10 Days – 10 Anime Boys: Day 10 – The Anime Boy You Secretly Want To Appear In Your Dreams

Anime Boys

And then it was Valentine’s Day and we get to the final day of 10 Anime Boys. Let’s get right to it with the anime boy you secretly want to appear in your dreams.

Is this the Anime Boy You Secretly Want To Appear In Your Dreams?

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Kougami Shinya

This is probably another guy who in real life would be more trouble than he was worth with his hard-headed approach to life and reckless nature in the pursuit of revenge. Yet Kougami Shinya from Psycho Pass is an awesome character to admire from a distance and so is the perfect guy to call into your dreams.

the anime boy you secretly want to appear in your dreams

Reason One: See above.

Again, a super shallow reason but an honest one.

Actually, if I’m really honest I’m not super into that particular body type, however Kougami kind of makes the whole package work. And again, from a distance, it’s pretty great to look at.



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Reason Two: Pretty sure you can’t suffer from second hand smoke in a dream (or at least I hope my subconscious is smart enough not to).

The distance of having Kougami in a dream rather than in reality allows me to wrinkle out some of his less desirable character traits (such as his habit of lighting up a cigarette in front of characters who clearly don’t like the smoke).

While Kougami looks incredibly cool in most shots of Psycho Pass, I’d have to admit I’d probably find the smell on his clothes and on his breath hard to take in reality. The distance that being an anime character or in a dream creates is probably incredibly important here.

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Reason Three: He’s tough, smart, and driven.

Alright, there’s a lot to admire about Kougami outside of his looks. If his friend hadn’t been cut to pieces by a serial killer, quite possibly Kougami would have lived a very peaceful and upstanding life. Then again, his penchant for digging deeper into things and questioning probably would have got him in trouble with the system sooner or later and possibly the same outcome would have occurred.

Regardless, Kougami’s character is fairly admirable in the way he can piece things together and that he has confidence to act on his own thoughts. It makes him a pretty admirable character even if he is a little on the reckless side.

Kougami Shinya is my choice for anime boy I secretly want to appear in my dreams but I’d love to know yours. Then again, I don’t think many people would complain about Kougami showing up in their dreams (unless he was pursuing you in which case that could probably be a nightmare).

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Karandi James


10 Days – 10 Anime Boys: Day 9 – The Anime Boy You Find Incredibly Annoying

Anime Boys

This would be such an easy post to just pick an annoying character and call it a day given there are a number of characters that would fit the description of anime boy you find incredibly annoying.

But I decided instead I wanted to pick a character that doesn’t seem like they should be annoying, but when thinking about spending time with them in the real world, you realise they’d be really annoying. That may be over complicating what should be a simple category but I didn’t want to have a post devoted to Zenitsu from Demon Slayer.

The Anime Boy You Find Incredibly Annoying

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Bell Cranel

Alright, if you’ve followed my blog for some time you will know I actually really like Bell as the protagonist of DanMachi. He’s the super nice protagonist who helps all the girls and is devoted to his goddess that manages to continually improve his strength and speed in order to become his ideal hero. He’s a great character. However, if you take him out of the anime and have this as the guy in your workplace, Bell’s going to be the kind of guy who annoys me to tears.

DanMachi9g 1

Reason One: Groundless optimism.

This isn’t a Bell unique trait by any means. So many anime protagonists have optimism that stems seemingly from nothing other than their own desire for something to be so. In Bell’s case, he wants to be the kind of hero he read about as a child. He wants to defeat the monsters, save the girls, fall in love, and never really suffer a defeat or a loss. Against all odds or reason he will persist if it is the right thing to do.

While that makes him a great protagonist to follow as he’s always striving for an ideal and reaching higher, in real life the cynic in me just knows that I’d probably be trying to ground some of that optimism in realism. Working with Bell on a project would be tiring because he’d be hoping things work out if you just put in enough effort rather than looking for real and practical solutions or work-arounds. Honestly, it would be exhausting.



the anime boy you find incredibly annoying

Reason Two: Severe over-reactions to mundane things.

Seriously, this hero can face down a minotaur and take on a goliath but having an actual conversation with a girl about his feelings is beyond him. Forget having a conversation with his goddess about them. Bell’s comical over-reactions might be entertaining enough in the anime (it is one of my least favourite parts) but in reality this would just be completely annoying to the point where you’d almost want to give him a good shake.

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Reason Three: He’s a little on the self-destructive side.

