My Sweet Embraceable Uke (June 2001)
Suddenly the ukulele is hot again. But please don't play "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."A character associated with the Boys Love Genre, the Uke (or "Neko") makes up the "receiving" half of a relationship. Typically the polar opposite of the Seme, the Uke is sometimes more feminine than his counterpart; just how much "more feminine" this can be varies, from simply looking more childish or "beautiful", or being more emotional and/or blushy or just less overtly macho than his partner, to, on the other end of the spectrum, having outright crossdressing habits. Almost always, the Seme is One Head Taller than the Uke (or at least a few inches). So prevalent is this custom that a well-known (and oft derided) process in Slash Fic is Wimpification, or feminizing one half of a slash pairing to fit this character type regardless of canon characterization. A major draw of the Boys Love is that you get two hot guys for the price of one, so in the more explicit titles expect to see lots of his cute little bod. His personality can vary from:
- cheerful and hyper
- sweet and innocent
- feisty and temperamental
- angsty and brooding
- Akin to princess/prince/royalty and (often overly) dramatic diva
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Anime and Manga
- Nabari no Ou:
- Miharu is a good example, being a short, rail thin, stoic young boy surrounded by a bunch of tall slender Bishōnen. It's not a Boy's Love series, but it comes pretty damn close.
- Gau is also a good example, being feisty, temperamental, and sometimes angsty.
- Nabari no Ou is an interesting example in that Miharu and his not-quite-love-interest Yoite both have a lot of common uke traits. Miharu has the aforementioned physical qualities plus being withdrawn with a lot of angst; Yoite is similarly delicate, withdrawn, and troubled. Yoite generally gets labelled as the seme because he's older than Miharu, a bit taller, and more violent, but on his own he's a textbook uke (and if their relationship were ever to move into sexual territory, Miharu would almost certainly be the initiator).
- Ryo in FAKE is a borderline case; he's considerably less experienced and more sensitive than his boisterous partner (and Seme) Dee, but he's also much more reserved and prone to keeping his feelings bottled up, and he's not appreciably smaller, prettier, or more feminine than the rest of the main cast.
- Shuichi Shindou◊ of Gravitation is often presented as the de facto example of an uke. Since his love interest Yuki is a cold fish, he does diverge from the trope a bit in having to be the more aggressive and persistent partner, though Yuki still makes the first sexual moves.
- Lampshaded in Lucky Star during a dodgeball game where Hiyori said that she is the "uke", Japanese term for a defender when practicing martial arts, in an unintentional Double Entendre and Freudian Slip. She should have said mamori, the correct term in context.
- 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. He also mentions he got....a man reaction...
- In The Tyrant Falls in Love, the uke Souichi is a walking bucket of homophobic rage who doesn't hesitate to punch Morinaga at the slightest provocation.
- In CLAMP's classic Tokyo Babylon there is Subaru Sumeragi. Where to begin? Physically at sixteen he's small and skinny with big Green Eyes, raven-black hair that frames his face and often gets mistaken for a girl as he's so darn pretty. His twin dresses him up in outrageous outfits that range from cute to his iconic skin-tight black pants, turtleneck and scarlet-colored red jacket. Emotionally, he's very shy, tender-hearted and soft spoken; he jumps and blushes like fury at even the slightest hint of flirtation from Bastard Boyfriend Seishirou. Subaru is kind, soft hearted and gentle - he kicks ass true, but he doesn't like to hurt people and wishes everyone could be happy. He also loves animals.
- Later on in the follow up X1999, Subaru is twenty-five, painfully depressed and severely broken-hearted thanks to evil and possessive Seishirou. Subaru's much more quiet than before, but just as gentle and kind like always - though anything but his altruistic former self. Not to mention he's still as slender and beautiful as ever - he gets even more beautiful when he grows out his hair like it was when he was sixteen near the end of the manga. Subaru's definitely one of the best example of Uke there ever was.
- Not forgetting the main character of X1999 Kamui, who is super pretty, small-built and emotionally wrecked - even CLAMP refers to the boys as "sisters" due to how similar they are. And in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, their alternate universe versions are twins - being chased of course, by alternate-universe still Bastard Boyfriend Seishirou who is obsessed with Subaru yet again.
