A Bokukko is a female character who uses male pronouns. This term arises from the Japanese Pronoun boku
, primarily used by boys and young men, and "ko", a feminine suffix. Extreme
tomboys may prefer the pronoun ore
, normally used by Hot-Blooded
young men. (This, incidentally, is an example of how Japanese writing differs from Japanese speech
; although feminine speech patterns have by and large become more "neutral" over the years, it would still be quite unusual and out of place for a woman to refer to herself with a masculine pronoun.)
Like many of the "-kko" terms, this has its place in female archetypes in anime
or Japanese Video Games
. Most, but not all, bokukko are tomboys
, and not all tomboys are bokukko, as the term revolves solely around the use of the pronoun "boku". Sometimes, it can just simply indicate that the user is a Plucky Girl
While the use of boku
most often signals tomboyishness, it can sometimes signal some other situation, such as not knowing correct societal behavior, or lacking polite speech. Sometimes it can be used to keep a characters gender obscured
—is she a boyish girl
, or a girlish boy
Whenever a Bokukko that primarily uses the male pronoun permanently switches to primarily using the female pronoun, it's a plot point
. When the show is dubbed, however, this will invariably lead to a Dub-Induced Plot Hole
due to the lack of gender-specific first person pronouns.
Also, a Bokukko character will usually be addressed with the "-kun" honorific
Although none of this has to be reflected in her appearance, the bokukko is usually either flat-chested or extremely well-endowed. A Dark-Skinned Redhead
is likely to be a bokukko, but it's not guaranteed.
See also Cute Bruiser
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Anime and Manga
- Miyuki Chitose from The Prince of Tennis. Tezuka even mistook her for a guy until she dropped her Nice Hat and her Girlish Pigtails were revealed.
- In Haruhi Suzumiya's 9th novel, Sasaki is introduced in a flashback. The reader isn't told her gender until later in the flashback, relying on her speech patterns (she talks a lot like Koizumi) and the use of masculine pronouns. The reader, confused by Haruhi's behavior around this "very close friend" of Kyon's, suddenly understands. As it turns out, that doesn't translate too well into English.
- There's also an illustration of her before she even meets Haruhi; she's wearing a skirt and looking very unambiguously female.
- Sasaki is an interesting case; she uses male speech patterns with boys, but feminine speech with girls. It's currently unknown why she does this; Kyon's best guess is that she believes romance is a waste of time and tries to seem masculine around boys so they subconsciously think of her as One of the Boys and don't become attracted to her.
- Sechs from Gunnm was an ore-onna before the Gender Bender.
- Ryougi Shiki after the car accident from Kara no Kyoukai. Also note that she uses ore instead of boku in order to imitate her lost male persona. At the end of the seventh movie, she switches back to watashi upon accepting the loss of her male persona.
- Akito Sohma from Fruits Basket addresses herself as boku. This is largely because she was forcefully raised as man by her mother, and acted like one until she was about 20.
- Yun from Simoun calls herself ore, and it's a significant plot point when she switches to atashi.
- Likewise, Helena from Claymore both refers to herself as ore and speaks in an extremely masculine dialect.
- Kagura from Azumanga Daioh. Sakaki from the same show is perceived as a Bokukko by her classmates, but actually has very girlish interests — such as petting cats and collecting stuffed animals.
- Makoto a.k.a. Jupiter in Sailor Moon, more obviously in the live action version
- JunJun of the Amazones Quartet refers to herself with ore. She is also the only member of the Quartet to wear pants (of course, this being the Amazones Quartet, the pants hardly count as pants and you'd be hard pressed to find a guy who would want to wear them, but it still counts for something, right?) According to Naoko Takeuchi, she also talks like a yankee and is a biker chick.
- Haruka a.k.a. Sailor Uranus uses the "boku" pronoun. Mamoru even refers to her as "Haruka-kun" because of her boyish personality.
- In Bleach, while the tomboys tend to use the girlish atashi note or uchi note pronouns, there are some genuine bokukkos:
- Yoruichi's cat form is often mistaken as male because of the way she refers to herself/voice in anime. She uses the old sounding washi and the cat has a deep male voice.
- Kuukaku Shiba has a rough personality that's emphasised by her use of ore when referring to herself. It goes with her masculine name.
