Uke, you say? You mean the nickname for the ukulele?
Oh no, my friend. If this is what you thought, it’s time to turn back or forever be sucked into the world of Boys Love. We mean the receivers, the catchers, the nekos. The boys who let other boys… Y’know. Today we’re looking at the best of the bottoms, the Top 10 Uke Anime Boys!
If you watch enough BL, you quickly notice the uke character tropes. You can tell who the uke is straight away - they’ll be smaller than the seme, pretty rather than handsome, big eyes, blushing cheeks, and if it’s a Shungiku Nakamura work, they’ll usually have a pointy chin rather than a squared jaw. No, seriously. Overall, the most tropey uke will be feminine and passive - which can get a bit, well, boring.
However, this just makes it all the more awesome when you meet an uke that isn’t all of these things - an uke that doesn’t just lie there and take it. An uke character with actual… Character! This is the kind of uke we’re focusing on today. We’ll be covering uke boys from all kinds of BL, from shounen-ai to more explicit yaoi. On with the top ten - watch out for spoilers!
10. Shuuichi Shindou from Gravitation
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2000 - January 2001
First up is the bubbly ball of energy, Shuuichi Shindou! The vocalist of Bad Luck, this uke’s fate seems to coincide with his band name when he meets Eiri Uesugi, aka Eiri Yuki. But even when the sarcastic novelist lays into his lyrics, Shuuichi only gets more determined to prove him wrong. That’s right, Shuuichi may look the part of the typical uke, but there’s one thing Shuuichi won’t lose to other uke characters on - perseverance.
This is all the more evident when you look at his relationship with his seme. Although he shows the typical melodramatic and emotional responses expected of uke characters - especially when he’s brushed off by the ever-cold Yuki - he always does his best to work through it. He’s aggressive, tenacious, and loving - a great uke character!
9. Ritsuka Aoyagi from Loveless
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2005 - June 2005
Next on the list is everyone’s favourite emo uke, Ritsuka Aoyagi! With his adorable cat ears, Ritsuka is quite literally a neko. But that’s not why he made our uke list. Poor Ritsuka’s been through a lot - his brother’s death, his mother’s abuse, dealing with his ongoing amnesia. Now some long-haired weirdo without ears called Soubi Agatsuma is following him around everywhere, telling Ritsuka he loves him and dragging him into Spell Battles.
Despite all of this, Ritsuka doesn’t lose sight of himself. Ritsuka may be delicate, but he’s also incredibly strong of will; charismatic with strong values. But more than anything, Ritsuka is kind. He showers Soubi with kindness, something neither of them have ever known. Ritsuka refuses to hurt Soubi, even when Soubi himself asks for punishment. He reassures Soubi that his existence has value, that Ritsuka needs him - and if that doesn’t make him a great uke character, what does?
8. Aoba Seragaki from DRAMAtical Murder
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 - September 2014
Angsty love triangles and other jealousy triggers are everywhere in BL, but it’s not often you get a fully-fledged harem. So, what is it about Aoba Seragaki that brings all the boys to the yard? Well, it sure isn’t that jacket. It might have something to do with that seriously sexy voice, though, and the power that comes with it. That’s right, Aoba gets extra uke points for trying to save all his potential boyfriends with Scrap - despite the risk that comes with it.
What’s more, unlike your typical uke character, Aoba isn’t self-sacrificing or unwilling to fight for himself. Although he deeply cares for others, he can stand his ground and isn’t afraid to speak his mind (or kick some ass, if necessary). In fact, Aoba often takes charge of the group, acting as a leader - this is one uke who won’t take a back seat! However, to see Aoba’s true, ahem, receiving skills, you’ll have to play the original game.
7. Ritsu Onodera from Sekaiichi Hatsukoi
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2011 - June 2011
Ritsu Onodera has given up on love. Which is a shame, because he’s one super cute uke. Unfortunately for him but luckily for us, there’s a certain seme out there who refuses to let Ritsu stay that way. Having changed jobs due to what can only be called bullying, Ritsu is reunited with his old flame and first love, Masamune Takano, who is determined to make the uke fall in love with him again.
However, their breakup was not a mutual or happy one, with both seme and uke left feeling hurt and betrayed. Despite this, Ritsu doesn’t let his feelings interfere with his work - a talented editor, Ritsu has a strong drive and is determined to do the best he can, without relying on others. Unsure of his feelings for Masamune and bad at expressing himself, Ritsu often gets flustered, which is entertaining for us viewers. Although he tries to distance himself from his seme, Ritsu still shows he cares, taking care of Masamune when he’s sick. Feisty and faithful to his first love, this uke deserves fan love, too!
6. Ren Kaidou from Super Lovers
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2016 - June 2016
Next up we have the wild-child shouta from Super Lovers, Ren Kaidou. He might look small, but this uke is more than just bark - he’ll bite, too. Literally. Despite being the adopted into Haru’s family, Ren has no desire to act as the youngest brother, only coming back to Japan because he made a promise with Haru, the only person he needs.
Although he’s got a childish side, Ren is mature for his age and incredibly hardworking and trustworthy for a teenage boy. He also understands a lot more about his relationship with Haru than the seme himself does. Ren is often the one taking the lead in their relationship, knowing what Haru truly wants even when Haru is trying to hide it. Whether it’s with words or affectionate actions, Ren looks after Haru as much as the other does him - who wouldn’t treasure such an adorable uke!
5. Takafumi Yokozawa from the Sekaiichi Hatsukoi Movie
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: March 2014
When most people see the word “uke” what first springs to mind is a young bouncy guy or a meek caretaker - not an intimidating, grumpy guy in a suit. Enter Takafumi Yokozawa, The Wild Bear of Marukawa and an uke overflowing with gap moe. So what makes Takafumi so great? He’s not the most likeable character at first, with his cruel attitude towards Ritsu in Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, but we get to see a whole new side to Takafumi in his movie.
