anime bromances q&a

I can’t believe I added “bromance” to my spell check dictionary. I’m not sure if this is the worst moment or the worst worst moment of my blogging career.

Wait, what the fuck? What’s a “bromance”?

Bromance” has traditionally meant a severe man-crush between two men. It’s basically realizing that there’s a final line to be crossed, and the two men, for whatever reason, do not cross it. Once you cross it, we have another term: “brokeback” Recently, it has evolved into also meaning an almost unrequited man-crush between a straight guy and a gay guy. For purposes of this blog, both definitions are valid.

No seriously, what the fuck? Why do we need this term for anime discussion?

One thing about anime is that the terminology to describe haremettes and females vastly out perform the same meme for men. Tsundere, yandere, moe, meido, imouto, childhood friend, amazing, jailbait, et al. While there are established meme like “gar,” “OH GEASS NO,” and “brokeback,” they do not serve enough of the spectrum in anime. For example, “gar” does also describe a man-crush, but the ultimate goal of that affection might not be sex. “OH GEASS NO” is really more situational– “bromance” is to address a continuous OH GEASS NO-type of state.

Basically, technological development on the female characterization and categorization side has far outpaced the male side. It’s like comparing an iPhone to a StarTAC. “Bromance” is one way to add some variety to describing male characterization. And, oddly enough, bromantic couples are not uncommon in anime, as we’ll see later.

You couldn’t have written about Maria+Holic or Minami-ke? Why this post?!

Because I wanted a term to describe Fujioka and Touma if Touma were male. See, Fujioka is treating his relationship with Touma as a bromance, but it’s invalid since Touma has breasts. Underdeveloped, but breasts nonetheless. Just kidding. My real motivation is that I’m trying to characterize the OH GEASS NO moment of Tieria basically shouting for Lockon in the previous Gundam 00 episode. I needed a way to capture the simmering one-sided love affair of Tieria and Lockon, but brokeback doesn’t seem to work since Lockon has potentially bedded both Feldt and Anew. (I’m considering Kyle/Lyle as one, if anything because the other Gundam Meisters treat them that way.) I needed a new term, and, by golly, there’s a lot of bromance in Gundam 00.

(Plus, I have written about Maria+Holic. My readers are too lazy to go through the archives.)

(And I can’t distinctively say there’s any brokeback moments in 00. At least for Wing, you just knew Heero and Duo got it on after Heero acquired Epyon. I still chuckle at the thought of a Gundam named “Shenlong.” And, yes, I have a college degree.)

Oh I give up. What are some examples?

Lulu and Rolo is a fantastic example. It definitely fits the uncomfortable yet creepy man-crush variety, and, as an extra benefit, Rolo sees Lulu as a “brother.” Definitely taken to an extreme level after Rolo killed off the only heterosexual threat in Shirley. (And Rolo would have offed Nunnally as well.) The relationship between Lulu and Rolo is distinctive from the Lulu and Suzaku relationship in that Lulu and Suzaku probably did seal the deal after the two teamed up while Lulu was constantly disgusted with Rolo that I don’t think Lulu would have cheated on Suzaku with Rolo. Lulu knew where his heart was. So Lulu was involved in both a real affair with Suzaku and a bromance with Rolo. I’m glad we’ve cleared this up.

In Clannad, I would toss Tomoya and Sunohara in the bromance category too. There’s definitely moments when the girls were worried about Tomoya and Sunohara, but, luckily, their relationship never went past the bromance stage. The funny thing was the Sunohara obeyed Tomoya almost like a dog– definitely shades of Lulu and Rolo, only Sunohara didn’t make a move on Tomoya after Nagisa passed away. Rolo at least tried a run at Lulu after Shirley, but Lulu wanted no part of it. Wow, a paragraph on Clannad without any mention of hereditary dise– OH SHI-

Simon and Kamina is another example, especially the early period of Gurren Lagann when Simon was attached to Kamina like a tapeworm. It was definitely uncomfortable and had OH GEASS NO potential. Fortunately, we had the epic Kamina and Yoko kiss that cleared things up. Also Simon proved he was a man above men based on all the stories and theories that crop up concerning this seven days with Nia (which I still think would be a fantastic seven episode OVA). Bottom line is that Simon and Kamina never ventured past the bromance stage, but it was definitely a gattai bromance for the ages.

