shit difference in his characterization.

        I liked Touma in Railgun because he took a back seat. There it was cool how he flustered Mikoto and in turns of shipping I’m 100% Mikoto x Touma. I’d much rather see Mikoto save the day than Touma though. Even his power is like deus ex machina, there’s no strategy, no outthinking his opponent; he just touches them and that’s that. Woopie doo I hope he sterilizes himself everytime he masturbates.

        • Funny.. I hate both of them, but Misaka only had cuteness on her side. Just as self-righteous as Touma, but at least he had a reason to be pompous .. he had no luck. I don’t see why his personality should change post-amnesia either. It’s who he is, a selfless yet preachy shounen archetype.

          I agree that he is better in smaller doses, but the same is true of Misaka really. She’s more or less superfluous, except to stick her nose into other people’s business. Touma’s luck forces him into other people’s business if he wants it or not, so I can’t see why you’d like one over the other.

          And.. here I am analyzing Index and Railgun. What a colossal waste of time.. :)

          • I like Misaka cause she’s a gods be damned moe blob. She also actually has a reason to get involved with shit. She’s the only level 5 esper in academy city. Therefore she’s the only one who can take down the big bads. Also from a strictly artistic standpoint she takes them down in much flashier ways. I really didn’t pay attention to her speeches as long as the enemy was left with a huge gaping hole in them as Misaka’s railgun pierced and cauterized right through their internal organs. If Touma’s imagine breaker had actually looked like it did in episode 9

            I might have liked him a tad bit better. Also Misaka’s sidekicks (dare I say foils) are 100x better than Touma’s…cept that time Saten got all emo. Kuroko>All

            • I thought Misaka was one of 6 elites including that annoying Accelerator character? I also thought she was involved because she was kinda used by the guys that made all her clones for that.. interesting.. project to create a god-like esper?

              As for artistic, I’d disagree. There’s something epic about Touma taking a minute to deliver a punch across a tiny room, or that epic fight with the alchemist dude (which was the highlight of the series for me, preachiness notwithstanding). The best fight of the entire franchise so far was her little spat with Touma in Railgun, as far as I’m concerned. One of the cutest esper-tsundere showoffs in anime.

              I can understand the moemoe appeal, but if that’s all that defines the characters in a series then it seems kinda pointless to grip about the male lead at all doesn’t it? My wife says “let the fangirls get their share too” ;)

              And, while I’m semi-trolling, I didn’t consider Misaka’s “sidekicks” really all that much better. They were all the same one-dimensional-personality types. If you combined the three of them, they unite to form an entity just as cute and annoying as Index :)

              Anyway, as fun as it is pretending I care about Index or Railgun, I should really get caught up on Angel Beats while my wife gives me the chance by letting me not watch that horrid Maid-sama series.

              • I don’t get how either of you is capable of taking Index apart this much. I’m not even sure if I’d hate Yuji’s self-righteousness now if he wasn’t a pussy. Maybe I just hate him for being a self-righteous pussy.

                I don’t know. I can’t figure out where I stand anymore. I HAVE A AUTO-BIAS FOR RAILDEX! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

                • I have to admit, it surprised me as well. Almost took me back to my early days of IRC trolling. Just goes to show how you can wax idiotic about nothing at all if you want to :)

                  • Don’t cover it up as trolling, man. That isn’t what trolling is. If it was trolling, I would have deleted it. You are presenting valid points that do not persuade a completely unnecessary discussion – that’s the opposite of trolling.

                    • I meant it as a gentle troll, actually. The kind to start a semi-serious discussion to waste a bit of time, not the kind I’m used to seeing these days to just piss everyone off :D

              • I sort of take most of the storylines of Index and Railgun seperately. Since I never see the sisters or Accelerator in Railgun I assume it hasn’t happened yet. In Railgun I thought they said she was the only level 5 but I could be wrong.

                Also I will agree that Railgun and Touma’s fight was one of the better in the series.

                • I thought “level 5” was the best you could get normally, and they tried to make a level 6 out of Accelerator or something using those clones of Mikoto. I do remember that in Index Accelerator was “the strongest”, and he was Mikoto’s level but she herself felt like he was out of her league.

                  I was under the impression, maybe wrongly, that the stories kinda overlap. Touma seems to know Biribiri already when Index starts, yet it’s like he’s just meeting her the first time they see each other in Railgun. Later, he seems to have forgetten her in both series, so it’s like they tried to align the timelines of the two series somewhat (maybe it’s off, I wouldn’t be surprised).

