Created By: coreyturner on July 4, 2012 Last Edited By: coreyturner on August 11, 2012

Bishonen Power!

The tendency for a Bishonen character in an anime to be the most powerful

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In many shonen anime, most of the important characters are male and are powerful. While many of these men are bound to be good looking, if one of them just so happens to be Bishōnen, odds are high that they'll be the most badass or most powerful member of the cast besides the main character. While this isn't true for all shonen series, it's pretty common for the prettiest male to be among the most deadly characters in the story.

Why this happens is anyone's guess. It's entirely possible that sometimes it's just a coincidence especially since half the time the rest of the cast is good looking anyways. But for some reason this seems to be particularly apparent for feminine looking male characters. There could also be some strategy in this. As shonen series are primarily for young boys, it could be the author's attempt to bring in more female readers.

Related to but not the same as Bishonen Line where monsters start off ugly and as they get stronger they become Bishōnen.

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Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Kurama from YuYu Hakusho is by far one of the most obvious examples of this. Despite most of the main cast being Bishōnen anyways, except Kuwabara who is the least good looking, Kurama fits the image of the standard Bishōnen character and despite not being the main character, he is by far the strongest besides Yusuke, though YMMV on that statement as it's never stated who's stronger between Hiei and Kurama. Throughout the rest of the series though, it tends to be a mixture of this and the Bishonen Line. The most obvious example that comes to mind though for the antagonists is Suzaku of the 4 Saint Beasts though the four of them actually demonstrate the Bishonen Line in how it works.
  • Kenshin Himura from Rurouni Kenshin counts. The most feminine looking male in the series is in addition to being the most powerful is also the main character. Soujiro from the Kyoto arc also counts as he was one of Shishio's most deadly men.
  • Sesshomaru and Naraku from InuYasha both count. Both characters are among the most powerful characters when introduced to the series, though Naraku floats somewhere between this and Squik at times while Sesshomaru remains in a near constant state of Bishōnen. Miroku may also qualify as he is among the most powerful of the main protagonists.
  • Lyserg from Shaman King somewhat counts. True he is the prettiest out of the male protagonists but his power is substantially lower than the rest of Yoh's friends. He was able to defeat Ren and Horohoro in his first appearance due mainly to the nature of his Over-Soul. Hao is the BigBad and quite pretty looking and then you have Marco of the XLaws and a case could probably even be made for Faust.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura features Yue, the other Guardian of the Clow Cards but he doesn't show up until much later in the series.
  • It's difficult to say who is the most powerful or Bishōnen in Katekyo Hitman Reborn!! but...in personal opinion Hibari and Rokudo Mukuro count the most at least for Tsuna's side. To list the rest would be to list practically ever other male character in the series.
  • The villains in Yu-Gi-Oh can be seen this way. The first reoccurring antagonist from the original 7 volume manga was Bakura who was then followed by Pegasus in Duelist Kingdom and Marik Ishtar in Battle City though YMMV on how Bishonen he remains after he goes all AxCrazy and transforms. From the anime filler arcs we also have Dartz and Zigfried von Schroeder.
  • Somewhat averted in RanmaOneHalf with Mousse the hidden weapon master and Tatewaki Kuno the rich, kendo perv. While neither one of them is consistently portrayed as extremely powerful, both were able to fight Ranma to the point of exhaustion at certain points. Ranma himself is reasonably attractive as is most of the main male cast in addition to Happosai but only in his own fantasies. The two most powerful Bishonen that appear in the series however are probably the two most dangerous and villainous characters of the series. Herb from the Musk Dynasty who is a Dragon and Saffron from the last arc of the manga who is a Phoenix. Pantyhose Taro also counts and is reasonably powerful but only in his cursed form.
  • The ENTIRE main cast of Saiyuki along with most of the other male characters that appear in the series. Son Goku, Sanzo and Cho Hakkai from the Sanzo Party are the most powerful in their group with either Hakkai or Goku being the strongest between each other while Kougaiji is the most Bishonen and powerful of his group.
