Sensitive Guy and Manly Man

John: They take every chance to lampshade Matt’s queerness or lack of traditional masculinity, He’s prissily-exasperated in a very period coded-gay way. He’s the pansy foil to Basil St. John’s mysterious yet alluring swashbuckler.
Josh: I like when Basil shows up in Puerto Rico and is wearing a Zorro mask for no reason.
The Toast, "We Watched Brenda Starr (1989)"

What makes Odd Couples odd is that they pit together people with conflicting personalities in hopes that hilarity will ensue. A common variant is to have two male characters that are at the opposite ends of masculinity.

One guy will be your everyday Macho Man. He's rough, aggressive, and strong (or at least that's how he sees himself). He loves sports, cars, power tools, and general physical activity. The other guy in contrast will be much "softer". He loves poetry, literature, art, and is generally more In Touch with His Feminine Side.

Occasionally these personality traits extend to their looks. The Macho Man will be tall and well-muscled. The Sensitive Guy will be slender. Anime usually gives him a bishounen look while Western production might go for a more nerdy one. If the characters are attractive, the manly guy will often be a Hunk, and the sensitive one will often be a Pretty Boy.

They may have an Odd Friendship or will be Those Two Guys in an ensemble cast. More frequently they are rivals or even enemies, especially in schoolyard settings. This is because the Manly Man may see the Sensitive Guy as a "wuss" for not displaying stereotypical masculine behavior. Similarly, the Sensitive Guy may resent the Manly Man for perpetuating those stereotypes in the first place. This is very apparent if the two are caught in a Love Triangle as the female will theoretically choose which of them she sees fulfilling the role of "man" best, and they are probably in a male version of a Betty and Veronica dynamic, although who plays each role is relative.

These two tend to get into a lot of Ho Yay or Foe Yay which drives a certain group of fans wild. If they're an actual romantic couple, they'll get Uke and Seme comparisons too. Related to Red Oni, Blue Oni with the Manly Man almost always Red and the Sensitive Guy almost always Blue. Also related to Power Trio with the Manly Man usually the id and the Sensitive Guy usually the superego.

The Spear Counterpart to Tomboy and Girly Girl. Similar to it, this trope can run the risk of Unfortunate Implications / Family Unfriendly Aesops if done wrong. Sitcoms are especially guilty of this as the main character often will be a Manly Man and if he's given a Sensitive Guy friend or neighbor as a foil, many jokes will be made at the latter's expense if he commits the grievous sin of being into opera instead of sports. On the other hand, the Manly Man can often be portrayed as boorish, mean and stupid if he prefers hiking and hunting to sewing.

This is a relative not an absolute contrast. The "sensitive guy" need not be a Dirty Coward, nor need the "manly man" be a Jerkass. On a Badass Crew, to some degree everyone will be a "manly man". As you want the characters to be likable, you do want most of them to have some characteristics of a "sensitive guy". And so on. The point of the trope is in the contrast between the pair. Often also used as a way to indicate that works relying on Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast still have room for at least more than one stereotype per gender.

Expect the Action Hero to be a Manly Man and the Action Survivor to be a Sensitive Guy in an Action Duo. Compare Sibling Yin-Yang and Red Oni, Blue Oni. When the Manly Man happens to be a woman it is a case of Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy. Contrast Emotional Bruiser where they combine. Compare with Noble Male, Roguish Male, where the Noble Male is still considered to be "manly" in a chivalrous fashion.