                  Personally, I liked that they kept Index and the Sisters pretty much out of Railgun. It was more a friendship anime then Index’s “epic science vs religion” weirdness. When it wasn’t busy being retarded, Railgun was actually a pretty good friendship anime. That’s why I managed to watch it right through to it’s idiotic ending.

                  • Yeah, the Railgun timeline begins before Index and continues into the Index plot itself, but there is a pretty big amount of time covered in Railgun. The best way to keep track of it is just listening up for like what month it is or what grade the girls are in.

        • Taka says, “there’s no strategy, no outthinking his opponent.”

          lol, what? What series were you watching? Touma had to mind fuck Aureolus to beat him. He had to think his way through the Innocentius fight too. He didn’t win either of those fights with “super energy attack” or some other lame stock super power. He won with strategy. He won by out-thinking his opponent.

          • In Taka’s defense, Touma isn’t a cute moemoe character, and neither is Aureolus. The standards for those kinds of characters is apparently much higher than for the likes of Biribiri, who can just rush headlong into trouble and hope for the best ;)

          • In Misaka’s defense she clings to shit with static electricity, she makes magnetic storms and swords, she puts coins through monsters. She collaborated with Kuroko to put a giant mecha’s hand through it’s own body. Touma touches stuff. He touches it and it dies. Tell me that Touma doesn’t have deus ex machina as power, please. Sure he may have to think about where to touch his opponent but mostly he just touches them. It doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for embellishment and strategy. Oh noes his hand is bleeding they are trying to show that his hand isn’t perf- oh nevermind he killed it anyway.

            Also with all the touching going on, it’s nowhere near as hawt as it sounds.

            • It can’t be called a deus ex machina if it’s something you know about from the very beginning. In this case, it’s the job of the story to form convincing obstacles for the power. You obviously weren’t convinced – others were. I personally found the fact that Accelerator only couldn’t deflect Touma’s fist to be badass, because it meant that Touma had to put himself in the direct line of danger to fight, and Accelerator had to think of a way to fight an opponent who could actually get close to him and hit him, which he wasn’t used to (as Touma says “you haven’t been in a street fight, have you?”)

              I just think it’s funny to find his power ridiculous when the entire damn series is centered around him having that power. You can hardly call it a story-breaker when it IS the story. If it’s insanely powerful, that’s the point, and that’s why he has an entire faction take up a front to defeat/capture him.

              I think another problem is that Index S1 didn’t give us enough time to see a really difficult opponent for Touma show up. We’re still in the introducing characters and doing seemingly-unrelated stories point, and from what I know of the novels (of which there are 20 !! and only 6 were adapted by S1) the stakes and scale get way higher as a faction war gets involved, and it’s then that we’ll see Touma put to the test against high-level magicians and espers who are after HIM and not someone else that he steps in to help.

              • Oh, the heck with it. I’m having more fun with this analysis than I did with the show itself (thank god for days off and girl’s nights out, I can be an otaku again for a full night!)

                What’s interesting is that Touma’s power is incredibly weak. It not only negates his luck (in an epic way), but it is even very unlucky in that it’s incredibly limited.. only his one hand can negate things, only through direct contact, and it can ONLY negate “imaginary powers”, not bullets or something. That’s.. pretty lame, actually. If Biribiri had brains, she’d zap him in the balls (if she didn’t secretly want to do other things to those).

                This also raises an interesting side-topic.. if he’s so bitterly unlucky, how has he survived for this long? Is it because everyone ELSE shares in his bad luck, giving him opportunities to miraculously “win”, or is it because all his luck is concentrated in life-or-death moments? (Or maybe reality itself just gives up when he starts on one of his speeches, and lets him win just to shut him up?)

                Anyway, I agree that Touma’s not really a deus-ex machina. It’s not like he pulls random powers out of his ass, like Biribiri. If anything, she conveniently invents whatever power she needs, which is fine by me because it’s usually pretty interesting (if not ridiculously unrealistic, but who cares).

                If anyone in the series is a combination of the two personalities, it’s Kuroko. Her powers, while handy, have to be used in imaginative ways to make the most of them. And she really DOES use them like a pre-conceived tool she’s been practicing all her entire life. I appreciate her moments of ass-kickery, because otherwise she’d just be a clingy barnacle on Mikoto’s ass screaming “onee-sammaaaaa!”.

                • I think it’s hilarious that both of you have so much to say about a show you apparently didn’t like lol. But then I find it hilarious that people finish shows they don’t like, so you guys are a whole new level of crazy :p

                  Yes, “Imagine Break” is weak in ways, but also utterly important… it’s sort of like an Achilles machine. I did forget about it negating his luck, but I do think it’s probably also capable of negating the opponent’s luck even more. Or, it’s also possible that the negation of his luck is in play at all times, because the more people Touma saves, the deeper in the shit hole he gets. Every friend he makes nets him twice the enemies, and with no reward since the girls beat him up, freeload off of him, and give him no play. It could be that victory is merely the illusion of luck in a grander scheme of ultimately shitty luck.

                  Biribiri’s powers bother me as well because they suffer from what shounen anime knows as the ‘hero power inconsistency’, wherein because her powers are so improperly defined, the writers can make her lose or win to anyone for plot convenience in spite of whether or not it seems like she shouldn’t have. That, I admit, is a problem – Index isn’t perfect, even if I do seem to adore it lol

                  And yeah, Kuroko’s powers are, I think, the most well-represented.

                  • Crazy’s a good word.. I’m finding it hilarious too. To be honest, it’s also because of beer-bets. No one wanted to finish Railgun so they dared me to do it, and they finished other series.. there were only a couple of things airing those seasons that were worth a damn anyway.

                    We then had a grand old time comparing the results, where I stabbed at Railgun, someone else stabbed at Letter Bee, and so on. I guess I’m trying to make the most out of my time investment on Railgun now.. or something ;)

                    • Lol what a terrible reason, though at least you had fun with it. As for me, I haven’t finished Railgun, but it was love at first sight with me~

                  • It takes drastic measures for me to drop a show. Like I have to fall asleep during several episodes. What usually happens is it sits on my HD for so long I just get fed up and say screw it I’ll never finish it. I liked the first half of Railgun most but you can take or leave that anime-original gangster arc. I liked certain arcs of Index.

                    Also it’s much easier to complain than praise.

                    I desperately want to drop Hakuouki right now. I’m like weeks behind. It’s proven to be at least decent but all the bishies and only one chick make me twitch a little.

                    • lol. Well, they call me “drop-em-all digiboy” (/trying to be as cool as tomino) I can’t stand to watch anime if I’m not enjoying it, because I’d much rather either be watching something new that I will like or rewatching an old favorite. It’s just never made sense to me to watch something if you aren’t enjoying it, but then again a lot of people thrive on being able to bitch about anime lol.

                      In fact, I think it deserves to be pointed out that Shana is, in fact, the rare case of my watching a show after I’d stopped liking it, but I think I was just always convinced it was going to finally get better again lol. I was very wrong, but I still dropped it before too long.

                    • I find praising is just as easy.. it’s always easy to go along with others, or provide a pointless troll. In my case, I like to be contrary (even against my own opinion) when it gets a more interesting discussion going. It’s a sad sight to me when a page only exists as a “this is awesome” or “this sucks” hivemind. I love posts like this one, because it’s guaranteed to start some interesting discussions.

                      As for dropping shows, I have dropped PLENTY. I just happen to get stuck on shows when there’s a beer in it for me :) Sometimes it’s well worth it, like with Spice and Wolf and Toradora, and other times it’s frustrating.

                      I find watching the odd thing I don’t really like keeps me sharp, and leads to interesting discussions with people who disagree with my point of view. It’s doesn’t always turn out to be a matter of “agreeing to disagree”, and it’s how I’ve met some of my better friends.

                      I dropped Hakuoki a few eps ago, hoping it would free up some time for Night Raid. No dice, so far. Angel Beats comes first, because I want to figure out why people like it so much.. if it’s just the moemoe hivemind or if it really is sufficiently deep to justify all those blog posts.

                    • @Hogart: Very interesting. I guess if you are into discussion a lot, then it certainly helps to be up and up on topics that can eventually make your viewing worthwhile – I hadn’t really thought of that before. For the most part, though, most of what I’ve seen get really discussed is always currently airing shows, and I am incapable of watching a show weekly. But it’s still nice to know about all the shows people will discuss. I’m usually on top of this because I watch a fuckload of anime anyway, but I still feel out of the loop when stuff like Fate/Stay Night or Umineko comes up and there is so much discussion going on that I miss out on. Maybe I really do owe it to myself to suck it up and watch those shows (or play the games, if they’ve been tled).

                    • @21stcenturydigitalboy: It’s tough for me to choose new shows, but I generally try the first couple eps of all the ones I can get a hold of. If it seems like there’s no interesting discussion and the anime isn’t my bag, I’ll drop (alcoholic reasons notwithstanding).

                      As for older series, I usually suck it up as soon as there is a spark of hope that it will generate discussion again (new series, spark of life on a d-board, etc). I don’t usually have the time to do this, though, so I know how you feel. I have enough friends that don’t mind watching an older show the same time I do, and if it’s going badly we’ll throw the beer bet in or move on to something else.

