Every now and then, a woman likes to read a little romance, be it something sweet and gentle or smutty and sexy. But even when reading or watching either extreme in the world of romance there seems to be one rule that hold true for the majority of titles out there. When faced with a love triangle, the heroine will lose any brain cells she was born with and pick the guy who treats her like crap and this seems to be particularly true of anime and manga.
Look at Tohru in Fruits Basket for example, while Kyo isn’t a complete asshole he isn’t exactly the prince charming Yuki is now is he. He’s often rude to Tohru, snapping at her and making her feel like she’s upset him half the time, so why does she end up falling for him?
In the case of Tohru, while both Yuki and Kyo are emotional messes, Yuki is the one who holds it together a bit better. So in this case the nice guy loses out, because the bad boy can’t handle his emotional baggage as well. Tohru feels that Kyo needs her more than Yuki does, sorry Yuki, if you’d been a bit more emotionally constipated you’d have won the girl!
I guess you could also use this argument to explain why Sakura Haruno pines after the emo prince himself, Sasuke Uchiha. Although, unlike Kyo from Fruba who actually seems to be a genuinely nice guy underneath who really cares for Tohru, but sucks at expressing it, Sasuke is that type of bad boy who really is all about himself. So why does Sakura keep going after someone who continuously rejects her and belittles her, when she has someone who already loves her and thinks the world of her in Naruto?
Well for starters never underestimate a pretty face, and as annoying as the Uchiha brat can be, we can’t deny the fact the guy has got it going on in the looks department. Then there is the fact that he’s super skilled and badass. I guess if you have looks and awesome skills, girls will overlook things like calling them annoying every time they flutter their eyelashes at you.
So Sakura is stuck on him because he’s super cool and needs someone to help him through all his emotional trauma. Naruto unfortunately isn’t even a blip on the radar, because while he fits one of those criteria, since the poor boy is an orphan, he isn’t cool and well Sasuke’s entire clan was killed so his emotional trauma is thus higher than Naruto’s and so Sasuke needs her more. Is anybody starting to see a pattern here?
So does this make these girls stupid? It would be easy to say yes, but I think you also have to take it on a case-by-case basis. For a lot of these girls I think the reason they pick the bad boy is rooted in their own self-esteem issues and has nothing to do with stupidity.
In both the examples I put forward I said that the girl picked the guy who she felt needed her the most. In doing so, this helps to raise their self-esteem, because they feel useful, wanted, like they can make a difference. If you don’t have good self-esteem, why would you pick someone perfect who is going to be constantly reminding you of the fact that you are flawed? How many times in a shoujo manga do, you see the heroine question why the guy would even want to be with her, because really she is so out of his league. In picking the bad boy with issues, they are at least picking someone flawed and therefore not perfect like themselves.
Although while I think this works for Tohru, it doesn’t work out so much for Sakura since Sasuke isn’t actually trying to win Sakura whereas Kyo obviously likes Tohru.
In order to explain Sakura’s actions I’m going to bring up another point concerning our shoujo heroines, namely their age and experience. In Sakura’s case, she’s very young and has absolutely no experience of love and that rings true for a lot of shoujo heroines. She clings to this romantic ideal of Sasuke, the cool good-looking guy only to have that shattered when he leaves and betrays the village, because basically she doesn’t know any better. She’s a shallow little girl who doesn’t know any different something that changes with a little maturity.
To her credit as she’s grown up physically its nice to see that Sakura has grown mentally too and I think she’s starting to get that in his own way Naruto, the nice guy is cool too ^-^ Its amazing what a difference a little growing up can do.
Of course, there are plenty of grown women who go for the bad boy too, which just goes to show you can’t ignore the element of excitement. One other reason the bad boy wins out over the good guy.
Take poor old Houjo from InuYasha (I will have to state I don’t think that even I could date him, he really is just TOO nice) He’s always there for Kagome with a smile and some helpful item to improve her false bad health. Now Kagome did almost fall for his ancestor who exhibited all his qualities, but in the end, it was InuYasha who won out. Similarly, Kouga treats Kagome a lot more nicely than InuYasha does, and yet Kagome has always and will always see him as just a friend. This is despite the fact that InuYasha is sort of two timing her and is often being gruff towards her.