- Giselle Gewelle is a young woman who actually uses boku. She is accused by Yumichika of being a Creepy Crossdresser. While she doesn't outright confirm or deny it, she identifies as female, and is VERY angry with Yumichika for pointing it out. (Plus, Mayuri refers to Giselle as female, and he should notice something going on).
- Liltotto Lamperd is a rude little girl who uses ore.
- Hilariously inverted with Urahara, a male who actually uses... atashi to refer to himself. His use of it exaggerates his role of a 'humble' shopkeeper. (In the flashbacks, he seems to have been more of a boku user)
- Eve/Abe from Spice and Wolf refers to herself as "ore".
- Ryuunosuke from Urusei Yatsura. "Ore wa onna da zo!" ("I'm a woman!") Lampshaded and made more ridicolous by the resident Ataru and Mendo trying to teach her to talk like a girl and showing themselves really proficient at it.
- Also by Rumiko Takahashi, Ukyo Kuonji from Ranma ˝ uses the word ore to refer to herself. She's also the most boyish of the fiancées (i.e., she goes to school wearing the boys uniform, whereas Akane uses the girls one), but according to Ranma she's still the "cute one" among them. In the anime she once entertains the thought of acting more feminine (she does indeed wear the girls uniform and looks very cute in it) to try attracting Ranma, but by the end of the episode she decides to just be herself and drops it.
- Akane Tendo is a subversion: she is not a bokukko and in fact has rather girly speech patterns and tastes, but almost everyone treats her as if she was a tomboy. Kuno even refers to her as "Akane-kun", which she really doesn't like.
- Kei, the more tomboyish half of the Dirty Pair, tends to devolve into this style of speaking whenever she gets particularly angry. In Dirty Pair Flash, she even said "Ore wa onna da!" at least once.
- Salon Maiden Anabel/Tower Tycoon Reira in Pokémon also used "boku" to refer to herself in Japanese, and thanks to her Boyish Short Hair and androgynous clothing she was mistaken as a waifish boy in the beginning, even successfully fooling Brock.
- Yellow from Pokémon Special started using "boku" when she disguised herself as a boy, and continued afterward.
- In Revolutionary Girl Utena the titular character uses "boku". In the movie, she's actually mistaken for a guy, despite her bright pink hair (though, admittedly, that doesn't mean much since many of the boys in the show have bright, neon hair as well). In the TV series, Utena's tomboyish qualities are at times acknowledged by other characters as defining traits for her. One episode (set after Utena's loss in a duel with Touga) explores what a more feminine, Yamato Nadeshiko Utena would be like (and her fangirls were still wet for her). After Wakaba delivers her a Get a Hold of Yourself Man since she realizes how Utena's trying to be someone she simply is not, she eventually abandons this in favor of returning to her usual attitude and winning Anthy back.
- Makoto Kikuchi from The Idolm@ster, who became an Idol Singer to get in touch with her feminine side.
- The game has a dialogue choice of asking her age or gender, with the latter causing her to insist that she's a girl: "Boku wa onna no ko desu!"
- Nagi in the Boogiepop Series often uses masculine forms of speech, being something of a Bifauxnen whenever she's on the prowl.
- Akira Sakou from Girls Saurus actually has some very complicated gender identity issues, and dreams about being a boy every single day. Consequentially, she doesn't have a problem with boys seeing her naked and sometimes uses the boys' bathroom... but in a bizarre inversion of Sitch Sexuality, becomes attracted to Shingo because he's the only person who's afraid of her. What's more, she lives in a Big Fancy House and is a total (explicitly identified) Yamato Nadeshiko at home, which only complicates matters further.
- The fact that her attraction to Shingo resembles nothing so much as an athlete being attracted to a teammate doesn't make matters simpler, either.
- Strangely for the sheer number of girls in the story, Mahou Sensei Negima! doesn't seem to have one among the main cast. There is only the very minor character Fuka Narutaki, who is described by Akamatsu as being the tougher and more boyish of the Narutaki twins.
- Beth from Petite Princess Yucie uses ore. She is one tough cookie, alright.