- In Code Geass, Schneizel has Kanon, his assistant, "public and private". They fit very well into seme/uke types, in contrast to the more equal relationship between the series' two leads.
- Lampshaded in Strawberry Marshmallow, where Ana and Miu are yelling childish insults at each other and Miu yells "UKE!" The rest of the episode has the characters (sans Miu) asking Nobue what the word means, with obviously little success.
- A Girls Love example can be found in Gokujou Drops with Komari.
- Another yuri example occurs with Hikari and Nagisa in Strawberry Panic!.
- The definition of "angsty uke" above nicely fits Takaya/Kagetora from Mirage of Blaze. Particularly in the the first OVA.
- Ayase from Okane Ga Nai to a massive extent. He's practically the embodiment of the uke stereotype.
- Just plain ignored in Kyo Kara Maoh!, as the main character is still literally the only heterosexual in the world, and no relationship has even gotten to the 'holding hands' stage. Though what passes for an Official Couple has lost support from a surprising number of fans because "they're both uke". It really doesn't help that the main character is a catcher on a sandlot baseball team.
- Sengoku Basara:
- When it comes to Sengoku Basara, Sanada Yukimura is pretty much the designated Uke (albeit usually a very Hot-Blooded one). We can't exactly blame the fangirls though; not only is he archaically polite, naive, and eager-to-please (not to mention a total Bishounen), he's also usually paired up with the pinnacle of GAR that is Date Masamune.
- The manga adaptation, when Keiji tells Yukimura there is more to life than war, most notably love. Yukimura turns into a shaky, blushing mess and insists that he would never be caught in such "lewd" behavior, and has no need for love.
- Mitsunari and Motonari are also often portrayed as this. Helps that those two are even more girlier in terms of physical appearance than Yukimura, albeit different in terms of personality. Mitsunari is often perceived as a very violent Tsundere type A in the fandom, and Tsundere is often perceived as an uke characteristic. In short, he is a mix of type 3 and 4. Self-obsessed is also one of Motonari's defining trait, and often combined with the trope Vanity Is Feminine in the eyes of fangirls, resulting him to be viewed as type 5 in the eyes of Yaoi Fangirl(s). Also, with his many Kick the Dog moments, not to mention he have heels in his boots, makes him often depicted as a Dominatrix uke in the fandom. Not power bottom uke, dominatrix uke.
- Both Sunao/Ran and Nanami in Sukisho. Nanami is a bit of an unusual example, in that he's a Wholesome Crossdresser.
- In Venus Versus Virus, though it tends to move around, Lucia is the seme, and Sumire the uke. It may be an inversion. Sumire appears to be an archetypal Yuri Genre uke (always blushing, younger, cute, admires her seme, etc) but she actually seems to be closer to being the seme.
- Played for laughs in the comedy Boys Love series Neko Samurai ("neko", or "cat", is another word for "uke"). Yamato is a wandering samurai and 30-year-old virgin who longs to find a man to be Seme to him, and constantly offers to pay for things with his body (nobody's interested), or offer himself up to be ravished by whoever can beat him in a swordfight (nobody can, and if he tries to throw the fight, they just get annoyed). The one time he comes close, with a bandit leader who just about matches him in fighting skill, it turns out that the other guy is also an uke...
- Played for laughs in Ouran High School Host Club (of course) with the twins. Hikaru even goes so far as to ask why "Kaoru was cast as the 'pitcher'." In the original Japanese, they actually use "seme" and "uke".
- Despite giving the impression of being a Seme, Setsuna in Mahou Sensei Negima! is one of these. Setsuna is a trained swordswoman who acts as the bodyguard to her childhood friend and crush Konoka, Setsuna's more serious and reserved attitude sharply contrast the cheerful and bubbly Konoka and Setsuna is also one of the tougher Action Girls in the series while Konoka is the resident White Magic user. However, when it comes to their romantic relationship, Setsuna is very awkward, easily flustered and shy, while Konoka is the extroverted and aggressive one.
