Bokukko

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"Hmm. Your obstinate personality makes you even cuter!"

A Bokukko is a female character who uses male pronouns. This term arises from the Japanese Pronoun boku, primarily used by boys and young men, and "ko", meaning "girl".[1] Extreme tomboys may prefer the pronoun ore, normally almost exclusively used by "tough guys";[2] the term "ore-onna" (ore-woman) is mostly interchangeable with "bokukko". Also called "bokko".

Like many of the "-kko" terms, this has its place in female archetypes in Anime or Japanese Video Games. Most, but not all, bokukko are tomboys, and not all tomboys are bokukko, as the term revolves solely around the use of the pronoun "boku".

While the use of boku most often signals tomboyishness, it can sometimes signal some other situation, such as not knowing correct societal behavior, or lacking polite speech. Sometimes it can be used to keep a characters gender obscured- is she a boyish girl? Or a bishounen boy?

Whenever a Bokukko that primarily uses the male pronoun permanently switches to primarily using the female pronoun, it's a plot point. When the show is dubbed, however, this will invariably lead to a Dub-Induced Plot Hole due to the lack of gender-specific first person pronouns.

Also, a Bokukko character will usually be addressed with the "-kun" honorific. Although none of this has to be reflected in her appearance, the bokukko is usually either flat-chested or extremely well-endowed. A Dark-Skinned Redhead is likely to be a bokukko, but it's not guaranteed.

A female vocalist may use boku in songs due being being a morae shorter than neutral or feminine equivalents, which is important for music flow.

See also Cute Bruiser, Shorttank. Characters who are tomboyish but don't use male pronouns should not be placed here, but instead under their respective types of Tomboys. It can be very unfortunate to accidentally mix up this word with another one.