Important Note: While this is usually a straightforward trope, examples can still get subjective in regards to whether or not one of the guys is sensitive enough, the other is manly enough, or whether they're different enough. Keep a few points in mind when editing.
  • 1. The two guys do not have to be physically stronger or weaker than the other to fit this trope.
  • 2. This trope applies to personalities as much as physical strength or appearance. Two guys can be strong and if one acts sensitive and the other acts manly, then they fit.
  • 3. The sensitive guy does not have to possess more feminine traits than masculine traits.
  • 4. When you post an example be sure to explain how one is a sensitive guy and how the other is a manly man.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • Chibitalia and Holy Roman Empire. Chibitalia is a meek artist who crossdresses. HRE is an ambitious warrior who wears men's clothes. Holy Roman Empire actually mistakes Chibitalia for being a girl and tries to protect him from perceived threats.
    • Sweden and Finland also qualify. Sweden is a tall, imposing and stoic man while Finland is a shorter, approachable and expressive boy. In the dub, Finland even refers to himself as "a delicate flower."
  • Berserk: Guts and Griffith. The two were best of friends and while Guts is possibly the manliest man you'll see in any manga, Griffith is poetic, attuned to the emotions of people, and is described as "beautiful". Guts is a person who would just kill the problem with his sword as soon as it's a possibility. It's too bad that Griffith later betrays Guts and his other comrades in order to become a perfect demon that is powerful enough to be in the God Hand group.
  • Bleach
    • Ichigo is passionate, aggressive, rough and physical and spent years courting a jerkass image and delinquent reputation. He solves problms fists first. Uryuu is quiet, reserved and one of the two main stars of the sewing club. He has excellent tailoring skills, although the men he tailors for tend to view his designs as too feminine. Together, the pair are Vitriolic Best Buds, with Uryuu trying to get Ichigo to think more in battle and Ichigo getting impatient with Uryuu thinking too much.
    • Before Ichigo met Uryuu, Ichigo's oldest male friend is Sado. Sado is a huge, physically powerful man who can shrug off motorcycle collisions and falling steel girders even when powerless. However, he is extremely gentle, refuses to fight to defend himself, and adores cute animals and teddies. Ichigo therefore fights to protect Sado, who only ever fights to make sure Ichigo (or any other friend) doesn't get too badly roughed up in battle.
    • Ganju is a rough, aggressive boistrous man, who rides boars for fun and fights with every dirty trick he can think of. Hanatarou is a gentle healer, a mouse of a man who shies away from combat, and whose Empathic Weapon is a sword that heals injuries before it can strike just once. Together, they actually make a good team... in a brawn-and-brains sort of way.
    • Hisagi has a flair for the rebellious image. He's covered in tattoos, loves to fight dirty, to the extent of hiding bombs in his armbands. He even once got in trouble with the captains for bringing a motorcycle back from the World of the Living and causing trouble with it in Soul Society. Kira, is a gentle, constantly-worrying poet who believes War Is Hell. However, during the Fake Karakura Town battle, the pair are forced to confront an overly emotional Yumichika. Hisagi takes the Sensitive Guy route of attempting to talk Yumichika down. Kira doesn't bother and simply tranquillises Yumichika into unconsciousness, disapproving of the way a fifth seat is talking to a lieutenant.
    • The anime plays straight with Ikkaku (manly man) and Yumichika (sensitive guy) solely through a considerable softening of Yumichika's character. However, they're subverted in the manga and databooks: Ikkaku's good at meditation and inner communion and is more in touch with Kenpachi's feelings than Yumichika. Yumichika's true idea of beauty is that only flowers are beautiful and people can only achieve it at the moment they're torn to death. While Ikkaku tells some slackers they're idiots for getting caught, Yumichika tells them he'll kill them if they don't do a perfect job. Lampshaded when Yumichika and Ganju fight; Ganju observes how sadistic Yumichika's personality really is.
    • Love is a rough, physical guy who wallops his way through his fights with a giant club and who tackles his problems as aggressively as possible. Rose is a poet and musician who doesn't so much as fight as engage in an "artistic performance". Rose won't make a move if he can't do something artistically. Love just crashes through life without a care.
  • Dragon Ball Z has Goku and Vegeta, respectively.
    • In this case, the characters' relative appearances are inverted, with Goku being taller and more physically imposing than Vegeta, who's shorter than his wife.
  • Harlem Beat: there are Sakurai-Umakure Imagawa-Kobayashi, and Takao Yuuta.
  • Mahou Shounen Majorian blurs the line between this and Tomboy and Girly Girl with Iori and Masaru. Iori is extremely feminine in appearance and manner, and Masaru is a typical boy who plays sports and doesn't like girls because he has four obnoxious sisters.
    • Then they're both turned into magical girls by aliens who mistook Iori for a girl. Naturally, Masaru has a huge problem with that.
  • Simon and Kamina are like this at the start of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. By the end of the series, Simon grows into the Manly Man role fantastically. Kamina even says that Simon's become more of a man than him during Simon's time in the Lotus-Eater Machine.
  • The Irresponsible Captain Tylor plays this straight for laughs early on. Two terrorists seize a building, one of them an effeminate "sensitive guy" and the other one more traditionally manly, despite being an alien.
  • Hubb and Quent in Wolf's Rain.
  • Sort of inverted in The Prince of Tennis with the doubles pair of Ohtori and Shishido. Choutarou Ohtori, the taller, physically stronger of the two, is sensitive and nice (he even plays classical violin and wishes for world peace), while Ryou Shishido is shorter, louder, bad-tempered and much more butch (he even has the scars to prove it!).
    • Another subverted example would be Seiichi Yukimura and Genichirou Sanada. The first is polite, soft-spoken, with a frail health and long hair...; the other is very tall, stern and the Kendo Team Captain in a tennis setting. The subversion comes from Yukimura being the captain of their team as well as a Knight Templar Magnificent Bastard when it comes to tennis, and Sanada being extremely devoted to Yukimura - like a Samurai's devotion to his feudal lord (and yes, they're one of the most popular Ho Yay couples in the fandom).
    • Hiroshi Yagyuu and Masaharu Nioh play it a bit more straight... unless you count the manga, where they impersonate each other perfectly)
    • It can be said that every doubles pair, rival pair and/or captain and vice-captain duo plays around with the trope in different degrees. Tezuka and Fuji, Tezuka and Oishi, Oishi and Eiji, Momo and Ryoma...
  • Code Geass: Played with with Suzaku and Lelouch, especially in the sound dramas. Lelouch is much more feminine in his tastes and appearence while Suzaku is far more masculine. Yet of the two, Suzaku seems much more kind and sensitive than snarky, aloof Lelouch. Of course, Code Geass being the universe it is, this gets deconstructed. As children, however, they played this trope straight as Suzaku was rough, boisterous, and a bit cruel whereas Lelouch was sensitive, sheltered, and more gentle.
  • From Monster, Roberto is burly, loves to fight, and is generally as manly can be. Johan is beautiful, well-read and highly intellectual, and far more in touch with his feminine side. Why do they even associate with each other? Johan likes to make use of Roberto's muscle to kill people and ruin their lives during those pesky times when he's too busy driving small children or his sister to nearly kill themselves or otherwise proving why he's been compared to both Hitler and the Antichrist, while Roberto is completely in love with Johan.
  • Ryu and Joe in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, sort of. Ryu is definitely the softer-hearted of the two but is far from "in touch with his feminine side". Joe is definitely a guy's guy but in a more grizzled way rather than oozing testosterone. Ken and Joe's dynamic is sort of a subversion; Ken only looks the part of the doe-eyed sensitive one, but it's his repression of emotions that leads to some rather ugly outbursts.