- Hungary from Axis Powers Hetalia. When she was a young Cute Bruiser, she assumed that she would grow up to be a boy and that everyone eventually grew a penis. She eventually grew into a Ninja Maid Cool Big Sis, even marrying one of the two Team Dads in the cast.
- Austria and the Holy Roman Empire thought Italy was one when he used to use "boku" to refer to himself in the days everyone thought he was a girl. (It's hinted that Hungary either always knew or realised it by herself, but kept her mouth shut). He has switched to "ore" since then.
- Actually, the closest to a canon bokukko is... the very feminine Monaco, who is said to have speech patterns akin to an old man's.
- Kino from Kino's Journey only uses "atashi" in flashbacks when she's still conflicted about her identity. It's an Establishing Character Moment when she switches to "boku" for good.
- Hinagiku, aka Angel Daisy from Wedding Peach uses ore, even while wearing a pretty yellow wedding dress.
- Played with in Video Girl Ai. Lead female Ai Amano was supposed to be a Yamato Nadeshiko, but since her video was played in a broken VCR, she became a Tsundere-ish Bokukko. She refers to herself as "ore", i.e.
- Moemi Hayakawa invokes the trope when she cuts her hair short and starts acting and speaking more boyishly to make herself look more appealing to Youta. It doesn't work. In the end, she keeps her hair short but returns to her Yamato Nadeshiko self.
- Asa Shigure and her mom, Ama in SHUFFLE!.
- Ursula from Kiki's Delivery Service is pretty much textbook bokukko. A girl in her late teens living on her own during the summer in a cabin in the woods, Ursula is the embodiment of the strong-willed independence commonly desired by Japanese girls. Those attributes do make her come off as somewhat of a Tom Boy, but her choice of attire leaves no doubt she's all woman, except when a stranger giving her and Kiki a lift into town said she had "boy's legs". Her response to that was more of "Some people..." rather than indignation, indicating she's quite comfortable being bokukko.
- There's always Yu-Gi-Oh! GX's Yubel for a rather creepy example. Technically, Yubel is more of a he/she considering the whole hermaphrodite thing. However, s/he's constantly proclaiming her love for Judai, and was originally a human girl.
- Tomokane from GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class does not use boku — she uses ore, among other things that would lead to Viewer Gender Confusion.
- In Maria†Holic, Villainous Crossdresser Mariya uses "watashi" for his demure feminine persona and "ore" when alone or with people who know she's a he. His Half Identical Twin Shizu uses "boku" when maintaining her Wholesome Crossdresser masquerade.
- In Change 123, the female protagonist has Split Personality. One of her alternative personalities is Hibiki who, on the one hand, is a very aggressive and tomboyish Blood Knight karateka and refers to herself as "ore", but on the other hand she can be very gentle (and sexually very extrovert) to her Love Interest, and at times her emotional vulnerability can also be seen.
- Though she's trying to act more feminine, Hinagiku of Hayate the Combat Butler is called particularly masculine by her friends.
- Subverted in Zetsuai 1989. Kouji Nanjo thought that Izumi, the angry and tormented child he met and fell in love with as a 12-year-old kid, was a Bokukko... but "she" WAS a boy all along. Cue Gayngst when he finds out the truth several years later and realizes that yeah, he's still desperately in love with Izumi. In Kouji's defense, "Izumi" is both a very common last name and a Gender-Blender Name (though mostly used by women) in Japan, and Takuto Izumi looked kinda girlish at the time.
- This term may be applicable to Crona from Soul Eater. Then again, given hir deliberately Ambiguous Gender, maybe not...
- A Zig Zagged Trope in Wandering Son. Takatsuki Yoshino is a female-to-male pre-teen trans person, and everybody refers to them as Takatsuki-kun. Subverted when they went on town with their friend Nitori, a male-to-female trans person, and they (Yoshino) noticed that they still uses "boku" when talking, even when wearing a dress. Yoshino says it suits them (Nitori) and says that they'll continue to use "watashi" despite dressing like a boy.
- A meta example happens with Nitori. As said above she identifies as female, and is quite a Yamato Nadeshiko, however she still refers to herself as "boku". She explains it's just because she likes it and thinks it fits her.
- Priss didn't usually call herself "ore" in Bubblegum Crisis — she only started doing so in Bubblegum Crash, after Ryoko Tachikawa replaced Kinuko Oomori as her voice actress.
