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8 Horrible Boyfriends

by Lynzee Loveridge,

It's been a long week and it seems like con season is already starting to take hold again. Before Sakura-Con kicks things off in a few weeks, let's tackle one of the less savory character archetypes in shōjo anime: the horrible, yet pitiable, boyfriend. Usually said boyfriend crops up as a bad-boy love interest who treats the protagonist like crap. Usually his awful behavior is explained because if only his girlfriend understood his dark suffering she'd realize why he lashes out the way he does. He just needs someone to take care of him! Her love can heal him if she just tried harder!

Column contains spoilers for Peach Girl, NANA and Amnesia.

8. Arima (His and Her Circumstances) Arima suffers from a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HYDE scenario, but fortunate for himself and his girlfriend, Dr. Jekyll is winning. His own insecurities (and believe me, almost every entry on this list suffers from some sort of ruined-childhood-insecurity problem) about his pedigree lead to fear of abandonment which in turn, causes him to lash out at those around his girlfriend, Yukino. She in turn, pulls the love savior card that starts to turn things around for the two of them, but not before Arima shows some really ugly character flaws underneath his perfect facade.

7. Yano (Bokura ga Ita) Ever since Yano's girlfriend died in a car accident while out with another man, Yano's had some trust issues. Not that he's particularly forthcoming about his own trysts when he starts dating Nanami, either. Jealousy causes Yano to throw up red flags all over the place, like throwing a gift Nanami got from a male friend out the window because he doesn't want anyone else to give her things.

6. Naoki (Itazura na Kiss) Naoki is rich and academically unmatched. His girlfriend, Kotoko, is in the bottom class of her high school. The two end up living together when Kotoko's house burns down and somehow the situation blossoms into romance despite the fact that Naoki is a complete jerk. He regularly reminds Kotoko that she is beneath him, stupid, and not worth his time. Even later in the series, when they're both in college, he tries to skip out on her graduation ceremony from nursing school because his business is more important.

5. Sakuya Ookochi (Sensual Phrase) How can a list like this exist without a mention of one of Mayu Shinjo's male leads? The late 90s series is the only anime adaptations of Shinjo's steamy romance stories. Vocalist Sakuya carries on a romance with high school girl Aine. He maintains a self-absorbed devil-may-care attitude about everything, but is also horribly possessive. When he finds a hickey on his girlfriend due to sexual assault, he pulls her out of class and sexually assaults her before "regaining his senses."

4. Ryō Okayasu (Peach Girl) Momo's "frenemy" Sae is no saint, but her one-time boyfriend Ryo is a real piece of work. Manipulative and cold, Ryo takes part is Sae's schemes to break up Kairi and Momo while leading on Sae in the process. After sleeping with Sae and somehow avoiding Chris Hansen in the process, he's nice enough to hand over the funds for an abortion. When all is said and done, Ryo reconsiders his choices, waxing poetic on how having a child might be interesting since it's "like a video game with no reset button."

3. Akio (Revolutionary Girl Utena) Akio would easily take the #1 spot, except for two redeeming factors: Utena ditches him before the end of the show and the series' staff had enough sense to make him the villain. Akio's motivations are self-serving, without an ounce of humility, compassion, or love underneath. He abuses family, friends, students, and his fiance's mother with charm and a smile. He exposes the weakest part of Utena's character, but she comes out better for it.

2. Takumi (NANA) Possessive, controlling, and a giant hypocrite, Takumi is one of Hachi's main love interests in the NANA series. Like most of crappy partners on the list, Takumi suffers from a pitiable childhood that is supposed to hand wave away his questionable behavior, like regularly cheating on his girlfriend despite his supposed 'undying love' for her. Hachi considers leaving Takumi a number of times but he decides that he won't "let her get away that easily," and due to extenuating circumstances, we see Hachi settle for him regardless.

1. Toma (Amnesia) This season's Toma being at the top of the list might surprise you after detailing the very horrible romantic interests Takumi and Akio. Really, none of the "options" in Amnesia appear to viable wish-fulfillment to anyone who's been in a halfway functional relationship. Shin spends his few spotlight episodes repeatedly telling the protagonist that she's an idiot (which she is, but that's beside the point), Kento seems to have his heart in the right place but suffers from some kind of social handicap, and Ikki is glamorous but horribly dull. So what about boy-next-door Toma? Toma just wants to protect our memory-challenged protagonist. He wants to protect her from herself and all those horrible decisions she makes whenever she exerts some kind of independence. You see, it's a big scary world out there, so better to turn his love interest into a "sleeping beauty" by drugging her, and eventually, caging her. The worst part may be the protagonist's complete indifference to the sequence of events. She doesn't cry, scream, or show much concern at all. She acknowledges the abuse but also rationalizes it's ok, because it's not the "real" Toma. Right.

No poll this week - see you next time!

Alright everybody, see you all next week! I look forward to your input in the comments and feel free to follow me on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee or e-mail me at [email protected]

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