  • In fitting with their girlfriends being the Tomboy and Girly Girl of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, motorcycle-riding boxer Hamasaki Masahiro and junior Keet Shiroi Nagisa are Manly and Not, respectively.
  • Badass thief Ray/Noir and emotional aristocrat Florian from the manga Gorgeous Carat.
  • Gundam
    • From the original Mobile Suit Gundam are Char Aznable and Garma Zabi in Zeon. Char is an Ace Pilot (who also happens to be hell-bent on avenging himself on the Zabis) and one of the best warriors in Zeon. Garma is softer and very in love with his girlfriend, and feels inadequate next to both his siblings and Char. He's also the Zabi who is probably least deserving of Char's retribution.
    • George de Sand is the sensitive guy to Chibodee in Mobile Fighter G Gundam. George is a Cultured Warrior with a strong code of chivalry (and the pilot of Gundam Rose). Chibodee is a Boistrous Bruiser who leaps without looking and uses both boxing and gunslinging as his method of fighting.
    • Gundam Wing has Quatre and Trowa. Quatre is a Technical Pacifist who always tries to negotiate before he has to kill his opponents and wants to bring peace above all else. Trowa, although very kind beneath the surface, is cold and calculating in battle.
  • Touya Kinomoto and Yukito Tsukishiro in Cardcaptor Sakura. As well as their counterparts (King Touya and High Priest Yukito) in Tsubasa.
  • This is probably the reason there are so many Yaoi Doujinshi about Kenshin (short and lean Warrior Poet and homemaker in his spare time, with a pink kimono and white hakama as his most remarkable outfit) and Sanosuke (immature, Hot-Blooded lancer, former professional brawler, appropiately One Head Taller). It doesn't help that everybody is gay for Kenshin.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has Quintessential British Gentleman Negi Springfield and his best friend and rival, Hot-Blooded Wolf Man Kotarou Inugami.
  • Digimon Adventure has this with troubled, sensitive musician Matt and Hot-Blooded soccer player Tai respectively.
  • Sailor Moon:
  • Akito and Gai from Martian Successor Nadesico.
  • Hilarious and endearing subversion in Mai-HiME. Ill Boy Takumi Tokiha and his buff roommate Akira Okuzaki fit perfectly in the archetype, and they even have a group of girls as their in-universe fans, but Akira is actually a young girl who's pulling a Sweet Polly Oliver to fulfill her Hime mission better. And later, Takumi finds out as he accidentally sees Akira undressing, doesn't mind the truth... and they fall in love. Aaaaaaw.
  • The blood brothers Toki and Raoh from Fist of the North Star have this kind of relationship, with the former being a healer who treats the sick and the latter a tyrannical conqueror. Of course, Toki can kick as much ass as his brother Raoh, its just that he's more reserved about it and only does it when necessary.
  • Played with in SWOT. Iwashida, the sensitive guy, is fairly typical since was the weakly kid who was always victimized by the delinquents in his school. He's also all about being loyal to his newfound friendships. The manly man is Manabizaki who is crass, arrogant, routinely beats up delinquents, and has a Hair-Trigger Temper. He's also a "swot," someone who studies way too much, and is initially dismissed as a harmless nerd,
  • In Yellow, Goh is the more macho of the duo, whereas Taki takes the sensitive guy role as he increasingly gains woobie points.
    • Again, there are many partnerships/rivalries/brother duos that play with this concept to different degrees: Shun and Hyoga, Shiryu and Seiya, Seiya and Jabu, Aiolos and Aiolia, Asterion and Moses, Hyoga and Isaac, Kanon and Saga, Milo and Camus, Mu and Shiryu, Shiryu and Ohko, Aphrodite and Deathmask...
  • Professor Go (sensitive guy) and Chujo (manly man) from Giant Robo. Professor Go is always getting overcome with emotion and crying, but Chujo keeps walking along as a stoic paragon of masculinity. Naturally the two are best friends.
  • Mikael and Raphael from I'm Gonna Be an Angel! mostly play it straight - visually, Mikael is of slight build, feminine looking and Raphael is more muscular and manly looking in comparison. In terms of personality though, they have lots of shades of their opposite spectrum - Mikael is mostly cold, stubborn and shows that he can be pretty aggressive and determined when the need arises, while Raphael has rather mellow and carefree attitude and shows lots of kindness towards not only Mikael, but also Noelle and Natsumi. That said, the last episode plays it straight again, though - in the climax scene, it shows that Mikael is totally dependable on his teacher and helpless without his help, while Raphael appears as a strict and unbending, leaving his student to clean up the mess his responsible for.
  • Eyeshield 21: Rikiya Gaou and Hiromi Kisiragi of the Hakushuu Dinosaurs. Interestingly, they are both Blood Knights who share an obsession with physical strength and power and serve as Co-Dragons to Big Bad Marco; the difference is in their appearances and attitude, with Gaou being a beefy lineman who loves direct assault for its own sake, while Kisiragi is a mincing Bishōnen who waxes eloquently about the beauty of raw destruction.
  • In Wild Rock, Yuuen is the small and pretty Non-Action Guy and Emba is the cheesecake Hunter Trapper with a big sword.
  • Death the Kid is the sensitive guy to Black*Star's manly man in Soul Eater. This is most easily noticeable in the episode where they go to find Excalibur together, and Kid winds up riding on Black*Star's back, so as to avoid the water on the floor. Oddly enough, this is the episode where they become friends.
  • Two sets from D.Gray-Man:1st Allen Walker and Yu Kanda. 2nd Froi Tiedall and Cross Marian.
    • The latter are a bit similar in that Cross seems to have a softer side, but he tries to keep his in check. Said he laughs at Tiedoll's being openly sensitive, and affectionate with his pupils, even though it's said by Hoshinon he thinks Allen is cute. So, seems Cross may see Tiedoll as a bit overly openly emotional-possibly a crybaby, And Tiedoll, thanks to Cross' Jerkass Façade, or possibly being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold he seems to find Cross to be a hoodlum. And while Cross hates the Order, Tiedoll has been known to blow it off in favor of what he feels are other matters. While Winters and Klaud returned to HQ before the others with no issues.
  • Sion is the sensitive guy to Nezumi's manly man in No6. Sion is a Adorkable sweet Nice Guy while Nezumi is a Badass Jerk with a Heart of Gold. They also have a lot of Ho Yay between them.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula
    • Hayato Kazami (sensitive guy) and Naoki Shinjyo (manly man). While Hayato is generally polite and energetic when it comes to racing, Shinjyo is more moody and has a more focused approach in his skill.
    • For side characters, Gudelhian and Heinel and Bootsvorz and Osamu. Katagiri plays the sensitive guy to Shinjyo's manly man.
  • The eventual alliance between Paptimus Scirocco and Yazan Gable in Zeta Gundam comes off as a twisted version of this trope, with cultured psychological predator Scirocco as the Sensitive Guy and brutish physical predator Yazan as the Manly Man. While neither one actually cares about each other, they genuinely seem to enjoy one another's company and make a very effective duo.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric is tough and short-tempered and his brother Alphonse is a sensitive Kindhearted Cat Lover.
  • Both of the same-sex partners in Sekirei are this, with the Ashikabi as the Sensitive Guys to their Manly Man Sekirei.
    • Minato is gentle and deeply emotional, and looks up to Kagari as a "cool guy". Kagari is a chain-smoking Casanova and a Mysterious Protector, and remains the more traditionally masculine of the pair even after his unstable state results in him becoming a Gender Bender.
    • Mikogami and Mutsu are a villainous example, playing the trope completely straight. The former is The Dandy, and highly emotional while the later is a quiet, serious Master Swordsman.
  • Mawaru-Penguindrum: Shouma is the polite, expressive, Househusband-in-training sensitive guy to Kanba's blunt, stoic, playboy manly man. It extends to their appearance as well - Shouma has Tareme Eyes, visible eyelashes, and longer hair, while Kanba has Tsurime Eyes and shorter hair.
  • Subverted with Kaneki Ken and Hideyoshi Nagachika from Tokyo Ghoul, at first it was played straight where Hide is more brash and loud compared to the more shy and quiet Kaneki. But later in the series, Kaneki becomes Axe Crazy after his transformation and Hide is a Non-Action Guy.
  • Fate/Zero has RIDER, KING OF CONQUERORS!, and his sidekick, er, summoner, Waver Velvet.

    Comics 
  • The superheroes Hawk and Dove (the originals) would qualify.
  • Apollo and Midnighter, Apollo being the sweet-natured, long-haired beauty and Midnighter being the gruff, leather-clad Anti-Hero. They're both extremely badass, though, and come across as equally Straight Gay.
  • Nite Owl and Rorschach.
    • Also implied in the backstory with the meek, amicable Captain Metropolis and the brutal, violent Hooded Justice.
  • Archie Comics has Dilton and Moose.
    • Even Archie and Reggie.
  • British Kid's comics usually work on the "schoolyard rivals" model. Dennis the Menace bullies Walter the Softy, Bully Beef is regularly outsmarted by Chips, Smudge refuses to be clean like Percival Prim, Tough Nut picks on Softy Centre etc. Which character the reader is supposed to root for varies from story to story, but it's often the tough kid, further perpetuating the stereotype.
  • Batman (manly) and Robin (sensitive), except when the Robin is Jason Todd.
  • Hawkman is this to himself. "Carter Hall is a man of culture who enjoys fine wine, yet Hawkman is a barbarian who you can only be happy is on your side" as described by the Atom once.
  • Power Ring and Deathstorm in Forever Evil. Power Ring is a huge coward that hides behind his Ring of Power while Deathstorm is a stoic that calms Power Ring when he gets scared.
  • Astérix and Obelix. Asterix is smaller and physically weaker, but has a hard-headed, mature and quite sneaky personality. He is a good swordsman, enjoys one-upping the Romans but doesn't mess with them outside of an actual need to, and is more flirtatious and in-control around women than Obelix. Obelix is larger and stronger, but is mostly written to show off his cute, innocent traits, with even his love of punching Romans coming from a place of genuine, childlike appreciation for how much fun it is rather than any sadism. He also has a sweet little dog that he's dedicated to, and tends to cry and fall in love easily.

