Sensitive Guy and Manly Man

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The Spear Counterpart to Tomboy and Girly Girl.

What makes Odd Couples odd is that they pit together people with conflicting personalities in hopes that hilarity will ensue. A common variant is to have two male characters that are at the opposite ends of masculinity.

One guy will be your everyday Macho Man. He's rough, aggressive, and strong (or at least that's how he sees himself). He loves sports, cars, power tools, and general physical activity. The other guy in contrast will be much "softer". He loves poetry, literature, art, and is generally more In Touch with His Feminine Side.

Occasionally these personality traits extend to their looks. The Macho Man will be tall and well-muscled. The Sensitive Guy will be more slender. Anime usually gives him a Bishounen look while Western production might go for a more nerdy one.

They may have an Odd Friendship or will be Those Two Guys in an ensemble cast. More frequently they are rivals or even enemies, especially in schoolyard settings. This is because the Manly Man may see the Sensitive Guy as a "wuss" for not displaying stereotypical masculine behavior. Similarly, the Sensitive Guy may resent the Manly Man for perpetuating those stereotypes in the first place. This is very apparent if the two are caught in a Love Triangle as the female will theoretically choose which of them she sees fulfilling the role of "man" best.

These two tend to get into a lot of Ho Yay or Foe Yay which tends to drive a certain group of fans wild. If they're an actual romantic couple, they'll get Uke and Seme comparisons too. Related to Red Oni, Blue Oni with the Manly Man almost always Red and the Sensitive Guy almost always Blue. Also related to Power Trio with the Manly Man usually the id and the Sensitive Guy usually the superego.

Like its Tomboy and Girly Girl counterpart, this can run the risk of Unfortunate Implications / Family Unfriendly Aesops if done wrong. Sitcoms are especially guilty of this as the main character often will be a Manly Man and if he's given a Sensitive Guy friend or neighbor as a foil, many jokes will be made at the latter's expense especially if he commits the grievous sin of being into opera instead of sports. On the other hand, the Manly Man can often be portrayed as boorish, mean and stupid if he prefers hiking and hunting to sewing.

This of course is a relative not an absolute contrast. The "sensitive guy" need not be a Dirty Coward, nor need the "manly man" be a Jerkass. And of course on a Badass Crew, to some degree everyone will be a "manly man". And as you want the characters to be likable, you do want most of them to have some characteristics of a "sensitive guy". And so on. The point of the trope is in the contrast between the pair. Often also used as a way to indicate that works relying on Mars and Venus Gender Contrast still have room for at least more than one stereotype per gender.

Expect the Action Hero to be a Manly Man and the Action Survivor to be a Sensitive Guy in an Action Duo. Compare Sibling Yin-Yang and Blue Oni Red Oni. When the Manly Man happens to be a woman it is a case of Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy. Contrast Emotional Bruiser where they combine. Compare with Noble Male, Roguish Male, where the Noble Male is still considered to be "manly" in a chivalrous fashion.

Examples of Sensitive Guy and Manly Man include:

Anime and Manga

  • Randy McLean aka Ryo and his partner and eventual boyfriend Dee Laytner from FAKE.
  • Bleach plays this trope straight with Ichigo (manly man) to Ishida (sensitive guy), Sado (manly man) and Ishida (sensitive guy), Hanatarou (sensitive guy) and Ganju (manly man), Love (manly man) and Rose (sensitive guy), and 9th Division Lieutenant Hisagi (manly man) and 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru (sensitive guy).
    • Yasutora "Chad" Sado is a very interesting take on the trope. He has the perfect Manly Man looks as well as powers befitting his The Big Guy positiobn (Power Fist, Power Armor, Super Strength). However, his behavior is pure Sensitive Guy: he's soft-spoken, polite, with good school grades, an animal and cuteness lover, and a Martial Pacifist who will ONLY fight if his friends are in trouble. In few, Chad has the best of both archetypes, and can play both roles depending on who his partner is: with Ishida he's the Manly Man, but with Ichigo he's the Sensitive Guy.
    • The anime plays straight with Ikkaku (manly man) and Yumichika (sensitive guy) through a considerable softening of Yumichika's character. There's something of a subversion going on in the manga and databooks: Ikkaku's good at meditation and inner communion and was more in touch with Kenpachi's feelings than Yumichika. Yumichika's true idea of beauty is that only flowers are beautiful and people can only achieve it at the moment they're torn to death. While Ikkaku merely told some slackers they were idiots for getting caught, Yumichika told them he'd kill them if they didn't do a perfect job. Lampshaded when Yumichika and Ganju fought where Ganju played sensitive guy to Yumichika's aggression by observing how sadistic Yumichika's personality really was.
    • Kugo Ginjou and Shuukuro Tsukishima. Ginjou has the masculine, muscular "bad boy" look and rough personality and fights with a a huge broadsword. Tsukishima tends to come across as more elegant, Bishonen, fights with a sleek katana and behaves more politely. However, like the Ikkaku/Yumichika dynamic there's a partial subversion going on where Ginjou has more of a "what you see is what you get" roughness to him who has to try and keep in check Tsukishima's apparent sadistic enjoyment of breaking the minds of his victims which he hides under a civilised veneer that's only skin-deep.
  • Dragonball Z has Goku and Vegeta, respectively.
    • In this case, the characters' relative appearances are inverted, with Goku being taller and more physically imposing than Vegeta, who's shorter than his wife.
  • Harlem Beat: there are Sakurai-Umakure, Imagawa-Kobayashi, and Takao-Yuuta.
  • Mahou Shounen Majorian blurs the line between this and Tomboy and Girly Girl with Iori and Masaru. Cute Shotaro Boy (and the object of Shotacon feelings from one of Masaru's sisters) Iori is extremely feminine in appearance and manner, and Masaru is a typical boy who plays sports and doesn't like girls because he has four obnoxious sisters.
    • Then they're both turned into magical girls by aliens who mistook Iori for a girl. Naturally, Masaru has a huge problem with that.
  • Simon and Kamina are like this at the start of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. By the end of the series, though, Simon grows into the Manly Man role fantastically. Kamina even says that Simon's become more of a man than him during Simon's time in the Lotus Eater Machine.
  • The Irresponsible Captain Tylor plays this straight for laughs early on. Two terrorists seize a building, one of them an effeminate "sensitive guy" and the other one more traditionally manly, despite being an alien.
  • Hubb and Quent in Wolf's Rain.
  • Sort of inverted in The Prince of Tennis with the doubles pair of Ohtori and Shishido. Choutarou Ohtori, the taller, physically stronger of the two, is sensitive and nice (he even plays classical violin and wishes for world peace), while Ryou Shishido is shorter, louder, bad-tempered and much more butch (he even has the scars to prove it!).
    • Another subverted example would be Seiichi Yukimura and Genichirou Sanada. The first is polite, soft-spoken, with a frail health and long hair... pretty much a male Yamato Nadeshiko, it seems; the other is very tall, stern and basically the Kendo Team Captain in a tennis setting. The subversion comes from Yukimura being the captain of their team as well as a Knight Templar Magnificent Bastard when it comes to tennis, and Sanada being extremely devoted to Yukimura - like a Samurai's devotion to his feudal lord (and yes, they're one of the most popular Ho Yay couples in the fandom).
    • Hiroshi Yagyuu (Genius Bruiser, Officer and a Gentleman) and Masaharu Nioh (White-Haired Pretty Boy, Master of Disguise) play it a bit more straight... unless you count the manga, where they impersonate each other perfectly)
    • It can be said that every doubles pair, rival pair and/or captain and vice-captain duo plays around with the trope in different degrees. Tezuka and Fuji, Tezuka and Oishi, Oishi and Eiji, Momo and Ryoma...
  • Sort of subverted and followed for Hidan and Kakuzu from Naruto. Kakuzu is the thoughtful, more articulate, less aggressive and more strategy-based man of the duo. But he is stronger than Hidan, and he looks more manly. Hidan, on the other hand, is overly aggressive, loves to cuss and insult, and is very confrontational and arrogant. They certainly bicker a lot, and quite a bit of it has to do with Kakuzu getting annoyed with Hidan being rash and not thinking things through, with Hidan thinking that Kakuzu is a wuss that's too reserved. All in all though, Kakuzu would generally be the Sensitive Guy and Hidan would follow the Macho Guy role.
    • In recent flashbacks, Nagato who later becomes Pain is the Sensitive Guy to the Manly Man Yahiko.
    • Shikamaru and Chouji are an interesting example, since Chouji looks like the Manly Man and is physically stronger but is in fact much more sensitive and softer than the more rational Shikamaru.
    • Hatake Kakashi and Maito Guy. Kakashi is still torn up with guilt over the deaths of his first teammates, and visits their gravestones regularly. While Gai is hot-blooded and can punch so fast, the sheer air friction alone causes fire, and can create explosions just by tapping his fists.
  • From Monster, Roberto is burly, loves to fight, and is generally as manly can be. Johan is beautiful, well-read and highly intellectual, and far more in touch with his feminine side. Why do they even associate with each other? Johan likes to make use of Roberto's muscle to kill people and ruin their lives during those pesky times when he's too busy driving small children or his sister to nearly kill themselves or otherwise proving why he's been compared to both Hitler and the Antichrist, while Roberto is completely in love with Johan.
  • Ranma ½, Genma and Soun.
  • Majic and Orphen from Sorcerer Stabber Orphen. To a degree, also Orphen and Hartia, as well as Lai and Hartia.
    • Arguably, also Childman and Orphen.
  • Ryu and Joe in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, sort of. Ryu is definitely the softer-hearted of the two but is far from "in touch with his feminine side". Joe is definitely a guy's guy but in a more grizzled way rather than oozing testosterone. Ken and Joe's dynamic is sort of a subversion; Ken only looks the part of the doe-eyed sensitive one, but it's his repression of emotions that leads to some rather ugly outbursts.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross Hikaru with Roy, Hayato, or Max.
  • In fitting with their girlfriends being the Tomboy and Girly Girl of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, motorcycle-riding boxer Hamasaki Masahiro and junior Keet Shiroi Nagisa are Manly and Not, respectively.
  • Badass thief Ray/Noir and emotional aristocrat Florian from the manga Gorgeous Carat.
  • Several duos in Axis Powers Hetalia. More noticeably: Germany and Italy, Austria and either Switzerland or Prussia, China and either Hong Kong or South Korea, Canada and America, respectively.
    • Macau (Sharp-Dressed Man, Megane) is a potential secondary Sensitive Guy in the Asian group.
    • Or, arguably, a chain: Prussia is Manly Man to Sensitive Guy Germany, then Germany to Austria, Austria to Spain, Spain to South Italy...