  • In Naruto we seem to have quite a large number of Bishonen. From part 1 we have, Sasuke, Haku, Neji, and Itachi. Then in part 2 we get Deidara, Sai and with the story still going, we'll probably have even more! At this point, Sasuke is the most powerful of the lot.
  • Bleach: When a character is an enormous monster or ugly, chances are that they're going to get beaten down very quickly. However, if a male character is pretty, then not only will he be important to the plot and not get killed off, but he is most likely very powerful. To list some: Ichigo Kurosaki, The Hero who has quite a sizable amount of fangirls and eventually becomes legendary in the Soul Society; Byakuya is also one of the prettiest and one of the most devastatingly powerful characters in the series; popularity polls put Child Prodigy Toshiro as one of the hottest male characters and is one of the Gotei 13; Jushiro is a veteran of the 13 and has several in-series fangirls. It should also be noted that not all of the strong male characters are pretty.
  • In Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, the rival group of vampire hunters includes multiple huge, muscular, heavily armed hunters, (who mostly get their asses handed to them) and a sickly bishie named Grove who is bedridden. When Grove takes the right drugs, he creates an astral projection of pure energy that can blast entire armies into ashes without really trying.
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • July 4, 2012
    animeg3282
    We are now burning Badass + X tropes with fire.
  • July 5, 2012
    coreyturner
    Is that better? I couldn't think of any better title
  • July 6, 2012
    peccantis
    We already have Bishonen Line.
  • July 6, 2012
    coreyturner
    I'm well aware of the Bishonen Line but that refers to monsters powering up and then becoming Bishonen as their final form. This relates to characters that are usually Bishonen by default and just happen to be the most powerful on their respective side.
  • July 7, 2012
    peccantis
    They're related at least. This should be tropeworthy no problem. And, ahehm, I suppose Inu Yasha follows this... It's shonen ok, but both the Big Bad (among the strongest ones) and the implied strongest character in the series are easily the two prettiest men in the series.
  • July 7, 2012
    captainsandwich
    2 akatsuki members from naruto are bishonen (itachi and deidara, infact deidara is so bishonen that many people mistook him for a female, it didn't help he called his partner an honorific sometimes used for addressing your husband).
  • July 7, 2012
    coreyturner
    Bleach: When a character is an enormous monster or ugly, chances are that they're going to get beaten down very quickly. However, if a male character is pretty, then not only will he be important to the plot and not get killed off, but he is most likely very powerful. To list some: Ichigo Kurosaki, The Hero who has quite a sizable amount of fangirls and eventually becomes legendary in the Soul Society; Byakuya is also one of the prettiest and one of the most devastatingly powerful characters in the series; popularity polls put Child Prodigy Toshiro as one of the hottest male characters and is one of the Gotei 13; Jushiro is a veteran of the 13 and has several in-series fangirls. It should also be noted that not all of the strong male characters are pretty.
  • July 12, 2012
    coreyturner
    • In Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, the rival group of vampire hunters includes multiple huge, muscular, heavily armed hunters, (who mostly get their asses handed to them) and a sickly bishie named Grove who is bedridden. When Grove takes the right drugs, he creates an astral projection of pure energy that can blast entire armies into ashes without really trying.
  • July 12, 2012
    captainpat
    two questions

    How exactly does this work in shows featuring multiple Bishonens?

    Is this only dealing with cases where the most Bishonen character is the strongest character in the whole cast? Would being the most Bishonen and strongest in a group count?
  • July 14, 2012
    coreyturner
    To answer your questions...this trope refers to the prettiest and strongest male characters in any given work, though since it's nominally Bishonen, I guess western works wouldn't count...would they? Anyways, any example on here must fit the typical bishonen description. That means that you need to be able to look at them and think, "Oh, he looks like a very pretty girl, or a very pretty and feminine looking man" and they should be pretty powerful. in show's with multiple bishonen, it works for the MOST pretty men. I hope that helps
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=8rezkw78qv3xa50n2kmhfy2d