弱気ヒーロー[yowaki hero]

August 2, 2009 at 4:42 pm (otaku word)

 yowaki hero

 If you happen to love any sports anime such as Major, Prince of Tennis, or something like that, what is the hero like inside you? I mean, what kind of person is he? Arrogant, yes could be. Ambitious, true. If you ask me, I must say there has been a lot of positive and aggressive heroes in this genre. For example, Echizen Ryouma in Prince of Tennis. He is really talented, but he is arrogant and sounds so rude sometimes. Sukuragi Hanamichi in Slam Dunk is a tough guy and passionate. Ohzora Tsubasa in Captain Tsubasa is an active soccer boy. See? Almost all the heroes in sports anime are tough or wild, so how can you believe such a timid hero in this genre?

 However, you can find such a hero in this kind of anime. If you have watched Ookiku furikabutte[おおきく振りかぶって], you would see what I mean. The hero, Mihashi Ren was the previous ace pitcher in his middle school’s baseball team, but it seems that he only got the position because his grandfather was the owner of the school. His teammates (especially the team’s catcher) hated him, and they always lost their games. Mihashi is thoroughly convinced that he is a lousy baseball pitcher and he graduates to high school with extremely low self-esteem. He then transfers to Nishiura high school with plans of quitting baseball, because he does not believe he is good enough to succeed at baseball. However, he is dragged into Nishiura’s baseball team by their coach. Assisted by his new teammates (and especially the catcher, Takaya Abe), he grows in stature, confidence and skill, helping his team excel with his own abilities.

 Such is a prologue of this anime. At any rate, I must say it is really rare that we have such a timid hero in a baseball anime. だって野球ってもっと汗臭い男らしいスポーツじゃない(笑)Comparing to other sports like tennis or golf, baseball sounds very manly. Is there someone like Mihashi in a baseball anime? There are a lot of baseball anime or manga such as Touch, Dokaben, or Kyojin no hoshi年は聞くなよw, but he is the only one I can think of. But why here? So I asked some girls who follow this anime why they love him. One girl said, “Mihashi is cute! And I really enjoy watching how he grows up and becomes strong. I think I tend to like such a 弱気ヒーロー[yowaki hero], you know.”

ikari shinji

 弱気[yowaki] means timid, negative, or pessimisitic. In other words, it’s such a wimp or a sissy. Before, it seemed like heroes in anime must be stronger than anyone else, but things changed. Nowadays, we can see such a wimp is becoming  popular as well. Like the fangirl said, the reason why they are popular is that fans feel like watching over them. As a story goes on, the hero changes himself and becomes stronger than the beginning. That’s the point they love. Upon hearing this, I can think of Ikari Shinji in Neon Genesis Evangelion. He is also a 弱気ヒーロー, isn’t he? Most of my friends say he is a wimp. Yes that’s true. But to protect Ayanami Rei, he decides to be strong. Having said that, people can’t change so fast. It sure takes much time and courage. We are sometimes seen how 弱気ヒーロー suffer from the dilemma or nervous breakdown. Shinji is talking to himself, “I mustn’t escape!” Those things could make fans feel like watching over. Now he is a wimp, but after a few episodes he will grow up. Seeing such an improvement is enjoyable.

 Come to think of it, there is another 弱気ヒーロー, he is Sato-kun in Welcome to NHK! He is a good-for-nothing, and can’t do anything himself. But in order to protect Misaki-chan, he becomes strong and tries to get a steady life.

 What makes fans love 弱気ヒーロー is that, I guess, empathy. If you come across a character who is like you when you watch anime, don’t you empathize him/her? We are not necessarily strong like heroes in anime, so that’s why we feel like empathizing such a 弱気ヒーロー as though we see ourselves inside the character.

 There is a word that is hard to explain, 強くなる[tsuyoku naru]. Above characters I mentioned are going to be stronger in the end than the beginning of the show. 強い[tuyoi] means strong, tough, or wild. But when we say 強くなりたい[tsuyoku naritai] in this context, it does mean not only I want to be strong physically, but mentally. Depending upon the situation, it might mean the latter only.

 I like a strong character like Lelouch, but don’t dislike 弱気ヒーロー unless they are cowards forever.



