Watching anime with an society of anime enthusiasts leads to two things, people shouting funny things at the screen and realizations based on those things being shouted at the screen. The audience will establish nicknames for characters that will sum up the character pretty well, such as the main character of Darker than Black basically being Chinese Electric Batman and Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star) basically starring Kung Fu Action Jesus. It was then that it occurred to me that there really only three different male leads in a show; Jesus, Batman, and the Dolt.
What entails the Jesus male lead? First off, the title isn’t to aggravate, but most easily get the point across. This male lead is basically there to save the world or a specific group of people, they also tend to have some supernatural or unbelievable power that they wield. As stated before Kenshiro of Hokuto no Ken is pretty much this, though he isn’t the pacifist type, so the preceding “Kung Fu Action” classes him better. Other examples are Adam Blade of Needless, Apollo of Genesis of Aquarion, and Takuto of Stardriver. It’s also pretty common to see these leads will to sacrifice themselves to save everyone, but not all Jesus leads do this nor all characters who do this are Jesus leads.
What about that Batman lead? Batmans don’t have over and beyond powers, simply being better trained or practiced. More often than not, Batmans fight for a better cause or have some ideals though not always or right away like Hei from Darker than Black. Batmans are generally more martial arts, but they can be an intellectual better too. Other examples of a Batman lead are Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop, Kino from Kino’s Journey, and Kaito from Phi Brain: Puzzle of God, who listeners of the podcast may have already heard me refer to as Puzzle Batman. Another common theme may be the Batman lead being an orphan, or losing family members at a young age, like say parents being killed by a puzzle (no, seriously).
If you really have to ask about the Dolt, you haven’t been watching enough anime. The Dolt exists for almost no reason other than maybe advancing plot a little or just to have a male lead. You may notice them doing absolutely nothing, making everything completely wrong, or ridiculously solving everything by accident. There are pretty much countless examples of this in anime. The male leads from both Deadman Wonderland and The Future Diary exist as Dolts to further the more bad-ass female leads. This is even almost on a whole different level with Italy from Hetalia. These are more or less are there for the audience to relate to I suppose, as well as comic relief.
Don’t think that is simply the end of it either. Even though there are only three different male leads in anime, there are some variation with either a male lead having more than one lead type, like Vash the Stampede being Desert Dolt Jesus in Trigun or Lupin being Thief Dolt Batman in any Lupin the 3rd. The male lead can actually transition from one type of lead to another as well, such as Rock going from Business Dolt to Business Pirate Batman in Black Lagoon. See any flaws in my thinking or more examples of the types of male leads in your favorite anime? Post a comment below.