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"On April tenth there's going to be a 25 diva battle royal to determine who will be crowned miss wrestle mania. I tink I know who's going to be the winner... Santino Marella! You see last week, when Mickie James assault me, I went to Vickie Guerrero an I demanded to be included. Why should I not be included, because of my genitalia? That's sexual discrimination! So I was told if I beat Mickie James with one hand tied behind my back I will have the opportunity to prove that I am man enough to be miss wrestle mania!"
Santino Marella

This is the character who is always trying to be the Ideal Man, usually by being brave, responsible or chivalrous. He sometimes has some kind of inferiority complex due to an overbearing older sibling or father. Is sometimes heard shouting about being a man at the top of his lungs while posing dramatically on a rock (bonus points for crashing waves or a sunset). Generally on their way to being a Badass of some form. Occasionally has an Ill Girl younger sister or Keet little brother.

Oh, and never mention any child-like or cute attributes he might have.

Compare with the The Idiot From Osaka, Hot-Blooded and Badass, contrast Emo (in any of its forms), often overlaps with Loser Protagonist. Also heavily overlaps with I Just Want to Be Badass given that the concepts of Badass and manly are frequently interconnected.

Not to be confused with I Wanna Be the Guy, which is more Macho Masochism than it is manliness. Or Become a Real Boy, which is not about seeking manliness but humanity.

Examples of I Want to Be a Real Man include:

Anime and Manga

  • G-On Riders: Ichiro's reason for nearly everything he does.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Touji is very much this type, everything he does in the series is to help or protect his friends and family.
  • To Love Ru: Run spends an entire episode of the anime trying to get more manly so he could marry Lala. Until he sneezed, causing his other half, Ren, to take over.
  • The Tower of Druaga: Jil is like this sometimes, especially in the first episode.
  • Practically the whole premise of Ranma ½ - Ranma constantly wants to reaffirm his masculinity, which is made more difficult due to his annoying habit of turning into a girl at inopportune times.
    • In his case, it's at least partly because his father made a vow that Ranma would have to commit Seppuku if his mother ever thought he wasn't a real man.
  • This is stated to be Usopp's dream in One Piece
    • Chopper qualifies too. In the Skypeia Arc, after he fails to protect the Merry from having the mast burned he jumps up onto the railing and begins shouting about how he's going to become 'a real man!' and never let his True Companions down again. WHILE ON FIRE FROM SHEER DETERMINATION TO DO JUST THAT.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann ...Where do we start!?
  • This was Hani's original intention in Ouran High School Host Club before he was convinced by Tamaki to join the Host Club. He failed spectacularly.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!'s Jonouchi, and his quest to become a "True Duelist" with honor and pride in Battle City.
  • In Captain Harlock, this is the defining characteristic of Tadashi Daiba, in both the first anime series and in the "Endless Odyssey" OAV series. In the latter, in fact, Daiba's father is so convinced that Daiba must become a man that he makes Captain Harlock promise to kill Daiba immediately if, for whatever reason, he thinks that Daiba cannot become a man — a promise that Harlock has no compulsions about breaking, even if this means getting himself killed.
  • The titular character of Kunisaki Izumo no Jijou aspires to be one, mainly because he got fed up on being always mistaken as a girl.
  • Yukimura from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai hopes to achieve this by emulating Kodaka. Despite being a girl.
  • The purpose of the Otokojuku ('Man School'/'Manly Tech') in Sakigake Otokojuku is to mould Japanese Delinquents into ideal men.
  • From his childhood, Hiroki of Junjou Romantica continually talks and worries about performing masculinity properly, leading to many of his relationship issues later in life, such as feeling unable to vocalize something as simple as "I want you to stay over tonight" because it shows weakness/sentimentality. Fortunately for him, his boyfriend overcompensates with his earnest and lovey-dovey behaviour.

Films — Animated

  • Madagascar 2 lampshades this with Alex wanting to prove to his dad he's a real lion, and Marty doing a little bit of the Deadpan Snarker that everybody thinks when somebody pulls the old "this'll show them I'm a real man" lines.

 Alex: Maybe my dad will think I'm... I want to show him I'm a real lion.

Marty: {sarcastically) As opposed, to a chocolate lion.


Films — Live-Action

Live Action TV

  • Somewhat common in Disney programs, though its generally toned down.

Video Games

Western Animation

  • In an episode of Futurama, Kif tries to be more masculine to impress Amy and her parents. The main way he does this is by smoking, which causes a very bad reaction.
  • Mulan has a song called I'll Make a Man Out Of You where a training montage takes place where the army recruits get better and better at being soldiers. Particularly Ping, the kicker being that the audience is well aware that "Ping" is the very female Mulan in disguise.
    • And it's Mulan having the smarts to figure out how to use the weights to shimmy up the pole and grab the arrow that turns the sequence from a failure montage into a string of Crowning Moments Of Awesome.
  • In one episode of Kim Possible, Ron discovered that his certificate of manhood (signed after his bar mitzvah) wasn't signed. He decided to strive for manliness.

Real Life

  • It has been said that a lot of Teddy Roosevelt's rather over-the-top badassery was motivated by this. All signs seem point to the fact that it totally worked.
  • This is the general philosophy behind the Art of Manliness website.