                      Tangentially, this has lead to some of my friends fixing fansubs or official translations for their anime clubs, which has had a net positive effect on us. There’s nothing quite like trying to make a localized fansub for something like Birdy the Mighty or Spice and Wolf.. you can often find many “literal” subs, or ones that rely on references that the casual viewer would easily miss. But that’s a different discussion altogether :)

                    • I try to watch a couple eps of shows, and I usually find one or two that I adore and want to keep up with, but, alas, I do not succeed. Most I end up forgetting after 3 eps with my longest runs all being 6 eps. I simply don’t have the attention span to keep up with those shows, especially when I’m marathoning other crap during the week. I also tend to start forgetting how I’m supposed to be feeling about the show, or just simply won’t be in the mood for a whole week and push the episode back.

                      But man, being caught up on K-On!! has been extremely helpful not only to understanding blogger in-jokes but because Ghostlightning and I sparked some amazing discussion about it. Thinking about that and with extra inspiration from you, I think I’ll find the flame to try and stomach shows that get talked about just to get in on the convo – after all, I spend most of my time on blogs, so it’s always better to have something to read and talk about.

                      Unfortunately I’m not of legal drinking age yet, haha.

                    • @21stcenturydigitalboy: no one said it had to be beer ;)

                      But yeah, that’s kinda the point as I see it. You don’t have to love the show to have amazing discussions based on it. It might even help to redeem the show, as I’ve mentioned above, if you feel like that’s three or four episodes you’ve “wasted” on something only to drop it. Suddenly you discuss something related to it, and you’re interest returns, or you at least learn something interesting. Better than just dropping the show having waste an hour or two on it :) Does take more effort, but I sure don’t mind.

                    • That’s cool shit, mang. I can’t believe I seriously never thought of it like that before. I mean, I still am not going to just go and finish all of the 215 shows I’ve dropped, but at the very least I think that in the future I’ll definitely check out the shows that have the good discussion so that I don’t miss out. (and I’ll go back and finish some things that still get discussed.) Good shit. I guess part of why I never understood people finishing things they like is that I usually see it done for reasons I want no part in – lots of people finish shows just so that they will feel justified in bitching about it later. I don’t like to bitch about shows, I like to talk about shows that I love. Even here with Shana, I’m ripping it apart, but only because there is some part of it that I still love deep down. But you’ve shown me a very different reason, and I think it’s still about love – not a love for the show necessarily, but a love for conversation and analysis of anime~

                    • I can relate. I don’t like feeling out of the loop in conversations. I also would like to pick up Night Raid because I’ve heard it’s started getting good.

                      I have a problem though that oftentimes if it’s a show I didn’t enjoy overall, I mostly remember the things that I didn’t like about the show than the things I did. I’m also terrible at pinning down the exact reason I stopped watching a show. It’s not really like a “oh I didn’t like this” type of reason. I don’t really set any parameters beforehand, I’d never really thought to, and I like to give every show it’s fair and fighting chance. Me dropping a show is less a concise dumping and more a sort of petering off and “losing the spark”. Or if fansubs are slow, god help you if fansubs are slow. I desperately wanted to finish Mouryo no Hako but no one ever subbed the damn show. By the time someone did I didn’t have the burning desire to watch it anymore. I can still tell you the exact moment that sold me on the series though. This season I tried to set specific parameters like “3 episodes ya done”. With Mayoi Neko Overrun I decided to give it one more episode to prove itself. It still kind of sucked but by then I knew it would have 12 different directors and I just couldn’t drop it then. Nobody is really debating it but I personally think it could be rife with comparisons of various directorial styles, whether the character traits and personalities are consistent with each director, and identifying signatures if you are familiar with their previous work. I see it almost as something academic. The show is pretty bad though, only the Kuroko/Misaka meidos and Takesatsu Ayana going Nyaa~ have any appeal beyond the 12 director thing. I’ve also tried to join forums and things that would have discussions of anime but I find the best place are blog post comments and AIM. Maybe twitter. I don’t know about clubs nearby me or anything like that.

                    • Ya Mayoi Neko I plan to watch because of the couple of legendary scenes I’ve heard about/seen.

                      My dropping a show comes at a point when I just can’t take it anymore. Sometimes it’s a show I want to like, such as The Big O which I dropped during ep 20, because I had liked it but just couldn’t take anymore. Most of what I drop, I do after 1 ep, as that’s enough to know if it’s my thing. I used to drop shows within half of the first ep if they really pissed me off lol, but I have grown a lot more patient since then.