  1. jaredinnakano said,

    すげい。I think everyone likes weak characters who grow strong. And also strong characters who are hiding a weakness (like master kendo Otomen Asuka). Maybe it is truer to life, that we all balance what we perceive as weaknesses and strengths within ourselves and with the outside world. Thanks, Bangin, for the excellent references and explanations!

    • bangin said,

      We respect strong heroes, and empathize with weak ones. Even though he looks strong, he has actually weakness nobody else knows.

      People are strong, but weak as well…

  2. bi said,

    That’s right, as long as they are not wimps forever XDD
    It’s fun to look at characters who “grow up”, it’s one thing more to look forward to in the story! It gives more realism to the fact that they’re teenagers (they’re so young, they can’t just be able to do anything form the beginning) and also of course the empathy you speak of.

    • bangin said,

      Through many hardships and sadness, people get stronger. It’s cliched already, but true.
      That’s what life is about…

  3. dividedjunction said,

    Oh, wimpy boys, my greatest weakness…
    I do like them because I relate to them, but at the same time i want to protect them >w<

    • bangin said,

      I am a weak person, so I always respect such a strong character, but sometimes there is a time I really want to empathize with a weak character.

  4. jaredinnakano said,

    Dividedjunction, you are not alone! I love when Otomen’s transfer student says, 守ってあげたくなる。

  5. Marie said,

    I love Mihashi ^^! but my favorite is Tajima ^^!

    I personally like strong characters with some attitudes xD The characters like Echizen and Atobe! Oh, I also love poker-faced Fuji, too!

    And Lelouch, how can I not love him ^^!?!

    Speaking of Oofuri, I can’t help, but do the couplings like every fujoshis do (>.<)/
    Mihashi x Abe (Mihabe) and Hanai x Tajima (Hanajima) hehe ^^;;

    • bangin said,

      My friend loves Kanomiha(Kanou x Mihashi), and I like Hanai.^^

      Lelouch sometimes shows his inner weakness, I like those moments. No matter how strong he looks, he has weakness. That is what everybody has. No one is strong, and no one is weak.

  6. Taiyaki said,

    Haha, I don’t mind weak protagonists in manga/anime… well, as long as they aren’t like the ‘wimpy male harem lead’ kind of character anyway.

    • bangin said,

      That is definitely Itou Makoto in School Days!

  7. 子犬 said,

    My opinion is that if writing is good you’ll eventually like a hero.

    If the writing is bad, this can go either way. The yowaki hero will be whiney and the strong hero will seem like a jerk. If the yowaki hero runs away for too long, that isn’t realistic. Most people fight back sometime. Making a hero only wimpy seems forced and unappealing, as much as it is unappealing to make a tough character too tough.

    • bangin said,

      No one is perfect. Where weakness inside a strong person is, there is a story. And there’s the other way around.

  8. goodyfun said,

    子犬: Exactly! Balance is the key. Having a good middle ground is how to create an appearance of humanity and reality. (I complement you on your grammar, by the way.)

    There are two heroes I can think of on both sides of the spectrum: Utena was strong, but incredibly admirable/lovable. She defeats Akio with Anthy to save her out of love. Tsukasa from .hack//SIGN is a yowaki hero, but she overcomes her troubles, as you said, mentally, and she becomes a sympathetic character who you root for. Both characters act naturally in their situations for their character types, so not many people can dislike them.

  9. bangin said,

    It would be boring if a hero is either strong or weak from the beginning to the end, Weak heroes can be supported or protected, so do strong heroes. Otherwise, there is no drama.

  10. rzncu said,

    Mihashi!!!! (=′∇`=) there’s something about him that I REALLY like (o-o and the only time I DON’T MIND if he stays that way instead of becoming stronger as story goes on… OTL) , normally this is the type of character I never pay any attention to. But… Mihashi is too moe with all his nervous expressions orz He is like a really cute small animal, the moe I feel for Mihashi, I would never feel that way for Shinji or dame-tsuna or other yowaki hero…

    • bangin said,

      Mihashi is more popular than I thought…

      • rzncu said,

        Mihashi is likable, but I think most girls fangirl over Tajima who’s the opposite of yowaki hero XD

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: