In the past, characters that wore eyeglasses were often presented as smart, geeky know-it-alls, and maybe even pushovers, among other stereotypes. Nowadays that’s no longer the case, especially in anime. While in western culture those stereotypes might still be presented in some form, in anime it’s not as frequent anymore.
Yes there may be some characters that wear eyeglasses, and are super smart or really shy, but there are also eyeglasses wearing characters that are downright evil. In anime you shouldn’t be quick to label them, or judge them by their outward appearance. These characters are ones who break those old eyeglasses stereotype one way or another.
1. Miyuki Kazuya from Diamond no Ace and Diamond no Ace: Second Season
Genre: Comedy, School, Shounen, Drama, Action, Sports (Baseball)
Number one is Miyuki Kazuya. This is my total favorite eyeglasses wearing character. Ever since he was a small child, Miyuki has never been afraid of speaking his mind. When he was in his middle-school baseball team, he was shorter than his teammates, but wasn’t afraid of giving harsh feedback whenever he saw fit. This made him a really unlikable teammate to the point he was often beaten up by them. Instead of crying about being bullied, or getting disheartened, Miyuki would show up the next day to practice with a big smile on his face.
He never backs down and won’t let anything come in between his love of baseball. He also doesn’t mind standing out. He even asked to be the catcher when he was in elementary school, since he liked how the uniform looked, and loved the idea of being the one who calls the shots.
In the present of the anime, Miyuki was appointed team captain, which surprised him since he wasn’t exactly Mr. Sensitive when it came to communicating with his teammates. But he still worked hard to understand them and lead them to victory. He is a reliable captain who inspires his teammates. He has had trouble communicating from time to time, but is so devoted to winning that it makes the other players respect him.
He yearns for victory so much that he is willing to hide an injury so he can keep playing with his teammates, and lead them to Baseball Championships. Miyuki isn’t afraid of speaking his mind, like most people expect of eyeglasses wearing characters. He is athletic, being called a genius catcher by fans and professionals. He is smart and calculative, but he is also one to tease and taunt his teammates. He takes his role in the game and team very seriously. Something he shares with the next character.
2. Munakata Reise “The Blue King” from K, K: Missing Kings and K: Return of Kings
Genre: Action, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Super Power
Munakata, like Miyuki, is a leader to his group, Scepter 4. He is known as the “Blue King,” and sometimes as the “Boss with Glasses.” Munakata is head of a police-like force, in charge of taking care of supernatural beings, including clanless people with special abilities, as well as other kings, themselves. Munakata is smart and calm, but he is in no way a pushover. He is an inspiration to his team, quite like Miyuki in that regard, but unlike Miyuki, Munakata isn’t one to play games.
Physically strong and capable, he’s able to go head to head with other kings. Most significantly the Red King, Mikoto Suoh. Now those who watched the anime know how their final showdown goes. And if you haven’t, then I suggest giving this anime a watch.
Munakata, while strong, prefers to settle things with words and compromise, but he won’t shy away from fighting his opponents if he has to. He has a strong sense of justice, but he isn’t above working with other kings when necessary, proving he doesn’t see himself above anyone. He also doesn’t judge people for their past, accepting a former member of HOMRA into his clan without any second thoughts.
He isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty to achieve his goal, something he shares with Miyuki. And while Miyuki sometimes likes to provoke others, and catch them off guard with his risky plays on the baseball field, Munakata takes extreme measures to assure the safety of his followers, while still getting the job done. This doesn’t mean Miyuki doesn’t care for his teammates, just that he can get a little caught up when playing mind games.
3. Arima Kishou from Tokyo Ghoul, Tokyo Ghoul Root A and Tokyo Ghoul: “Jack”
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Action, Mystery, Horror, Psychological, Supernatural, Drama, Seinen
This next character is Arima. If you have read Tokyo Ghoul: re then you know what happens with him, but for this list I am going to focus on the anime he appears on. Arima is a well-known and admired Ghoul Investigator. Like Miyuki and Munakata, he is a physically adept eyeglasses-wearing character. Similar to Munakata, Arima tends to be more calm, cool, and collected. But unlike Munakata he doesn’t show mercy or to try to settle things with words when facing Ghouls. Most likely because ghouls eat humans to survive.
Arima is smart. Another trait he shares with Miyuki and Munakata. He’s also a reliable person in his occupation. While not being the leader of the CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul), he is still respected and his opinion is always taken into consideration. He is also the one they call when CCG comes across a very difficult and dangerous ghoul. Arima isn’t known to lose, which earns the respect of his colleagues.
He does fall into the stereotype of being smart and quiet, but isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty. He goes into dangerous situations while doing his job, without a single complaint. He won’t be intimidated, and will make sure to get the job done by any means necessary.