                      Forums are fail. This is a lesson I have undeniably learned over the years, and it’s for the simple fact that in a forum you can’t control who you read. I can read exactly what blogs I want to and have discussions because I know those authors and know how to discuss with them. Forums take away that control and pit you against people who you might not have wanted to read. And I get into fights easily, hence my being banned from every forum I’ve ever been a member of lol. Twitter is boss too because not only do you have control, but you are almost guaranteed a conversation, and if I get into it enough, this will usually lead to a full-on post on my tumblr (as happens when 8C and I talk, haha)

                    • @21stcenturydigitalboy: I like to think of “rage” as a way to figure out what’s stopping you from loving something, so don’t think of that negativity as a “bad” thing. The opposite of “love” is “apathy”, after all :) Channeling the rage, now that’s the trick..

                      Obviously don’t bother finishing them all :D You dropped them for a reason, right? You could always read a bit to see whether it’s worth finishing a particular episode at least, and I think you’re on the right track with “Finish or fail”.

                      You might generate some more discussion if you post ahead of time what you’re watching and ask people if they think a similar anime is something closer to what you like. You even might already be doing this, for all I know, but I haven’t had the chance to check. Would be even more interactive if it’s a show similar to something that’s airing, so you can compare and maybe drag a few people into it who share your viewpoints.

  4. If I’m not mistaken, and I’m 100% sure I’m not(I just wanted to type “If I’m not mistaken”), that’s called ethnocentrism, which means basically judging the way others behave by your own cultural standards.
    It might be worthy to point out that this is what created slavery, what made people try to force catholic beliefs in Indian(as a step to slavery).
    It is also why Islam is seen in such a bad light by the western world, due to various things from the way they treat women to the clothes they wear.
    It could also be applied to the whole “Visual Novel producers hate gaijin” thing and the brouhaha over Rapelay, but I can’t back this claim up very well since I honestly don’t give a fuck about it. I guess that if a parallel between Rapelay and SnS were to be drawn, then SnS could be seen just as badly as Rapelay, but I better stop here or I’ll start saying bs that I’ll be embarrassed of when I’m 20 and come across.

    • Not sure where you were going with that Reapelay thing, but yeah, you’re right about the ethnocentrism.

  5. The problem with Shana for me was that they never developed the characters, or when they did it was for bullshit highschool love-triangle purposes. Way to turn an interesting premise into even more of a pointless clone of everything else. Yuji was just the icing on the cake.

    • Or worse, reverse-developed them. Any hope I had after Shana’s confession at the end of season one was dashed instantly in season 2 by Yuji not remembering and Shana not admitting it. Fuck.

  6. You spelled out words for words why I dislike Shakugan no Shana. Thank you.

    And Shinichiro from True Tears is the male lead that ruins the show for me. Because despite what Noe has done for him, he still couldn’t see that she’s the reason he found his balls again. He dragged her for the whole show just to dump her at the end.

    • Yeah but the thing about True Tears is that I hate the protagonist, but that’s exactly why I’m glad Noe DIDN’T end up with him, because she needed and deserved something better. This didn’t stop me from being pissed at teh series altogether for making me watch her get abandoned by everyone and left to nearly kill herself, though, regardless of her bittersweet ending.

    • God, True Tears was like the anti-Toradora for me. Shin wasn’t *quite* enough to single-handedly ruin the show, but the other characters sure picked up that spare. Bunch of mopey kids acting stupid, learning nothing, mistreating each other and themselves, and all for an ending that will obviously end in misery for the “happy couple” anyway. What was the point? To make me rage slightly on an aniblog years later?

      • Yeah. This. I loved Noe, but pretty much every single other character in the show made me rage. I in no way believe that the main guy and his girlfriend will last a god damn week anyway. Idiots. But the kids are just stupid kids – the one who pissed me off the most was Noe’s brother who abandoned her for selfish reasons when she was in her most needing of times. Fucking asshole.

  7. I agree. Shirou from Fate/Stay Night fits the type as well… Falsely self-righteous and sexist. Gosh I hate him so much.

    To some extent, I actually thought Mikoto from Railgun is too self-righteous as well, although she does not exactly fit the model you outlined. There is no “defrosting the ice queen” or contrasting morals. She’s just too sure of her own actions.

    Rock from Black Lagoon is perhaps one of the few times I’ve seen this trope done well.

    • I’ve heard that complaint about Shiro a lot, and in spite of my auto-bias towards Raildex as a whole, I do see what you mean about Misaka. I guess it just doesn’t bother me because she is also a badass, so I can at least forgive her on some front.

  8. Usually I’m pretty neutral to these kinds of male leads, but once in a while I find one that’s particularly annoying. Off the top of my head, I would say Yuuto from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu. The guy is just the biggest wimp ever and never sticks up for himself no matter what crap someone (usually a harem girl) gives him. The only thing I like about him is his romance with Haruka.

    I like Mikiya but the one thing I didn’t like about him was his “anti-killing” ideals. Didn’t he tell Shiki that “no one deserves to die?” (or am I mixing him up with someone else?) I think that’s a little too righteous – there are some people we’d definitely be better off without.

    • Mikiya’s moral stance was based on his personal ideal that there remains potential in everyone. He thinks it’s sad for people to be killed if there is still a chance that they could eventually find happiness or become a productive member of society – I fully agree with this, as it is the only reason I have for disapproving of murder. HOWEVER, it is also true that in the third movie, Mikiya states that ‘even though he is against murder, he felt nothing towards the gang rapists who were killed and doesn’t feel bad about their deaths’. So even he will admit that some killings are justified enough to slide by.

  9. Black Lagoon would be all well and good if it was just Revy and Dutch shooting things, but Rock makes it much more interesting to watch!


  10. I haven’t seen any of these shows so I can’t comment on them specifically, but I hate the “Defrosting the Ice Queen” trope with a passion. I don’t care if Shakespeare did it first, it still sucks!

      • Hehe, yeah. I just think that the fundamental idea is troubling. The idea that a woman has to be “defrosted” in order to comply to a male’s standards is pretty patriarchal. The idea is generally that the Ice Queen doesn’t act properly female, and so needs to be, essentially, broken. She isn’t conforming to what society, i.e. men, expect and desire her to be.
        Men can act prickly, bitchy, irate, off-putting, cold, isolated, and distant but no one needs to “defrost” them. I guess there is the idea of the woman who “changes” her man’s ways, but it doesn’t seem quite the same. There isn’t the idea that he fundamentally changes who he is, rather that he changes his behavior.

        Which isn’t to say that Revy’s behavior is good or productive or healthy in any way! :P (That’s the only one of the series mentioned that I’ve seen part of – see, I don’t feel totally left out of the aniblogosphere conversation! Woo!)

        • In the cases of Revy and Shiki though, Someone had to defrost them, guy, girl, whatever. Mikiya makes it very clear that he does NOT care that Shiki be womanly, because there is a scene where he firmly states that he would still be in love with her even if she was a man. (“If I had to be picky, I guess I’d prefer she was female” lol). In both cases, though, the girl was on a course to self-destruction – both of them are much better off with what happens to be a guy in their life. And in fairness, it sometimes does take a lover to defrost someone, if it is their love for that person that helps them to defrost. The only reason a girl would be more likely to get defrosted by a guy in that case is that a girl is more likely to fall in love with a guy, yaknow?

          In the case that bothers me so much, Shana, it’s not really seen that Yuji has any sexist reason for trying to make Shana change, but puerly moral ones that he would put on anybody.

          I won’t deny that there are ice queen defrostings that involve some level of sexism in anime, but it’s a very case by case basis, and I think there are actually more that aren’t sexist at all. In the case of what I discuss here, it’s a non-issue though.

          • That smoking scene in Black Lagoon was awesome :) I think that’s about the limit of what I’ve seen of that series, so I have no idea if Revy actually opens up at all. It’s next on my Netflix queue…

            In the case of Shana, it seems that Yuji is forcing his own moral code onto her, rather than “defrosting” her? It’s not exactly the same theme, but close. In a classic defrosting, it’s more of a social and cultural code that the defrostee has to accept.

            I take issue with the classic “Taming of the Shrew” type Ice Queens, which are still pretty popular, what with “10 Things I hate about you” and all. But that’s Western stuff. I guess what I don’t like are the scenarios in which one character tries to force another to accept their love and admiration, and thus change their icy ways – just because this person wants them to.

            I’m also straight off of watching Rose of Versailles, in which Andre briefly thinks he can change Oscar into a typical woman, despite her insistence that she doesn’t want that life. It’s not so much defrosting, but he’s trying to change a fundamental part of Oscar’s personality.

            It can totally be the other way around, too. Mr. Darcy is a prime example of defrosting the Ice … King? :)

            • I get what you mean. I think ‘Defrosting the Ice Queen’ as it is on TV Tropes isn’t quite the same thing as Taming of the Shrew, even if it uses it as an example. After all, the characters I mentioned are in that list, but yeah I get why Taming of the Shrew would be really annoying and degrading. I can’t really think of a time where it happens full-on in anime, but there are definitely a lot of remarks along the lines of ‘you should act more like a girl’ in anime, as well as a fuckton of tomboy characters who ‘want to be more girly so X will like me’, though at lest those are often countered with an ‘I like you just the way you are’.

