Although there has been a gradual improvement in the representation of LGBTQ+ characters in anime, those who are depicted as openly asexual and/or aromantic are extremely few and far between. Only a couple of characters, such as Durarara’s Izaya Orihara and Seiji Maki from Bloom Into You, are more or less explicitly labeled as being asexual or aromantic in canon (albeit still without using these exact terms). Nevertheless, there are still a handful of human anime characters that could potentially be asexual or aromantic, including these five.
1) Haruhi Fujioka – Ouran High School Host Club
As the only lead female character within a circle of attractive young men, at least three of whom have been or are actively attempting to win her affections by the end of the series, Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club exhibits no interest whatsoever in any form of romance, either toward men or women. If she were to announce she was either asexual, aromantic or both (most likely in her usual deadpan fashion), it would not come as a great surprise.
Entirely unflustered and sometimes even frustrated by the attention she gains, it should be pointed out that Haruhi is no stranger to LGBTQ+ representation. The host club boys frequently cosplay as women or intentionally put on displays bending gender or sexual norms for the benefit of their guests, and her father is openly bisexual and a professional crossdresser at an okama bar.
Haruhi herself chooses to dress in the school’s male uniform and sometimes uses male pronouns, stating that, “My feeling is that any awareness of being a boy or a girl falls lower than that of being a person.” Audiences can safely assume that Haruhi has much the same opinion of a person’s self-identified sexuality as she does their gender, whether in terms of herself or anyone else.
2) Nozaki Umetarou – Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun
The titular character of the series he stars in, Nozaki could politely be said to be rather obtuse when it comes to notions of sexual attraction and romance, despite being the popular author of shoujo romance manga titled “Let’s Fall in Love.” Chiyo Sakura, a lively girl with a huge crush on Nozaki, is constantly attempting to declare her feelings, only to be rebuffed time and time again by Nozaki’s thick-headedness.
Nozaki’s often hilarious bluntness toward not only Sakura, but anything else to do with real-life romance, could be put down to his complete lack of personal experience and naturally stoic personality, but it’s also entirely possible that he could identify as some shade of asexual aromantic gold. His lack of awareness is such that it seems impossible for any human being his age to be that unconscious of sexual attraction or romance without some reason beyond pure obliviousness.
3) Haruka Nanase – Free!
One of the main characters in the anime Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club, Haruka Nanase is somewhat similar to Nozaki in that he appears curiously thick-headed when he comes to any concept of sexuality or romance. More specifically, swimming is and always has been his overwhelming passion. In fact, when telling a “love story,” he states, “When I was in grade school, my parents took me to climb a mountain nearby. That was where I had my fateful encounter. I couldn’t look away. That intensely beautiful, positively vibrant, sparkling and pristine… waterfall.”
While it could be that Haru’s all-consuming enthusiasm for swimming and anything water-related means he simply has no time for romance, it’s telling that in a series that’s fanservice-laden, and where the majority of characters are constantly touching one another to facilitate communication, Haru himself is very hands-off, seemingly preferring not to touch anyone or be touched in return, romantically or otherwise.
4) Tanaka – Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless
Tanaka is yet another character who at first glance might appear quite oblivious to any form of romance or sexual attraction, either between others or when aimed directly at him. However, given much of his off-the-cuff social commentary, Tanaka is clearly not lacking in worldly awareness — it’s just that he’s so bent on conserving his energy by using as little of it as possible that if anyone did happen to confess their love to him, he would most likely fall asleep in the middle of it.
Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless/Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge is a series that’s lacking in almost any form of fanservice and very rarely, if ever, makes jokes centered around sex or romance, reflecting Tanaka’s own seeming disinterest. However, while Tanaka may look too lazy on the surface even to foster platonic friendships, he himself has stated that he “doesn’t find it bothersome” to do so. This implies that if he truly was interested in nurturing a romantic relationship, he could summon the willpower to do so — it’s just that he apparently has no such desires.
5) Makoto Sunakawa – My Love Story
Last but certainly not least, My Love Story!!/Ore Monogatari!! is a sweet romantic comedy about Takeo Gouda’s efforts to cultivate his relationship with the angelic Rinko Yamato, despite his extremely intimidating appearance. However, Gouda’s best friend Makoto “Suna” Sunakawa, who is constantly attracting women of all ages due to his own appearance, shows zero interest in anyone of the opposite sex. While perfectly polite to Yamato, he keeps largely to himself and maintains a cool, even apathetic demeanor, outright refusing to date any girl who asks him out because they’re all disrespectful to his friend.
While this might imply that Suna is simply not into women, there’s nothing about his relationship with Gouda that indicates anything other than a platonic friendship. He encourages Gouda’s romantic relationship with Yamato and vice versa, even dishing out some romantic advice; however, by his own admission, he views dating as boring, seemingly perfectly happy to forgo any form of romance himself, pointing to him potentially identifying as aromantic and/or asexual.
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