This is a male character common in any media with a romantic plot. He serves as a foil
to the male lead
, both for the audience and for the potential love interests
in the work. Often he has an outwardly abrasive
personality. Despite that, he is the main character's primary male companion
. Common developments for the character include some sort of falling-out with the main character, often over a very serious issue. He is often a Chivalrous Pervert
or Loveable Sex Maniac
, and meets with the disapproval of the female cast members in various ways, from exasperated sigh to Megaton Punch
. Sometimes this is taken to the point of being a Butt Monkey
. If the work has an Official Couple
featuring a stereotypically attractive female, he'll probably publicly and futilely lust over her right up until the main character's interest comes out in the open.
As the main character's foil
, his function is to show by example what the main character is NOT. Often, by contrast with him, it is no surprise that the main character has an Unwanted Harem
. If he does end up in a relationship, he's probably part of the Beta Couple
. If he gets together with the main character, it's through a Gay Option
. Often he is also the Plucky Comic Relief
See also The Lancer
, Those Two Guys
Anime and Manga
- Hyosuke from Please Teacher! is an interesting case in that he has a love interest of his own and yet he continues to act the part. Also, within the show itself, a character accused the main character of Ho Yay with him.
- Otaku No Musume San's titular otaku father has the added issue of his foil being a lolicon. The friend's admirer, who is totally oblivious to his taste, assumes that since he's clearly not attracted to young women, he might just be gay.
- Tadashi Teruya from 11eyes, Kakeru's best friend (somehow) and constant subject of derision by Shiori. Curiously, in Story of another side, he actually gets a chance to show that he's more than just the Butt Monkey.
- Haruhiko Nezu from Princess Lover! is the show's perpetual punching bag.
- Ryoga performs this role for the title character of Ranma ½: lawful, wrathful and guarded where Ranma tends to be chaotic, arrogant and trusting. Notably, he is outwardly much more shy and polite to pretty much everybody except Ranma, who is a major Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Eishirou Sugata from Heaven's Lost Property. While he's a lot more reserved than Tomoki, he's also completely bonkers.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has Chamo sort of filling this role early on, being a sort of Jerk Ass and Dirty Old Man to contrast with Negi's Adorably Precocious Child. Later on, Kotaro is introduced, being a Mouthy Kid to contrast with Negi's maturity.
- In Seitokai no Ichizon, Ken has the bluntly stated goal of turning the entire (female) student council into his harem, and draws analogies to a main protagonist in ero-games that he plays. Kurimu, the President, responds that his actions are probably closer to this trope instead.
- It's also a Shout-Out to Clannad: Ken states that his name can be written like "Okazaki" in kanji, and Kurimu answers "You mean Sunohara, right?".
- Edogawa from Sora No Manimani. In comparison to reserved bookworm Saku, he's loud, crazy and not even technically a member of the Astronomy Club.
- Nobunaga from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu. Yuuto's best friend who's very open about his fanboy tendencies, when the point of the series is to keep Haruka's own love of anime hidden.
- Takeshi Momoshiro from The Prince of Tennis.
- Miyahara of Midori no Hibi.
- In Seto no Hanayome, Saru, though Nagasumi isn't as friendly with him as most examples.
- Mugio in Kujibiki Unbalance (both versions).
- In Suzumiya Haruhi, Taniguchi is a friend to the protagonist, Kyon, and is a Casanova Wannabe and a Small Name, Big Ego, whereas Kyon himself is a snarky Covert Pervert.
- Masomi Kida of Durarara!! seems like this compared to the (sort of) protagonist, Mikado. While Mikado is fairly shy and reserved, Kida is a keet and Chivalrous Pervert constantly obsessed with hitting on girls. Ultimately subverted though, as Kida's personality and general cheerfulness is largely Obfuscating Stupidity, and he's actually pretty melancholic. As for Mikado, while he is shy, he hides his inner badass.
- Tatsukichi Hayama of MM! plays this straight, though he has someone who admires him.