              It’s definitely more of a western thing I think. I can’t really say because I don’t really watch any kind of movies in that genre at all.

        • Neat conversation.

          I honestly think that it swings both ways in this case. I known as many girls who an infatuated with the same core concept of “winning a tough person’s heart, so you feel you’ve earned their love and that they’ll only have eyes for you”. I have a hard time believing that it’s about fundamentally changing who the person is, actually.

          I also don’t know many guys who can get away with such behaviour in real life. Maybe they could in highschool, perhaps even college, but unless they are one of those rare uber-gifted “weirdos” I can’t think of any examples now that aren’t dismissed as immature jackoffs or as walking warning lights.

  11. Heaven forbid that Japanese women actually find fulfilling careers and *happiness* without men in their lives! Absolutely heretical! As anime would have it, every woman must have a man in their life to tame them and get them back in the kitchen.

    On a more serious note, I think this is the trend that people complain about when they speak of how anime has slowly become “moe-ified” since the 90s. Characters like Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell are increasingly a rare breed, whereas heroines in newer shows tend to conform to the Shana model – their real problem is not fighting the aliens/demons/whatnot, it’s getting a man in their life. It’s a curious throwback to a more conservative era, it feels like a throwback to conservatism – perhaps influenced by the shift in target audience, or perhaps the result of animation being the last refuge for the politically incorrect.

    • I think you are blowing that way out of proportion. There have been female characters like this for all time in anime, and there are still plenty of characters like Kusanagi (see: Balsa from Seirei no Moribito for the perfect example.) Not to sound elitist or anything, but I think you may be saying this without having done enough research.

      • A fair point – I can only draw on anecdotes rather than any systematized evidence to support this – it’s quite possible the trend is on the decline rather than the upswing, given the general fact that the amount of new releases per year has been on the decline.

  12. I bet digiboy here hasn’t encountered a male protagonist defrosts the Ice Queen not just because it isn’t right, but because he’s forced to believe it isn’t right, which is Kyon’s case.

    Again, Kyon is Jesus, who would want to kick his ass?

    • Are you insinuating that I haven’t seen fucking Haruhi? Also you confused me too much with all those isn’ts.

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  14. Damn I’m like a month too late to read this blog T_T [Stupid exams…+ I only saw this blog today xD And doubt you’ll even read this comment o.O]

    I was reading through the comments and I really envy you people on the anime discussions that you people make. I try to do that with my friends…but it seems like I don’t have enough friends that are exactly like me who actually likes discussing about bits and pieces of anime =\ It’s like I talk about something and I can clearly see they’re not interested or just don’t think much about it ><"

    As for Index/Railgun [yes I'm a month too late but I only finished watching all of it last week…so yea xD], I don't really like Touma that much. Maybe it's his preaching and all his "I want to be a hero and protect some girl" kind of idea that really puts me off. I think someone stated before about his "why do I have to deal with this" and "this is so troublesome" attitude, I feel like its a 180 degrees change of attitude when he suddenly wants to be a hero and saves the day. o.O Think someone said something about the nakama thing, the thing is, I don't buy that in Index because I can't seem to find the strong bonding between Touma and the girls he tries to save. Especially after he got his amnesia as well. Usually in manga/anime [or in the ones I've watched], most of the characters save/protect someone due to their strong relationship with each other, or are just in a really serious situation. In Index, I feel like it's neither of those. Or maybe the situations are serious but I can't seem to feel that effect/impact of its seriousness. Like for Mikoto sisters arc, I understand the seriousness because of the manga, not the anime. Maybe it was just the presentation of it not portrayed as well and didn't get to me… But another thing about that arc was…I don't understand Touma's actions. Like okay, there's all this clone killing that needs to be stopped. Touma goes and finds Mikoto, Mikoto is depressed and suicidal. Yes and naturally people in this case, Touma will try to stop her. But all I got from that scene was…

    Mikoto: I'm gunna go suicide
    Touma: You'll have to get through me first even though I still don't really know who the hell you are 'cause I lost my freakin memory
    Mikoto: There's no other way!
    Touma: Still not letting you through!
    -End of communication-

    I'm not sure…something just doesn't seem right. Maybe there wasn't enough communication, like Touma isn't really justifying himself on why he is stopping her. [I can't see why he is doing so either…] Like if he preached right at that moment…I would've have no problems with it, unlike in some circumstances where his hand is like nearly blasted off and he's still talking for another few minutes.
    [+ his hand was nearly demented and leaking blood yet the next scene where he 'epicly' saves the day his hand was shown perfectly fine….okay that's not really the character's problem, but animation problem…]

    Sorry no offense intended but this is purely what I think about Touma and the Index series.