Examples of Bokukko include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Miyuki Chitose from The Prince of Tennis. Tezuka even mistook her for a guy until she dropped her Nice Hat and her Girlish Pigtails were revealed.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya's 9th novel, Sasaki is introduced in a flashback. The reader isn't told her gender until later in the flashback, relying on her speech patterns (she talks a lot like Koizumi) and the use of masculine pronouns. The reader, confused by Haruhi's behavior around this "very close friend" of Kyon's, suddenly understands.
    • As it turns out, that doesn't translate too well into English.
      • There's also an illustration of her before she even meets Haruhi; she's wearing a skirt and looking very unambiguously female.
    • Sasaki is an interesting case; she uses male speech patterns with boys, but feminine speech with girls. It's currently unknown why she does this; Kyon just chalks it up to one of her quirks.
  • Sechs from Gunnm was an ore-onna before the Gender Bender.
  • Ritsu Tainaka from K-On. With the exception of using the gender-neutral pronoun "watashi" to refer to herself, Ritsu utilizes quite masculine Japanese in her speech patterns (e.g., using the "yagaru" suffix when she's annoyed, ending sentences with the informal suffixes "-e", "-n" "-da" and "-daro"; and never using feminine suffixes such as "ne" and "wa").
    • When she has to play the part of Juliet in the school play, she's forced to use feminine speech patterns. But then she continues to speak that way even backstage, gets very flustered when she realizes it, and claims that she was still in character.
  • Ryougi Shiki after the car accident from Kara no Kyoukai. Also note that she uses ore instead of boku in order to imitate her lost male persona. At the end of the seventh movie, she switches back to watashi upon accepting the loss of her male persona.
  • Akito Sohma from Fruits Basket addresses herself as boku. This is largely due to the fact that she was forcefully raised as man by her Complete Monster of a mother, and acted like one until she was about twenty.
    • Also Uotani.
  • Yun from Simoun calls herself ore, and it's a significant plot point when she switches to atashi.
  • Likewise, Helena from Claymore both refers to herself as ore and speaks in an extremely masculine dialect.
    • There is no Helena in Claymore, only a Helen. She definitely uses atashi mostly, so she isn't a bokukko, though otherwise she speaks in a rather masculine dialect, calling others omae. The real bokukko is Rachel, who speaks ruder than the men in the series.
  • Happy Lesson's Satsuki. Naturally she's the gym teacher.
  • Buttercup in the Japanese adaptation of The Powerpuff Girls (Kaoru).
  • Kanna Kirishima from Sakura Taisen.
  • Kagura from Azumanga Daioh. Sakaki from the same show is perceived as a Bokukko by her classmates, but actually has very girlish interests—such as petting cats and collecting stuffed animals.
  • Shayla-Shayla from El-Hazard.
  • Makoto a.k.a. Jupiter in Sailor Moon, more obviously in the live action version
    • JunJun of the Amazones Quartet refers to herself with ore. She is also the only member of the Quartet to wear pants (of course, this being the Amazones Quartet, the pants hardly count as pants and you'd be hard pressed to find a guy who would want to wear them, but it still counts for something, right?) According to Naoko Takeuchi, she also talks like a yankee and is a biker chick.
    • Haruka a.k.a. Sailor Uranus uses the "boku" pronoun. Mamoru even refers to her in one episode as "Haruka-kun" because of her boyish personality.
  • Yoruichi in Bleach, whose cat form is often mistaken as male because of the way she refers to herself/voice in anime. She uses the old sounding washi and the cat has a deep male voice.
    • Let's not forget Kuukaku Shiba, who refers to herself as ore.
    • The other tomboys in the series, on the other hand, don't use male pronouns. Tatsuki and Karin use atashi, while Hiyori uses uchi - both very feminine personal pronouns.
    • Hilariously inverted with Urahara, a male who actually uses... atashi to refer to himself. His use of it exaggerates his role of a 'humble' shopkeeper.
  • Souseiseki from Rozen Maiden, although she's more stoic than brash.
  • Ryuunosuke from Urusei Yatsura. "Ore wa onna da zo!" ("I'm a woman!")
    • Lampshaded and made more ridicolous by the resident Ataru and Mendo trying to teach her to talk like a girl and showing themselves really proficient at it.
  • Eve/Abe from Spice and Wolf refers to herself as "ore".
  • Also by Rumiko Takahashi, Akane Tendo from Ranma ½ is an interesting case since it's primarily others who insist on referring to her with male pronouns. Probably because she acts like a tomboy and is the only one in the family that practices martial arts other than her father, and frequently hits anyone she gets angry at. She shows girlish behavior when talking to her pet pig P-Chan/Ryoga, puts on dresses more often than not, attempts (and fails) to act more feminine, and was criticized by Kasumi as a little girl for getting into fights so much that she "sometimes thinks [she has] a little brother". Ranma's usual insults are "You're sooo un-cute!", "Who would wanna marry a tomboy like you, anyway?", and "Flat-chested, pig-loving, short-legged, tomboy...". Incidentally, these insults are what brings back her memory when Shampoo erases them.