- Furuichi of Beelzebub plays it dead straight. He lusts after all the girls, and is quite jealous of the attention Oga gets. He has an admirer of his own, though: The Manly Gay demon Arandron
- Yamato Kurose from Mayo Chiki! is this, though since the female lead pretends to be a man he teases the main character for being gay instead of lusting after her in his turn.
- Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu - Yuuji is the best friend, but Kouta is the pervert.
- Baka Test is an unusual example in the the lead guy, Akihisa, is the Butt Monkey and the best friend, Yuuji, is the one abusing and using said butt monkey. Then again, it is also unusual in that Yuuji is only a few steps short of being the lead guy himself; it wouldn't be a stretch at all to say that Akihisa and Yuuji are both the protagonist.
- Not to mention, Yuuji has a love interest of his own: Shouko Kirishima. Though Shouko is, well, a Yandere...
- Wolfwood and Vash from Trigun have the bromance and the foil part going, including the dramatic fight, but not the rest. Wolfwood is about as cool as Vash, with a bonus of brooding, dark looks, and they use similar varieties of Obfuscating Stupidity.
- In the first season of Code Geass we get the cool protagonist Lelouch and his more awkward best friend Rivalz.
- In Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, there's Makoto Isshiki, Yuuta's back-seat classmate who has a hobby of profiling girls in their class.
- Kevin Smith films are renown for their lancers, who, more often then not, serve as this.
- Dead Poets Society: Todd is this to Neil. Both trapped by controlling parents, the latter is outgoing, confident and seen rebelling and taking charge of life, while the former is quiet and shy and appears rather timid. In a surprise twist Neil is revealed to be the Decoy Protagonist, and Todd is the real hero.
- Sherlock Holmes has Sherlock and Dr. Watson.
- With the twist that Sherlock, the main character, is pretty much the foil.
- In Shaun of the Dead, Ed serves as this trope for the titular character Shaun. While Shaun may fail to impress his girlfriend, his step-father, and his younger co-workers, at least he has a girlfriend and a steady job. Ed, on the other hand, lives on Shaun's couch, plays video games all day, sells marijuana, can't be trusted to write down phone messages, and is prone to silent but deadly flatulence to break the tension of emotional moments.
- Dean to Sam on Supernatural.
- Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother
- In the earlier Degrassi seasons when Jimmy was the star athlete and his relationship with Ashley was center stage, Spinner's job was to be everything Jimmy wasn't.
- Two and a Half Men inverts this. The Casanova Charlie Harper attracts girls with his loads of money and obnoxious behavior while (relatively) Dogged Nice Guy Alan is Hollywood Dateless.
- True to form, Sheldon of The Big Bang Theory was this to Leonard in earlier episodes.
- Chuck Bass was originally this in Gossip Girl, with an abrasive personality, sex mania, disapproval from female cast members, and a falling out with best friend Nate (the male lead from the books). However, because of his popularity with fans, his affection for Blair (Nate's girlfriend and Love Interest) stopped being futile and they're now the Official Couple of the series.
- Damon to Stefan in The Vampire Diaries.
- Friends: Joey, Ross and Chandler all provide foils to each other in different ways, being an Ensemble Cast none of them are technically The Hero. Joey is The Casanova while Chandler and Ross are Hollywood Dateless. Ross is uptight while Joey and Chandler are relaxed. Chandler is Blue Oni to Ross and Joey's Red Oni. Interestingly Ross and Joey contrast the most but both interact with Chandler, who falls roughly in the middle, more than each other.
- Nathan and Simon in Misfits.
- Arthur to Merlin on Merlin.
- Masaki "Maki" Edo from Gift ~eternal rainbow~. A master of crackpot inventions.
- One of the earliest examples is Yoshio Saotome from Tokimeki Memorial, the main chara's best friend as well as the older brother of Yumi, one of the possible love interests.
- The Persona series has a tendency to do this with characters of the Magician Arcana:
- Persona 3 has two, Junpei and Kenji, the latter of which has you help him in a doomed attempt at love. Junpei's shot at love doesn't end much better, at first. Chidori dies after doing to Junpei what Wolverine did to Rogue in the first X-Men movie, only in reverse.
- Yosuke fills the same shoes in Persona 4. His attempt at love is even more doomed: Not only is Saki murdered (and he later discovers she hated him all along), but her death is actually what gets the plot rolling.
- Alistair can act as one to a male Warden PC in Dragon Age: Origins.
- Kaine in A Profile acts as a foil by... being a largely normal person with normal human reactions, which is enough when compared to Masayuki. He also happens to be a female-to-male Transsexual.
- Possible subversion in Eien no Aselia. Kouin comes across as rather perverted and isn't as pretty as Yuuto... but he's also more intelligent, competent and even stronger than he is. He just lacks charisma.
- Uzuki from Sharin No Kuni counts as one, but he is definitively amongst the odder examples of this trope: Even the main character usually ends up as plagued by his antics as the Unwanted Harem. He's also Ambiguously Gay and shows little if any overt interest in any females on top of it.
- Kenji Setou of Katawa Shoujo is notable for lacking the usual perversion of this trope - he's a paranoid misogynist instead. Possibly a deliberate subversion, considering the dev team's origin. He also calls the main character "bro". In the first act no-girl route, he is the main character's companion during the School Festival.
- Sumiyoshi of Snow Sakura (eroge) is a very typical example, heavy on the Keet and perversion.
- Masayoshi does this to the protagonist Junichi in Amagami SS. Interestingly for a female variation, Kaoru does this as well whether she's the love interest of the arc or not.
- The Sociable, popular, hard working chick magnet Asino who is of average ability contrasts against the protagonist antisocial genius Chris from Symphonic Rain an is basically his only male friend. Though not perverted at all, if you go down Fal's route, it ends up with a Love Triangle between him, Chris and Fal.
- Youhei Sunohara from CLANNAD (both Visual Novel and Anime) is an example played straight, heavy on the Butt Monkey. It was even lampshaded by Tomoya after he was ogling Tomoyo.
He's one of those people who can never be the main role for anything.
- Suginami in both Da Capo and Da Capo II. Despite the large gap of years separating the two series, there will always be a Suginami, and he will always be there to serve as the protagonists' foil.
- Arihiko from Tsukihime is Shiki's only normal friend, as well as being a comic-relief slacker, pervert, and all-around failure.
- Seorin's Let's Play lampshades the Ho Yay between the two and ramps it Up to Eleven.
- Shiki doesn't really have "normal" friends. As pointed out in Kagetsu Tohya, they became friends because they've both had an encounter with death that is way too close for comfort. Satsuki isn't normal either; the Nanaya gland don't work on normal girls.
- Issei Ryudou from Fate/stay night, Shirou's only normal friend, comedic example of He-Man Woman Hater and the Unknown Rival of Rin, one of the heroines.
- Taisuke Sawanaga from School Days, also Kotonoha's Dogged Nice Guy and the Plucky Comic Relief. Though he's more of a deconstruction, considering what he does to his crush in the anime and at least one game route...
- Steins;Gate has Daru, an otaku Lovable Sex Maniac and the worst guy Okabe could possibly get dating advice from.
Daru: Excuse me, have you considered giving the wisdom between these pages a try?
- Konstantin from Tsunami Channel: Experimental Comic Kotone. Bonus points for constantly calling the unnamed protagonist "my brother" and being the Gay Option.
- Steve from Questionable Content. When he can get off the bus, that is. At first, this was about all there was to him, and he was prone to disappearing from the story for stretches of time. (Less than it seemed, though) Recently, he's been developing into his own character.
- Largo had shades of this, especially his characterization in the dating sim imagine spots earlier in the comic.
- Ja Wangnan, the actual main character of Tower of God's second season, to Chick Magnet Jyu Viole Grace aka 25th Baam, the main character of season one. It works, since Tower of God is mainly an action adventure with only a little romantic spice at the sidelines, but the foil and developing bromance as well as the complete opposite effect on women are there. It's also quite funny because Ja might actually not be into women.