    Fan Works 
  • In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Tapper is the Oirish Sensitive Smurf bartender who likes talking to his customers and speaking to them about The Bible, dressing in a striped vest and tie, while Duncan McSmurf (the Captain Ersatz of Gutsy from The Smurfs films) is the Brave Scot Manly Smurf who wears a kilt, whose hobbies involve physical sports and knocking Smurfs on their tails, especially if they happen to call him Gutsy. Both Tapper and Duncan happen to be friends with each other, with Duncan serving as the superego in the Power Trio of himself, Hefty (ego) and Tuffy (id).
  • Subverted in The Boondock Saints. Connor is Hot-Blooded, which makes him both more emotionally open and more overtly badass than Murphy, while Murphy is more quiet and withdrawn, but also nicer and more compassionate than Connor. Until you get him angry...

    Films — Animation 
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame had Phoebus, the manly Noble Top Enforcer, and Quasimodo the Gentle Giant.
  • The Book of Life:
    • Manolo is the All-Loving Hero, aspiring musician Sensitive Guy to rough-and-tumble soldier Joaquin's Manly Man. They're best friends since childhood, but also rivals for the same girl, and the contrast shows itself in how they try to impress her.
    • The Candlemaker is the fun-loving, humble Sensitive Guy to Xibalba's rascally, gambling Manly Man.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Big Trouble in Little China is a subversion of this, as Jack Burton is a tough-talking manly man (played by Kurt Russell) and Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) is sentimental and very much in love with Chinese Girl Miao Yin. But when the fighting starts, Wang turns out to know kung fu, while Jack's Good Old Fisticuffs are almost completely ineffective.
  • The Narrator and Tyler from Fight Club at first appear to be this to a certain extent, then we realize fairly soon that they are Not So Different in terms of their attitude toward society and life in general, and this is before we find out that Tyler is actually the narrator's split personality.
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance stars Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne. This trope is sort of in place by default.
  • The Fifth Element, even if the sissy boy is the ladies' man.
  • Murder By Numbers has Richard Haywood and Justin Pendleton. Richie's a blond-haired, popular, swaggering womaniser (though with a metrosexual streak a mile wide) who seems to be mostly interested in sex, money, showing off, and driving his Mustang. Justin's big on literature and being intellectual, as well as fanboying over Nietzsche, and is smaller, far smarter, and occasionally wears glasses. They have an... odd friendship, possibly forged on the exclusive basis of being evil and having immense amounts of sexual tension.
  • Another Kurt Russell version of this is in the original Stargate film with his character Col. Jack O'Neill and James Spader's version of Dr. Daniel Jackson. The series downplays this quite a bit, with Jack turning out to be much smarter than he leads people to believe and Daniel getting tougher as the series progresses.
  • Goodspeed and Mason in The Rock.
  • Played with in The Other Guys. At first it looks like Extreme Doormat Allen (Will Ferrell) is the sensitive one and cynical Terry who wants to be The Hero (Mark Wahlberg) is the manly one. But then again, Allen is the ladies man with anger management issues while Terry is the one who knows ballet and how to play the harp (which he insists he learned as a kid in order to make fun of the sensitive guys who actually liked that stuff).
  • Thor and Loki are an extreme version of this until Character Development kicks in.
  • Serge and François in Les Roseaux sauvages (Wild Reeds). Serge: he's good at math and bad at French, he's macho, good at sports, into girls, and he's a country lad who wants to work on his parents' farm. François: he's good at French and bad at math, he's quiet, he has a heart condition that means he can't play sports, he's into film and literature, his best friend's a girl, he introduces Serge to the Big City (Toulouse, in this case) and he's into guys. François falls in love with Serge, who cannot reciprocate.
  • Comes up in Trevor. Thirteen-year-old Trevor likes Diana Ross, musical theatre and writing in his diary. He falls in unrequited love with the star of the intermediate baseball team.
  • X-Men:
    • X2: X-Men United: The rule-abiding, Nice Guy Iceman juxtaposes the rebellious, Jerkass Pyro. At the museum's food court, John is being rude to a young man who asks to borrow his lighter, and Bobby tells his friend to knock it off, plainly disapproving of John's annoying behaviour. When the police order the mutants to get on the ground, Drake immediately obeys, but Allerdyce attacks the officers with giant fire balls.
    • X-Men: First Class: Charles Xavier is the Sensitive Guy to Erik Lehnsherr's Manly Man. They display this dynamic in their personalities (All-Loving Hero vs. Anti-Hero) and physique (Pretty Boy vs. Tall, Dark and Handsome) as well as their philosophies and methods (Wide-Eyed Idealist vs. Pay Evil unto Evil).
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Charles in 1973 is more accurately an Overly Sensitive Guy with Wolverine taking over the Manly Man role. Logan has to act as the "glue" which barely holds the emotionally fragile Xavier together in order to complete their mission. Their opposite natures are most directly contrasted in the Pentagon kitchen scene, where Charles attempts to persuade the guards that he and his partner have a valid reason to be there, while Wolverine just knocks them out with a frying pan.
  • The Avengers gives us the Odd Friendship variant on this trope when introverted, tormented Bruce Banner and snarky show-off Tony Stark hit it off as soon as they meet.
  • Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) in 10 Things I Hate About You.
  • In The Double, Simon is shy and reserved, while James gets into fights and probably sleeps with half of the women in the movie.

    Literature 
  • Jacob and his brother Esau make this trope Older Than Feudalism.
  • Jane Austen loves this trope (as Louisa May Alcott loves Tomboy and Girly Girl):
    • Pride and Prejudice: Mr. Darcy is the Troubled, but Cute loner (the Bad Boy of his time), and his best friend Mr. Bingley is perfect, charming, agreeable, and too easily swayed by others.
    • Sense and Sensibility has shy, sweet Edward Ferrars and world-weary ex-soldier Colonel Brandon whose favourite hobby is "suffering quietly".
    • Also, in Emma there's Mr Knightley, the very organised authority figure who always speaks his mind (in a way that could potentially be misconstrued as rude) and Frank Churchill, who loves parties and dancing at balls.
    • Northanger Abbey has two brothers. The elder, Captain Tilney, is a soldier who likes 'sowing his wild oats,' whereas his younger brother Henry is a clergyman who likes reading novels.
  • In Enoch Arden, Philip and Enoch are this respectively, though neither is a caricature. Enoch is described as a bold and dashing sailor, confident, and physically strong (but not reckless, and a caring family man). Philip cries more easily as a boy, and in his courtship of Annie he is very gentle and sensitive to her feelings (but he also works hard in his mill, and he bottles up his feelings for years after Annie marries Enoch).
  • In Dragon Bones, Beckram is an irresponsible ladies' man, while his twin brother Erdrick is rather shy, likes do read, and is described as "coward" by their cousin Ward, the protagonist. Then there is Ward, who is loud, brutish and stupid, and his brother Tosten who is sensitive, easily startled, and a talented harper and bard. Only that Ward's stupidity is an act, he's actually a Gentle Giant, who is able to talk quietly if he wants to.
  • Lord of the Flies' Ralph is the sensitive guy to Jack Merridew's manly man. Red-haired Jack is aggressive, even downright brutal and loves confrontation, compared to fair-haired Ralph who dislikes violence and is much more of a pacifist. They even practice different activities, as Ralph usually stays in the same place, watching over the younger boys and trying to assure them their safety, while Jack runs around the entire island and is obsessed with hunting and killing animals.
  • To an extent, Crowley and Aziraphale from Good Omens fit this trope, although this might also be because they are a Demon and an Angel, respectively. It should also be noted that the reason they each like the other so much is because Crowley sees Aziraphale as being just enough of a bastard to like, and Aziraphale sees Crowley as just enough of a good person not to hate, much to both of their chagrin.
  • In Harry Potter, the brunette Sirius Black is witty, temperamental and loudmouthed (manly man), while the sandy-blond Remus Lupin is calm, quiet and collected (sensitive guy). Even their hair shows it.
  • In The Lord of the Rings Boromir and Faramir, sons of the Steward of Gondor, fit this trope to a "T": Boromir is a mighty warrior and military leader, interested in warfare and little else, Faramir loves poetry and lore (although he's also a soldier). In this case, the difference is mostly one of attitude- Boromir loves fighting and being a soldier for its own sake (though he's guided by a strong sense of honor and duty) while Faramir views soldiering as a service he must render for the good of his people even though he's a scholar by inclination.
    • And to a lesser extent, Sam seems to be tougher and has a bigger inclination towards violence than Frodo, but this might be due to the ferocity with which he protects him.
  • Nick and Alan in The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. Since they're brothers it also makes them a case of Sibling Yin-Yang.
  • Njáll and Gunnar in Njáls Saga. Gunnar is the stereotyped Viking Boisterous Bruiser. Njáll is a wise sage, and a clever lawyer and interclan diplomat.
  • C.L. Moore's Northwest Smith and Yarol the Venusian provide an interesting variation on the trope. While Smith is a rugged, muscular space cowboy and Yarol is a delicate-looking young man who resembles a choirboy, the former occasionally displays flashes of sensitivity whereas the latter doesn't possess a shred of kindness or decency.
  • The Hardy Boys books use this for Frank and Joe. Frank is the more intellectual, cool-headed brother who likes art, literature, and strategy. Joe is the athletic hot-headed sports-fan who likes to charge in head first. While this only showed up in faint traces in earlier books, in more recent series, after a small bit of Flanderization, it's become much more prominent, with the boys actually arguing about which is the better tactic when in comes to solving a case.
  • In The Hunger Games Katniss begins to see potential loves interests in two guys, Peeta, the baker's son who decorates the cakes and Gale, her hunting partner. Gale is angry with the Capitol for making them participate in the games while Peeta is reflective on how he can maintain his identity in the games despite the Capitol using them.
  • In Caleb Williams, Falkland is the Sensitive Guy to Tyrrel’s Manly Man. Manly Tyrrel is furious at being unseated by “this Frenchified rascal.”
  • Played with in Darkfall by Dean Koontz. Two supporting characters are introduced early on, the meek-looking, bowtie-wearing Nevetsky and the tough, mean-looking Blaine. Jack Dawson assumes Nevetsky is the Sensitive Guy and Blaine the Manly Man; in reality, the big and tough Blaine is the kind and gentle one while the less intimidating-looking Nevetsky is the loudmouthed, antagonistic brutish one.
  • Skylar and Rafael in Gives Light. Skylar is mellow and thoughtful while Rafael is quick to settle arguments with his fists. In a subversion, though, Rafael likes art, romance, and fairy tales, while Skylar likes baseball and slasher flicks.
  • In Horatio Hornblower, Hornblower and his Number Two, Bush, are this kind of pair. Hornblower is a broody, self-loathing mess when he's not being a brilliant naval captain and can't stop thinking about the prospect of death and mutilation in battle even if he never shirks from it. Bush is a stolid and stoic Lightning Bruiser who's unfazed by hardship but also lacking in Hornblower's genius.
  • The submissive, always crying Mock Turtle and the gruff, impatient Gryphon from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • In "De skandalösa" by Simona Ahrnstedt, Gabriel Gripklo (seemingly roguish) and his friend Ossian Bergman (nerdy and noble) have this kind of dynamic.
  • In The Moomins, Sniff is so cowardly and delicate, that Moomin and Snufkin have no problem looking manly in comparison.
  • A rather down-played example in Why We Took The Car: Maik is politer and nicer in general, likes drawing and has a thing for Beyoncé, while Tschick is rather rude, bold and steals cars.
  • Best friends Ishmael and Razz from Don't Call Me Ishmael!. Ishmael is quiet, sensitive, at one point faints due to nervousness and avoids conflict to the extent that he lets bullies walk all over him. He prefers writing to physical activity. Razz is very loud, athletic, loves attention and while he doesn't intentionally hurt people, he sometimes makes very insensitive comments. The contrast between the two is shown in a scene where Ishmael refuses to watch a video of one of their friends undressing (that was recorded without her knowledge), while Razz tries to persuade Ishmael to watch it.

