There is a noticeable trend within audiences, made exceptionally more prominent by the rise of social media, in how fan artists and fandoms depict their favorite characters from particular media. In the case of anime like My Hero Academia and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, hypermasculine characters often emulate intense energy and toxic traits that viewers should normally recognize as problematic. However, there has been a growing movement within fandom culture to depict these hyper violent male characters in increasingly peaceful ways, often softening the character or surrounding them with flowers in a “flower child” vibe. This begs the question of why fandom has been attracted to this archetype in such a different way than before, and what attributes of traditional hypermasculinity lead to this level of admiration. Trends of romanticizing masculine energy is not new to fandom but while many focused on the admirable friendship and bonds between characters, this new trend seems to either idolize toxic and damaging behavior, or ignore it entirely. This research paper studies on notable case of this transformation process in the character of Katsuki Bakugo from My Hero Academia, demonstrating how an aggressive and violent character can be depicted in soft and gentle settings through fan created artworks.
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