    • Subverted with Finland and Sweden. They look the part, but Sweden is actually a mix of Gentle Giant, Big Guy and Huge Schoolgirl so he doesn't completely fits as Manly Man. Let's not forget that the Boisterous Bruiser of the duo is actually Finland, if we check the "Swedish/Polish wars" strip, and that Sweden actually likes sewing and is the one who takes active measures to adopt a child (re: Sealand, whom he "purchases" off the internet). The fun of the Sweden/Finland duo is seeing how the dynamics are played with among them.
    • Of the Italies, Lovino/South acts tougher than Feliciano/North but is just as sensitive.
      • Adding to the Romano-thing, Spain and him (respectively), although Romano just acts tough, and is actually a whiny little crybaby like his brother.
    • One of the oddest/funniest examples is the Poland/Lithuania duo. Liet fits the Sensitive Guy part nicely in looks and behavior, whereas Poland is outspoken, cheerful and stubborn like several Manly Men... and is also a Wholesome Crossdresser who talks like a Valley Girl.
    • Greece fits in both sides of the spectrum, acting as Manly Man to his good friend (and one-time lover) Japan and as Sensitive Guy to his much hated arch-rival Turkey.
    • And during Hetalia Bloodbath 2010 Iceland and Turkey. Ship Tease ensues.
    • If we go to character designs, Norway and Denmark seemingly fit the trope as well.
      • Though, admittedly, Norway's new official art has him looking a lot more badass than anyone anticipated.
        • ... While keeping his hairpin and serious expression. That, and Norway's unafraid to lash out at Denmark if he goes stupid, as the "Brother" strip shows.
    • Moe Couplet and Toy Ship version: Latvia and Sealand.
    • Fan works usually apply this dynamic to Wales and Scotland (both confirmed to be male).
    • Lithuania (sensitive guy) to Russia (manly man).
    • As of Hetaween 2011 and the Hetalia Bloodbath 2011, it seems we have a new SG/MM duo: Bulgaria (Sensitive) and Romania (Manly).
  • Quatre and Trowa in Gundam Wing (though Trowa is quite sensitive when needed as well).
  • Touya Kinomoto and Yukito Tsukishiro in Cardcaptor Sakura. As well as their counterparts (King Touya and High Priest Yukito) in Tsubasa.
  • This is probably the reason there are so many Yaoi Doujinshi about Kenshin (short and lean Warrior Poet and homemaker in his spare time, with a pink kimono and white hakama as his most remarkable outfit) and Sanosuke (immature, Hot-Blooded lancer, former professional brawler, appropiately One Head Taller). It doesn't help that everybody is gay for Kenshin.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has Quintessential British Gentleman Negi Springfield and his best friend and rival, Hot-Blooded Wolf Man Kotarou Inugami.
  • The villain Ho Yay duo Kunzite and Zoicite from Sailor Moon
  • Akito and Gai from Martian Successor Nadesico.
  • Hilarious and endearing subversion in My-HiME. Ill Boy Takumi Tohiha and his buff roommate Akira Okuzaki fit perfectly in the archetype, and they even have a group of girls as their in-universe fans, but Akira is actually a young girl who's pulling a Sweet Polly Oliver to fulfill her Hime mission better. And later, Takumi finds out as he accidentally sees Akira undressing, doesn't mind the truth... and they fall in love. Aaaaaaw.
  • Chika Akatsuki and Shito Tachibana from Zombie Loan, although they don't quite fit the standard definition...
  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn: Tsuna is the sensitive guy to Gokudera's slightly more manly man, who also harbors considerable Ho Yay towards Tsuna.
    • There's also Yamamoto (sensitive) and Gokudera (manly).
  • The blood brothers Toki and Raoh from Fist of the North Star have this kind of relationship, with the former being a healer who treats the sick and the latter a tyrannical conqueror. Of course, Toki can kick as much ass as his brother Raoh, its just that he's more reserved about it and only does it when necessary.
  • Saiyuki: Goku is the sensitive guy to Gojyo's manly man, and the manly man to Hakkai's sensitive guy.
  • Played with in SWOT. Iwashida, the sensitive guy, is fairly typical since was the weakly kid who was always victimized by the Delinquents in his school. He's also all about being loyal to his newfound friendships. The manly man is Manabizaki who is crass, arrogant, routinely beats up delinquents, and has a Hair-Trigger Temper. He's also a "swot," someone who studies way too much, and is initially dismissed as a harmless nerd,
  • Sakura Gari: Masataka (sensitive) to Souma (manly) are a Yaoi (and very twisted) version of this.
    • As well as Souma and Dr. Katsuragi. And Masataka actually is the Sensitive Guy to his older brother Takafumi, but the Manly Man (not by THAT much) to his younger brother Mitsugu. Respectively there's also Youya and Masataka.
  • In Yellow, Goh is the more macho of the duo, whereas Taki takes the sensitive guy role as he increasingly gains woobie points.
  • Shun (sensitive) and either Hyoga or Ikki (manly) from Saint Seiya.
    • Again, there are many partnerships/rivalries/brother duos that play with this concept to different degrees: Shun and Hyoga, Shiryu and Seiya, Seiya and Jabu, Aiolos and Aiolia, Asterion and Moses, Hyoga and Isaac, Kanon and Saga, Milo and Camus, Mu and Shiryu, Shiryu and Ohko, Aphrodite and Deathmask...
  • Professor Go(sensitive guy) and Chujo(manly man) from Giant Robo. Professor Go is always getting overcome with emotion and crying, but Chujo keeps walking along as a stoic paragon of masculinity. Naturally the two are best friends.
  • Mikael and Raphael from Tenshi ni Narumon mostly play it straight - visually, Mikael is of slight build, feminine looking and Raphael is more muscular and manly looking in comparison. In terms of personality though, they have lots of shades of their opposite spectrum - Mikael is mostly cold, stubborn and shows that he can be pretty aggressive and determined when the need arises, while Raphael has rather mellow and carefree attitude and shows lots of kindness towards not only Mikael, but also Noelle and Natsumi. That said, the last episode plays it straight again, though - in the climax scene, it shows that Mikael is totally dependable on his teacher and helpless without his help, while Raphael appears as a strict and unbending, leaving his student to clean up the mess his responsible for.
  • Eyeshield 21: Rikiya Gaou and Hiromi Kisiragi of the Hakushuu Dinosaurs. Interestingly, they are both Blood Knights who share an obsession with physical strength and power and serve as Co-Dragons to Big Bad Marco; the difference is in their appearances and attitude, with Gaou being a beefy lineman who loves direct assault for its own sake, while Kisiragi is a mincing Bishonen who waxes eloquently about the beauty of raw destruction.
  • In Wild Rock, Yuuen is the small and pretty Non-Action Guy and Emba is the cheesecake Hunter-Trapper with a big sword.
  • Death the Kid is the sensitive guy to Black*Star's manly man in Soul Eater. This is most easily noticeable in the episode where they go to find Excalibur together, and Kid winds up riding on Black*Star's back, so as to avoid the water on the floor. Oddly enough, this is the episode where they become friends.
  • Two sets from D.Gray-man:1st Allen Walker and Yu Kanda. 2nd Froi Tiedall and Cross Marian.
  • Sion is the sensitive guy to Nezumi's manly man in No. 6. Sion is a Adorkable sweet Nice Guy while Nezumi is a Badass Jerk with a Heart of Gold. They also have a lot of Ho Yay between them.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula has Hayato Kazami (sensitive guy) to both Naoki Shinjyo and Bleed Kaga's manly men, although Kaga is less muscular and more cheerful (in the first 2 series) than the standard manly man.
    • Hayato and Johji Ohtomo played the sensitive guys to Shinjyo's manly man. Interestingly, Ohtomo's more muscular than Hayato and Shinjyo.
    • For side characters, Gudelhian and Heinel and Bootsvorz and Osamu. Katagiri plays the sensitive guy to Shinjyo's manly man.
  • D.N.Angel: Daisuke (sensitive guy) to Satoshi or Dark or Saehara (manly men).
  • Kyon (the manly man) and Itsuki (the sensitive guy) in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
    • Slightly subverted in their case, as Kyon is a Non-Action Guy while Itsuki is an esper who fights giants and his Hidden Badass side comes out in latter novels.