Other quickie examples: Luffy and Zoro, Heeru and Zechs, Takumi and Ryosuke, Athrun and Kira, Jet and Spike, Seiji and Kota, Isamu and Guld, Al and Eric, Setsuna and Lockon, Trowa and Quatre, Mori and Honey, Akito and Gai, Keroro and Tamama, and Wataru and Akio. If you have other examples, please feel free to chime in.

(And if you recognize all of those names, maybe you’ve watched a bit too much anime…)

Wait, if I’m a guy, and I think Simon is gar, does it mean we have a bromance?

Gar sounds more one-sided like you are idolizing someone too good for you, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bromance. I feel that bromance needs some mutual affection. While Lulu was only putting up with Rolo, he definitely showed him some affection and led him on (to use him). He was very much like a social climber like Eva Peron in that respect.

Is it possible to have a bromance between two female characters?

No, “bromances” are strictly male-only affairs as implied by the “bro.” So if you stumbled across a doujinshi featuring Hinagiku and Maria all lovey-dovey, it’s not “bromance.” It’s just “jackpot.”

(And please send a copy of said doujinshi to me.)

But what if traps and shit are involved?

As with the Touma example, it’s an attempted bromance, but bromances can’t happen if it leads to a normal heterosexual relationship. I mean, that’s just odd, especially for Gundam.

Why do I feel like you’re playing a joke on me?

Wait, it’s not April 1st? Doh!

No, seriously, I just needed a new word to describe Itsuki and Kyon in preparation for Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya… that’s coming… right… right?!

(Back in 2006, I predicted Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya in 2010. I find it funny that, one, I’m still blogging in 2009 about the lack of Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Way to strike while the iron is hot Kyoto. Two, I’m probably more disgruntled that we don’t have more Full Metal Panic, especially since not only did Sagara get a new mecha, he and Chido– OH SPOILERS-)

(And, no nothing to do with bromance there.)

24 Responses to “anime bromances q&a”

  1. This is why I love this blog. Articles like this.

  2. Stop inventing ways to make me uncomfortable in internet discussions dammit!

  3. If one considers 4chan memes, Ami from Toradora falls into “bro”mance territory. But only due to “True Bro” meme. Other than that…wait what about Touma and Mako-chan?
    (need to find that reversed question mark for sarcasm)

  4. At least there’s spectacular haruhi chan episodes to tide us over. I hope Yuki switching form books to H-games becomes part of the main show.

  5. >>No, seriously, I just needed a new word to describe Itsuki and Kyon in preparation for Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

    You’re a bit late on the ball on that one.

  6. Needs Kyon-chan to balance out the Itsuko….

  7. I’d throw Yuusuke and Kuwabara in there and Goku and Vegeta also come to mind.

    On the issue of male archetype under representation in the land of memes, is it really so bad? I don’t notice enough variety in most male character types to bother remembering/coming up with handy names for them like I would for girls types. Maybe you should consult with some yaoi fangirls on this one as they are more apt to look out for different types of male characters and relationships and would have more reason to coin names for the different types.

  8. bromance is indeed becoming a more frequent part of anime’s vernacular. I’d agree that it’s not really about sex, more so connections between characters who are going through similar situations. Regardless of gender, most people idolize someone/crush on them when they admire them. ^_^

  9. “And please send a copy of said doujinshi to me.”

    Me too please :)

  10. Negi and Kotaro of course, but what about Negi and Nagi for the brincest? Or is it just too bro-ken?

  11. “Lulu knew where his heart was.”

