I feel like ever since shows like To-Love Ru released in 2008, we’ve seen a steady stream of anime featuring male leads who are indecisive and self-deprecating; but due to their kindliness, they win an assortment of a girl’s hearts. This has been going on for numerous years. It makes me wonder if we will see a change in this trend sometime soon.
There was a time when we had anime that wasn’t harem based and featured strong male leads: Yu Yu Hakusho, Bleach, or even Naruto. Then we started getting more shows where the protagonist is surrounded by girls for virtually no reason. Most often these shows feature a male lead that isn’t an “alpha”, instead, they’re a “beta” for lack of a better word. Just like how moe seems to be a major selling point for anime, as mentioned in my article here, it appears that these incessantly clumsy and indecisive male leads are popular as well. These types of characters seem to attract a much broader crowd in the anime community as they serve as a self-insert in a way.
However, there are a few exceptions in anime where we get a strong male lead. Trinity Seven featured above and Food Wars! (though the latter isn’t a harem anime) are good examples of characters who are more “alpha” rather than “beta”. Both shows have male protagonists with strong motives and aren’t indecisive around girls. Though they are sometimes oblivious, as many protagonists tend to be in anime, they’re still not afraid to speak their true feelings. I wish we had more shows where the male leads are more like Arata from Trinity Seven, or Soma from Food Wars!
I feel like the anime industry is over saturated with protagonists that are overall weak in nature. However, I’ve noticed that lately there has been a wide variety of shows with more interesting and cool male leads. I hope this trend continues. After all, it’s redundant to reuse the same type of protagonists regardless of genre. Even if you try to avoid them, you’ll still come across these types of characters. With that said, do you guys have a favorite anime with a strong male lead? Have you checked out these shows I mentioned or have one you recommend? Let us know! I specifically talked about male protagonists this time, but I will also talk about female protagonists in a future follow-up article. So, if you have a show you recommend that features strong female leads, definitely mention it as well!