How many times has Bell had his armour broken and ended up seriously injured relying on potions or magic to see him through an ordeal? If Bell were actually someone you worked with he’d have you anxious every time he went to use the paper shredder because somehow that would become an epic battle and I can almost definitely see Bell coming out on the losing side of that. With Bell around a first aid kit is a must have item and while your busy putting safety labels on literally everything, Bell is blithely stirring up trouble through quite innocent means elsewhere.

Let me reiterate – I really like Bell as a character. However, he’s the kind of character that only works in the context of his story. He is not the kind of guy I want to be around in the real world because honestly he would just be incredibly annoying.


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Karandi James


10 Days – 10 Anime Boys: Day 8 – The Anime Boy You Like But Would Definitely Friend-Zone

Anime Boys

He’s great, you’ll spend time with him, you’d set your friends up with him, but you’ve just got no romantic interest in him; yeah the poor boy has definitely been friend zoned. He’s the anime boy you like; just not like that.

This was much harder than I thought to narrow down mostly because I don’t often develop real crushes on fictional characters so the vast majority of characters would end up here. That said, there’s one character I’ve talked about a lot that kind of defines this category for me.

The Anime Boy You Like But Would Definitely Friend Zone

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Rei Kiriyama

March Comes in Like a Lion is an anime I am in love with. A large part of the reason I was drawn into it was because of Rei. His original bleak outlook on things and his slow climb out of depression with his two steps forward one giant step back approach to moving forward made him a character I could really relate to.

I also have massive respect for Rei Kiriyama and his dedication to his craft, even when he isn’t really sure he even likes it. However, even if Rei were older, if I knew him in real life, he’d definitely be friend zoned, and not just because I’m pretty sure he’s already going to be taken in the future.

anime boy you like but would definitely friend-zone

Reason One: He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders.

While this is part of who he is, I find people who do this exhausting to be around. Even if they are an anime boy I like. That’s probably because I also do it in my daily life and the combination of two people doing that is exhausting because neither one is really looking at the glass being half-full. Rei is a nice guy and all but the two of us together would be a terrible combination because neither one of us can be the bright spot that lifts the other.



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Reason Two: I’d be annoyed at him every time he put himself down.

Let’s be honest: Rei is brilliant. He’s dedicated. Once he’s managed to move mentally to a place where he’s able to focus on others, he’s incredibly empathetic. Rei’s great. Yet he is incredibly critical of himself. The only reason I’m not calling him his own worst critic is that I’m pretty sure there are other people in his life that have put him down more which certainly didn’t help his mental state. Whichever way, it would aggravate me every single time he put himself down.

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Reason Three: How many hours does he spend on shogi?

I think the number one problem with the idea of forming a romantic attachment to Rei is that he spends an enormous amount of time either playing shogi or studying it. Either way, that isn’t leaving him a lot of time to go hiking, watch TV together, or just chit-chat. I can only imagine as he rises through the ranks how much more time he will spend studying in order to maintain his rank.

Basically, Rei is great and a character I have a lot of respect for but if I knew him in real life we’d be friends. Kind of. Assuming either one of us took enough initiative to actually have a conversation.

Rei is the anime boy you like but romance is probably off the table. Unless you are Hina in which case please go for it.


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Karandi James


10 Days – 10 Anime Boys: Day 7 – The Anime Boy You Would Want At A Party

Anime Boys

Ultimately this, who is the anime boy you would want at a party, was a pretty silly question to ask myself given how unlikely I am to want to be at most parties… Oh well. That said, if I had to be at a party, spending time with one of these male anime characters that have come up over the past 7 days would probably liven it up a whole lot.

The Anime Boy You Would Want At A Party

Dakaichi Episode 13 Takato
Is he the anime boy you would want at a party?

Takato Saijo

Alright, I get from watching Dakaichi that he’s taken, however Takato Saijo is a celebrity, incredibly good looking, and will put that annoying jerk who is hassling other guests in their place if he needs to even if it means distancing himself from others. He’s exactly the guy I would like to see at a party even if I’m just admiring from a distance.

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Reason One: I’m going to be super shallow and just go with eye-candy.

While not a deep or compelling reason, honestly Takato is a beautiful person and one that I am happy to show my appreciation of. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of the whole ‘neck-beard’ thing in the character designs (I’m blaming Arthifis for me continuing to call it that) but otherwise I love his character design and he’s also a slightly older character which makes the whole thing a little less awkward.