    Live Action TV 
  • NCIS has McGee, who is more or less a Camp Straight, and Tony, who, hiding behind the Jerkass Façade, constantly derides him for it. Interestingly, McGee's 'soft side' tends to get him dates; Tony, more of a slick womanizer by nature, often sticks his foot into his mouth by making fun of McGee's feminine tendencies in front of sympathetic ladies. It's also played with in that, while Tony is a tough guy type, more physically capable and stereotypically masculine than McGee (he's a street-smart athlete to McGee's academia and noodle-arm), he's also a dedicated follower of fashion where McGee wore the same suit for his first four seasons. He makes fun of McGee for moisturising, but he spends $100 on a tie.
  • Home Improvement. Tim was a tool-loving manly-grunting man and Al was the sensitive and overly emotional type (though still very burly and masculine-looking). Being a real man was one of the show's main themes and Al's sissy-ness was the butt of many jokes but Al was shown to be much smarter than Tim. In addition, they were united as an Odd Couple by their mutual love of craftsmanship. Tim was also contrasted with his neighbor Wilson, an introspective Renaissance Man.
  • Parks and Recreation likes to contrast manly man Ron Swanson with overenthusiastic New Age health nut Chris Traeger.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Will is the cool ladies man (manly) and Carlton is a studious Hollywood Dateless dork (sensitive).
  • Richie on Happy Days was the humdrum, “nice guy,” while the Fonz was…well, the Fonz.
  • British cop shows love this. In the late 70s and early 80s, The Professionals had the rough, tough, SAS-trained Bodie and the more gentle and sophisticated Doyle.
  • In Firefly the greedy thug Jayne, is hostile toward the classy doctor Simon. Their contrasting personalities are best seen in Jaynestown where Jayne feel comfortable in the rough, poor world and Simon clings to being proper. Their rivalry is best seen in Ariel when Jayne demands that Simon be left on the core planet after being stabbed by Simon's sister. Mal then deals with Jayne's defensiveness and Simon's concern for his sister.
  • Matt the Lovable Jock and Tyler the Jerk Jock in the early episodes of The Vampire Diaries.
  • The two brothers on Two and a Half Men fulfill this stereotype to the letter. Charlie is arrogant, hedonistic and Really Gets Around, Alan is a neurotic Butt Monkey who's awkward with women.
  • Supernatural appears to be a textbook version of this trope, but hard-drinking and -playing, gun-happy 'Manly Man' Dean is more often in a nurturing role than little brother Sam, and will unashamedly cry where his family's concerned. While Sam's more likely to cry even for strangers and prefers nonviolent paths, he becomes single-minded enough to forsake his characteristic empathy under the wrong circumstances. Which are common.
  • Barney, The Casanova Jerk Ass and Ted, the Dogged Nice Guy, from How I Met Your Mother. Marshall qualifies as the sensitive guy as well. This might be more of a Gentle Giant thing though.
  • ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning show uses this trope, with Mike Golic (a former NFL defensive lineman) as the manly man and Mike Greenberg as the Sensitive Guy. One of the features of their column in ESPN the Magazine is the "Manly/Metro tip", with Golic's "manly" tip accompanied by an icon of a beer mug and Greeny's "Metro" tip accompanied by an icon of a martini glass.
  • Noah (sensitive) and Wade (manly) from Noah's Arc. Also, to an extent Junito (sensitive) and Ricky (though Ricky's "manly" tends to be sexually aggressive and detached).
  • Dalziel and Pascoe. Peter Pascoe is the modern, thoughtful, psychologically-trained police officer, Andy Dalziel is pure Old-Fashioned Copper.
  • Friends: Chandler (sensitive) and Joey (manly). Generally Joey will sleep with girls for a night and Chandler will make them breakfast the next morning.
    • Played with in one episode: Phoebe was dating two guys at the same time, a manly fireman named Vince and a sensitive teacher named Jason. She tries to break up with Vince, but discovers that's he's also sensitive and artistic to boot ("He has access to lots of charcoal"). She tries to break up with Jason while he's fixing up his apartment, and he's totally hunky. In the end, both break up with her after they meet and learn the truth.
  • Also played with in Criminal Minds: From their first appearances, Morgan and Reid seem set up to be this trope (Morgan is playing a vaguely "educational" drinking game with a group of women, whereas Reid, the Genius Prodigy, is interrupting mentor/team leader Gideon's lecture on profiling and tailing him like a puppy). As the series goes on, though they both display examples of following the trope (e.g., Morgan is the team's designated door-kicker and likes portraying himself as either a ladies' man or strong enough to handle anything, while Reid prefers trying to talk unsubs down from confrontations, very visibly has trouble with some cases, is a James Bondage, and can barely talk to a woman outside of his mother or the context of work), and going against it (e.g., Reid takes cases personally hard, but has had to work at making himself more sympathetic and tactful toward victims and persons of interest, while Morgan often ends up in a nurturing role towards other team members, especially Garcia and Reid). One typically masculine trait both of them share? Although Reid's emotional responses to situations are more visible, more often than not, both are loath to talk about their feelings.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody stars twin boys where Cody loves school and cooking while Zack is the more cool brother.
    • Zack does have his sensitive moments though especially in "On Deck" most notably in "Flowers and Chocolate" when he is seen bawling during a romantic film.
  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries: Almost right down to a T: Frank Hardy, Manly (Parker Stevenson being the muscled prep-school jock into surfing). Younger Brother Joe, Sensitive (Shaun Cassidy, slender teen-idol musician). Interesting to note, this is the absolute opposite of the way things were in the books: usually Frank is the intellectual one more likely to enjoy art, and Joe is the more athletic jock. Though the show occasionally played with it by having Frank shove Joe out front in dangerous situations:
    (as the brothers are about to step into a crypt containing god-knows-what)
    Joe: Well...you're the oldest.
    Frank: Yeah, but you're more agile on your feet—and stronger.
    Joe: Since when?
    Frank: Since right now.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In That Puppet Game Show, the soft-spoken music geek Eddie Watts is best friends with the brash, outdoorsy Jake Hamilton-Jones.

