A character role associated with the Yaoi genre, the Seme (or "Tachi" in Yuri works) makes up the "giving half" of the same-sex relationship and is often (though not always) more masculine than the Uke (whereas in real life, sex roles are generally not as rigid as that portrayed in Yaoi and are also not "assigned" according to perceived masculinity). In extreme cases this is signified by him being One Head Taller than the Uke though in more modern works this has become much rarer with the Uke and Seme being roughly the same height. 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 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.
Since Boys Love is a sub genre of Shoujo manga. Expect to see the Seme and Uke written with tropes common to that genre. Such as 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.
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 and/or demeanor.
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.
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.
Related to Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple.
- 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.
- I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying: One night, Hajime and Kaoru are visited by Hajime's little brother, Mayotama, who earns his living writing Yaoi doujinshi. Later, Hajime takes Mayotama aside and warns him that Kaoru isn't an otaku like them. Mayotama then goes to Kaoru and nervously asks her what the opposite of "seme" ("attack") is, and when she answers "Mamoru" ("defense") instead of "uke", Mayotama begs her to forget everything he was talking about earlier.
- 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."
- 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 Codifier in the Yuri Genre). She's The Ojou, is tall, and is stoic but is still affectionate to Yumi. In contrast, 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 a 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.
- The oneshot Watashi To Osananajimi No... has the impish Mizuki be this to Rina's uke.
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- Germany when paired with Italy, though Germany can sometimes play the Uke, especially to characters like Russia. 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. America however, is almost always seme with Japan, Lithuania or Canada; likewise, in 99.9% of Prussia/Austria fanfic, Prussia is seme to Austria who gets his Uke side played up in turn, contrasting even more with Prussia's almost bad-boy, naughty personality.
- In fanfic, Russia tends to be seme almost always (considering his height, build and "hidden darker nature"); especially for instance with America (though they can switch) and always to China.
- France is usually seme, especially when paired with England though they are one of the most "switchable" pairs in the fandom.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The first protagonist, Red, was usually written as a uke in Red/Blue works due to Blue being the cockier character. However, once Sun and Moon revealed that Red grew up into a muscular hunk while Blue is shorter and slightly curvy, the tables turned.
- This tends to be inverted in Ethan/Silver works. Silver is aggressive in Lyra/Ethan works, but his effeminate design and brash personality get him turned into Ethan's cutesy tsundere boyfriend. How much Ethan fits the seme stereotypes depends on the artist/writer.
- Expect a high probability that Selene will be this whenever she's paired up with the shy Lillie.
- Blue tends to be more often Seme than Red, but he usually becomes more of a upbeat, arrogant and almost tsundere guy in contrast to quiet, reserved and serious Red. This has been inverted starting with their adult designs in Sun and Moon, where Red is a future hunk with a fair bi of muscle on him whie Blue is a bishonen.
- 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 an 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.
- Ban when paired with Ginji on Get Backers.
- Kingdom Hearts:
- K-On!: Ritsu, whenever she's paired up with Mio.
- Osomatsu-san: The older trio of the brothers (Osomatsu, Karamatsu, Choromatsu) is more susceptible to be seme compared to the younger trio of the sextuplets (Ichimatsu, Jyushimatsu, Todomatsu).
- To go with how animesque the franchise is, it's not uncommon for Avatar: The Last Airbender fans to use this:
- Siblings Zuko and Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender are usually seme in whatever ships they're in. The exception seems to be Zuko/Jet, where Jet is usually the seme.
- The Legend of Korra has Asami, who coincidentally is a dead-ringer for a yuri genre seme. Tall, alluring, and with long hair black, Asami is the seme to the shorter and tomboyish Korra.
- Chris Keller of Oz when he's with Tobias Beecher.
- Fanon for Super Robot Wars will depict Excellen Browning, if placed in a Les Yay scenario, as the seme, thanks to her attitude of wanting to do Anything That Moves.
- "The Eternal Struggle"—an ongoing debate whether Light or L would be the Seme.
- Lucky Star: Expect a higher chance that Konata will be this if she's paired with Kagami. Part of this reasoning comes from the Animal Motifs scene in the anime with Konata being a fox, and Kagami being a rabbit, and another part is because Konata is tease while Kagami is tsundere.
- Steven Universe:
- Garnet or Mystery Girl will be this to Pearl's Uke.
- Amethyst will often become this whenever she's paired up with Peridot. She's more of a switch if paired with Pearl, however.
- Jasper will often become this whenever she's paired up with Peridot. She's more of a switch if paired with Lapis, however.
- Sound! Euphonium: Reina or Asuka are this to Kumiko's Uke.
- 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).
- 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 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...
- Nagisa is this in 50% OFF. He even has a tattoo on his chest that says "Swim Seme".
- 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.
- Meduka Meguca: Kyoko is the seme of all pairings involving her.
Kyoko: Go ahead, put me with a man. I'll whoop his ass.
- The most standout examples in Fire Emblem to fill this role are Raven of Fire Emblem Elibe and Ike of Fire Emblem Tellius. Both are big muscly Perpetual Frowner mercenaries who are accompanied by devoted effeminate-looking magic users.
- Colonel Volgin from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, with Raikov as the uke.
- A Kiss for the Petals series features three flavors:
- 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.
- Morenatsu: If you're playing their respective routes, we have Kouya to Hiroyuki, Hiroyuki to Shin, and Hiroyuki to Shun.
- No, Thank You!!!: Haru is this to all of his Love Interests!