I think I would happily go to a party, get a plate of some fancy cheeses and breads, find a spot on a balcony or staircase overlooking the main floor of the room, and just watch Takato work the crowd.

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Dakaichi - Episode 1 - Takato

Reason Two: Endless confidence.

Maybe it goes with the celebrity status but Takato is an incredibly confident person. In his every gesture and facial expression (at least when in the public eye) he is poised and controlled (what happens out of the public eye is a bit of a different story). He is the kind of person who commands attention in a room and can change the mood in an instant. Yeah, he’s definitely on the guest list for a party.

Dakaichi Episode 5 - Takato

Reason Three: Given past experience, we have no idea what he’ll get up to if he has too much to drink.

Again, not a great reason by any means, but the uncertainty about how he’ll transform as the night wears on and he gets a few drinks in actually makes me super curious. Fortunately for Takato it is likely that is he rocks up at the party we’re also going to see an appearance from Junta and he’ll probably take Takato home before things get too out of hand.

Okay, the obligatory Takato gallery is coming but before that I’m going to ask my readers which male anime character you would invite to a party and why?


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Karandi James


10 Days – 10 Anime Boys: Day 6 – The Anime Boy You Would Turn To In A Crisis

Anime Boys

This decision was an interesting one because you could just go for the biggest, baddest, most OP hero around but honestly they’d probably just make most situations worse. So who is the anime boy you would turn to in a crisis?

The average crisis I faced is usually more work related and hitting things really hard doesn’t tend to solve those sorts of problems. Then again, there’s something to be said for someone who is completely overpowered in terms of feeling secure.

Anime Boy You Would Turn To In A Crisis

kirito

Kirito (Kirigaya Kazuto)

Despite the first season of Alicization effectively ending my love of the Sword Art Online franchise, or my willingness to continue to watch in the face of diminishing returns in terms of entertainment, Sword Art Online and Kirito hold a special place in my heart. Regardless of lacklustre follow-ups or the sense that Kirito’s character is done by the end of season one in terms of his arc and development, that first season really worked for me and definitely sold me on Kirito being a character I would want to rely upon in a crisis.

kirito knife

Reason One: Despite being an OP protagonist, Kirito still understands that he needs to pick his battles.

In Aincrad, Kirito had a very healthy dose of self-preservation. Initially almost too much, however as the series continued he found moments where he needed to fight despite the odds and other conflicts that could be avoided. Though, it was in Fairy Dance that he finally learned that death wasn’t the only sign of failure and that sometimes he had other things to lose.

For me this makes Kirito pretty reliable in a crisis because he’s learned to step back and look at the whole situation. Does he actually need to fight? Does he need to win? What are the conditions for victory and can they be achieved through other means? More importantly, what is it that cannot be lost and must be protected? From taking that perspective, Kirito becomes someone who can be relied upon outside of simple sword fights.



Sword Art Online - Episode 4

Reason Two: He isn’t above using underhanded methods.

Kirito is very goal focused and while there are some lines he will not cross, anything short of that line is fair game. We see this when he rescues Silica and uses her journey to revive her pet as bait to draw out some players who are responsible for the deaths of others. Kirito’s goal is fine and Silica doesn’t seem to mind, but it doesn’t change the fact that he withholds information from her and puts her into danger for his own ends.

Again though, assuming Kirito was definitely on your side, he’s someone you can rely upon in a crisis. He isn’t going to let his emotions overrule his reason and he also isn’t going to let pesky niceties dictate his actions and stop him from taking a logical path to success (even if someone’s feelings do get trampled in the act).

kirito

Reason Three: His confidence is not groundless but built on a fairly decent skill-set.

While Kirito’s social skills are somewhat questionable, his skills at gaming, problem solving, coding, sword skills, hunting, and so on are fairly impressive. That a lot of his skills can be translated into the real world (not entirely sure hunting is necessary unless we end up in some kind of post-apocalyptic scenario) just makes him the fairly ideal character to turn to in a crisis.

Okay, Kirito is my pick but who are you hoping will turn up for you when you face a crisis? I’d love to know so leave a comment.


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Karandi James


10 Days – 10 Anime Boys: Day 5 – Favourite Male Weirdo

Anime Boys

This category probably needs some explanation given I’m not using weirdo as a criticism. I’m just looking at male characters that are somewhat unconventional that for whatever reason I find interesting or intriguing. I ultimately decided I needed a lead character though because anime is full of strange and bizarre supporting characters. Fortunately I had the perfect character in mind.

