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Touya Akira Forever!

Article: Differences Between Male and Female Otaku

I came across a fascinating article describing a few differences between male and female Japanese otaku. Per a Japanese industry insider, no less--it seems pretty legit:

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2012/12/14/difference-between-men-and-women-otaku-as-told-by-industry-insider/

The bit I found most thought-provoking was this:

"Additionally, males tend to love their characters exclusively. Factors other than that character’s appearance or personality don’t really come into play. For females, character relationships, background, and the overall story-line in which the character is involved in all play a part in her feelings for the character."

For me personally, and from what I've seen in my interactions with online fandom (almost exclusively the female half), the female half of that statement seems fairly accurate. The male half is news to me, but if the insider is right (and I feel like the industry understands its audience--particularly the male half--very well), it might explain why we keep seeing those same cliche, derivative moe girl archetypes appearing in every new show every season. Guys like the girl for their looks and personality alone, ignoring all else about their background, actions, etc. But for me--while there are certain individual features (longish dark hair, a dignified cape- or coat-clad sugata, a serious-but-pretty face) that tend to catch my attention--I know a character's actions, personality/character and interactions with other characters are the real clincher in snaring my affections.

A good recent example--Captain Levi from Attack on Titan. Very little about his character design/physical appearance was immediately arresting to me (or most of his utterly HUMONGOUS and rabid female fanbase, I imagine)--standing at 5'3" (the second-shortest male character in the entire show--4 inches shorter than even the 15-year-old main character!) and sporting a retro/90's curtained haircut, a random cravat and a rather stressed and beady pair of eyes, you wouldn't give Levi a second look if he were standing next to Sebsatian Michaelis or any of the uberly pretty boys from Vampire Knight, etc, right? But (and perhaps this has something to do with the brutal world of AoT, in which mankind is in such dire straits that factors like gender, looks, etc, are fairly irrelevant when everyone's just, you know, trying to stay alive. When you’re being snatched literally out of the jaws of death, you’d be pretty grateful to your savior, be it man or woman, 6-foot-tall strong-jawed linebacker or five-foot-three delicate-chinned chibi ;-)) after hearing about the celebrated “humanity’s strongest soldier” Captain Levi, seeing his rather muted but cantankerous personality, his quietly fervent OCD tendencies, his SINCERELY kickass battle ability and grace with the 3D maneuver gear (the title is well-deserved and indisputable!), the fact that he is completely no-nonsense and appears detached/taciturn to others but knows and addresses all his soldiers by their first names, and his very surprising subtle kindnesses and lack of prejudice toward our ostracized main character show him to be such an interesting, complex, badass (but not annoyingly so in the typical loud, annoyingly testosteroney way), and yet believably compassionate/sentimental man that I really couldn’t help but fall for him. And considering Levi’s almost frighteningly universal and passionate adoration by fangirls (and fanboys, actually), it seems his actions/personality have trumped his so-so (at least initially—through the eyes of love, you can’t see him as anything but a sex god now ;-D) looks in general. So yes, the article’s claim holds water on that piece.

Meaning (to go back to the article), the industry pro’s assertion about how/why male otaku fall for certain characters would shed a lot of light on how to create a character that is sure to be loved, fandom’d by guys. I see now why it seems as though boys prefer manga, anime and video games (e.g. visual media) over books, at least in terms of fandom-generation. And why women have no problem getting as attached to characters from books as those from anime, etc. Does that mean there really is no way to replicate the success of YA books for girls with boys as well? Would a boy-targeted YA adventure story in the vein of a shounen anime not find the sort of mass-audience Naruto does? Hopefully not! @_@
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