    • Ukyo Kuonji seems to be the real Bokukko, since Ukyo uses the word ore to refer to herself. She's also the most boyish of the fiancées (i.e., she goes to school wearing the boys uniform, whereas Akane uses the girls one), but according to Ranma she's still the "cute one" among them.
  • Kei, the more tomboyish half of the Dirty Pair, tends to devolve into this style of speaking whenever she gets particularly angry.
    • In Dirty Pair Flash, she even said "Ore wa onna da!" at least once.
  • Mion Sonozaki from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, who uses ojisan (old man) as a 1st-person pronoun.
    • Both Hanyuu and Rika use boku. This is despite the fact that neither fits the normal pattern for a Bokukko, though in Rika's case, it's probably a habit acquired from Hanyuu. She also uses "watashi" whenever she's not Obfuscating Stupidity.
      • It's stated that Rika used to be a troublemaker and quite similar to the tomboyish Satoko in early worlds, so she counts a bit.
  • Tayune from Inukami!, definitely tomboyish.
  • Salor Maiden Anabel/Tower Tycoon Rera in Pokémon. She also used "boku" to refer to herself in Japanese, and thanks to her short hair and androgynous clothing she was mistaken as a waifish boy in the beginning, even succesfully fooling Brock.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena the titular character uses "boku". In the movie, she's actually mistaken for a guy (despite her bright pink hair). In the TV series, Utena's tomboyish qualities are at times acknowledged by other characters as defining traits for her. One episode (set after Utena's loss in a duel with Touga) explores what a more feminine, Yamato Nadeshiko Utena would be like (and her fangirls were still wet for her). After Wakaba delivers her a Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!, she eventually abandons this in favor of returning to her usual attitude and winning Anthy back.
  • Makoto Kikuchi from The Idolm@ster, who became an Idol Singer to get in touch with her feminine side.
    • The game has a dialogue choice of asking her age or gender, with the latter causing her to insist that she's a girl: "Boku wa onna no ko desu!"
  • In Otomen, Ryo is this type.
  • Nanami Kanroji from School Days. She's tall, boyish, sporty (she's got the scholarship to show it) and straightforward.
  • Nagi in the Boogiepop Series often uses masculine forms of speech, being something of a Bifauxnen whenever she's on the prowl.
  • Sanae "Anego" Nakazawa from Captain Tsubasa started as a Bokukko, evolving into a Shorttank as she grew up.
  • Yukari Kashima from the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series.
  • Akira Sakou from Girls Saurus actually has some very complicated gender identity issues, and dreams about being a boy every single day. Consequentially, she doesn't have a problem with boys seeing her naked and sometimes uses the boys' bathroom... but in a bizarre inversion of Sitch Sexuality, becomes attracted to Shingo because he's the only person who's afraid of her. What's more, she lives in a Big Fancy House and is a total (explicitly identified) Yamato Nadeshiko at home, which only complicates matters further.
    • The fact that her attraction to Shingo resembles nothing so much as an athlete being attracted to a teammate doesn't make matters simpler, either.
  • School Rumble has a short few.
  • Strangely for the sheer number of girls in the story, Mahou Sensei Negima doesn't seem to have one among the main cast. There is only the very minor character Fuka Narutaki, who is described by Akamatsu as being the tougher and more boyish of the Narutaki twins.
  • Beth from Petite Princess Yucie uses ore. She is one tough cookie, alright.
  • Hungary from Axis Powers Hetalia. When she was a young Cute Bruiser, she assumed that she would grow up to be a boy and that everyone eventually grew a penis. She eventually grew into a Ninja Maid Cool Big Sis, even marrying one of the two Team Dads in the cast.
  • Kino from Kino's Journey confusingly alternates between "boku" and "atashi".
    • She only uses "atashi" in flashbacks when she's still conflicted about her identity. It's an Establishing Character Moment when she switches to "boku" for good.
  • Hinagiku, aka Angel Daisy from Wedding Peach uses ore, even while wearing a pretty yellow wedding dress.
  • Played with in Video Girl Ai. Lead female Ai Amano was supposed to be a Yamato Nadeshiko, but since her video was played in a broken VCR, she became a Tsundere-ish Bokukko. She refers to herself as "ore", i.e.
    • Moemi Hayakawa invokes the trope when she cuts her hair short and starts acting and speaking more boyishly to appeal to Youta. It doesn't work. In the end, she keeps her hair short but returns to her Yamato Nadeshiko self.
  • Asa Shigure and her Hot Shounen Mom, Ama in SHUFFLE!.
  • Ursula from Kiki's Delivery Service is pretty much textbook bokukko. A girl in her late teens living on her own during the summer in a cabin in the woods, Ursula is the embodiment of the strong-willed independence commonly desired by Japanese girls. Those attributes do make her come off as somewhat of a Tomboy, but her choice of attire leaves no doubt she's all woman, except when a stranger giving her and Kiki a lift into town said she had "boy's legs". Her response to that was more of "Some people..." rather than indignation, indicating she's quite comfortable being bokukko.
  • There's always Yu-Gi-Oh! GX's Yubel for a rather creepy example. Technically, Yubel is more of a he/she considering the whole hermaphrodite thing. However, s/he's constantly proclaiming her love for Judai, and was originally a human girl.
  • Ukitsu from Ikki Tousen uses "boku".