Favourite Male Weirdo

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 21 - Hououin Kyouma

Okabe Rintarou/Hoouin Kyouma 

Steins;Gate is full of big personalities but none bigger than Okabe’s. In the beginning he’s overconfident, overbearing, and completely over-the-top but as things begin to unravel we see him vacillating between his exuberant persona and the underlying insecurities as well as a large dose of depressive hopelessness. He’s a great character and my favourite male weirdo from an anime.

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Reason One: Curiosity

While Okabe’s scientific method is definitely questionable, what isn’t is his desire to find out what happens when… and he’s tried a whole bunch of stuff just to see what happens and whether he can. While many of the gadgets in the lab are fairly useless when considering their practical contribution, the mere fact that they exist is a testament to Okabe’s desire to push beyond what others tell him is doable.

His curious nature, and his desire to find out what will happen, lead to the problem of the series. But then it is his resilience in the face of repeated failures and his desire to overcome obstacles (hardened through his previous experimentation) that allow him to ultimately succeed. As much as it looks like Okabe is a bit of a failure of a scientist, his odd-ball personality is actually exactly what is needed in the situation (of course given he created the situation possibly that argument is a little less valid).

steins pose

Reason Two: Obsession

Right from the first episode some of Okabe’s quirks are pretty apparent. His love of lab-coats and Dr Pepper being the most obvious. However even his naming conventions, his numbering of the lab-members, his secret phrase used on the phone… all of these quirks add up to a character who has surrounded himself with rituals and obsessions to help him keep order in his life. They make him a peculiar character to observe but also quite an interesting one.


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Largely this is because so many of his quirks clearly stem from his own social anxieties (as seen when they definitely become more prevalent when he is on uncertain ground) or general insecurities. However some of his behaviours are less obvious in their origin and they really make you wonder how that habit or behaviour formed in the first place. Simply put, there are layers underlying his obsessions and his behaviour makes you want to peel them back and really look at his character.

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Reason Three: Flair

Whether the original Steins;Gate or Steins;Gate 0, what we see is an Okabe that can pull himself back from the brink of anything (sometimes with some pointed help from his friends) and once he bounces back he delivers with panache. Why do something when you can do it while posing dramatically and deliver your lines like a drama student on stage for the first time? It most definitely adds a surreal element to even the most serious of confrontations.

That’s why Okabe is my favourite male anime weirdo. However I’m very curious as to who you would pick for this category so be sure to share below.


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Karandi James


10 Days – 10 Anime Boys: Day 4 – Favourite Male Dominated Cast

Anime Boys

There are so many brilliant anime where I’ve noted the cast is incredibly male heavy and narrowing my choices down to my favourite male dominated cast was quite the challenge. I mean we have K, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, and even Baccano which we could consider. Ultimately though I think I already knew which anime was going to win out and after going through the pros and cons of so many titles, my first impulse turned out to be correct.

Favourite Male Dominated Cast

Yuri on Ice 1

Yuri on Ice

While Yuri and Victor, with the second Yuri, hold up the centre of the story, Yuri on Ice was more than a one man show. Each of the characters had personality and purpose and the cast was a large part of what made Yuri on Ice a phenomenal viewing experience. Honestly, there isn’t a character in the line-up that I wouldn’t want to see as the main character in their own story yet they work so well with the rest of the cast, and to me that kind of meant that this cast had to be my favourite.

Yuri on Ice Episode 5 - Minami

Reason One: Even characters who only have a couple of episodes, feel like they had a lot of thought put into them.

For example Minami, who appears briefly at a local skating competition Yuri has to pass through to requalify after his disastrous last year of skating, manages in two episodes to make his presence felt, show us his own personality and ambition, helps the protagonist learn something valuable, and is also just a bundle of fun. You could almost see a ‘Next Generation’ spin-off featuring this character as he chased his idol, Yuri, and pursued victory in the Grand Prix.

But he isn’t alone. Every skater we see in each of the competitions gets their moment. Usually it is on the ice where we see their thoughts and reflections as they perform but even small encounters before and after competitions help flesh them all out and make them feel like they are actually the lead characters in their own stories that are briefly intersecting with this one.



Yuri on Ice Episode 6 Victor and Chris

Reason Two: Chemistry

I’m not just talking about Yuri and Victor here. There is great chemistry between the whole cast. They have history together in previous competitions, relationships, ongoing phone messaging, and all of them share the common goal of coming out on top. It makes the interactions a joy to watch, even from some of the more prickly characters like Seung-gil Lee.