One thing that stands out about this uke is his fierce loyalty and kindness to those he loves. For years Takafumi suffered with one-sided feelings for Masamune, supporting him as a friend despite seeing him as more than that. Then, he met Zen Kirishima. As they build their relationship, Takafumi slowly shows his true kind colours to Zen. Not only that, he also becomes a part of his family, forming a paternal bond with Zen’s daughter, Hiyori. Is there anything cuter than an uke papa? Possibly not.
4. Naoki Satoya from Tight Rope
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: May 2012 - June 2012
At number five we have another example of an uke who stands on equal ground with his seme. Naoki Satoya isn’t fazed by the fact that his childhood friend Ryuunosuke is the heir of a yakuza family, possibly because he’s equally strong and easily able to overthrow mafia underlings from other families, even when they’ve got him pinned with a knife.
But Naoki is more than just physically strong. He’s mentally strong too, determined to stay by his seme’s side even when it means that both of their lives will be in danger. Although he seems to reject Ryuu’s physical advances at first, it becomes clear that Naoki just needed time to sort out his feelings, and was waiting until he felt ready.
However, the thing that makes Naoki stand out from the uke crowd is the fact that he makes his seme a better person. Everyone knows that Nao is the only one Ryuu will listen to, and Naoki uses this fact to stop Ryuunosuke whenever he goes into a violent rage. Ryuu himself admits that it’s thanks to Nao that he’s managed to live a normal life and hasn’t lowered himself to the level of a violent gangster. Now that’s what you call an amazing uke!
3. Misaki Takahashi from Junjou Romantica
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2008 - June 2008
Junjou Romantica is one of the key anime that opens up the BL door for many fans, with Misaki stuck in our hearts as one of our favourite uke characters. One of the amazing things about this uke is his growth through the series. Although at first quite frankly homophobic, Misaki soon learns that gay folk love just like anyone else, and is touched by Usagi’s unwavering love for Misaki’s older brother. Before long, he finds himself in love with Usagi.
Misaki in love is a glorious thing to watch. He’s easily embarrassed, almost always flustered, and easily pleased - in a word, he’s adorable. But more than that, he’s attentive. Misaki cares deeply about other’s feelings - so much so that he sadly seems to trample all over his own. He wants to do right by people, and though he makes mistakes he learns from them, making him a deeper character than your typical uke.
On a lighter note, another thing that makes Misaki so important is that without him, his seme would probably be dead by now. No, seriously, did you see Usagi’s attempt at an omelette?
2. Riki from Ai no Kusabi
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: August 1992 - May 1994
In at number two we have Riki from the ultimate BL classic, Ai no Kusabi. Now, if you haven’t watched the original OVA yet, be warned: things are about to get gory. In a very nineties sci-fi world, Riki transforms from a slum-dwelling mongrel to the pet of Iason Mink, the most powerful Blondie in Tanagura. Torn between his nostalgia for the freedom of his mongrel life and his complicated feelings for his seme, Riki is an uke character full of angst and depth.
The first thing that stands out about Riki is, well, just look at him. Ripped body, tiny tight scraps of clothing, an arrogant scowl… Sexy doesn’t cover it. But he’s more than just a hot piece of ass - he’s also incredibly charismatic, playful at times but proud and determined to stand up for what he believes in. He can hold his own in a fight and isn’t scared of authority - if this was any other anime, Riki could even pass for a seme!
But fans of Ai no Kusabi know that’s not the real reason Riki made it this high on our top ten uke list. Sure, there are plenty of self-sacrificing uke characters out there, but how many guys want to stop a fight between their ex and their current beau after they’ve just had their dick chopped off? How many uke characters would walk back into a burning, exploding building to have one last smoke with and die next to their seme? Yeah, let that sink in for a while.
1. Izumi Sena from Love Stage!!
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: July 2014 - September 2014
On a far more bright and shiny note, we’ve finally come to number one! Top of our list stands ultimate shut-in-turned-star, Izumi Sena! What is there not to love about this uke? First of all, Izumi has something in common with all of us: he’s a giant otaku! He’s working hard to follow his dreams of being a mangaka - even if that’s not going so well for certain artistic reasons. Nevertheless, Izumi remains one of the most cheerful rays of sunshine in the uke world!
Izumi fits all the uke tropes appearance-wise: too pretty for this world and often mistaken for a girl. Well, when he’s not wearing his usual glasses and unfashionable clothes, that is. But Izumi isn’t your stereotypical passive uke - he’s a real go getter. One of the best examples of this is when Izumi works out his feelings for Ryouma, and storms over to his apartment to declare his love. Despite his small frame he can also protect himself (thanks, Rei!) as can be seen when he manages to escape the thugs in the construction site.
Izumi also isn’t hung up on his uke status. We see this in the OVA, in which we find out Izumi has pretty much been put off bottoming for life thanks to Ryouma rushing things. Wanting to fix the situation, he takes Rei’s advice - if you don’t want to be on the receiving end, you’ve just got to be the one giving it instead. Although he eventually ends up being the bottom when he and Ryouma next have sex, seeing his determination to become a “super seme” makes Izumi Sena a step above the rest!
So there you have it, our top ten uke anime boys! We’ve included all kinds of ukes, from bouncy balls of sunshine to badass guys with attitude; from protective paternal figures to perceptive little brothers. Of course we couldn’t include everyone - did we miss out any of your favourite ukes? Would you replace any of our selections with your own, or put them in a different order? Let us know in the comments - let’s get talking!