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Anime and Manga
- Yukimura from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai hopes to achieve this by emulating Kodaka. Despite being a girl.
- In Captain Harlock, this is the defining characteristic of Tadashi Daiba, in both the first anime series and in the "Endless Odyssey" OAV series. In the latter, in fact, Daiba's father is so convinced that Daiba must become a man that he makes Captain Harlock promise to kill Daiba immediately if, for whatever reason, he thinks that Daiba cannot become a man — a promise that Harlock has no compulsions about breaking, even if this means getting himself killed.
- From his childhood, Hiroki of Junjou Romantica continually talks and worries about performing masculinity properly, leading to many of his relationship issues later in life, such as feeling unable to vocalize something as simple as "I want you to stay over tonight" because it shows weakness/sentimentality. Fortunately for him, his boyfriend overcompensates with his earnest and lovey-dovey behaviour.
- The titular character of Kunisaki Izumo No Jijou aspires to be one, mainly because he got fed up on being always mistaken as a girl.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Touji is very much this type, everything he does in the series is to help or protect his friends and family.
- This is stated to be Usopp's dream in One Piece
- Chopper qualifies too. In the Skypeia Arc, after he fails to protect the Merry from having the mast burned he jumps up onto the railing and begins shouting about how he's going to become 'a real man!' and never let his True Companions down again. WHILE ON FIRE FROM SHEER DETERMINATION TO DO JUST THAT.
- Osomatsu-san: Karamatsu, who by equating manliness with being a ladies' man wears Cool Shades all the time and tries to woo girls. How much does this work? Considering he was so desperate he tried to woo a(n actual) fish with a love letter, "it's not working" is an understatement. Made even worse by his 5 brothers, one of which is older, and the affection for Totoko which all 6 of them have.
- This was Hani's original intention in Ouran High School Host Club before he was convinced by Tamaki to join the Host Club. He failed spectacularly.
- Practically the whole premise of Ranma ½ - Ranma constantly wants to reaffirm his masculinity, which is made more difficult due to his annoying habit of turning into a girl at inopportune times.
- In his case, it's at least partly because his father made a vow that Ranma would have to commit Seppuku if his mother ever thought he wasn't a real man.
- The purpose of the Otokojuku ('Man School'/'Manly Tech') in Sakigake!! Otokojuku is to mould Japanese Delinquents into ideal men.
- Smile Pretty Cure!: Pop wants to be seen as manly. Not doing him any favours is the fact that he's a plushie-lion-fox-fairy thing, which often gets him labelled cute, much to his frustration. He compensates this by acting like a ninja/samurai.
- To Love-Ru: Ren spends an entire episode of the anime trying to get more manly so he could marry Lala. Until he sneezed, causing his other half, Run, to take over.
- The Tower of Druaga: Jil is like this sometimes, especially in the first episode.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!'s Jonouchi, and his quest to become a "True Duelist" with honor and pride in Battle City.
Films — Animated
- Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa lampshades this with Alex wanting to prove to his dad he's a real lion, and Marty doing a little bit of the Deadpan Snarker that everybody thinks when somebody pulls the old "this'll show them I'm a real man" lines.
Alex: Maybe my dad will think I'm... I want to show him I'm a real lion.Marty: (sarcastically) As opposed to a chocolate lion.
- Mulan has a song called I'll Make a Man Out Of You where a training montage takes place where the army recruits get better and better at being soldiers. Particularly Ping, the kicker being that the audience is well aware that "Ping" is the very female Mulan in disguise.
- This is part of Hiccup's motivation at the beginning of How to Train Your Dragon. He wants to slay a dragon to prove that he can be a tough Viking like his father the chief.
- The subject is brough up again in the spin-off series Dragons: Riders of Berk. A portrait of Hiccup and Stoick has Hiccup looking more muscular than he is in real life, making him feel like his father is disappointed in him. This prompts Hiccup to go on a dangerous treasure hunt that even Stoick was unable to finish.
Films — Live-Action
- Steve Rogers felt the need to be treated like a man after continually being denied entry into the army. He made up for it when he became Captain America: The First Avenger.
- Frontier Circus: In "Never Won Fair Lady", Red Buttons plays the milksop son of a famous general sent to the circus to toughen him up. After falling in love with the female lion tamer, he decides he wants to become brave.
- "The Last Real Man" Silas Young, who also demands a certain degree of manliness from all his associates(he has few friends). In Ring of Honor, he took it upon himself to teach Dalton Castle's boys how to be men when they were acquired by his Tag Team partner, The Beer City Bruiser. Young found his work was cutout for him when he had to stop them from using a women's bathroom.
- Also, WWE's Santino Marella, though his methods to prove his manhood were, questionable, such as trying to enter the "Miss Wrestle Mania" Battle Royal.
- Dave Strider in Homestuck has a fixation on becoming "a hero", like his unbelievably badass older brother. However, he later admits that his idea of "heroism" was really just another word for traditional masculinity, with its completely rigid and impossible standards of manliness that no real person could possibly live up to — and that he's now given up trying. He makes this realization in the process of discovering his own latent bisexuality, and also coming to the conclusion that his brother wasn't a "hero" or a "real man" but an abusive asshole who never deserved his respect or admiration anyway.
- Two characters from the roleplay group Roulette Rampage share this desire: the first session's Ryouta Akagi and Reloaded's Kiyoyuki Irino. In the latter's case it becomes his entire character arc for the game, as he's a short, fickle, androgynous-looking boy who desires nothing more than to become more masculine for the roles he wants to do. His idolization of Tetsuo Shingen is in part based off of this desire, as he's everything he wanted to be as a man save for profession. Eventually he comes into his own by the end, but by being himself and finding his strength in emotion rather than in physicality or some other ideal.
- Folding Ideas: The Foldable Human sees this as Jack's motivation for rebelling against society and starting a Fight Club. The reason why Jack wants to be considered masculine, according to him, is because he wants to feel like he fits in. Unfortunately, this doesn't cause him to become more responsible or brave, so much as more violent.
- In an episode of Futurama, Kif tries to be more masculine to impress Amy and her parents. The main way he does this is by smoking, which causes a very bad reaction.
- In one episode of Kim Possible, Ron discovered that his certificate of manhood (signed after his bar mitzvah) wasn't signed. He decided to strive for manliness.
- This is one of Sokka's motivation is Avatar: The Last Airbender. It's partly caused by the residual sexism of the Southern Water Tribe, but a lot of it also comes from him being a "Well Done, Son!" Guy caused by his father and all the men in his tribe going to fight in the war, and leaving him, a twelve year old boy, in charge of his village. The fact that he accidentally let his girlfriend turn into the moon probably didn't help, either.
- Dipper Pines also wants this in Gravity Falls. He shows great dislike for being called adorable, and the episode 'Dipper Vs Manliness' is all about this trope.
- In The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Flapjack desires to be a real adventurer and this is often equated with being manly. A recurring character named "A Real Adventurer" is even a shirtless block of muscle. Unfortunately, he takes most of his advise from Captain K'nuckles.
- Marco from Star vs. the Forces of Evil has had this problem sometimes, but it's taken to extremes in "Running With Scissors" where he literally spends sixteen years in Hekapoo's dimension becoming big and muscular to track her down so he could prove he would earn interdimensional scissors. Hekapoo even gave him the option of going back to Earth originally. Sadly, it's mostly undone when he goes back reverting to his original body as time moves differently in her dimension.