We’re always hearing about sexy women in games, for better or for worse, but WHAT ABOUT THE MEN?!
Personally I think there isn’t enough fanservice in games for those of us who aren’t attracted to women, but that doesn’t mean there’s a complete dearth of dudes in games who make me feel that sweet, passionate moe. These are the video game characters that make me - a heterosexual female - revert back into a 13 year old girl swooning over boys. Although honestly, I may have never moved out of that phase, thanks to video games. So that just proves the moe power we’re dealing with here.
These are in no particular order. Alright, here we go!
1. Balthier (Final Fantasy XII)
Ah yes, first up is Ffamran mied Bunansa, also known as Balthier. Balthier is a pretty cool dude. He’s a sky pirate with a sweet airship. His partner is an unimaginably hot bunny woman, but he regards her with respect and neutral familiarity. And while he’s confident and smooth-talking, beneath his outer classy sarcasm is vulnerability. He ran away from home as a teenager after becoming estranged from his increasingly extremist father and he’s been running ever since, making him endearingly sympathetic in the eyes of fangirls worldwide. But the great thing about Balthier is that he’s cool and suave without being a douchebag, which actually puts him in a completely different sexiness category from Han Solo, despite the widespread comparison. I don’t remember a single instance from this game where he hits on or talks down to a woman, even for comedic value.
And he’s a good-looking guy. Can’t forget to mention that part. Akihiko Yoshida’s character design in Final Fantasy XII is absolutely brilliant, with Balthier being an excellent example of “less is more.” On first glance, he’s just a short-haired guy with a vest, white shirt and black pants. His design’s overall simplicity plays up the value he places on being smart and practical. But if you look closer, his vest is actually beautifully ornamented, just without being gaudy. The vest really does it for him too - it’s well-fitted and tight around his torso. The straps are attached more at his collarbones than around his armpits, emphasizing his shoulders and waist.
Earrings and tiny bursts of colorful jewelry show that he has a eye for flair, but a silly and irreverent kind of flair - his neon-colored bracelets and rings look like they came out of a cereal box. You remember that Silly Bandz fad that infected children several years ago? That’s what they remind me of. But Balthier don’t care. That’s called being secure in yourself and your masculinity. Confidence. Balthier is the kind of guy who wouldn’t think twice about wearing a pink polo shirt or sipping on a “girl drink,” because pink is just a color and fuck you girl drinks are delicious.
I love him. He’s been my Final Fantasy husbando for years. Balthier probably smells really nice. Ooh, Mister Balthier, ooh.
2. Link (Hyrule Warriors)
Growing up, I never thought Link was attractive. Sure, he’s a classic character, and he’s probably my single favorite video game character ever, but he wasn’t sexy. He just didn’t appeal to me in that way. This is despite the fact that my band of fellow girl nerds in middle and high school, and the collective internet, would swoon over him. A lot.
I thought that maybe it’s because I came to love The Legend of Zelda and Link before I hit my puberty years, so he was already cemented in my head as non-sexual. After all, most of the time, Link is a little boy, not “adult” Link. He felt more like a trusted friend, not an object of desire. Or maybe it was my personal tastes - I’ve never been into the “elf” type of male character, with feminine features and beautiful skin and long hair. I like ‘em manlier. Taller, more rough around the edges. Give me Aragorn, not Legolas.
Until Hyrule Warriors.
I really have no idea why I’m into this version of Link. Everything I said in the paragraph above should conceivably still apply, but I don’t see a sexless, waifish elf when I look at HW Link. Now that I’m considering it, I think it may be a situation where the other adult Links had some reason for me to be uninterested in them, while this version lacks any similar downside.
Ocarina of Time Link fell into my pre-pubescent era, and to me he was as blocky mess of polygons until 2011’s remake, so he had no chance of being deemed “sexy.” Twilight Princess Link is bland and unemotive in a game that failed to keep up with increasingly higher quality character animation of the 2000’s era, and I really freaking hate Twilight Princess itself. But as much as I hate Twilight Princess (you know, I’ve mentioned that on TAY enough times at this point that I should probably write about it), it did wonders with revolutionizing Link himself. It was time for him to change. We couldn’t exit the 90’s and still have OoT Link, with his white tights and Sephiroth bangs, as the poster boy for the LoZ series. With TP, we saw the inclusion of so many new details to his overall design - pants and an undershirt instead of long underwear, gloves and boots that looked like they were really constructed from stitched pieces of leather, hints of blue and silver, and of course chainmail, which is probably my favorite innovation for the character. It lifted the character out of older sensibilities and into the modern age of gaming. I’m happy that these details have been fully absorbed into the collective image of “Link” now.
But TP Link still wasn’t sexy - not to me, at least. See my hateboner above. And Skyward Sword Link is a little too cartoonish, a little too much of a lovable nerd. It was, in a way, a step backwards if what we’re evaluating is Link’s sex appeal, although SS Link is a perfectly good iteration of the character and has much more personality than TP Link. He just wasn’t any closer to being sexy.