    Gosh I love you.

    (As a fangirl, I definitely grieve the lack of Sunohara in recent episodes. I mean, hell, we didn’t even get Kyou. If I can’t get more ‘bromance’, Kyou’s thighs wouldn’t be fine too.)

  12. I was snickering through this whole post. I guess that means my maturity level is still lacking quite a bit, but it still was really funny. By the way I would like a copy of the Hina-Maria doujin too if anyone finds it… Um… I’m still hoping for Disappearance and that I can read some epic posts about it here on your blog.

    Bromance is a good describer of those situations although I’m hoping the day will come when we won’t need it (As in the lead gets with the girls).

  13. So… for bromances, can we count the antagonistic relationship between say… Athrun and Kira, or Athrun and anyone, in SEED? Very bromantic, that… and as far as we know, Kira only got his freak on with the ladies.

    Yzak and Dearka, on the other hand, are probably one of the more popularized pairings out there among the fujioshi, IIRC. And if it can be one-way, then if Tamama and Keroro count (or Itsuki towards Kyon), then so do Luca and Alto. :P

  14. Surely the ravening yaoi hordes have 17 painstakingly different terms for this “bromance”, don’t they? I don’t know but I’m guessing..

  15. this is no anime but dont forget turk and jd!
    their legendary bromance and guy love!

  16. @ animekritik:
    I kinda think most would just say “Waaa ~ so cute!” then just giggle and fangirl about them. Perhaps that’s just me.

  17. I’m slowly catching up on Nabari no Ou (1 episode a month, it seems), and I just watched the second ending: Rokujo and Yoite get filed under “bromance”.

    This article was brilliant if for no other reason than bringing back terrible memories of R2.

  18. Hmm, I could’ve sworn Trowa and Quatre were way past bromance

  19. So wait, this whole bromances term kind of make sense. Cuz me in my friend kind of have the definition down already. So that why I want to hang out with him so much, since we both like anime. Now if you excuse me, I gonna take a shower and cry for 24 hours /sniff, sniff/ :(

  20. That’s an awful lot of Gundam characters in the bromance list, time to even it out.

    Train and Creed

    Approaching Critical Brokeback
    Kazuma and Papillion
    Actually the entire cast of Busou Renkin is pretty HARD GAY
    Kamui and Fuuma
    Natsume and Natori

    Vaguely Mutual
    Tatsuma and Kyoichi
    Ouran’s cast
    Tsubasa Chronicles cast
    Shaman King’s cast
    Chika and Shito
    Azuma and Kawachi
    Tsuna and Gokudera

  21. speaking of bromances, I would like you to pose a challenge.

    1. read a few chapters of the manga Hourou Musuko on mangafox or AnimeA, to get a feel of things

    2. read the wiki entry,, especially the bit including a cross-dressing boy who prefers to be called “Mako-Chan”.

    I shit you not.

    3. decide and define for me, whether or not the friendship between this Mako-Chan and the main character, Nitori, is truly a bromance or a sismance or traptastic yayuri or yuyaoi or, well, you’ll see.

    tl;dr: There is a manga, Horo Musuko. The two main characters (a boy and a girl) both crossdress. The boy has only male friend. He prefers to be called Mako-chan. He also crossdresses.


  22. And this is why I read this blog; for good ol’ lolz. That and the odd jab at Sunrise.

  23. I so luv this blog.

    If you want increase the terminolgy for questionable lead-males there is also a ‘bromarriage’ and a ‘bromosexual’. Just google for urban dictionary and search for them for a more detailed explenation.

  24. >> Negi and Kotaro

    Yes, a very nice underaged mage / werewolf bromance.

    >> I hope Yuki switching form books to H-games becomes part of the main show.

    I rather have Ryoko-tan back in our lives. Honestly, nothing would delight me more than a Toradora-styled series starring Ryoko-tan and Shana-tan as the lead haremettes.

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