  • Tomokane from GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class does not use boku—she uses ore, among other things that would lead to Viewer Gender Confusion.
  • In Maria Holic, Villainous Crossdresser Mariya uses "watashi" for his demure feminine persona and "ore" when alone or with people who know she's a he. His Half Identical Twin Shizu uses "boku" when maintaining her Wholesome Crossdresser masquerade.
  • In Change 123, the female protagonist has Split Personality. One of her alternative personalities is Hibiki who, on the one hand, is a very aggressive and tomboyish Blood Knight karateka and refers to herself as "ore", but on the other hand she can be very gentle (and sexually very extrovert) to her Love Interest, and at times her emotional vulnerability can also be seen.
  • Though she's trying to act more feminine, Hinagiku of Hayate the Combat Butler is called particularly masculine by her friends.
  • Subverted in Zetsuai1989. Kouji Nanjo thought that the angry, spirited, tormented child he met as a kid in the soccer courts was a Bokukko... but she WAS a boy. Cue Gayngst when he finds out the truth, several years later.
  • This term might be applicable to Chrona from Soul Eater...or not, depending on what the authors finally decide her/his gender to be.
  • In Wandering Son, Takatsuki Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. Everybody refers to her as Takatsuki-kun. Subverted when she was on the town with her friend who wants to be a girl and she noticed that he still uses "boku" when talking to her, even when wearing a dress. She says it suits him and says that she'll continue to use "watashi" despite dressing like a boy.
    • A meta example happens with Nitori. He identifies as female, and is quite a Yamato Nadeshiko, however still refers to himself as "boku".
  • So Ra No Wo To's resident Wrench Wench Noël.
  • Priss didn't usually call herself "ore" in Bubblegum Crisis—she only started doing so in Bubblegum Crash, after Ryoko Tachikawa replaced Kinuko Oomori as her voice actress.
  • Hideyoshi from Baka to Test To Shokanju uses the even rarer "washi"; that would make Hideyoshi a "washikko".
    • Although this example is subverted since Hideyoshi is actually a guy yet no one cares.
    • *giggles hysterically*
    • Aiko Kudou suits this trope better, as she does use "boku" to refer to herself, but is no less feminine.
  • In Darker than Black Ryuusei no Gemini, Suou Pavlichenko, the new female protagonist uses Boku. This doesn't help the fact that the she looks almost the same as her twin brother if she is hiding her hair
  • Ookami-san's Ryoko Ookami, who fits both the "masculine pronoun" and "tomboyish appearance" parts of the trope.
  • Risky, from Risky☆Safety refers to herself as "ore."
  • Yellow from Pokémon Special started using "boku" when she disguised herself as a boy, and continued afterward.
  • In The World God Only Knows Yui Goudou starts using "boku" and begins dressing like a boy after she returns to her body.
  • Yagyuu Kyuubei from Gintama- it was used to conceal her Bifauxnen throughout the arc in which she was introduced.
    • Tatsumi, the fire fighter, uses "ore" and also refers to herself as "onii-chan" when speaking to children. It's likely that she adopted this way of speaking due to being raised in a very masculine environment; her adoptive father believes that women can't be fire fighters, but Tatsumi still idolizes him and wants to follow in his footsteps.
  • Itsuki from Heartcatch Pretty Cure because of her Wholesome Crossdresser situation. As Cure Sunshine, she uses "watashi."
  • Yozora did this during her childhood days with Hasegawa Kodaka from the light novel Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai.
  • Between this and her boyish personality Lizzy from Seikon no Qwaser is mistaken for a boy by many characters, until she takes off her underwear.
  • Tomonori/Yuki/Maelstrom from Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka. In fact, her speech patterns, not just the pronouns, are entirely like a boy's, so much such that initially, Ayumu mistook her for a guy. The reason why she's called Tomonori is because it's how you would read the kanji of her name, if it was a guy's name.
  • Natsuki "Detective of the South" Koshimizu from Detective Conan. She doubles as Bifauxnen, and it's thanks to this combination that she ends up dropping a reverse bridget on Heiji, Conan and Hakuba.
  • Madoka Ayukawa from Kimagure Orange Road used to be a Bokukko as a child, so much that she's mistaken as a boy by a time-travelling Kyousuke. She switches to Tsundere years later.
  • Tsugumi Higashijuujou in Cyber Team in Akihabara is a 13-year-old girl who uses "ore".
  • Elliot Chandler of Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~ uses "boku" on herself.
  • Akira Okuzaki of My-HiME uses "ore", as she is pretending to be a boy.
  • Mayu from Nekogami Yaoyorozu talks just like Yoruichi right down to the use of "Washi".
  • Alice from Kamisama no Memochou use "boku" to addresses herself.
  • Charles/ Charlotte Dunois of Infinite Stratos addresses him/ herself as 'boku,' despite being a Yamato Nadeshiko.
  • Tayune from Inukami!. Fitting as she's the token tomboy of Kaoru's harem.
  • Okusama wa Mahou Shoujo has Chane speaking with like this. She, like her twin sister, also dresses in a Victorian boy's style.
  • Persona 4: The Animation has Wholesome Crossdresser Naoto Shirogane.
  • Touhara Asuha from Lotte no Omocha, justified because she was raised by her single father.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Music[edit | hide]

