Why is it that in almost every anime, when there is a male main character, every time a female main character comes on to him, he gets all flustered, scared, or runs away?

Throughout the whole series, we see tons of huge boobs, panty shots, etc. But when a hot girl or mainly the love interest tries to hold hands with the guy or kiss or anything of that nature, he always chickens out or thinks that it's inappropriate, or they are interrupted, or he's too stupid to get the situation. They can fight monsters and demons but when it's about romance, they can't do that? It won't make the character any less noble.

Why is there a need to ALWAYS have other characters interrupt it or make him too dense to understand the female loves him? Why can't anime creators for once let romance start near the beginning and go smoothly instead of towards the end and is super hard to get to? It's been this way since anime first started and it's not funny or entertaining anymore.

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    While I agree that this is a common occurrence in anime, it's by no means universal. There are many anime shows that portray romance in a mature way. You may just be watching the "wrong" shows.
    – senshin
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 6:57
  • 1
    I'd say it has to do with most real life males in Japan being herbivores themselves, so it's more relatable I guess. But as the other guy said, there's plenty of shows with mature romance portrayals (mostly shojo and josei though), and also harem romcoms with not so wishy washy protags
    – paulnamida
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 14:23
  • Anime didn't used to be like that. Just take a look at Orguss (1983). I'll give Love Hina (2000) credit for cementing this trope.
    – Ocean
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 23:19

4 Answers 4


There's nothing complicated about it. It's a trope to pad out the story. In a story like Nisekoi, for instance, the author needs to draw out the romantic tension as long as possible to keep the story going. That's because once those tensions are resolved and the protagonist chooses a partner, the story's probably just going to end. Or at the very least, it won't be too interesting.

So, there are a variety of techniques employed. The protagonist can be clueless or oblivious to love, there can be misunderstandings and miscommunications (see Kimi Ni Todoke for a lot of that), they can just throw in new romantic interests even if they've got no hope of competing (like in Nisekoi), or the characters can be hopelessly shy.

I think the particular trope you're trying to look into might be close to one of these: The will they or won't they trope, the false start or the almost kiss. The false start trope, for instance is characterized by a character being ready to make a love confession, but getting derailed by something.

These can be stalling tactics, as I stated previously.

The will they or won't they page notes:

Actually [setting up the relationship is tricky and risky]. [Writers] are very reluctant to risk losing the valuable source of dramatic tension that is the (seemingly) unrequited relationship. After all, without that lovely source of drama, your audience could [complain]. As such, [many] writers [keep] the romantic tension building throughout the series, only [resolving the romance threads at the end].

Of course, keep this plotline going for too long, and you may encounter complaints [...] In addition, shows can go out of their way to avoid resolving the relationship, making ever-more-desperate narrative leaps.

The false start says:

This can be a highly effective writing technique for a couple of episodes, but the writers typically find that it's impossible to maintain forever. Eventually, the character will tell the object of his affections, and the plot will move on...or the viewers will.

The almost kiss page notes:

But this way, the tension and dreams of shippers remain for the writers to continue to take advantage of.

I tried really hard to find the exact trope on tvtropes.org for you, but I'm not sure if any of those were actually it. You're right though, that these tropes often makes the story really annoying; especially when you've seen them over and over. But as others have said, this is not a problem with anime, but rather a problem with the anime genres you in particular tend to watch. Some anime handle romance tropes very well.


I talked about this a little bit with my friends at school. One of them said to me that showing public affection is considered rude or embarrassing in Japan. So this is the reason why some couples are hesitant to hold hands at first. One example can be found in Clannad: The couple once walks to school alone. One of them suggests, embarrassed, to hold hands. The other person replies "But what if someone sees us?" They are close to finally holding hands but they get interrupted by a friend.

But this is probably only one of many reasons why this happens. A guess of me would be writer laziness. But I wouldn't take my word for it.


It's probably due to their age.

See Why So Many High School Anime in Japan by That Japanese Man Yuta

In Japanese romantic anime, things tend to move very slowly. These characters are so innocent, 'Oh, I don't really know if I like him' or 'I can't tell that I like her' and for that to work, they need to be young enough to be pure then you can have many firsts: first real crush, first confession, first kiss, and first sensei crush.


I read this question then I can know you have watched Anime and Drama from others country did you? Most of this same story is come from same company, I watched many these kind of same story because I lazy to search anime, most of time I searched using keyword by company name. They are the same company's anime, most of them story look like this. This is the first point. The second point is their ways of thinking, cultures, their life, their research, rules, inspire make them having story inspiration look like this.

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