- Aiko Kudou from Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu uses "boku" to refer to herself, but is no less feminine.
- In Darker Than Black Ryuusei no Gemini, Suou Pavlichenko, the new female protagonist uses Boku. This doesn't help the fact that the she looks almost the same as her twin brother if she is hiding her hair
- Okami-San's Ryoko Ookami, who fits both the "masculine pronoun" and "tomboyish appearance" parts of the trope.
- In The World God Only Knows Yui Goudou starts using "boku" and begins dressing like a boy after she returns to her body.
- Yagyuu Kyuubei from Gintama- it was used to conceal her Bifauxnen throughout the arc in which she was introduced.
- Tatsumi, the fire fighter, uses "ore" and also refers to herself as "onii-chan" when speaking to children. It's likely that she adopted this way of speaking due to being raised in a very masculine environment; her adoptive father believes that women can't be fire fighters, but Tatsumi still idolizes him and wants to follow in his footsteps.
- Itsuki from HeartCatch Pretty Cure! because of her Wholesome Crossdresser situation. As Cure Sunshine, she uses "watashi."
- Yozora Mikazuki did this during her childhood days with Hasegawa Kodaka from the light novel Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai.
- Tomonori/Yuki/Maelstrom from Kore wa Zombie desu ka?. In fact, her speech patterns, not just the pronouns, are entirely like a boy's, so much such that initially, Ayumu mistook her for a guy. The reason why she's called Tomonori is because it's how you would read the kanji of her name, if it was a guy's name.
- Natsuki "Detective of the South" Koshimizu from Detective Conan. She doubles as Bifauxnen, and it's thanks to this combination that she accidentally ends up pulling an Unsettling Gender Reveal on Heiji, Conan and Hakuba; they had just assumed she was a boy like them, until they saw her wearing a sailor uniform. Though at the end of the Koshien arc, she switches from boku to watashi, most likely because having become a Sympathetic Murderer robbed her from her youthful innocence.
- This happens again with another Bokkuko Bifauxnen Masumi Sera. And everyone who doesn't know her believes she's a boy.
- Madoka Ayukawa from Kimagure Orange Road used to be a Bokukko as a child, so much that she's mistaken as a boy by a time-travelling Kyōsuke. She switches to Tsundere years later.
- Tsugumi Higashijuujou in Cyber Team in Akihabara is a 13-year-old girl who uses "ore".
- Elliot Chandler of Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~ uses "boku" on herself.
- Akira Okuzaki of Mai-HiME uses "ore", as she is pretending to be a boy.
- Mayu from Nekogami Yaoyorozu talks just like Yoruichi right down to the use of "Washi".
- Alice from Heaven's Memo Pad use "boku" to addresses herself.
- Charlotte Dunois of Infinite Stratos addresses herself as 'boku,' despite being the Proper Lady type. Justified as she was previously trained to be male by her father.
- Tayune from Inukami!. Fitting as she's the token tomboy of Kaoru's harem.
- Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo has Chane speaking with like this. She, like her twin sister, also dresses in a Victorian boy's style.
- Persona 4: The Animation has Wholesome Crossdresser Naoto Shirogane.
- Touhara Asuha from Lotte no Omocha, justified because she was raised by her single father.
- In Binbō-gami ga! we have Ranmaru. But instead of "boku" she uses "ore".
- In Ouran High School Host Club, Haruhi refers to herself as "boku" for obvious reasons, but she was already tomboyish before that. Actually there was one panel in the manga where she considered referring to herself as "ore" in front of the guests. In the anime, this was translated more or less like "Maybe I should call everyone bro and dude from now on?" and of course, Tamaki's reaction was...his usual reaction.
- Actually, Haruhi starts the series referring to herself as jibun. It makes sense since jibun is technically gender-neutral (though often used by men in the military), so is often used to "mask" a character's gender.
- The protagonist of Ice Revolution is an androgynous girl who uses "ore". In an attempt to seem more feminine she begins ice skating.
- Hikaru Shidou of Magic Knight Rayearth uses "boku." When Fuu asks about it in an omake, Hikaru explains that it's because she has three older brothers.
- Fino Bloodstone, daughter of the (late) Demon Overlord, from Yuusha Ni Narenakatta Ore Wa Shibushibu Shuushoku O Ketsui Shimashita uses the over-the-top arrogant "ore-sama".
- Hajime Ichinose from Gatchaman Crowds uses "boku" in addition to several other non-standard speech patterns. Unusually, Hajime is a very feminine character, so this probably isn't to sound masculine at all and instead highlight how odd her manner of speech is in general.
- Nui Harime from Kill la Kill is one. Unlike most examples, however, she's an adorable, pink-wearing Elegant Gothic Lolita, on top of being a remorseless psychopath. Kind of a plot point, too - because it's a masculine pronoun, no one suspects anything when she refers to herself as "boku"... while disguised as a male student.
- Noise from Pandora Hearts. But this might just be another attempt differentiate herself from Echo
- Lal Mirch from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! uses "ore". This probably has something to do with with her extreme Badassery.
- Otto from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha uses "boku", adding to her Bifauxnen appearance and her crossdressing attitude, confusing not only the viewers, but also her own sisters.
- Miura Rinaldi as well. She's more or less a Tomboy and she's an ass kicking Cute Bruiser.
- In all of the opening theme songs plus insert songs, the singer, Nana Mizuki, uses "boku". This is fairly common in singing or poetry, because "watashi" can sometimes throw off the meter.
- Touma Minami from Minami-ke is an Ore Onna, a Bifauxnen and a Tomboy. She has three older brothers and has her first female friends in the fifth grade.
- Mako-chan is also an Ore Onna, mostly because "she's" actually a he.
- Kido of Kagerou Project refers to herself as ore and uses a though, guy-like speech pattern. She's actually not all that boyish in anything but appearance, and it's mostly just an act that she put on rather recently. She's even slipped up and called herself watashi once or twice.
- Variable Geo: Yuka Takeuchi and her best friend, Satomi Yajima, are a couple of combat waitresses who're cut from the same cloth. Yuka habitually refers to herself using the "boku wa" pronoun, while Satomi uses "ore wa" and "ore no" instead. In the latter's case, it's partly a nod to the fact that she's a gender flip of Kyo Kusanagi.
Live Action TV
- La Roux - The name chosen by the the band's singer; a mixture of "la rousse" (redhead female) and "le roux" (redhead male).
- Hitomi Yoshizawa, from Morning Musume, does not use the masculine pronouns, but it's been noted by other members and persons in talk shows that the rest of her speech is quite masculine
- The (unnamed) protagonist of the song Revenge Syndrome. She refers to herself in the lyrics several times using the "boku" pronoun. Not much is known about her other than her unstable mental state and her tendency to be bullied by her peers.
- Advanced V.G.: Both Yuka and Satomi are tomboy types, with each using "boku" and "ore" respectively. They trained together at the Kyokushin Dojo and have been competing with each other since childhood.
- Gemini Sunrise from Sakura Taisen V uses "Boku" in the Japanese script. In addition, her twin sister/dual personality Geminine uses "Ore".
- Rhyme from The World Ends with You. Not really obvious in the American version.
- Material-L/Levi the Slasher, Fate's Evil Twin in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable, who overuses "boku" as part of her highly aggressive personality.
- FE 7: Princess Tailto's speech patterns are rougher than the other women in Sigurd's army, though it's not really alluded to by other charas. She is very straightforward when compared with the other girls save for Ayra, though.
- Naoto Shirogane in Persona 4 pulls this trope off so well (in the game-verse at least) that everyone is convinced that she's actually a guy.
- Cheldia Rouge, one of the female leads in Super Robot Wars K.
- It's explained in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess that the character of Ashei was raised by her widowed father, an exiled knight, who basically treated her as a boy. She's a really good warrior, and cute with a nice figure, but doesn't know much about social niceties and is a little self-conscious about it.
- The Justice refers to herself as "boku" in the Japanese version of Magical Drop 3. Fittingly, she's a tomboyish Action Girl.
- In Touhou fanon, Wriggle "I'm a girl!" Nightbug gets this treatment quite a bit, due to her androgynous appearance.
- Although Marisa Kirisame behaves tomboyishly and ends her sentences with "ze", a masculine sentence end which indicates force and command, she doesn't use "ore" in canon, as she's known to do in doujinshi.
