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

"Do you remember those old electric train sets that used to be popular forever ago? The ones that went through the town, the forest, and then finally into the tunnel in the mountain? Yeah, the seme is the train."

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. In extreme cases, this is signified by him being One Head Taller than the Uke, although 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 Fetishized Abuser.

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 a 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).

And for all you Baseball fans keeping score: he's the pitcher.

Note that this usage of the word originated in the Boys' Love Genre fandom; among "regular" Japanese people "seme" just means "attack." It is used commonly in some martial arts like kendo when referring to the attitude of an attacker. Even Japanese gay men won't necessarily know the BL meaning of the term.

It's more or less the modern version of the historical trope, Lover and Beloved. Also related to Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Subverted with Touko of Bloom Into You. She has the base characteristics of one — she's a tall Academic Athlete with long, black hair who falls for a younger classmate with Girlish Pigtails — but she subverts the personality. She's a shy Broken Ace prone to blushing and nervousness around Yuu.
  • 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.
  • In Episode 3 of the Hentai The Boundary between Dream and Reality, Neika ends up as this to Futaba's, her student's, Uke; the pairing looks like it's straight out of a stereotypical Boys' Love, only gender-swapped.
  • The yuri classic Destiny of the Shrine Maiden 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 are confused by her "casting" Kaoru as the seme. (The English dub translates this as "the pitcher".) 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 (2007). 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.
  • The oneshot Watashi To Osananajimi No... has the impish Mizuki be this to Rina's uke.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • Despite the fact that Banana Fish takes pains to erase such categories in the relationship shared between main characters Ash and Eiji, Ash is usually the top when paired with Eiji in fanworks. And if not, Eiji is almost always not seme, but a "switch". But when Ash is paired with Blanca for instance, he is never anything but the uke to Blanca's permanent Seme. (And Blanca is always Seme when paired up with any other male character, especially Yut-Lung.)
  • 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.)
  • "The Eternal Struggle"—an ongoing debate whether Light or L would be the Seme.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Chris Keller of Oz when he's with Tobias Beecher.
  • 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.
  • Pokémon:
    • This tends to be inverted in Ethan/Silver works. Silver is aggressive in Lyra/Silver works, but his 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 bit of muscle on him whie Blue is a Bishōnen.
    • 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.
    • When Goh came along with Ash they became a fan favorite ship. Plus, Ash being seme became popular. Even if they battle for dominance or Goh is dominant. He's a dominant bottom with Ash always topping. Ash likes to fluster the tsundere Goh with that. Ash usually lets his impulsivity and rare but powerful anger show. Usually, when protecting Goh. Ash is the more masculine being a trainer and more athletic. Along with the fact that Goh is androgynous and feminine in looks. In general, Ash acts like the skillful pokemon trainer who can protect you in battle Brawn to Goh's reasonable and resourceful Brain. Which in myths females are usually the smart ones with males being strong. Complete with Goh and Ash being the Sword and Shield, a knight refrence, which knights and warriors are known for having gay subtext in literature.
    • 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.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
  • Sound! Euphonium: Reina or Asuka are this to Kumiko's Uke.
  • 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 Ukefication 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 Ukefication (it could be argued with their canon personalities Kyle is closer to the "seme" stereotype).
      • He also tends to be the seme in some less popular ships, notably when he's paired with Kenny or Butters.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tangled Up in Indigo: Played for Laughs. Some fans of the band theorize that Yui has a harem nicknamed "Hirasawa's Haremites".
  • 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.

  • Lesbian version in Blue Is the Warmest Color, where Emma is the dominant partner in the relationship and is apparent that she owns the house they live in. She is also the top in their sexual encounters.

  • Catullus 16 starts out with the charming verses "I will sodomize you and face-fuck you,/pussy Aurelius and catamite Furius". The whole poem basically amounts to "I'll prove myself a man by fucking you two in the ass".
  • In Another Note, Beyond Birthday boasts that he is "an aggressive top," who has never been submissive to anyone (or even to a traffic signal).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Fellow Travelers: Hawkins Fuller is a traditionally masculine war hero who almost always tops while having sex with men. There's one exception when he gives his lover Tim Laughlin fellatio. Tim's surprised because he knows Hawk's preference.
  • On Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Nico Kim is a tall, athletic, extremely handsome and self-confident orthopedic surgeon who is also a mentor to his boyfriend, the short, boyish and nerdy intern Dr. Levi Schmitt.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Lestat de Lioncourt is the more dominant, aggressive, and conventionally handsome partner in his relationship with Uke Louis de Pointe du Lac, and is usually the top when they have sex. While Lestat is more masculine-looking with a square jawline and broad shoulders, he's only slightly taller (178 cm / 5'10" vs. 175 cm / 5'9"), but power is denoted in other ways. They're vampires, and Lestat is Louis' maker (the vampire who turned him) who chooses to be his mentor. Since vampires get Stronger with Age, Lestat is much more powerful than Louis. Lestat is a white man in early 1900s New Orleans, while Louis is a black Creole, so when they go on a fancy date to the opera and want to avoid conflict, Louis performs as Lestat's valet.
  • 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...

    Web Original 
  • This whole site exists to classify the reader as one of ten varied uke or seme types, complete with compatibility guides.
  • Nagisa is this in 50% OFF. He even has a tattoo on his chest that says "Swim Seme".
  • Meduka Meguca: Kyoko is the seme of all pairings involving her.
    Kyoko: Go ahead, put me with a man. I'll whoop his ass.
  • 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.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels