Seme

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Tall, dark, handsome and filthy rich. Oh, and he wants your ass. Literally.

"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."
Vixen

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 and/or sinister (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 or Butch Lesbian 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 in appearance.

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/josei 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.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Iason of Ai no Kusabi.
  • Boku no Sexual Harassment: Honma and most of the clients Mochizuki is serviced to.
  • CLAMP's Seishirou Sakurazuka is very much the classic seme to long-suffering Subaru Sumeragi with no exceptions. Seishirou is nine years older, he's Tall, Dark and Handsome; he is the one who begins a Mind Game Ship with Subaru starting when Subaru's ''a little nine year old boy''. Subaru remains utterly unaware that his very life is being bet upon until Seishirou finally and brutally reveals his true nature at the end of Tokyo Babylon - albeit in a rather touchy-feely way. Not to mention as further shown in the follow-up, X1999, that Seishirou is extremely possessive, still extremely powerful, still touchy-feely and sadistic. His sophisticated, sensual and Affably Evil nature is a great counterpart to the gentle, beautiful and broken Subaru in every way.
  • Both Asami and Feilong in the Finder Series (Page picture). Feilong is somewhat feminine-looking (being a Long-Haired Pretty Boy), but he's 100% seme to Akihito. There's hints he'd like to be uke to Asami, though.
  • Gauron from Full Metal Panic!. No, seriously, Shoji Gatoh himself mercilessly teases at the idea of him and Sousuke. Funnily lampshaded in an episode of Lucky Star (which he had a hand in), where a hardcore yaoi doujinshi of Gauron with a bound Sousuke is shown. Kagami is shown to turn bright red while reading it, even yelling out, "Whoah, Gauron is really giving it to Sousuke!" And in the novels themselves, Gauron makes it very clear that he wanted to fuck Sousuke up the ass. He is also noticeably taller than Sousuke, is a lot more aggressive, and has a much lower voice. Oh, and Sousuke's status as uke is mentioned by Kaname in one of the novel's side stories, where she giggles and says that he would be the "receiver". Not to mention how he would even top and completely dominate Dunnigan for Christ's sake. Seriously, for him to be able to make a tough, macho man like that whimper and submit to him, there really should be no doubt that he would always be the one raping people and never the other way around.
  • In Genshiken, Ogiue writes and draws yaoi doujinshi about her fellow club members, casting Madarame as the passive uke and Sasahara as the aggressive seme. Though she is mortified when Sasahara finds out, he accepts it as a work of art, not a projection on him.
    "But let me take this opportunity to show you just how aggressive I can be."
  • Ban when paired with Ginji on Get Backers.
  • On the topic of Girls Love, an example in the Hentai Gintai Saimin is Natsuko being a literal example of the Seme in a lesbian relationship, to Hitomi's Uke.
  • Eiri Yuki from Gravitation.
  • Komari's entire Harem in the Girls Love Manga Gokujou Drops.
  • Usami Akihiko from Junjou Romantica.
  • The yuri classic Kannazuki no Miko has Chikane, a mysterious dark-haired beauty who pursues the other protagonist. Attention is often drawn to the contrast between Chikane's hidden desires and Himeko's virginal innocence.
  • Played with to an extent in Loveless because Soubi is both taller and older than Ritsuka, but Ritsuka is the more serious of the two, requiring Soubi to "open his heart to love" despite most people identifying him as the uke.
  • Konoka from Mahou Sensei Negima! is this when paired with Setsuna. Konoka seems an Uke at first glance: she is a bubbly and naive Ojou and the resident White Magician Girl, while the more serious and reserved Setsuna is her personal bodyguard and one of the most prominent Action Girls in the series. When it comes to their romantic interactions, however, Konoka is the extroverted and aggressive romantic partner and it's heavily implied she just likes to play innocent to deliberately provoke flustered reactions from Setsuna.
  • Usui from Maid-Sama! is a classic het shoujo example, paired with tomboyish tsundere Misaki. Demonstrated traits include Defrosting Ice King, just a dash of foreign blood (complete with blond hair) and ability to play his uke of choice like a violin (which he's also talented at, incidentally). Not to mention general bishounen looks, of course.
  • Though their relationship is very reserved, Sachiko from Maria-sama ga Miteru plays this to Yumi (and might be a Trope Maker in the Yuri Genre). She's The Ojou, is tall, and is stoic but affectionate while Yumi is the more emotional, younger looking and awkward girl who wears Girlish Pigtails.
  • The first story in Nise x Koi Boyfriend has a crossdresser seme. Usually Wholesome Crossdresser characters are instantly considered ukes. Satoi is One Head Taller than his boyfriend and more masculine than him (even in a skirt). Soutarou is in comparison more boyish looking, prone to Tender Tears, and is sensitive. Unsurprisingly, he also looks good in drag.
  • Nezumi when paired with Sion on No6.
  • Kanou from Okane Ga Nai.
  • Obviously, Ouran High School Host Club could not go without referencing this - in the episode where Renge first appears and messes with the hosts' roles, the twins briefly debate her "casting". In the manga, Haruhi reads from Renge's script that although Hikaru seems to be in charge, Kaoru is more mature, and thus is the real seme. She doesn't get it, of course, but Honey seems to find it entertaining. Although the twins obviously can't fulfill the usual One Head Taller requirement.
  • In The Prime Ministers Secret Diplomacy Yoshinaga holds an important position as the Japanese embassador of Thailand and is older and more sophiscated than Shiraishi who is a few ranks lower in the diplomatic service. However, Yoshinaga turns out to be the uke of the relationship leaving younger and much more sexually inexperienced Shiraishi to take on the seme role.
  • In Seikimatsu Darling none of the men can decide which one should be the seme. Since their love is too "similar" they resolve to compete to see who gets to be the top. By the end of the OVA, they are still unsure of how to solve the situation but seem willing to be the uke as long as they can be together.
  • The manga Seven Days. Yuzuru is older, but Seryou is taller and black-haired, and tends to treat Yuzuru a bit like a girl when they're going out. However, Yuzuru is the colder one who demands (not always jokingly) that Seryou not cheat on him, while Seryou is the one who gets easily flustered, especially when it comes to anything sexual. The idea of Seme and Uke never comes up at all - there isn't even a clear 'pursuer' and 'pursued'.
  • Shizuma, an Onee-sama type character from Strawberry Panic!, is a yuri version of the Seme archetype.
  • Morinaga of The Tyrant Falls in Love is not only the younger and cuter partner, but a good-natured, long-suffering romantic who's put up with Souichi's temper and homophobia for years in the hope of having his feelings reciprocated someday. In fact, he would probably be the uke if Souichi wasn't so deeply in denial that Morinaga has to make almost all of the emotional and sexual advances.
  • Tetsuo from Yuureitou is a trans man but plays this to his friend and eventual boyfriend Taichi. He's handsome, well-dressed, and reserved Guile Hero while Taichi is adorkable, is Disguised in Drag for a chunk of the series, and is a Distressed Dude. Tetsuo also has heavy Broken Ace elements and has a buttload of problems, though Taichi becoming his Only Friend helps. Tetsuo being seme material is lampshaded when Taichi imagines them having sex, with Tetsuo on top and Taichi crossdressing and on the bottom.