- May from Guilty Gear, who is also a Cute Bruiser. From the same game, Baiken uses ore to refer to herself.
- In Mitsumete Knight (one of the series' Spiritual Successors), Hanna Shawski is a Bokukko, while Gene Petromolla is a Ore-onna.
- Anna Hottenmeyer from Mr. Driller has a very tomboyish behavior and uses "boku".
- Elh from Solatorobo. Her companions actually mistake her for a boy initially, which doesn't make as much sense in the translated version of the game, due to the lack of Japanese pronouns.
- The Dept Heaven series has a long-standing tradition of including at least one of these in every game:
- Riviera: The Promised Land has Rose (which is supposed to obfuscate her gender) and Lina (who only uses this pronoun while introducing herself, as she's otherwise a Third-Person Person).
- Yggdra Union, Blaze Union, and Yggdra Unison have Emilia, who otherwise uses feminine speech patterns. Given her background, she likely was never taught to use a different pronoun while growing up, and since her brother is now Emperor, no one's going to tell her not to speak the way she wants to.
- Knights in the Nightmare has Oryza, the youngest of the knights.
- Gungnir has Isabeli, who is just weird like that.
- Gloria Union has Pinger, who actually uses keigo. Justified in that the person who raised her wanted her to be a marketable rarity, and may have trained her to have a weird speech pattern to increase her worth.
- Razzly from Chrono Cross refers to herself as boku, possibly because she's the closest thing the game has to a male fairy (who are all female). Kid uses ore while calling herself a "cute, frail girl" in one breath.
- Margie/Marguerite from Xenogears. Ramsus likewise addresses her as "Marguerite-kun."
- Hazuki of Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito. Interestingly, she uses the more masculine "ore" in the manga version.
- Nanami Kanroji from School Days. She's tall, boyish, sporty (she's got the scholarship to show it) and straightforward.
- Sakura from Da Capo uses Boku, despite only being slightly tom-boyish and a lolita.
- Nagi from ef - a fairy tale of the two., claims to use Boku because it's easier to say than Watashi. Two syllables versus three. Go figure.
- The Tokimeki Memorial series host a few of them. 1 has Nozomi Kiyokawa ; 2 has Akane Ichimonji ; and 4 has Itsuki Maeda.
- Ayu Tsukimiya from Kanon, although she's rather moe. Yuuichi tries to make her switch to the even more masculine ore.
- In the original game, you get a choice of trying to switch her to the masculine ore, the gender-neutral watashi or the very girly atashi.
- Dangan Ronpa
- Junko Enoshima is a rather odd example. She normally uses the super-girlish atashi... but when she's revealed to be the Big Bad as well as being such a Mood-Swinger that her entire voice and personality changes with her mood, her "punk" personality uses the very manly ore.
- Chihiro Fujisaki uses boku at times, which is kind of odd considering that she's a timid little girl. Later subverted, since it's revealed that he's actually a timid little boy.
- Akane Owari from Super Dangan Ronpa 2 uses "ore".
- In Higurashi: When They Cry, both Hanyuu and Rika Furude use "boku". This is despite the fact that neither fits the normal pattern for the trope, though in Rika's case, it's probably a habit acquired from Hanyuu. She also uses "watashi" whenever she's not Obfuscating Stupidity. Hanyuu, on the other hand, only uses boku because she's Really 700 Years Old and comes from a time when boys and girls apparently didn't use different pronouns.
- The very female Nya from Demonbane uses masculine speech. It's an early clue that she is not actually a woman... or even human, for that matter. "Nya" is not one of Nyarlathotep's more imaginative aliases.
Translations of Western Animation
- The voice actress Akeno Watanabe uses boku in real life. And voices many tomboys, too.
- While it's very rare, some real Japanese girls do use masculine pronouns. Those who do so fall into four types—girls who use them as a feminist statement, those who are just plain tomboyish, those who do it to imitate anime and game characters to be cutesy, and very young (preschool-age) girls who haven't been trained to use traditionally feminine pronouns by societal expectations (the more cynical may think of it as "gender policing"). The Japanese page on this phenomenon on The Other Wiki notes that this began as a late 20th century thing. See also this case study on use of boku vs. use of watashi in young girls.