    Radio 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The elegant and aristocratic Fulgrim and the burly, short-tempered Ferrus Manus from Warhammer 40,000 had one of the closest relationships in a family of 18 brothers. Until, literally, all hell breaks loose and civil war breaks out with the Horus Heresy, and Fulgrim gleefully kills Ferrus. Fulgrim still doesn't take it well, in the end.

    Theater 
  • The Odd Couple has Felix, Neat Freak and Nervous Wreck, and Oscar, a man's man.
  • In Mozart's The Magic Flute, Tamino and Papageno tend to come across this way, though how much depends on the production. Ironically, Tamino, the Manly Man (even though he faints at the sight of a big snake), is a light tenor role, while Papageno, the Sensitive Guy, is a baritone.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Would the relationship between Strong Bad and Strong Sad count? It's more antagonistic though, with Strong Bad making Strong Sad's life as miserable as possible. But there are instances of them getting along.
  • If you line up Jaune Arc and Lie Ren from RWBY, you'd think that Jaune is the Manly Man and Ren is the Sensitive Guy based on their appearance, but it's quite the contrary. Jaune is generally more expressive, and despite that armor he wears isn't that great of a fighter at the start. Ren is The Stoic, puts up quite a fight even after losing his weapons, is said to be the "best student", and even sports the manly deep voice of Monty himself.

    Web Comics 
  • Elan and Roy in The Order of the Stick.
    • In an inversion of the usual stereotype, "manly" Roy is the brains and leader of the group, and "sensitive" Elan is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
  • John and Dave of Homestuck. John is an Adorkable Pollyanna who staunchly believes in the power of friendship. Dave is a Stoic Deadpan Snarker Bad Ass.
  • Chopin and Liszt, Kate Beaton-style.
  • Jack (Sensitive) and Zill (Manly) from Zoophobia. Jack is quiet, shy and interested in outer space while Zill is the outgoing popular guy. They're also best friends.
  • Hodges Pond gives us two examples:
    • Orville (Sensitive) and Roy (Manly): Orville is a quiet, well-mannered squirrel who dreams of flying while Roy is a mischievious prankster raccoon.
    • Matt (Sensitive) and Ricky (Manly): Matt is a hopless romantic who constantly picks flowers while Ricky is basically an Expy of Roy from the original Orville comic.
  • Guy and Jay in Good Guy Comic. Guy is an introvert and Jay likes to roughhouse.