- Junjou Romantica:
- Junjou Romantica provides three different types of ukes. Misaki is type 2, Hiroki is type 3, and Shinobu a mix of both* .
- Its adaptation, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi also provides three types of ukes. Onodera being type 4, Chiaki being a mix of 1 and 2 and Kisa also being a mix, 2 and 4.
- Subverted in Fumi Yoshinaga's Kinou Nani Tabeta (What Did You Eat Yesterday?), where Kakei is more than annoyed that straight people think that being the uke during sex has anything to do with who the "girl" in the relationship is.
- Doesn't actually happen but heavily implied in Neon Genesis Evangelion that if Shinji would return Kaworu's advances, he would end up as the uke.
- Mochizuki in Boku No Sexual Harassment.
- Jonathan in Legend of the Blue Wolves. Refreshingly, he's as solidly built as his seme and only slightly shorter.
- "Don't Worry Mama" averts this all over the place. Imakura, the uke in the relationship, is not only Yuichi's boss — he's phimotic and severely overweight. At least at first.
- Yumi is the uke to Sachiko's (and Sei's) seme in Maria-sama ga Miteru, though the series typically avoids the archetype and it keeps it on a Hide Your Lesbians case. Yumi helped codify the way an uke should be in a yuri series. She's shorter than both Sachiko and Sei, wears Girlish Pigtails, and is prone to bouts of awkwardness.
- Ginji of Get Backers is this when paired with Ban.
- Ai no Kusabi: Riki while being a very masculine, feisty, angsty and brooding biker.
- If there were such thing as a heterosexual uke, Momo from Kimi Wa Petto would be a perfect example. A cheerful, kind, innocent professional dancer who agrees to become the literal pet of a driven and successful (but emotionally closeted) journalist? Who happens to be both significantly shorter and younger than his love interest, and who depends on said love interest for his daily needs (such as food and shelter)? The only thing stopping this from being a stereotypical Boys Love romance is that the Seme figure is a woman.
- You can also make a case for Kouta from Kanokon He's an innocent, friendly country-boy who finds himself thrown into enough sexual situations by his girlfriend Chizuru to have him labeled as the Great Erotic King. Note that Chizuru is taller, older, and far more aggressive in her pursuit of Kouta. Most of these pursuits, however, are played for laughs.
- Zoisite in the 90s anime of Sailor Moon is an interesting case in that his actual personality is anything but submissive, but around his older lover Kunzite he becomes totally smitten and demure, even going so far as to call him "-sama" at all times in the Japanese version.
- Yuureitou has Taichi playing this to Tetsuo. Unlucky Everydude Taichi is commonly a Distressed Dude, can be rather awkward, is Hollywood Homely, and has Lovable Coward aspects. Tetsuo, on the other hand, is a confident, mysterious, and Bishōnen Byronic Hero. It becomes even more noticeable when Taichi is Disguised in Drag and he finds himself liking the idea of being Tetsuo's submissive crossdressing lover. At one point, Taichi imagines him and Tetsuo sleeping together and at first sees himself crossdressing and on the bottom, but since Tetsuo is assigned-female-at-birth, Taichi comes to the conclusion that it wouldn't work like that.