Again, though InuYasha like Kyo isn’t a complete asshole, once again he’s emotionally constipated and very bad at expressing his feelings. But, he’s cute and a hell of a lot more exciting than boring old Houjo, oh and his swords bigger… sorry I couldn’t help that one!
So far, most of the bad boys I’ve mentioned haven’t seemed all that bad really, but there are mangas with boys who basically rape girls and yet they end up getting the said girl because they forgive them. Realizing that the poor babies are just in need of some help and didn’t really mean to hurt them (excuse me while I vomit).
Sadly, while this seems farfetched, it happens a lot in real life too and again I think it boils down to girls with low self-esteem and no experience. You will find that guys, or girls who suffer abuse be it mental or physical at young ages tend to have troublesome relationships in their future. They go from one relationship to the next continuing the cycle of abuse, because it’s all they know, they think that is how love is supposed to be. They are either too broken to get themselves out or too emotionally stunted to know anything different, because they’ve never been shown anything different.
And again, those who are abused have little self-esteem, and so in their minds they don’t deserve the godly, beautiful good guy, they belong with their abusive pretty boy. After all, they are grateful this cute guy even wants them.
Its very sad, but very true, I’ve known and know some girls like that and until they start to think better of themselves and realize they deserve better for themselves, that they deserve that nice guy, they’re always going to be setting themselves up for heartache if they are going after guys like Sasuke.
If they’re going after a Kyo or InuYasha type, well at least those guys actually seem to have a genuine good heart underneath that bluster.
Moving on, if all girls are drawn to the bad boy, then what’s the point of even bringing in the good guy, why have a love triangle in the first place? Well as much as the blasted things can be annoying, if written right they can add great tension and drama to a manga or anime. While it seems statistics are in favor of the bad guy, you can never say with 100% certainty the girl won’t see sense and go for Mr. nice guy. It’s also a nice way of strengthening the main relationship as the guy fights harder for her and it helps to solidify the girl’s feelings for the guy she likes once she gets over her brain fart.
Sakura for instance is starting to wake up to the idea that grown up Naruto is both pretty and well maybe a bit better for her than Sasuke.
So don’t always think the nice guy loses out fellas! I’ve flirted with a few bad boys, I’ve even dated one, but I soon got tired of his antics.
I picked a nice guy and I married him! I met him at 21 and was married to him by the time I turned 22. I never hesitated when he asked me to marry him and I’ve never regretted the decision to turn down other interested man candy who were sniffing around when I met my husband. This is even despite the fact we were separated by an ocean for the majority of our dating and I could quite easily have gone off with a few bad boy types.
He’s sweet, gentle and romantic, loving and incredibly thoughtful. He’s protective and caring, he doesn’t treat me like crap and he never fails to make my heart flutter with all the little things he does to show me he loves me. And I’ll tell you something girls, a lot of those bad guys suck in the bedroom since all they care about are themselves. Get yourself a good nice guy, who’s all about making you feel good, and well enjoy the mind-blowing sex!
But of course, the best relationships are where both parties compliment each other, where they both want the best for each other, kind of like Sano and Mizuki in Hana Kimi and Yoh and Haruna from Koukou Debut. They have to be two of the cutest couples I’ve ever seen in shoujo mangas. And neither girl gets their head swayed by other guys, even though the guys they are dating are pretty damned nice ^-^
Unfortunately those kinds of shoujo’s are in the minority and the girl picking the bad boy type happen to be in the majority, I guess the exciting appeal of that bad boy is just too strong!
So I guess to summarize, the bad boy will win if the girl is naive and lacking in experience or has low self-esteem. But if you get yourself a strong heroine who is sure of herself, she’ll pick a nice decent guy. As long as people keep reading, these cliches are always going to be around, which I guess makes sense since the same thing is happening daily in real life..