  • The superheroes Hawk and Dove (the originals) would qualify.
  • Apollo and Midnighter, Apollo being the sweet-natured, long-haired beauty and Midnighter being the gruff, leather-clad Anti-Hero. They're both extremely badass, though, and come across as equally Invisible to Gaydar.
  • Nite Owl and Rorschach.
  • Archie Comics has Dilton and Moose.
  • British Kid's comics usually work on the "schoolyard rivals" model. Dennis the Menace bullies Walter the Softy, Bully Beef is regularly outsmarted by Chips, Smudge refuses to be clean like Percival Prim, Tough Nut picks on Softy Centre etc. Which character the reader is supposed to root for varies from story to story, but it's often the tough kid, further perpetuating the stereotype.
  • Batman (manly) and Robin (sensitive), except when the Robin is Jason Todd.


  • Big Trouble in Little China is a subversion of this, as Jack Burton is a tough-talking manly man (played by Kurt Russell) and Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) is sentimental and very much in love with Chinese Girl Miao Yin. But when the fighting starts, Wang turns out to know kung fu, while Jack's Good Old Fisticuffs are almost completely ineffective.
  • The Narrator and Tyler from Fight Club. One wonders why they would even be friends until we find out that they are the same person.
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance stars James Stewart and John Wayne. This trope is sort of in place by default.
  • The Fifth Element, even if the sissy boy is the ladies' man.
  • Murder By Numbers has Richard Haywood and Justin Pendleton. Richie's a blond-haired, popular, swaggering womaniser (though with a metrosexual streak a mile wide) who seems to be mostly interested in sex, money, showing off, and driving his Mustang. Justin's big on literature and being intellectual, as well as fanboying over Nietzsche, and is smaller, far smarter, and occasionally wears glasses. They have an... odd friendship, possibly forged on the exclusive basis of being evil and having immense amounts of sexual tension.
  • Harry and Perry from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; in an unusual twist, 'Gay Perry' is a Manly Gay, while Harry is the more wussy straight one.
  • Another Kurt Russell version of this is in the original Stargate film with his character Col. Jack O'Neill and James Spader's version of Dr. Daniel Jackson. The series downplays this quite a bit, with Jack turning out to be much smarter than he leads people to believe and Daniel getting tougher as the series progresses.
  • Goodspeed and Mason in The Rock.
  • Played with in The Other Guys. At first it looks like Extreme Doormat Allen (Will Ferrell) is the sensitive one and cynical Terry who wants to be The Hero (Mark Wahlberg) is the manly one. But then again, Allen is the ladies man with anger management issues while Terry is the one who knows ballet and how to play the harp.
  • Thor and Loki are an extreme version of this until Character Development kicks in.
  • Serge and François in Les Roseaux sauvages (Wild Reeds). Serge: he's good at math and bad at French, he's macho, good at sports, into girls, and he's a country lad who wants to work on his parents' farm. François: he's good at French and bad at math, he's quiet, he has a heart condition that means he can't play sports, he's into film and literature, his best friend's a girl, he introduces Serge to the Big City (Toulouse, in this case) and he's into guys. François falls in love with Serge, who cannot reciprocate.
  • Comes up in Trevor. Thirteen-year-old Trevor likes Diana Ross, musical theatre and writing in his diary. He falls in unrequited love with the star of the intermediate baseball team.
  • Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr in X-Men: First Class, both in their physique as well as their philosophies and methods.
  • The Avengers gives us the Odd Friendship variant on this trope when introverted, tormented Bruce Banner and snarky show-off Tony Stark hit it off as soon as they meet.