Christophe and Otabek are both great examples of supporting characters in the cast who play a significant support role to one of the main characters with Christophe having a long history competing with Victor and Otabek reaching out to Yuri Plisetsky in the later half of the series. All of these relationships feel genuine and it is an absolute job to see.

Yuri on Ice Episode 10

Reason Three: I just want more of them.

Regardless of what these characters are getting up to I want to see more of them. It was hard not to turn this post into a Yuri and Victor gushing session but as they are only a small part of the cast I’ve tried to talk about everyone else. But I want more of those two. I want to see more of Yuri and Otabek. I want to see if Christophe keeps competing or if he is ready to retire and take a more back-seat role. I’d even love to see JJ can overcome his setback from this season and become a serious rival in future competitions.

Let’s forget the ice-skating for a moment: I’d love watching this cast just hanging out on a beach and I almost never say that as beach episodes bore me silly normally. But could you imagine that as a spin-off, “Yuri On Ice: Castaways” after a plane carrying the athletes went down and they all ended up on a tropical island. Yeah, I’d watch that.

Clearly I love Yuri on Ice and I love it for a lot of reasons, but the cast is a huge part of it which is why it is my Favourite Male Dominated Cast in anime. However, I’d love to know which anime you would have chosen.


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Karandi James


10 Days – 10 Anime Boys: Day 3 – Favourite Male Supporting Character

Anime Boys

Initially I was very tempted to pick Obi from Snow White With the Red Hair. He is an awesome male supporting character and one I would love to see a spin-off of at some point because he’s just a bundle of fun to be around. However, given I already picked Zen for favourite romantic lead I decided to go a different path.

Favourite Male Supporting Character

ishida

Uryuu Ishida

I’ve previously included Ishida on my top 5 list of male characters who wear glasses, and probably a few other lists. He was without a doubt my favourite of the ‘human’ characters in Bleach (and I use that term fairly loosely). As a supporting character he was fantastic as he provided a skill set the hero actually needed at times, managed to hold his own in more than one battle so wasn’t just filling time until the hero showed up to save the day, and he got to go through a wonderful character arc in his own right. So why is he my favourite supporting character?

uryu ishida

Reason One: He’s one of the few human characters who doesn’t just blindly follows Ichigo’s lead.

Where Chad and Orihime at times might ask Ichigo is a course of action is wise, they don’t ever actually make any serious effort to deter him once he’s set on a path. Actually, they largely do everything possible to help or just kind of follow along. Ishida on the other hand will tell Ichigo he’s an idiot and at times will refuse to go. But, he’ll then sometimes come up with his own plan and it is questionable whether his strategies (which regularly result in self-destructive behaviour) are actually any smarter.

This makes Ishida an interesting character to figure out as the series progresses. Sure he’s a supporting character but at times he takes a leading role in his own part of the story as he takes initiative and drives forward toward his own goals. Naturally because he isn’t actually the hero he seldom saves the whole day, but we can definitely say that if Ichigo hadn’t been around, Ishida might have made for a great leading character.



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Reason Two: Excellent weapon of choice.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am a huge fan of bow users in general. They are a cool weapon and Ishida’s is the coolest ever. Okay, wildly unrealistic, but very cool.

One thing I’ve noticed about supporting characters, particularly in action anime, is that they get increasingly weird weaponry and often times you just have to wonder how it would even be effective. We’re talking chains, string, weapons so huge and awkward looking you just have to wonder if they are going to injure themselves. So Ishida having a fairly basic weapon that they then tweaked enough to make an actually fairly formidable tool that was capable of very real damage kind of makes him stand out from the crowd.

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Reason Three: A solid character in his own right.

Ishida has all the makings of a lead character. He has a tragic childhood, a weird power and the willingness to train hard to get stronger. He’s also deeply flawed through being stubborn and anti-social, particularly early in the series. He gets some wonderful character development as the story progresses and he continues to evolve his powers throughout the series.

That he’s used as part of the supporting cast is fine as he is a nice compliment to the actual lead character, but he never feels like just an extra or a lackey following the hero around. Ishida always feels like he is in fact his own character and one that is well worth paying attention to.

That’s why Ishida remains my favourite male supporting character but who would you have picked?


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Karandi James


10 Days – 10 Anime Boys: Day 2 – Favourite Bad Boy

Anime Boys

I don’t think anyone will get a prize for figuring out my answer to this one in advance. Now personally, I’m not all that into bad boys as generally I get very little thrill out of dangerous situations. Yet, anime frequently manages to make it seem like flirting with danger might not be all that bad of an idea and so we have my favourite bad boy.

