This time around, there were two R-R topics to choose from. The first being Rape Fantasies and the second (the one I chose) the OTHER guy. The thought of writing about how I feel about Rape Fantasies scares me so I went for the second topic. I’ve been wanting to write about this particular cliché for a while ever since I did the Sleepy Kiss post.
The OTHER Man
More often than not, one of the walls the main couple has to climb before reaching the Happy Ending is “the OTHER guy“. Said OTHER guy always tends to be the complete polar opposite of the original guy and since the original is an asshole most of the time, the OTHER guy is the Ideal (the embodiment of perfection). Despite being the Ideal, the OTHER guy is always left behind because the girl ends up choosing the original guy.
This is probably the cliché that annoys me the most. The first series that comes to mind when I think of “the OTHER guy” is Brillant Magic. Just thinking about it has me going “Why the FUCK did I even read that series?” It isn’t often I bash and hate a series but Brillant Magic just plain sucked. Basically, the girl starts dating the guy of her dreams but then realizes that she likes the other guy who’s the total asshole. Most of time, I have absolutely no complaint about the guys themselves (even the asshole). It’s not their fault. The person I’ve got beef with is the girl. I wouldn’t have hated her as much if she DIDN’T date the guy. What pissed me off was how she dates him and THEN realizes she likes the other one. But whatever.
I’m not saying I hate these type of love triangles.
Shinshi Doumei Cross had Taka-kun and Shizun and I had no complaint about Haine choosing Taka-kun over Shizun. And there’s also Sigh’s Kiss (by Yamakami Riyu) who had Tatsuya and Tanabe. I had not complained once how Akira chose Tanabe (who’s the embodiment of the word “asshole”) over kind and responsible Tatsuya.
What I’m trying to say is that its the execution that matters with any cliché no matter how used and annoying said cliché might be.
But why don’t the nice guys ever win?
I think it’s that it’s because their the “nice guy” that they don’t win. They are kinder and more considerate than the end guy and often they let the girl go because they want her to be happy even if it isn’t with him. I’m not saying they always bid her “good luck and farewell” with a smile on their face. Most of the time, they struggle and try until the very end (even doing really horrible things disgraceful to the label “nice guy”) but they know that they’ve lost. Unlike the end guy, the nice guys are little more rational and can admit defeat (albeit sometimes bitterly). Ha, admirable aren’t they?
Who would I choose?
It’d really depend on the character themselves. It doesn’t matter if his label says “asshole” or “nice guy” it’s their character that really matters. If I had to choose between Taka-kun and Shizun, I’d pick Taka-kun. But then again SDC is a pretty complicated example since both Taka and Shizun showed their “dark sides”. If I had to choose between Tanabe and Tatsuya, then I’d pick Tatsuya but with them it wouldn’t really matter who I pick because their gay. That’s all to say that my choice would depend on how the character grows over the series.
If we’re talking RL, I’ve never fallen for a nice guy. But I guess that’s biased considering how I’m 15 and only fell in love twice. At least, neither guys fell into the asshole category either.
Rather than the guy being at fault, it is still the heroine’s choice to pick. I don’t often read shoujo manga (or manga at all for that matter) and I’m lacking in examples to use. I haven’t finished Furuba, but I’ll still use it since I’ve got nothing else. In Furuba, there’s Kyo and Yuki where Tohru picked Kyo in the end despite all the crap he does to her. Okay, so maybe Kyo isn’t a total asshole and is just bad at expressing his feelings because of his messed up childhood. But then Yuki’s the same isn’t he?
I think the reason Tohru chose Kyo was because she felt that Kyo needed her more. Meh, what all the girls want in shoujo is to be needed. Or maybe its because they prefer to take care than to be taken care of.
But I’m generalizing. There are some girls that wake up and realize that they aren’t making themselves any happier. At the moment, I can think of Kyoko from Skip Beat! who went as far as wanting to get revenge on Sho (who is the king of assholes maybe only after Sasuke) …
Luckily for me, it isn’t often I stumble upon manga with a heroine weak enough to stay with the asshole. Sure, it’d be fine if said asshole was just being tsundere about the whole matter (Like Kyo) but if he were like Sho or Sasuke then I’d just feel bad for her. It’d be a great world if all the girls could realize they deserve someone better than that.