  • Jacob and his brother Esau make this trope Older Than Feudalism.
  • Jane Austen Loves This Trope (as Louisa May Alcott Loves Tomboy and Girly Girl):
    • Pride and Prejudice: Mr. Darcy is the Troubled but Cute loner (the Bad Boy of his time), and his best friend Mr. Bingley is perfect, charming, agreeable, and too easily swayed by others.
    • Sense and Sensibility has shy, sweet Edward Ferrars and world-weary ex-soldier Colonel Brandon whose favourite hobby is "suffering quietly".
    • Also, in Emma there's Mr Knightley, the very organised authority figure who always speaks his mind (in a way that could potentially be misconstrued as rude) and Frank Churchill, who loves parties and dancing at balls.
    • Northanger Abbey has two brothers. The elder, Captain Tilney is a soldier who likes 'sowing his wild oats' whereas his younger brother Henry is a clergyman who likes reading novels.
  • To an extent, Crowley and Aziraphale from Good Omens fit this trope, although this might also be because they are a Demon and an Angel, respectively. It should also be noted that the reason they each like the other so much is because Crowley sees Aziraphale as being just enough of a bastard to like, and Aziraphale sees Crowley as just enough of a good person not to hate, much to both of their chagrin.
  • In Harry Potter, the brunette Sirius Black is witty, temperamental and loudmouthed (manly man), while the sandy-blond Remus Lupin is calm, quiet and collected (sensitive guy). Even their hair shows it.
  • In The Lord of the Rings Boromir and Faramir, sons of the Steward of Gondor, fit this trope to a "T": Boromir is a mighty warrior and military leader, interested in warfare and little else, Faramir loves poetry and lore (although he's also a soldier). In this case, the difference is mostly one of attitude- Boromir loves fighting and being a soldier for its own sake (though he's guided by a strong sense of honor and duty) while Faramir views soldiering as a service he must render for the good of his people even though he's a scholar by inclination.
    • And to a lesser extent, Sam seems to be tougher and has a bigger inclination towards violence than Frodo, but this might be due to the ferocity with which he protects him.
  • Balthamos and Baruch in His Dark Materials, with the first described as being more delicate and weaker than the second. Guess what their relationship is
  • Nick and Alan in The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. Since they're brothers it also makes them a case of Sibling Yin-Yang.
  • Njáll and Gunnar in Njáls Saga. Gunnar is the stereotyped Viking Boisterous Bruiser. Njáll is a wise sage, and a clever lawyer and interclan diplomat.
  • C.L. Moore's Northwest Smith and Yarol the Venusian provide an interesting variation on the trope. While Smith is a rugged, muscular space cowboy and Yarol is a delicate-looking young man who resembles a choirboy, the former occasionally displays flashes of sensitivity whereas the latter doesn't possess a shred of kindness or decency.
  • The Hardy Boys books use this for Frank and Joe. Frank is the more intellectual, cool-headed brother who likes art, literature, and strategy. Joe is the athletic hot-headed sports-fan who likes to charge in head first. While this only showed up in faint traces in earlier books, in more recent series, after a small bit of Flanderization, it's become much more prominent, with the boys actually arguing about which is the better tactic when in comes to solving a case.
  • In Hunger Games, Peeta is the Sensitive Guy, and Gale is the Manly Man.
  • Played with in Darkfall by Dean Koontz. Two supporting characters are introduced early on, the meek-looking, bowtie-wearing Nevetsky and the tough, mean-looking Blaine. Jack Dawson assumes Nevetsky is the Sensitive Guy and Blaine the Manly Man; in reality, the big and tough Blaine is the kind and gentle one while the less intimidating-looking Nevetsky is the loudmouthed, antagonistic brutish one.

