Anime Heroes Make Poor Role Models Part 2
There is a wide depth and variety of anime shows and movies out there. Some can be good entertainment. Most men in anime however should not be emulated. In part one two reasons for this were explained.
First and foremost, often in anime male protagonists are dominated physically by females. This is blatantly inconsistent with male and female biology, yet it is a central theme in so many shows featuring a male protagonist as a hero.
Secondly, the males grow their strength from intense emotions. When they experience intense emotions they somehow get stronger. Again, this is blatantly inconsistent with reality. Strength is grown through training, through physical labor and trials. Yet in anime, characters explode with power in an intense emotional state.
Both of these are very misleading, especially to the young men who can so easily get hooked on anime shows. But there are more reasons why males in anime should not be emulated.
To illustrate these points the example of the popular show Attack on Titan will be used as it was in part one.
Anime Protagonists Are Typically Teenagers
This is one reason why so many anime shows take place in high school or the first years at a university. It is also why so many teenagers get hooked on anime shows. But even in the shows that do not take place at schools, most of the central characters are teenagers.
In Attack on Titan the characters do not reveal their ages explicitly, but through inference you can tell that they are somewhere in their late teens. For example, they enlist in the army as soon as they are old enough to do so.
Part of the reason these shows feature teenagers relates to the previous point. When a character draws strength from emotions, the strongest characters are the most emotional. Teenagers are the most emotional beings on the planet, which is one reason they are not to be emulated.
The adolescent years, at least for western societies, are years people spend in flux. They don’t have much life experience. They spent their previous years sheltered by adults. Their teenage years are spent finding their identity, but they can’t possibly find it without years of unsheltered, potentially dangerous life experience.
Typically, teens don’t have to worry about how they will live. That is provided for them by their parents or other generous adults. They don’t have to worry about rent, bills, bill collectors, where they will get food, or having to earn their way.
They do however get, or assume, freedoms they didn’t have before. Freedoms such as going places without adult escorts or sex.
Perhaps that is why so many characters are teens. The authors of these characters don’t have to account for how the characters eat or earn their living. They don’t have to explain those details that make adult characters real because teens are assumed to have food and shelter without explanation.
In any case, teens are a far cry from knowing what experienced adults know. They are emotional infernos not worthy of emulation.
The Males Are Afraid of Sex
Here is a poster for the live-action Attack on Titan movie.
In one scene the protagonist, Eren is alone in a crumbling building with Hiana, a sexy single mother played by Ayame Misaki. Hiana asks Eren, “Are you ok with a single mother?” Eren is flabbergasted.
She proceeds to seduce him. Eren is scared. Almost horrified of the sexy women trying to get some action from him. Then he sees a titan monster and he is saved from her sexual advances.
Here is a partial scene of that (the best youtube has to offer).
The video quality there was a bit gritty. Maybe you couldn’t see what made Eren cower. Here are two more better images.
Sure teenagers are nervous about sex, especially if it’s their first time, but afraid of a sexy girl asking you to give her the business? That just doesn’t compute. Now add in the fact that the characters are teenagers with raging hormones (it’s why they’re so emotional) and the scenario seems downright impossible.
Look again at that picture of Ayame. Would you turn her down?
Contrast this with better heroes like Indiana Jones or James Bond. If and when sexy girls request sex from these men they get it. Often it’s so good the women risk their lives to go an adventure with these heroes.
Male characters are better role models when they understand and attract the opposite sex. Indiana Jones and James Bond do that. Anime characters do not.
They Show No Signs of Having Immense Strength
Often in anime there are male characters that show absolutely no signs of being extremely powerful. They are typically quiet and assuming. If they were a cliche they’d be the hero that gave up killing years ago but gets sucked back in to being the best killer in the scene.
These characters are typically older than the central protagonists, so at least anime gets that right. But everything else is wrong.
In Attack on Titan this character Levi. He’s incredible, though you never see him in any sort of display of ability. Finally in one climactic scene he shows that he is the best warrior in the entire story.
Why was he hiding his skill? Why wasn’t he killing more titan monsters and saving lives sooner, showing us his skills in the process?
These characters’ immense strength is unbelievable. It is almost never foreshadowed by visual ques, I.e. large muscles, demonstrations of skill, etc…
Instead, without build-up or warning the characters take off with lightning speed to amaze and outclass all other characters. It’s as if they were being so stoic to reserve all of their energy and unleash it in one violent maelstrom.
This is ridiculous.
To stay strong muscles have to be used. Skills too must be utilized, lest they be forgotten.
Imagine a guy comes in the gym, takes of his shirt, and bench presses 500 lbs. What does he look like? Pretty ripped with bulging muscles I’d say. And when you saw those muscles before the lift you would bet that he could lift 500 lbs.
Now imagine a guy comes in the gym, takes of his shirt, bench presses 500 lbs., but has a doughy physique. Something just doesn’t fit here.
That’s the problem with these characters.
These tropes are so common to so many animes that it is worthwhile to vet any any anime you might want to watch against these tropes. There are a few that don’t have them, and they may provide good entertainment.
There is in fact one anime that has some good lessons for men. We will review that anime shortly.