4. Kuriyama Mirai from Kyokai no Kanata, Kyoukai no Kanata Movies: I’ll Be Here – Kako-hen, Kyoukai no Kanata Movies: I’ll Be Here –Mirai-hen and Kyoukai no Kanata: Shinonome
Genre: Action, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Slice of Life
The next character is Kuriyama Mirai. Her eyeglasses are a big deal in the anime, mostly because the male protagonist, Kanbara Akihito, is into girls with glasses. Mirai belongs to a clan of demon slayers with cursed blood. This means that her blood destroys everything it comes into contact with, and she can manipulate it at will, shaping it into a sword, among other things.
While she’s a capable fighter (in fact, superhuman), she can be clumsy when outside of battle. She is always struggling with money issues, which leads her to pose for cute photos of her wearing her glasses in different getups. Akihito, much to her displeasure, often buys these photos.
Unlike the previous characters, Kuriyama dwells on her past, which affects her present self. Her heritage leaves her feeling a lowered sense of self worth. And events that transpired when she was younger have led her to believe she doesn’t deserve friends, or shouldn’t have them because she’d only hurt them.
Like the previous characters Kuriyama is physically strong, but she lacks combat experience because of her struggles when actually having to kill a demon. She is a loner at first, because her cursed blood makes her an outcast even in the demon slayer community. As the story progresses she comes out of her shell, gaining friends and comrades who are willing to fight at her side, not shunning her for her heritage.
Like Miyuki, she is able to grow as a character. Miyuki learns how to be a captain, leader of his baseball team, while Mirai learns to accept others help and their friendship. She also grows as a demon slayer, growing more confident in her own power and abilities.
While she is strong, she isn’t overly analytical, compared to the other characters, sometimes not analyzing the situation at hand before a fight. The point being that glasses do not always a levelheaded character make. In fact, Kuriyama is really awkward and emotional. Sometimes those emotions completely contradict logical sense, but she acts on them anyway. But like the other characters, she is willing to do her best when the situation calls for it.
She grows out of her shell, and decides to face her problems. Unlike most stereotypes of eyeglasses wearing character, who are afraid of confrontation, be it physical or verbal. Kuriyama is able to face her fears, and is able to move on and accept her past.
5. Sonohara Anri from Durarara!!, Durarara!!x2 Shou and Durarara!!x2 Ten
Genre: Supernatural, Mystery, Action, Suspense
Last character is Sonohara Anri. Sonohara shares a lot of qualities with Kuriyama, both are seemingly friendless at the beginning, but slowly gain friends as the story progresses. Sonohara was bullied in middle school, and was befriended by Harima Mika, who used Sonohara as much as Sonohara used her. Harima wanted to look better than Sonohara by hanging out with her, in exchange the bullies no longer harassed Sonohara, which in their own perspective was a win-win for both of them.
Sonohara was quiet, and had a hard time expressing herself, but she gains real friends throughout the anime, and is willing to do what it takes to protect them. While Sonohara, like Kuriyama, at first looks defenseless and easily intimidated, she is actually the holder of the cursed sword, Saika. She holds the sword in her body, being able to call it forth whenever she needs it. She is quite capable of using the sword and once she cuts her opponent they become her slave/follower, calling her “Mother” and wishing to please her.
She doesn’t take pleasure in using her sword to bend people’s wills, but she will if it’s to protect herself or her friends. Sonohara, like Kuriyama, comes out of her shell, at first being shy and reserved, but later growing more confident and brave. She values her friends, a trait that all characters on this list share.
She grows as the story progresses, like Miyuki and Kuriyama, both in her abilities and her persona. Sonohara learns to trust and care about others. Not to say she was coldhearted, but more like she wasn’t prone to go out of her way to make friends. The ones she makes, she treasures and will protect with everything she has.
All these characters don’t fall into all the old stereotypes. They aren’t all shy, physically or mentally weak, prone to run away at the first sign of danger, or afraid to speak their minds. Miyuki isn’t afraid to make his thoughts known, even if people dislike him for it. Arima, Munakata and Miyuki are all respected in their group and inspire the others, while Kuriyama and Sonohara aren’t afraid to step up when their friends and loved ones are in danger.
They are all brave, hardworking characters that aren’t completely defined by their glasses. Yes they might fall into some of the old stereotypes, but that’s because of who they are, not because of what they wear. Also, another stereotype is that glasses wearing characters are considered unattractive and if you aren’t blind then you will notice that none of them are. Miyuki, Kuriyama and Sonohara especially are recognized as attractive characters in their respective anime.
Next time you see an eyeglasses wearing character don’t think they will be easy to figure out. They are like all the other characters, having layers that define them. Yes some might be smart and shy, while other might be brash or perverted. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the glasses and learn to wait and see how the character develops as the anime progresses to figure out who they are.
Until next time.
Don’t forget to go swimming and feed the fishes.