Live Action TV

  • NCIS has McGee, who is more or less a Camp Straight, and Tony, who, hiding behind the Jerkass Facade, constantly derides him for it. Interestingly, McGee's 'soft side' tends to get him dates; Tony, more of a slick womanizer by nature, often sticks his foot into his mouth by making fun of McGee's feminine tendencies in front of sympathetic ladies.
    • It's also played with in that, while Tony is a tough guy type, more physically capable and stereotypically masculine than McGee (he's a street-smart athlete to McGee's academia and noodle-arm), he's also a dedicated follower of fashion where McGee wore the same suit for his first four seasons. He makes fun of McGee for moisturising, but he spends $100 on a tie.
  • Home Improvement. Tim was a tool-loving manly-grunting man and Al was the sensitive and overly emotional type (though still very burly and masculine-looking). Being a real man was one of the show's main themes and Al's sissy-ness was the butt of many jokes but Al was shown to be much smarter than Tim. In addition, they were united as an Odd Couple by their mutual love of craftsmanship. Tim was also contrasted with his neighbor Wilson, an introspective Renaissance Man.
  • Parks and Recreation likes to contrast manly man Ron Swanson with overenthusiastic New Age health nut Chris Traeger.
  • Fresh Prince of Bel Air: Will (manly) and Carlton (sensitive).
    • Although using gangly, goofy Will as the manly one and whimpy, dense Carlton as the sensitive one may well be considered a parody of this trope.
  • Richie on Happy Days was the humdrum, “nice guy,” while the Fonz was…well, the Fonz.
  • British cop shows love this. In the late 70s and early 80s, The Professionals had the rough, tough, SAS-trained Bodie and the more gentle and sophisticated Doyle.
  • Simon and Jayne in Firefly are rivals. Interestingly, in Ariel, Jayne is far more nervous in Simon's world than Simon is in Jayne's when he has to visit it. Which of course can be used as an Aesop about Hidden Depths as this sort of thing often can.
    • Mal also comes across as something of a Manly Man in comparison with Simon.
      • Heck, Kaylee comes acrross as a Manly Man in comparison with Simon.
  • The two brothers on Two and A Half Men fulfill this stereotype to the letter.
  • Supernatural appears to be a textbook version of this trope, but hard-drinking and -playing, gun-happy 'Manly Man' Dean is more often in a nurturing role than little brother Sam, and will unashamedly cry where his family's concerned. While Sam's more likely to cry even for strangers and prefers nonviolent paths, he becomes single-minded enough to forsake his characteristic empathy under the wrong circumstances. Which are common.
  • Gunn and Wesley in season 2 of Angel are an example. Gunn was the hardened, street-born brawler who was a human able to go toe-to-toe with a vampire. Wesley was the more high-born scholar. Smarter and a bit more genteel. The two however complemented each other.
  • Doctor Cox (manly man) and JD in Scrubs. Also, to some extent, Turk and JD, though, while Turk is quite sensitive himself, he cannot compare to JD.
  • Barney, the Jerkass Casanova and Ted, the Dogged Nice Guy, from How I Met Your Mother.
    • Marshall qualifies as the sensitive guy as well. This might be more of a Gentle Giant thing though.
  • ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning show uses this trope, with Mike Golic (a former NFL defensive lineman) as the manly man and Mike Greenberg as the Sensitive Guy. One of the features of their column in ESPN the Magazine is the "Manly/Metro tip", with Golic's "manly" tip accompanied by an icon of a beer mug and Greeny's "Metro" tip accompanied by an icon of a martini glass.
  • Noah (sensitive) and Wade (manly) from Noah's Arc. Also, to an extent Junito (sensitive) and Ricky (though Ricky's "manly" tends to be sexually aggressive and detached).
  • C'mon! Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in the Odd Couple?
  • Dalziel and Pascoe. Peter Pascoe is the modern, thoughtful, psychologically-trained police officer, Andy Dalziel is pure Old-Fashioned Copper.
  • And speaking of Old Fashioned Coppers, Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt in Life On Mars.
  • Although the former has some... interesting quirks, Emerson and Ned from Pushing Daisies fit this trope to a T.
  • The titular brothers from Simon and Simon- The younger brother A.J. is the Sensitive Guy, whereas older brother Rick is the Manly Man.
  • The brothers Healy, Mark (macho) and David (sensitive), on Roseanne. If they were taking a side, it's hard to tell which one, becuase Mark was a testosterone-poisoned moron and David was a henpecked wuss.
  • Played with in Friends. Phoebe was dating two guys at the same time, a manly fireman and a sensitive teacher. She tries to break up with the fireman but discovers that's he's also sensitive and artistic to boot ("He has access to lots of charcoal"). He tries to break up with the teacher while he's fixing up his apartment, and he's totally hunky.
  • Also played with in Criminal Minds: From their first appearances, Morgan and Reid seem set up to be this trope (Morgan is playing a vaguely "educational" drinking game with a group of women, whereas Reid, the Genius Prodigy, is interrupting mentor/team leader Gideon's lecture on profiling and tailing him like a puppy). As the series goes on, though they both display examples of following the trope (e.g., Morgan is the team's designated door-kicker and likes portraying himself as either a ladies' man or strong enough to handle anything, while Reid prefers trying to talk unsubs down from confrontations, very visibly has trouble with some cases, is a James Bondage, and can barely talk to a woman outside of his mother or the context of work), and going against it (e.g., Reid takes cases personally hard, but has had to work at making himself more sympathetic and tactful toward victims and persons of interest, while Morgan often ends up in a nurturing role towards other team members, especially Garcia and Reid). One typically masculine trait both of them share? Although Reid's emotional responses to situations are more visible, more often than not, both are loath to talk about their feelings.
  • Puck and Finn from Glee.
    • Also, Kurt (sensitive) and Finn (manly), and Kurt (sensitive) and Blaine (manly).
  • Wilson and House.
  • This happens a lot between the Heterosexual Life Partners on Merlin:
    • Arthur (manly) and Merlin (sensitive)
    • Arthur (manly) and Lancelot (sensitive)
    • Gwaine (manly) and Merlin (sensitive)
    • Gwaine (manly) and Lancelot (sensitive)
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody stars twin boys where Cody loves school and cooking while Zack is the more cool brother.
    • Zack does have his sensitive moments though especially in "On Deck" most notably in "Flowers and Chocolate" when he is seen bawling during a romantic film.
  • Being Human (UK) has Mitchell as Manly Man and George as Sensitive Guy.
  • Power Rangers in Space Andros and Zhane, T.J. Replaces Zhane for a human counterpart.
  • Oz has the yaoi couple Beecher (sensitive) and Keller (manly).
  • Used heavily in the last two seasons of The X-Files with Mulder and Doggett. Mulder was originally written (as was Scully) to invert traditional gender roles. He's a psychologist, intuitive, and emotional. When he gets abducted in season 8, John Doggett was brought in as Scully's partner. However, by this point Scully had lost a lot of her skepticism and become more Mulder-like. And since Chris Carter liked the X-Files partnerships to be opposites (and he didn't want the fans to see Doggett as replacing Mulder), Doggett is the skeptic in the partnership and Mulder's opposite. He was a cop and works off of hard facts. He thinks Mulder is crazy even before he meets him, and makes his opinion known to Scully openly. When Mulder returns near the end of season 8, the face-off begins. Mulder and Doggett cannot stand each other.
  • The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries: Almost right down to a T: Frank Hardy, Manly (Parker Stevenson being the muscled prep-school jock into surfing). Younger Brother Joe, Sensitive (Shaun Cassidy, slender teen-idol musician). Interesting to note, this is the absolute opposite of the way things were in the books: usually Frank is the intellectual one more likely to enjoy art, and Joe is the more athletic jock. Though the show occasionally played with it by having Frank shove Joe out front in dangerous situations:

