"Do you remember those old electric train sets that used to be popular forever ago? The ones that went through the town, the forest, and then finally into the tunnel in the mountain? Yeah, the seme is the train."
A character associated with the Yaoi genre
, the Seme makes up the "giving" half of the relationship and is conventionally more masculine than the Uke
, almost always signified by him being One Head Taller
and more "handsome" than "cute" in looks. If he wears glasses, they'll probably be thin-rimmed so it will make him look sophisticated, intelligent
(not to mention a lot more brutal
). The Seme is often the aggressive pursuer in a relationship, and in the rare cases where the Uke
takes up that role, the Seme will still come out on top
when it comes to the lovemaking. Sometimes violently. Can be a Bastard Boyfriend
The Seme is typically designed to embody what the female audience is thought to desire in a boyfriend, from the hot bad boy
with a heart of gold
to the ice king
whose heart can only be thawed
by The Power of Love
to the Knight in Shining Armor
who's always there to rescue
or protect his beloved. See Boys Love Notes
for a list of standard seme and uke types. One of the attractions of Boys Love works, however, is that since the uke is male, and thus a legitimate object of desire, it's easier for the female reader to place herself in the dominant role than it is in a heterosexual romance.
The basic Seme personality types also crop up in more mainstream romance mangas, usually paired off with an innocent female in the Uke
role. The more aggressive type of Seme is similar to the heroes of bodice-ripper style romances in the West, and probably found around the world.
In yuri, or Girls Love
, an Onee-sama
who is openly attracted to someone can also take this role. Ironically, a female character who acts or looks openly masculine is actually less
likely to be the seme, since this is usually equated with tomboys and immaturity. The Onee-sama
is likely to be more aggressive and mature, leaning towards The Vamp
or Femme Fatale
Interestingly, "foreign characters
" tend to be seme. This might be the literal use of the One Head Taller
rule, sheer exoticism for fanservice
, or the common shoujo
stereotype that Western men are more aggressive and masculine (and thus seme-like) whereas Japanese men are more beautiful and refined (and thus uke-like).
By the way; there is no "N" in Seme. That is something completely different
And for all you Baseball fans
keeping score: he's the pitcher
Note that this usage of the word originated in the Boys Love Genre
fandom; among "regular" Japanese people "seme" just means "attack". It is used commonly in some martial arts like kendo when referring to the attitude of an attacker. Even Japanese gay men won't necessarily know the BL meaning of the term. Non-otaku
English speakers won't know what it means at all. English-speaking gay men occasionally find the use of the term as a blanket replacement for the more general "top" out of the context of the BL genre obnoxious, feeling that their native language has got that concept covered already, thank you
Anime and Manga
- Craig Tucker in almost every South park fanfiction. Especially in I came a long way to see you
- Stories that pair Stan and Craig when they aren't explicitly rivals (and some where they are) tend to make one of them an Uke through Wimpification due to the fandom usually having them both as Seme's. A few good author's manage to balance the pairing out but a lot of Stan/Craig stories tend to be like that.
- Adamska in Stray is at least ten years younger than his partner (if you're counting physical age and years of life experience and not respective dates of birth), but makes the initial sexual advances in their relationship due to his relatively more outgoing personality and Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory.
- Those Lacking Spines has the Semes of the Organization members possessing the... you know of the Ukes of them. When a Seme combines with an Uke, the members go back to becoming their own selves. Hunting down the Semes and getting the... you know of them and returning them to th Ukes of Organization XIII makes up most of the plot to the story.
- Lesbian verion in Blue Is The Warmest Colour, where Emma is the dominant partner in the relationship and is apparent that she owns the house they live in. She is also the top in their sexual encounters.
- Catullus 16 starts out with the charming verses "I will sodomize you and face-fuck you,/pussy Aurelius and catamite Furius". The whole poem basically amounts to "I'll prove myself a man by fucking you two in the ass".
- In the US Queer as Folk, Brian Kinney is the complete embodiment of this trope, particularly with regard to his relationship with (Uke) Justin.
- Summer Roberts from The O.C. is officially the seme to her boyfriend Seth Cohen's Uke. Yes, you heard me right; a female het example of this trope does indeed exist.
Summer: I wanna be on top this time.
Seth: But you're always on top...
- Chris Keller of Oz when he's with Tobias Beecher.