“…the point I want to make is that there’s a significant difference between being manly, an awesome masculine badass who we can respect and admire; and being macho, a muscular, insecure tosspot with no social skills.” – Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw
This post by video game journalist Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw on his Extra Punctuation feature caught my interest a few weeks ago. It’s about distinguishing characters who are ‘manly men’ from those who are ‘macho men’ – the gist of it being that a ‘manly man’ is a guy who’s completely badass while still being honest with his emotions and respectful of other people, while a ‘macho man’ is a guy who tries to constantly reassure you that he has a dick by acting like one. I realize that making this distinction will raise flags with some readers (especially my vocal feminist crowd, hehe), so if you’re wary about this distinction and want to discuss it, please read this disclaimer before leaving any argumentative comments. If you don’t care about all that, then proceed~
After giving thought to Yahtzee’s post, I realized that anime is sparse on ‘manly men’. Most anime characters tend to be young, and lack the clarity of thought and ability to take action that a ‘manly man’ has. Sure, characters will sometimes do manly things, but that’s not the same as embodying that manliness as a way of life. For instance, I could argue that Kyon from Haruhi has some manly moments of taking action, but outside of those moments he’s still a directionless, complacent teenager, regardless of how much wit and intellect he has to back him up. Nay, I’m on a search for characters who are truly ‘manly men’, and I’ve listed a few whom I think qualify below.