(as the brothers are about to step into a crypt containing god-knows-what)
Joe:'re the oldest.
Frank: Yeah, but you're more agile on your feet, and stronger.
Joe: Since when?
Frank: Since right now.

  • Jack is Manly and Ianto is Sensitive in Torchwood.


Tabletop Games


  • Robin and Lancelot in Spamalot. Slightly subverted in that Lancelot turns out to be gay.
    • Though the subversion here is not of the trope, but of the stereotype that gay men are less manly. Even after his coming out song, Lancelot is a manlier character than Robin.

Video Games

  • Miles Edgeworth and Dick Gumshoe from the Ace Attorney series. For further contrast Gumshoe is an extremely incompetent detective compared to the highly competent prosecutor Edgeworth.
    • They somewhat subvert this trope, in terms of personality. Gumshoe, while being the biggest character in the series, is actually a nice guy deep down. Miles, on the other hand, isn't above physical abuse to straighten up Gumshoe, despite being half of Dick's size.
  • Mario and Luigi, to some extent. Mario has a quick-to-act get-up-and-go fearless attitude, while Luigi has a hesitant, cautious, and timid demeanor. "Mario" even means "manly".
  • Solid Snake (manly man) and Otacon (sensitive guy) from Metal Gear Solid are made of this trope, although Snake's more philosophical and Otacon's sexual history is significantly more important to the plot than Snake's. And both are as emotionally needy as each other, although they show it in different ways.
  • Fire Emblem has several of these duos:
    • Azel/Lex, Cuan/Sigurd, and Celice/Levin in the fourth game;
    • Fin/Glade, Salem/Pirn, and Pirn/Lifis in the fifth;
    • Wolt/Roy, Wade/Lott, Lugh/either Ray or Chad, and Allen/Lance in the sixth;
    • Kent/Sain, Raven/Lucius, Lowen/Harken and Hector/Eliwood in the seventh;
    • Artur/either Joshua or Cormag, Seth/either Garcia or Cormag, Innes/Ephraim, Lyon/Ephraim, Knoll/Duessel and Saleh/Gerik in the eighth
    • Ike and Soren from the ninth and tenth sort of play around with who is which. Ike is the muscular Badass while Soren is the Squishy Wizard, but Ike is also much more empathetic and kind while Soren is very harsh and judgmental.
  • Geo Stelar (sensitive guy) and Omega-Xis (Manly Man) in Mega Man Star Force. In such an awkward way.
  • Parodied in Grand Theft Auto IV with the television show "The Men's Room With Bas And Jeremy", Jeremy St. Ives being an effeminite pacifist who's main advice usually revolves around "rectal marital issues" and "colon cleansing", and former ultimate fighter Bas Rutten (as he is portrayed in this game) being a hyper-masculine, borderline Ax Crazy who's every sentence eventually devolves into violence sprinkled with gore.
  • Mega Man and Proto Man, with Mega Man being the Sensitive Guy and Proto Man being the Manly Man. Also Mega Man X and Zero. This last one is particularly interesting in that the one who viewers have sometimes mistaken for a girl isn't X but Zero, the Manly Man of the equation. Likely because his creator saw it fit to give him flowing, hips-long hair and such other characteristics.
  • Final Fantasy III has several; first is Luneth and his childhood friend Arc is a pretty straightforward example. Luneth is the typical teenage manly boy, and Arc is a quiet, intelligent and sensitive boy.
    • Also, slightly subverted in the case of Refia and Desch; Desch is a manly cold guy, and Refia is the sensitive chick. Although Refia tends to have a more impulsive and brash attitude than Desch at times.
  • Mother 3 has Lucas (Sensitive) and Claus (Manly).
  • Fallout: New Vegas and All Roads in particular casts Benny and Swank like this. Benny is scheming to take on Vegas, Swank is worried about the extremes he'll go to... and about him getting cigarette burns on the carpets.
  • The Dynasty Warriors series has three sets of this. Bodyguards Dian Wei (Manly) and Xu Zhu (Sensitive) and (As of DW6) generals Xiahou Yuan (Manly) and Zhang He (Sensitive) of Wei, and Sworn Brothers Sun Ce (Manly) and Zhou Yu (Sensitive) of Wu.
  • Radiant Historia features protagonist Stocke and his best friend Rosch. Rosch serves as The Captain or the Supporting Leader of the story. Stocke is The Confidant and The Ace. He comes of as The Stoic at first, but he is very good to his closest friends and sensitive to their feelings and problems. He even comes to help Rosch with relationship problems.
  • Archie and Maxie, the villains from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, give this impression, with Archie being the manly man and Maxie being the sensitive guy.

