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As far as I know, 'boku' is a male pronoun in Japanese, and is usually used by young boys. But, in the series Darling in the Franxx, the female lead character, Zero Two, consistently uses 'boku' to refer to herself.

Why does she do so? Is there an in-universe justification for this?

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According to the Heroes Wiki page on Zero Two,

Being born as artificial human hybrid ... She refers herself as "Boku" instead of "Watashi" or "Atashi". She uses it because she mimicks how Hiro refers himself.

This would make sense because Zero Two did not receive much care as a child, as she was just continuously experimented on, which would make Hiro one of her only sources of any knowledge/information (other than what she was presumably taught by the people around her as a child).

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  • This is definitely the right answer, thanks for writing it up :) unfortunately, I think the Wiki is less clear than it could have been on some points. For instance: (1) When we first meet Hiro, he refers to himself as “ore”. But in his flashback, he see that he refers to himself as “boku”, and that is indeed how he referred to himself when introducing himself to the young Zero Two. I think (will have to rewatch some of the later episodes to confirm), that he reverts to referring to himself as “boku” after his memories are returned and he fully reconciles with Zero Two.
    – Namaskaram
    Nov 6, 2021 at 21:28
  • (2) Zero Two was treated inhumanely when she was a child, as if she were feral or a monster (“klaxosaur”). There was no scope for her to have received any education from the ones experimenting on her, so your presumption is definitely on point.
    – Namaskaram
    Nov 6, 2021 at 21:31
  • Perhaps I’ll write up a complementary answer, when I get time :) but the check mark is yours!
    – Namaskaram
    Nov 6, 2021 at 21:31
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Some Japanese women do use "Boku" which is masculine. Some prefer "Atashi" which is feminine. This is often a reflection of their personality (ex: one who may deviate from strict social norms). My understanding of this character, as someone who has never seen the show, is that she is mischievous, playful, and outspoken. These traits themselves can be seen as masculine in some cultures.

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Daniel has the best answer for this, but while boku is mainly used by males, women do use it as well. Some examples from "real life" in these Vtubers:

Nekomata Okayu https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvaTdHTWBGv3MKj3KVqJVCw

Kanata Amane https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZlDXzGoo7d44bwdNObFacg

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I don't know if it has to do with the translation "boku no" or "僕の" going to mean "my" but not "myself". It might have to do with that.

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    の is the possession particle (plus some other uses); you could just as well say 私の、あたしの、俺の、etc Nov 3, 2021 at 23:40
  • Okay, thank you for the help, I couldn't tell if I was using the proper context.
    – Aka-Inu
    Nov 3, 2021 at 23:43

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