    Oh and for Mikoto and her self-righteousness, I don't feel as much from her. Maybe because I read the manga before I watched the Index/Railgun anime and found her extremely awesome. xD [haha I'm a bit bias here]. Someone said before that Mikoto sticks her nose into other peoples' business, I don't think that's a flaw. I think that it's her curiosity and unable to use her power fully [because she's too strong] that makes her want to actually do something [so she deals with the bad guys without authority which leads to Kuroko's lecturing].

    I was talking to one of my friend last time about being able to understand a characters actions. I think I came to a conclusion that most of the time when I dislike a character, it's usually because I can't comprehend the reason for them to do something [or I just totally hate their personality]. So for Touma's case, maybe it's not his personality [it could be…], but it might be more of what he does that irritates me.

    This comment is too long and I don't think anyone will read it anyway.

    Sidenote: Totally loved Shana in the beginning and gradually disliked Yuji and hated the other brown hair chick who likes him [such an ass…I hate love triangles that screws up a naturally good couple.]


    • Hiya, welcome to Fuzakenna! Glad you enjoyed the post! I always read all comments I get, since they show up in my site manager thing, so it doesn’t matter how old the post is.

      I get what you mean about Touma not really seeming to have a strong connection with the girls, and I actually do think that’s somewhat of a problem myself. I wonder how much of that could be because of the anime arcs having to cut parts of the light novels in order to fit them in. Though it kind of speaks for the lack of a bond that the vampire girl becomes utterly useless after her arc is over, and Index isn’t much more important past that point.

      As I said before, I think I’m honestly biased towards Index as a whole. It’s a show that I can’t help but love for reasons I don’t even fully comprehend. I don’t even care much about most of the characters, besides Accelerator, Last Order, and the Railgun crew (who are all better in Railgun.) Nonetheless, even if I don’t have a particularly good reason to defend it, I can’t help but feel like I want to. Ultimately, though, I think I’m mostly biased towards it.

      • Oh hey you replied xD [Wasn’t expecting that]

        Yea I guess it’s understandable that the anime has to cut out a lot of stuff from the novel. I assume that the later arcs in the novel will relate to the first few arcs and lead on to other stuff where the characters become very important. Maybe the second season of Index will change my impression of the series xP

        Yea I totally understand being bias towards a series xD It’s like me with Angel Beats! There were plenty of flaws but I still enjoyed it despite all that and loved the series [and thus defend it as much as I can]. I read so many forums that full on complain about Angel Beats! and it makes me kinda sad/irritated, but I feel like it’s useless to explain to them about why it’s good if they never enjoyed it in the first place.

        Oh yea I totally love Last Order [so cute~] and the Railgun crew xD Accelerator was good until he started using close combat to fight Touma which I find a bit stupid because he obviously can use long distant range to attack. [He should have had enough fighting experience to know that right…?] But Kuroko has to be the ultimate FULL OF WIN in the series~ Probably because her fighting style isn’t just “I am stronger than you” but instead “I’m using my brain to fight and taking in my powers and surroundings to defeat you”. [and plus her ONEEEEE-SAMA and other funny yuri moments xD] Sadly some people dislike that and prefer Touma x Mikoto more. Personally [no offense], I don’t like the Touma x Mikoto scenes because it ruins my image of the awesomely epic Mikoto T_T

        Sidenote: I’ve been reading so many of your posts [I have like 8 tabs open of just your blog stuff xD] No idea how I’m going to keep track of this but what you write is very interesting and very different from what’s on the forums~ xP I like the in-depth analysis and opinions on stuff about anime probably because I got noone else to talk to about it =D So good job~ ^^


  15. Pingback: Why are all the male leads in anime a bunch of pussies? « Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

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  18. We need to have the ability to actually email our favorite fictional characters.

    Like five years ago, a friend of mine was doing this “Superhero series” (it was the script for a hypothetical show) thing called Glacius, and I was probably the only person actively following each episode.
    Anyway, a few episodes in, I was getting really curious about the behavior of some of the main characters, and I wanted to ask my friend about it. But I thought it’d be adorable to instead address the letter TO the characters themselves, asking them what they think of various pending conflicts, and my friend responded in their voice. We did this a handful of times back and forth.

    If I ever have a story that people care about and follow, maybe I’ll make an email address for each of the popular characters, so that fans can ask about their mistakes and inconsistencies directly, instead of bitching about it to me.

    Even if and when you’re getting way way too many messages to respond to or even read, I’m sure most fans would still find it to be a therapeutic way to deal with their frustrations.

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