- Seraph of the End makes it apparent that if Mika and Yuu were to get together either could pass as the Uke what with their Bishōnen looks (though Mika's are more obvious), Yuu's In-Series Nickname by Ferid as being the "precious princess" that Mika needs to rescue or "dear angel", he's also called "Yuu-chan" a lot by Mika and can get quite blushy and Tsundere-like around others. Not to mention his tendency to get carried in a Bridal Carry by Mika, him being shorter than Mika, or Mika going all out in his bid to rescue/save Yuu. Evidence for Yuu being the seme to Mika's uke meanwhile includes Mika being a bit more girly looking than Yuu, Yuu acting a bit cocky and giving flirtatious looks to Mika in one scene in the anime with Mika ultimately submitting and biting Yuu, Yuu's occasional decision to force Mika to drink his blood in the games, Yuu being more brash and Hot-Blooded, his tendency to be overprotective over Mika, him saving Mika by letting him drink his blood while Mika says he was supposed to be the one saving Yuu, and Mika being joked about in canon as being Yuu's "wife" and Yuu being called the Henpecked Husband by the fanon. Also, both have made numerous Declaration of Protection anout each other, Mika is protective around Yuu and doesn't let anyone he doesn't trust touch Yuu, and Yuu is occasionally shown bickering with Mika with Mika putting him in his place and being the more rational one of the two. In the game, Mika places his hand on Yuu's head and though Yuu says they're the same age Mika laughs and says Yuu is more like the little brother he needs to look after because he's shorter and "not reliable". Yuu is adamant on proving who is the older brother in their relationship. This is also played with in fanart with Yuu being carried in a Bridal Carry by Mika while wearing a princess gown and crown and Mika wearing a prince outfit and vice versa. The spin off Serapuchi plays with this too in that Yuu is confronted by Asuramaru taking the form of Mika as an abandoned wife with child, the demon weapon training is placed in the form of a simulation game in which a pained Mika suddenly appears and Yuu offers him his blood, ending with hearts and a "Happy End". Also, Shinoa puts Yuu in the game dressed as a girl on the second try, and after Mika appears once more this time offering his hand to Yuu, Yuu says he will save him, ending with a "True End". Yuu also has fallen unconscious three or more times due to overusing his power or something going wrong with his demon side with someone, usually Kimizuki or Mika or the whole squad having to protect him. There's also the times Yuu and Mika have been held the other in their arms when unconscious or hurt. Or the number of times they blush around each other, especially Mika in the anime.
- Any male Elven character from Lord of the Rings is considered this. No thanks to their slender features and feminine appearance. Legolas gets it worse, especially when paired up with Aragorn.
- This is usually inverted in Big Windup fanworks. Mihashi is a literal baseball pitcher and Abe is a catcher. Mihashi is a Nervous Wreck who Apologizes a Lot, is constantly blushing, and has self-confidence issues while Ace is a bossy Perpetual Frowner who is Younger Than They Look. Abe is usually presented as the uke in romantic situations.
- Ash is the go-to uke in gay Pokémon ships involving him. He's an All-Loving Hero and a keet so most fanworks put him in this situation, especially when paired with Gary or Paul. An exception seems to be Cilan, as despite being older and much taller than Ash he is often presented as more uke-ish due to his flamboyant and campy nature.
- Despite being a Memetic Badass with a lot of Self-Fanservice, Red is this to Blue in fanworks. His fanon stoic personality is changed to make him seem kuudere.
- In later fanworks, however, it seems to be the other way around. Not without justification, seeing as in Pokémon Sun and Moon, we see Red and Blue as adults, and Red has become a not-quite-but-almost Hunk while Blue is a Bishōnen.
- Touya/Hilbert and N Harmonia from Pokémon Black and White are weird examples as they tend to zig-zag this trope when paired together—while N is older, he's also much more naive and innocent (traits that the fandom likes to exaggerate to absurd levels) due to his sheltered upbringing. Hilbert is more worldly, but also younger and smaller. The two of them tend to play one role, the other, both or neither in fanworks as a result.
- Dawn is this in both her game counterpart and her anime counterpart, as she is a short Girly Girl compared to several of the other girls she's paired with.
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- Italy is this when paired with pretty much anyone. Japan and Canada are too, as is China.
- This also tends to happen to his brother, Romano, as fanon tends to make him into a raging Tsundere.
- There's also Finland being the Uke to Sweden's Seme.
- America, who is seme often, is usually the uke when he's paired up with Russia, though at the same time, they are one of the more "switchable" couples (though even then, Russia does most of the topping). If America is paired up with Germany, it could go either way - even when they're uke, neither of them are stereotypically "uke"; they just happen to bottom.
- Austria. Dear god, Austria suffers the most from this *especially* when paired up with Prussia or Spain (both of whom he tops...less than 1% of the time.) Not to mention, it doesn't help than in canon, Austria sews, loves to bake, is by nature "prissy and refined" and would rather play his music than go out and fight wars. The fandom almost always has a field day with this and tends to really play up his "girly" side to outrageous levels (making him shorter, more slender or just going all out and putting him in a tiny maid dress). Even when they don't, he's still uke to everyone - even Hungary, his "ex-wife".
