Extra: Bad Boys

extraDear female otakus (that are not me),
Why the facination with “bad boys?” Honestly. Pretty much every chick flick, pitifully written YA book and even most anime and manga plays to this card. Two guys. One treats the heroine with respect and decency. The other is an absolute jerk. She always goes for the jerk. And somehow, in some magical way, it all works out.

From one who has watched the relationships of others for years, I will say right now that mean guys often stay that way. And while thinking that “love changes all” seems romantic, it’s really just saying you love an idea of a person, rather that who they really are right now. Ouch. Not the most healthy position. And all those harsh smack downs he gives the heroine? Yeeeeah, that’s called verbal abuse. It’s not in the stable relationship category either.

So what’s the deal? It’s pretty obvious to everyone that the mean guy is mean, so why is he always getting off scott-free? Perhaps it’s the motherly instinct factor. These guys are only mean because of their horribly tragic pasts, after all. Who couldn’t love that (can you hear my sarcasm echoing off your screen)? Well, considering that one’s past should never dictate their future, nor excuse future action (it can explain, but never excuse), that idea doesn’t hold up either. Even so, I have little doubt that is what is constantly being pushed, as is evidenced by many shoujo and otome based shows (Amnesia, Neo Angelique, or Kobato). The rude is often marketed as mysterious, dark, forbidden, etc. All things that appear attractive. So long as you don’t think about it too much, that is. Because the truth of the matter is, if most (if not all) of these characters were real, no self-respecting woman would want anything to do with him. Bad attitude is simply bad in the real world. It’s not endearing. Unless you have a complex of some kind, in which case, I wish you all the best with your psychologist.

But maybe that’s another reason why this idea of the redeemable jerk is so attractive in media. Because it’s normally impossible. Because everyone has known that one mean kid and wished, perhaps unconsciously, that they would be nice. And it didn’t happen. So seeing it happen in a story, no matter how illogically constructed, is refreshing. It’s a dream realized. Just like the explosions making spectacular sounds in scifi shows. It’s what we know we can’t have, and yet love to see. What we wish for. A world where our love alone changes others, even against their own will, even when that love of ours is fractured and impure. We don’t just wish for a clear sky, but a rainbow. We wish for miracles.

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About inrosegalaxy

Raised on everything from Moby Dick to the Star Wars X-Wing books from a young age, it came as no surprise to anyone who knew me that I’d become a literature graduate and avid writer. But my love of a good story wasn’t restricted to the written word in my early years. Star Trek, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and badly dubbed Godzilla flicks helped shape my love of science fiction on screen as well. I wrote my first story while in the second grade. It was a horrifying tale about murdering a fairy-eating dog via a slice of pizza (in my defense, my only exposure to pizza was in the cafeteria and I swear you could legitimately kill someone with those things). I was a special snowflake. Today I write science fiction, fairy tales, Gothic epistolaries, fantasy and anything else that pops into my bizarre and twisted mind. I write new articles for my blog every Tuesday and Thursday. And if you happen to fancy Japanese animation, I also run an anime review blog, RRAR, which updates every Monday.

5 thoughts on “Extra: Bad Boys

  1. perhaps they like to pair up the girl with the bad guy also to paint out a clear picture thats it’s LOVE LOVE somehow it can look more romantic if a bad boy turn nice and caring towards a girl than if a already nice and caring guy acts the same towards a girl. i guess it’s also another way to mark that the girl is so spacial that even a bad boy become soft hearted.

    but i ( as a big otaku, renge moe, bishounen fan girl) agreed bad boys are only ok as long as they say in a story irl it’s best to not try to jump in and change anything at all ( and if it’s true love then why feel a need to change anything)

    not sure if this made any sense hehe ..

    • It makes perfect sense ^^ Because true love is unconditional. It doesn’t henge on the other person doing a bunch of stuff first. It’s freely given.
      Which can also be the curse of true love. Because it might not be returned. Which is painful.
      But yeah. Like so many things in media, these kinds of relationship strategies should never be used in real life. They just don’t work and are more than a little messed up.

  2. Actually, if you get your advice from a TV show, then your already lost. Nice article, and totally agree.
    There may be a similarity from the love spat vs. the forever jerk you see depicted in shows (I go to Steins; Gate for reference), but the difference is you see the guy growing up in maturity and when its needed to be there emotionalky for the other. Big difference as you say.

  3. Ah ha! So I’m not the only one that thinks this. It bothers me sometimes that even when there are a ton of guys for the girl to choose from, she always chooses the jerk. Never mind the nice one, the fun one, the one that would take care of her or even the guy that would die for her, she always goes after the abusive one.

    I personally find the abusive ones odd, and like the nicer ones. Maybe its also due to the bad boys being seen as being able to protect their girl and being dominate maybe? But I agree that most of the relationships that involve these bad guys would be very unhealthy irl.

  4. Pingback: Extra: The Liebster Awards | Risembool Ranger Anime Reviews

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