  • La Roux - The name chosen by the the band's singer; a mixture of "la rousse" (redhead female) and "le roux" (redhead male).
  • Hitomi Yoshizawa, from Morning Musume, does not use the masculine pronouns, but it's been noted by other members and persons in talk shows that the rest of her speech is quite masculine.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Hazuki of Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito. Is also Tall, Dark and Bishoujo.
    • Interestingly, she uses the more masculine "ore" in the manga version.
  • Sakura from Da Capo uses Boku, despite only being slightly tom-boyish and a lolita.
  • Gemini Sunrise from the fifth Sakura Wars game uses "Boku" in the Japanese script. In addition, her twin sister/dual personality Geminine uses "Ore".
  • Rhyme from The World Ends With You. Not really obvious in the American version.
  • Material-L, Fate's Evil Twin in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Battle of Aces, who overuses "boku" as part of her highly aggressive personality.
    • In all of the opening theme songs, plus insert songs "Take a Shot", "Brave Phoenix", and "Pray", the singer, Nana Mizuki, uses "boku". This is fairly common in singing or poetry, because "watashi" can sometimes throw off the meter.
  • Lyndis aka Lyn from FE 7.
    • Princess Tiltyu from FE 4 aka Seisen no Keifu, too. Her speech patterns are rougher than the other women in Sigurd's army, though it's not really alluded to by other charas.
  • Chat from Tales of Eternia.
  • Naoto Shirogane in Persona 4 pulls this trope off so well (in the game-verse at least) that everyone is convinced that she's actually a guy.
  • Cheldia Rouge, one of the female leads in Super Robot Wars K.
  • It's explained in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess that the character of Ashei was raised by her widowed father, an exiled knight, who basically treated her as a boy. She's a really good warrior, and cute with a nice figure, but doesn't know much about social niceties and is a little self-conscious about it.
  • The Justice refers to herself as "boku" in the Japanese version of Magical Drop 3. Fittingly, she's a tomboyish Hot Chick with a Sword.
  • In Touhou fanon, Wriggle "I'm a girl!" Nightbug gets this treatment quite a bit, due to her androgynous appearance.
    • Although Marisa Kirisame behaves tomboyishly and ends her sentences with "ze", a masculine sentence end which indicates force and command, she doesn't use "ore", and depicting her doing so is memetically a sign of posers who try to write Touhou Doujinshi without being familiar with the fandom.
  • May from Guilty Gear, who is also a Cute Bruiser. From the same game, Hot Amazon Baiken uses ore to refer to herself.
  • Nagi from Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two., claims to use Boku because it's easier to say than Watashi. Two syllables versus three. Go figure.
  • The Tokimeki Memorial series host a few of them. 1 has Nozomi Kiyokawa ; 2 has Akane Ichimonji ; and 4 has Itsuki Maeda.
  • Anna Hottenmeyer from Mr. Driller has a very tomboyish behavior and uses "boku".
  • Elh from Solatorobo. Her companions actually mistake her for a boy initially, which doesn't make as much sense in the translated version of the game, due to the lack of Japanese pronouns.
  • The Dept. Heaven series has a long-standing tradition of including at least one of these in every game:
  • Razzly from Chrono Cross refers to herself as boku, possibly because she's the closest thing the game has to a male fairy (who are all female). Kid uses ore while calling herself a "cute, frail girl" in one breath.


Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • Ayu from Kanon—although Yuuichi tries to make her switch to the even more masculine ore.
    • In the original game, you get a choice of trying to switch her to the masculine ore, the gender-neutral watashi or the very girly atashi.


Western Animation[edit | hide]


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The seiyuu Akeno Watanabe uses boku in real life. And voices many tomboys, too.
  • While it's very rare, some real Japanese girls do use masculine pronouns. Those who do so fall into three types—girls who use them as a feminist statement, those who do it to imitate anime and game characters to be cutesy, and very young (preschool-age) girls who haven't been trained to use traditionally feminine pronouns by societal pressure. The Japanese page on this phenomenon on The Other Wiki notes that this is a very recent trend. See also this case study on use of boku vs. use of watashi in young girls.
  1. Technically it means "child", but it's generally used for feminine names and titles
  2. Yes, that includes Internet Tough Guys