- Ivan Karelin had already struck many Tiger & Bunny fans as an uke, being a timid Bishōnen that is much shorter and slimmer than his more heroically built compatriots. Then the fourth drama CD came out (read: the one where Keith cheerfully volunteers Ivan and himself to fill in as hosts for a gay club) and said, "Yep, pretty much."
- Sena of Eyeshield 21 is an uke along with being the fandom's little black dress. Considering he's an adorkable, cute little boy who quickly impresses every manly football player he encounters, it's no surprise that he's considered the ultimate uke of the series. So much, that sometimes he's portrayed as an uke even with his somewhat-canon girlfriend Suzuna, who is much more assertive than he is.
- Kuroko from Kuroko no Basuke is this in most fanworks.
- Gilbert Nightray from Pandora Hearts is often treated this way. Sure, he's taller, and significantly older, but he still bottoms.
- Allen from D.Gray-Man is the Shōnen fandom Messianic Archetype. Being the shortest male in the main cast doesn't help his case. He's also very scrawny, and has a pretty baby face. Funny thing is how, even when paired with the women in fandom, a lot of cases still have him being the submissive one. Poor Allen doesn't get many chances to wear the pants in relationships.
- Kingdom Hearts:
- This is how Sora winds up in fanfic pairing him with Riku.
- Same deal with Roxas when paired with Axel.
- Ventus usually gets this bad with Vanitas.
- South Park:
- Soft and effeminate Butters is invariably this in any pairing, straight or gay.
- Stan is often made into a uke due to his sensitivity and his design. The main exception seems to be with Kyle, who is near always a uke in ships (with his personality often being changed to seem tsundere).
- Tweek Tweak when paired with Craig Tucker in the fanfictions.
- An example of a
almostperfect uke is Sawada Tsunayoshi from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. C'mon, you know he's a bigtime uke when he's paired with 1-year-old Reborn and still bottoms. It doesn't help matters that the girl he has a crush on, who is supposed to be super-effeminate and "beautiful," looks like his identical twin...
- Unusually, Elsa from Frozen is usually portrayed as one of these in femslash works (especially Elsanna ones). It could stem from her somewhat anxious and awkward personality, the stereotypes about people in power, or Anna being more aggressive and boisterous. Though occasionally Anna gets this as well.
- Edd from Ed, Edd n Eddy is almost automatically this in every pairing (and he has a lot of them), including him and girls. He's the softest boy besides Jimmy and has some stereotypically feminine qualities in canon.
- Kirby has a lot of fans who ship Kirby and Meta Knight (usually with Kirby aged up). Kirby invariably becomes a cute, androgynous keet while Meta Knight is the tall, bishonen seme.
- Yukito of Card Captor Sakura and Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- fame is the Uke to Touya Kinomoto in most fanworks.
- Ben 10: Slash fanfictions and fanarts typically have Ben being the Uke while Kevin assume the Seme role. It sure helps that Kevin is taller than Ben and has a typical bad boy attitude, while Ben have become quite of a Bishōnen after becoming a teenager in Alien Force. Sadly, in canon, the two of them started out as Arch-Enemies, and while they are now best friends, they both have girlfriends now.
- In slash Danny Phantom fanfics and fanarts, Danny is typically the Uke while either Vlad or Dash are the Seme.
- In Bad Education, this is the role Juan plays in most of his relationships. He's submissive and compliant to Enrique in a Casting Couch situation where Juan agrees to sleep with Enrique in exchange for a role in Enrique's film. Juan's relationship with Sr Berenguer is similar, since Berenguer is his Sugar Daddy, but Juan is more of a Tsundere in this case. Although subverted when it's revealed that Juan is manipulating both of them to get what he wants.
Live Action TV
- Reid from Criminal Minds. Slight compared to the others, begins as The Ingenue, is pretty much always the Damsel in Distress...
- A rare, male het version: Seth Cohen from The O.C. is the uke, his girlfriend Summer is the Seme. This quote even lampshades it:
Summer: I wanna be on top this time.