Fan Fiction
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • Germany when paired with Italy, though Germany can sometimes play the Uke. To clarify: Germany is the taller and stronger one, but he is also younger than Italy and pretty much clueless when it comes to romance. The same also goes for America when paired with England, though England is often portrayed as a Seme as well, especially if he's a Pirate, Knight, Punk, or Police.
    • Zoey is always this to Dawn. She has a prince motif while Dawn has a princess one, and Dawn is the more feminine and inexperienced Coordinator.
  • Touya Kinomoto of Cardcaptor Sakura and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle fame is the Seme to Yukito in most fanworks.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry/Marcone fics (of which there are many) portray Seme!Marcone as the default. Harry is himself pretty tough, but this aspect of his character is often sidelined.)
  • Yaoi Fangirls will often take note that Sasuke has this appearance compared to Naruto, although they both are equally strong and tough. This is milked more often in fanfics of the two together. Some subvert this and present him as a uke though (even when paired with Action Girl Sakura), making him into a secret softy and a tsundere.
  • Pokémon: When it comes to Ash/Gary, Gary is almost always written in-line as a stereotypical seme. He's more cocky and "cool looking" than the cuter, keet Ash.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica fanart often portrays Homura as being a brooding, aggressive seductress who is totally in control of her love life. This is not congruent with her canon personality.
  • South Park:
    • Craig Tucker in almost every 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 authors occasionally balance the pairing out, but a lot of them don't.
    • Stan is often a uke because of his cute looks and emotional nature, except when he's paired with Kyle who is usually given a heavy dose of wimpification (it could be argued with their canon personalities Kyle is closer to the "seme" stereotype).
  • 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 the Ukes of Organization XIII makes up most of the plot to the story.

Film
  • Lesbian version in Blue Is the Warmest Color, 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.

Literature
  • 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 Another Note, Beyond Birthday boasts that he is "an aggressive top," who has never been submissive to anyone (or even to a traffic signal).

Live-Action TV
  • 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.

Web Original
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Bakura is very much the frustrated Seme to Marik's oblivious Uke. This is especially obvious in the spin-off fanfic Marik & Bakura Go to Censored Town, which deliberately panders to yaoi fangirls (for charity, of course). Subverted in the end when Marik seduces Bakura, not the other way around.
  • This whole site exists to classify the reader as one of ten varied uke or seme types, complete with compatibility guides.
  • "The Eternal Struggle"—an ongoing debate whether Light or L would be the Seme.
  • Meduka Meguca: Kyoko is the seme of all pairings involving her.
    Kyoko: Go ahead, put me with a man. I'll whoop his ass.

Video Games

Visual Novels
  • In Little Busters!, the Seme/Uke tropes and the cliche of writing a pairing with the seme first is mentioned briefly by Mio, the game's resident Yaoi Fangirl, when she sees Riki and Kyousuke acting Ho Yay-y with one another and murmurs to herself 'Natsume-san x Naoe-san', and then corrects herself with 'Naoe-san x Natsume-san', thinking out loud that it works this way, too.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Seme