Favourite Bad Boy

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Sebastian Michaelis

I do have to give Mel credit here for calling it. Sebastian was always going to be on any list of male anime characters I was in the process of crafting. I’d worry that perhaps I’m a touch to predictable, but Sebastian is kind of high quality so I’m not exactly likely to give him up any time soon. Not Sebastian or the various bits of Black Butler paraphernalia scattered about my house.

However, let’s get to why Sebastian isn’t just another bad boy and why he is my favourite bad boy in anime. Though now that I think about it I’m not sure how he’ll respond to being called a boy. Anyway…

black butler sebastian1

Reason One: He’s literally a demon.

He isn’t just some jaded guy who is too cool for rules or regulations. Actually, he’s pretty strict on following his own code, it is just a little bit at odds with what us humans would consider to be correct in most situations. Sebastian will kill with a smile on his face and with more or less utter indifference to the act so he’s got the bad part of bad boy covered; meanwhile he looks so good while doing it.



wow, favourite bad boy definitely

Reason Two: He’s meticulous and loyal.

Yeah, bad boy isn’t his only modus operandi. When not faced with any particular threat he slides smoothly back into the loyal servant persona he has carefully cultivated while he awaits the perfect moment to devour his master. While he will bring you pain in the end, like most bad boys, he just might leave you thinking it was all worth while.

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Reason Three: Just look at those eyes.

Okay, I’m just a little bit obsessed with his character and honestly there’s something about how his eyes suggest that he’s both adoring you and sizing you up as a meal that just works. Between that piercing gaze and his mellow voice this is one bad boy I would happily hold my hand out to even knowing it was likely to get cut off.

There’s really no competition for me. Sebastian is my favourite anime bad boy. That said, who is yours?


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Karandi James


10 Days – 10 Anime Boys: Day 1 – Favourite Male Romantic Lead

Anime Boys

Day one of this self-imposed challenge has me deciding my favourite male romantic lead.

When I set myself the challenge of picking one anime boy for ten days based on loosely defined descriptors, I didn’t anticipate the sheer difficulty of narrowing down the thousands of possibilities to a single character. Less easy was it to really decide what criteria I would use and whether or not it mattered.

Ultimately though, I stopped procrastinating… mostly, and decided that I would go with my gut instinct when making my choice. So here we go.

Favourite Male Romantic Lead

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Zen Wistaria

Now if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time you are probably already aware that I think Shirayuki and Zen from Snow White With The Red Hair are one of the best anime couples of ever. I even gave them their own top 5 list for my favourite moments with the pair. However, as much as I love Shirayuki and this couple together, this is actually Zen’s post and the reason why I love him as a male romantic lead.

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Reason One: Zen is his own character outside of his relationship with Shirayuki.

So many romantic leads, particularly male ones, seem only to exist within the context of their relationship. Their only interactions are with their potential partner, their only dramas to do with developing that relationship. It feels as though outside of the romance, they simply cease to exist.

Zen on the other hand, has a very rich and busy life which he has to work to fit his potential romantic relationship into. He’s a prince and he has duties and obligations as well as his own interests and other people he wants to protect. Certainly he wants to make Shirayuki a part of his life, but she isn’t his entire life.



Reason Two: He’s thoughtful and protective but not overbearing.

Fiction seems to have a fine line between a guy who rescues and helps a girl and a guy who flat out acts in a controlling manner that is borderline abusive. In the post-Twilight era more and more of these dysfunctional relationships seem to be highlighted as somehow something romantic and worth aspiring to. Zen is looking out for Shirayuki and is mad at himself when he overlooks her exhaustion. He also knows when to take a step back and to actually let her handle things on her own. While he might continue to check in on how she’s coping, he doesn’t swoop in and take over.

Zen manages to be the kind of romantic lead that I actually find romantic. I could definitely do with more male leads like him in romance.

zen 1

Reason Three: Zen’s just fun to be around.

Whether he is taking himself too seriously, trying to escape his work, or accepting the manipulation of his guards to actually do his work (something they term the Shirayuki effect), Zen is a fun character to spend time with. His reactions are varied depending on the situation and the characters he’s dealing with and there’s the playful boy trying to escape from underneath the serious prince facade and the balance of these two roles has been beautifully crafted.

Hands down, Zen is my favourite male romantic lead. But I’d love to know who you would have picked.


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Karandi James