Why Are There So Many Beautiful Male Characters in Anime & Manga?

One of the most prominent traits of anime is the character designs. Anime characters are famous for having colorful, gravity-defying hair and exaggeratedly big eyes. Male anime characters, most of the time, share a certain type of looks and body type. While men in anime are often tall and fit with prominent features, there is also an abundance of beautiful male characters in anime.

It’s believed that the trope of the beautiful, androgynous male characters is inspired by Björn Andrésen, a Swedish actor dubbed as the most beautiful boy in the world. He acted in the Italian and French film, Death in Venice, which earned him not only international recognition, but also huge popularity for his appearance.

Beautiful Male Characters in Anime & Manga

In 2021, a Swedish documentary film, named “The Most Beautiful Boy in the World”, came out which focused on Björn Andrésen and how his role in Death in Venice has impacted his life. Though one would think being considered as the most beautiful a blessing, things weren’t so rosy for the young actor who was only 16 when the movie was released.

Death in Venice was quite popular in Japan, and Andrésen was hailed as an honorary J-Pop star. His androgynous looks have inspired the character designs of many characters in anime and manga since then. Popular titles like Berserk, Gundam and The Rose of Versailles also took inspiration in their character designs from Andrésen.

Beautiful male characters, known as “bishounen” in Japan, are still a very popular trope in the anime and manga industry. Though the beautiful male characters in anime rarely look like Andrésen nowadays, the whole trope began because of him.

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