Seth: But you're always on top...
- Another male het example is Niles Crane from Frasier. He was more of an Extreme Doormat Love Martyr towards frigid Maris, but still acts incredibly submissive (but in a far more romantic way) towards Hot-Blooded Daphne, and in one episode it's implied that she often roughs him up during sex, and that he enjoys it.
- Ste in Hollyoaks, pretty much. What the pre-watershed show is allowed to show in regards to actual sex usually seems to end up with him being pushed against a wall/onto the nearest available surface. Also doubles as a Love Martyr, given that his two relationships thus far have been with cheating Club Kid Noah and emotionally closeted Bastard Boyfriend Brendan.
- Tobias Beecher of Oz when he's with Chris Keller.
- On How I Met Your Mother, it's implied more than once, with more than one girlfriend, that Ted (another rare het example) usually bottoms.
- In a strange turn of events in Conan, Conan and Andy Richter end up slowdancing (imitating the inauguration dance of the Obamas) while La Bamba sings a song behind them. The lyrics end with They'll probably get married and adopt a baby / Andy's the man and Conan's the lady. Andy pumps his fists while Conan protests, demanding to know why he's the lady, but eventually just throws his hands and says "Alright, I'm the lady."
- Due to the dynamics between Lamia Loveless finding a Cool Big Sis in Excellen Browning, The Tease who just happens to be a MS Fanservice, fanon for Super Robot Wars runs with the notion that in any Excellen/Lamia pairing, Lamia ends up the uke, due to the case that Excellen will do Anything That Moves, placing her as the seme.
- Raiden-Expy◊ Major Raikov in MGS3 can't be anything else than this to his lover Volgin◊.
- Otacon, Otacon, Otacon...
- Joshua Preston from Bliss Stage: Love Is Your Weapon is the fiesty kind - Even when he isn't on the gay romantic path, he's the more submissive partner.
- Joshua from The World Ends with You. Though, Joshua is more of a subversion. He may be effeminate, sure, but he is also manipulativ and very emotionally closed off.
- Persona 3 Protagonist Minato Arisato. He's noticeably quite uke-ish in terms of appearance with petite body and androgynous face. Try to line him up with the majority of males in his game, he will look very uke-ish. Even grown-up Ken will be more seme-ish than him. Try to line him up with the other protagonists of Persona games, and ironically he is trapped between Tatsuya and Yu, making him even more uke-ish. His uke-ness is clearest in Persona Q, where you can say you will protect him as Yu and he will blush. Even when playing as him and going to the chapel with Shinjiro he will still blush anyway.
- Lucius of Fire Emblem Elibe and Soren from Fire Emblem Tellius are both magic users with effeminate appearances (the latter less so) and attachments to big muscly mercenary men.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Marik is very much the oblivious Uke to Bakura's frustrated Seme. 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. Another fic that he wrote for charity again shows that Marik tops - it seems like Bakura is instead an Aggressive Submissive and actively enjoys being the bottom.
- The Nostalgia Critic eventually became the uke to every other TGWTG producer (male and female) except the much younger Luke and Film Brain.
- This whole site exists to classify the reader as one of ten varied uke or seme types, complete with compatibility guides.
- Ben 10: This was actually parodied in Ultimate Alien episode "Duped", where Ben use his Echo Echo powers to duplicate himself in three in an attempt to be in three times at the same place so he can fight the Forever Knights with Kevin, assist to Julie's tennis match and watch the Sumo Slammer new movie. He ends up divided in three Ben with different personalities: one with a sweet, sensitive one, one with a bad boy attitude and one who is seemingly normal. The sensitive one ends up going with Kevin, and, while they are waiting for the knights to show up, start delivering a speech about how close they have become, in a typical yaoi way. Kevin is not amused at all:
Kevin: BEN! You have always been kind of girly, but now, YOU'RE REALLY CREEPING ME OUT!
- In The Ren & Stimpy Show's Adult Party Cartoon, Stimpy is explicitly stated by Ren to be this, while Ren states himself to be Seme (Well, he doesn't exactly say that, he says "I'm the pitcher, you're the catcher").