So, I have made it no secret that I’m a purveyor of Boy Love and what not. What can I say? I love good healthy queer relationships in anime and manga. And I’m not going to apologize for that. For too long, we’ve seen these relationships be no more than fetish fodder for depravity, and no thought is put into the characters themselves. So now that there is a good representation, people are starting to confuse actual gay romance with normal friendships, like in the case of Weak Hero.
Weak Hero is a high school Shonen webtoon about a boy who goes on to shake the status quo set by bullies at the new high school he moved into. And no, neither that boy nor anyone else is gay in it. But since this is an action-heavy male forward manhwa, let’s just say people are being very judgemental. And listen, even if this was a queer webtoon, it wouldn’t matter. Because romance isn’t even at the forefront here.
But some readers can’t stomach normal relationships between the same gender, specifically men. It’s why it’s so easy for them to ridicule shows like Haikyuu!! Or Free! Because they show intense male friendships. And, I have to say, there is a lot of queerism in that ideology that I don’t appreciate. Female friendships are always shown with a lot more skin ship than male ones, for some reason. So, when a writer adopts the same model as the male ones, it throws people off.
Again, I don’t understand why but I want to get to the bottom of this. Why do male geeks think that when a character doesn’t show romantic interest in an action-heavy manga, instead choosing to be closer to his male friend, that automatically means the story is queer? Let’s discuss it!
Weak Hero: Not Gay, Not Even Queerbait.
So, I’m not going to sit here and tell you how being queer works. A queer person isn’t coded any differently from a regular person. Therefore, they can be good or bad. Angry or patient. It doesn’t matter because a person isn’t their sexuality.
And listen, if a story isn’t even about romance in the first place, why do people insist on making it about that? I get headcanons and shipping characters in fandom, but the actual core of the story for Weak Hero is just about a high school delinquent who takes on bullies as the new underdog. There is no romance there, not even to the point of queerbaiting.
If we are being forced to assign sexuality to him, Gray Yeon is asexual, at best. Because in the entire run of the webtoon, I have not seen a single instance of him being remotely romantic with anyone. His relationships with his friends are platonic. Intense, but nothing more than that.
Why We Need To Normalize Intimate Friendships In Manga And Anime:
Fellas, is it bad for men to be in non-toxic friendships with other men?
No, seriously, I have to ask this because I get queerbaiting in anime. I do. But sometimes a friendship is just that – being friends platonically. There is no secret tension or anything. It’s just people being comfortable around the people they trust. And that should be normalized.
I’ve seen a lot of men joke about not hugging their male counterparts or how it’s ‘queer’ to hold hands or initiate any sort of skin contact. But I hug my female friends all the time. I’ve had sleepovers where we all shared blankets and just talked about who is the hottest Jujutsu Kaisen character.
Like, that is normal behavior for women, there is nothing remotely sexual about being at ease with people you like, regardless of gender.