Web Animation

  • Would the relationship between Strong Bad and Strong Sad count? It's more antagonistic though, with Strong Bad making Strong Sad's life as miserable as possible. But there are instances of them getting along.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Steve Roberts (sensitive) and Gavin Taylore (manly) in Kate Modern, particularly season 2.
  • The short-lived Fan Fiction archive Fanlib failed after leading a particularly offensive and ill-advised marketing campaign starring "Pink Guy" and "Blue Guy." After apparently mistaking its primarily queer female audience for heterosexual teenage boys, "Pink Guy" and "Blue Guy" appeared in an ad promoting Fanlib as manly and powerful/attractive and non-Fanlib as feminine and weak/unattractive.
  • The Nostalgia Critic and The Other Guy (Doug and Rob Walker) seem to go for this trope, with Critic being quite girly and The Other Guy much more in control. Or it could be that Doug is the younger brother who is very often either being Moe or a total limelight-loving flirt while Rob stays in the background.
  • Matt and Pat in Two Best Friends Play. Matt likes games like Kirbys Epic Yarn, while Pat likes games like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.
  • Monster High's Jekell and Hyde rutine is done like this, with Jackson being some tipical soft-spoken nerd with a dislike to loud music, and Holt being the loud-mouthed disc jockey with flaiming red hair.
    • As of season 3, Clawd and Deuce.

Western Animation

  • Johnny Bravo is the Manly Man and Carl is the Wussy Man.
  • I.M. Weasel is the Wussy Man and I.R. Baboon is the Manly Man (in Baboon's mind anyway).
    • In the real world (their real world at least), it's Weasel who gets all the Badass scenes.
  • Stroker and Hoop.
  • Dr. Venture and Brock Samson from The Venture Brothers (although "sensitive" isn't exactly the best term to describe Dr. Venture), as well as the titular brothers Hank and Dean.
  • Corneil (sensitive) and Bernie (macho) from Watch My Chops.
  • Aang and Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender, to an extent, as well as Sokka and Zuko. Personality Powers can go a long way towards this trope.
    • Interestingly enough, Sokka switches roles depending on who he's partnered up with. He is manly in comparison to the happy and playful Aang, but sensitive compared with the emotionally-repressed Zuko. But all good male characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender show a sensitive side to some degree.
  • Zapp Brannigan and Kif Kroker from Futurama. Zapp is a classic Small Name, Big Ego Captain, and sees himself as a manly courageous stud. Kif on the other hand starts out as a weary Deadpan Snarker but grows more into the Sensitive Guy mold through his relationship with Amy.
  • The titular Tick as the manly man and his sidekick, Arthur, as the sensitive guy.
  • Buford (manly) and Baljeet (sensitive) in Phineas and Ferb.
  • Johnny (manly) and Dukey (sensitive) in Johnny Test.
  • Buck Tuddrussell (macho) and the Larry 3000 (sensitive) on Time Squad—in the first seven episodes of season one, at least. From the episode "Larry Upgrade" to the series finale ("Orphan Substitute"), the pairing went from "Macho Man and Sensitive Guy hanging out with an orphaned eight-year-old history buff" into Larry and Buck acting like a married couple/foster parents to Otto. It doesn't help matters that the Larry 3000 comes off as Ambiguously Gay at best and Camp Gay at worst.
    • There was also Lewis and Clark, with just as much Ho Yay as Tudrussell and Larry.
  • The Ren and Stimpy Show: Stimpy is the sensitive guy to Ren's manly man (which was made more obvious in the Adult Party Cartoon run of R&S).
  • Ben (a male version of Sailor Moon) and Kevin (the stereotypical bad boy who averts Save the Villain) in Ben 10 Alien Force.
  • Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy: Edd (sensitive guy) to Ed and Eddy (manly men).
  • SpongeBob SquarePants (sensitive guy) to Patrick (manly man).
  • Boog (manly) and Lenny (sensitive) in Fanboy and Chum Chum, the duo working in a local convenience store.
  • Bart and Milhouse in The Simpsons are a pre-teen example, with nerdy, sensitive Milhouse being the foil to brash, extroverted mischief-maker Bart.
  • Doug has the title character (sensitive) and Skeeter (manly)
  • Averted in The Pink Panther, with Manly Man (and his relatives) working with the Pink Panther. The Pink Panther even shows a degree of manliness too. The episode 7 Manly Men, a Lower Deck Episode / A Day in the Limelight which was a wholly blatant shout-out to YMCA and contained Ho Yay, was built on this trope - 6 manly men and a sensitive pirate-type guy. The original cartoon in question can be seen here [dead link] (albeit in Spanish, but the 1995 Pink Panther episodes are hard to find, so Keep Circulating the Tapes applies, and there is currently no DVD of the full 1993 - 1995 series, only Season 1 from 1993, which upset the fans.
  • Rugrats: Chuckie is the sensitive guy to Tommy's manly man.
  • Recess: Mikey and Gus (sensitive) and T.J. and Vince (manly)
  • American Dad has a son/father example with Steve and Stan.
  • Total Drama Island: DJ (sensitive), Duncan (manly), and Geoff (manly to DJ, sensitive to Duncan) within the Killer Bass.
  • Chow Hound features a meekly mouse and a manly dog
    • The Mouse No, not again, please, not again! Oh sir, I beg you to spare me the indignity.
    • The Dog Shyedup! and get to work.
  • My Little Pony Tales: Shy, sensitive Lancer has this dynamic with either cocky Ace or surly Teddy.