    Web Original 
  • The short-lived Fan Fiction archive Fanlib failed after leading a particularly offensive and ill-advised marketing campaign starring "Pink Guy" and "Blue Guy." After apparently mistaking its primarily queer female audience for heterosexual teenage boys, "Pink Guy" and "Blue Guy" appeared in an ad promoting Fanlib as manly and powerful/attractive and non-Fanlib as feminine and weak/unattractive.
  • The Nostalgia Critic and The Other Guy (Doug and Rob Walker) seem to go for this trope, with Critic being quite girly and The Other Guy much more in control. Or it could be that Doug is the younger brother who is very often either being moe or a total limelight-loving flirt while Rob stays in the background.
  • A twofer in Demo Reel with Donnie DuPre and Carl Copenhagan, and Tacoma Narrows and Quinn. Donnie was a Cuddle Bug queerball who had no complaints with wearing eyeliner and lipstick, while Carl used to work with The Stasi and thought everything could be solved by shooting at it. Tacoma was a Nice Guy whose voice gets mistaken for his mother's sister, plus he was delighted to hear that he didn't look bad in a dress, while Quinn was a purely Irish Good Is Not Nice Blood Knight.
  • Ian and Anthony of Smosh. Ian (sensitive) is slightly more emotional, gets insulted more easily, and has even cried on camera for real. Anthony (manly) is the more vitriolic friend, makes fun of Ian more than Ian makes fun of him, and has never really shown a sensitive side, although his girlfriend claims he DOES have one.
  • Matt and Pat in Two Best Friends Play. Matt likes games like Kirby's Epic Yarn, while Pat likes games like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.
    • For a reinforcing double-reference to Homestuck, see Two Best Friends Play Sburb
    • Then again, Pat turns out to be a brony.
    • Inverted AND Played for Laughs when they both flip their respective personalities, with Pat being the Wuss and Matt being the tough guy when they play Slender and its sequel.
  • Monster High's Jeckel and Hyde routine is done like this, with Jackson being a typical soft-spoken nerd with a dislike of loud music, and Holt being a loud-mouthed disc jockey with flaming red hair.
    • As of season 3, Clawd and Deuce.
  • Gaming Garbage hosts Rich "Lowtax" Kayana, a bossy Large Ham Announcer, and Dave "Shmorky" Kelly, a Keet In Touch with His Feminine Side.

    Western Animation 
  • Daria has sensitive Mr. O'Neill becoming friends with manly man Mr. DeMartino.
  • Stroker and Hoop.
  • Dr. Venture and Brock Samson from The Venture Bros. (although "sensitive" isn't exactly the best term to describe Dr. Venture), as well as the titular brothers Hank and Dean.
  • Aang and Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender, to an extent, as well as Sokka and Zuko. Personality Powers can go a long way towards this trope.
    • Interestingly enough, Sokka switches roles depending on who he's partnered up with. He is manly in comparison to the happy and playful Aang, but sensitive compared with the emotionally-repressed Zuko. But all good male characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender show a sensitive side to some degree.
    • Bolin and Mako from The Legend of Korra follow this trope similarly. Bolin is The Big Guy, yet he's also the most naive and emotional, compared to Mako's stoic Team Dad.
  • Zapp Brannigan and Kif Kroker from Futurama. Zapp is a classic Small Name, Big Ego Captain, and sees himself as a manly courageous stud. Kif on the other hand starts out as a weary Deadpan Snarker but grows more into the Sensitive Guy mold through his relationship with Amy.
  • Buck Tuddrussell (macho) and the Larry 3000 (sensitive) on Time Squad — in the first seven episodes of season one, at least. From the episode "Larry Upgrade" to the series finale ("Orphan Substitute"), the pairing went from "Macho Man and Sensitive Guy hanging out with an orphaned eight-year-old history buff" into Larry and Buck acting like a married couple/foster parents to Otto. It doesn't help matters that the Larry 3000 comes off as Ambiguously Gay at best and Camp Gay at worst.
  • Ben (a male version of Sailor Moon) and Kevin (the stereotypical bad boy who averts Save the Villain) in Ben 10: Alien Force.
  • Bart and Milhouse in The Simpsons are a pre-teen example, with nerdy, sensitive Milhouse being the foil to brash, extroverted mischief-maker Bart.
  • Averted in The Pink Panther, with Manly Man (and his relatives) working with the Pink Panther. The Pink Panther even shows a degree of manliness too. The episode 7 Manly Men, a Lower Deck Episode / A Day in the Limelight which was a wholly blatant shout-out to YMCA and contained Ho Yay, was built on this trope - 6 manly men and a sensitive pirate-type guy. The original cartoon in question can be seen here (albeit in Spanish, but the 1995 Pink Panther episodes are hard to find, so Keep Circulating the Tapes applies, and there is currently no DVD of the full 1993 - 1995 series, only Season 1 from 1993, which upset the fans.
  • South Park: This trope is primarily played with the naive and idealistic Butters to the sadistic and aggressive Cartman.
    • Adding on to this, the main characters generally form two pairs for who is sensitive and manly respectively. Stan is an animal lover and usually prefers making peace rather than fighting while Kyle holds the highest morals in the group and is generally the most compassionate of his friends (although, he has one hell of a temper) (Sensitive Guys). On the other hand, Cartman (despite his fondness for tea parties) is forceful, aggressive, and sadistic as mentioned above while Kenny is primarily interested in sex and drugs and perhaps has been seen crying the least among his friends (Manly Men). Butters tends to be the Sensitive Guy to the rest of the main characters in general.
  • American Dad! has a son/father example with Steve and Stan.
  • Chow Hound features a meekly mouse and a manly dog
    • The Mouse No, not again, please, not again! Oh sir, I beg you to spare me the indignity.
    • The Dog Shyedup! and get to work.
  • Goof Troop has Pete, the deep-voiced, dominating, aggressive, bold, easy-to-anger Fat Bastard who likes to hunt, camp, and play "real" sports, and PJ, the high-voiced (even as an adult), submissive, passive, shy, vulnerable Gentle Giant who likes to engage in casual sports and write and listen to poetry. Pete is PJ's father, and he exploits his son's different nature on some occasions, chastising it on others.
  • Mike Chilton and Chuck appear to be this in Motorcity, although Mike, while still the leader of the group and very strong, is actually the group's Team Mom / Papa Wolf and is quite sensitive.

    Real Life 
  • Orderly and sensitive Paul McCartney and his former friend and bandmate John Lennon respectively.
  • The sensitive and charismatic blues musician Jimmy Reed and his tough and hard-boiled manager Al Smith.


Alternative Title(s):

Manly Man And Sensitive Guy