But then, we got Hyrule Warriors.
Now, I just got a Wii U, so I haven’t played Hyrule Warriors yet. The idea itself isn’t really my thing - I play Zelda games because they’re puzzle adventures, not action titles - but I’ll probably pick it up anyway at some point, not only to hold me over until Zelda Wii U next year, but because I love this version of Link. I really....... love him.
HW Link feels like the big payoff after 10 years worth of underwhelming or uninteresting adult Links. He looks great, he’s dressed great, the chainmail and armor mean he means business. The blue scarf is a new addition, but I love it. It’s almost like a superhero cape, and the bold color reflects a particular sense duty that the other Links don’t have - which makes sense, because this Link is an actual soldier in the royal family’s army, which is something I wanted to see for a while. He finally exudes enough power and confidence to flip that sexy switch in my brain. And I don’t even know if this is verifiable, but there’s something more appealing about his face and body proportions - he’s got a stronger nose, he’s less doe-eyed, and he actually looks taller than 5’1” for once. His tunic-less soldier design in particular, seen above, is my favorite of Link’s “alternate costumes” (i.e., crawfish pajamas, goat herder, etc). This Link isn’t some naive teenager from the woods somewhere. He’s trained, he has discipline, he gets shit done.
Maybe after I play the game I’ll change my mind on all of this, but right now, I’m lovin’ it. Supersize me, HW Link.
3. Godot (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations)
Mmmyeah, of course someone from Ace Attorney would end up on my list. I mean, I could probably do a sexy top 10 list of just Ace Attorney characters. But the AA choice for this list in a no-brainer. No AA character can stand up to Godot on the sexiness scale.
I mean, just look at him. Tall, broad shoulders, narrow waist. Men’s wear - something all the male characters in AA benefit from, but Godot especially, with that bold color coordination and suit vest. (I must have a thing for men in tight-fitted vests? Men look good in vests. Wear more vests.) Quirky and weird, but emotionally damaged. Obsessed with coffee, a man after my own heart. And he has a theme song that’s swanky saxophone music. He started seducing me as soon as he appeared on screen.
His relationship with Mia Fey does a lot for his sex appeal, too. There’s a soft misogyny to the way he treats her, like he’s daring her to quip back at him. This later turns into twisted chivalry after Mia’s death, and if you’ve played the game you know the lengths that Godot goes to fulfill that weird sense of male obligation that he has. By the end of the game, he looks a bit desperate and pathetic as a result, because Mia Fey isn’t a character who needed to be treated like that. But I can forgive him - he was trying to love her, and later grieve for her. His perceived failure to “protect” her meant that he could not just mourn in silence.
You know, I consider myself a feminist, but I can’t help but find the slightly degrading bad boy attitude kinda hot. I’m sorry for setting us back, fellow feminists, but I cannot lie to my trash self. Despite what I said about Balthier being sexy because he’s not a douchebag... the douchebag characters are still sexy, just in a different way, as long as it’s done right. I’ve been crushing on Han Solo my entire life. And while Godot isn’t nearly as snide and disrespectful as Han Solo, there’s an element of that to his character. Like you wanna slap him for it, but you both exchange grins afterwards.
There’s one sprite animation in particular from T&T that is just weirdly sexual to me. It’s the one where he’s got a mug tipped all the way back, chugging coffee:
Look at that Adam’s apple bob. Look at it goooooo. It’s just... so... masculine? SO MANLY. I guess those secondary sex characteristics get me going. Don’t you wanna just mush your mouth against that throat lump? No? Just me?
4. Iori Yagami (The King of Fighters series)
I have a confession to make. When I was a kid I had an internet buddy from Australia who was SUPER into King of Fighters. She was a few years older than me, and I was impressionable, and I got hugely interested in characters from this fighting game I’ve still never played to this day. Yep, it was a total bandwagon/trying to fit in/typical preteen thing.
I liked this guy Iori Yagami in particular. And I liked him because, at the time, I thought he was hot. As I was working on this list, I had a hard time forgetting about my brief obsession with this guy. I mean, I liked him so much - wouldn’t he deserve a spot on this list, then? So, even though I didn’t remember anything about him, I took a trip down memory lane and looked him up after about 15 years of not caring anymore.
First, a positive: I love the character animation. Old fighting games are where you want to go for high-quality pixel art. I invite you to check out Iori’s animations, they convey a lot of personality and character. Great stuff.
I... can’t say the same for his physical appearance, though. Looking at him nowadays, I’m impressed with how horrible his character design is, particularly the older designs that I would’ve been looking at. This is the kind of character I’d make fun of nowadays. He’s not campy or exaggerated enough to qualify as stylish or cool, like a lot of ArcSys characters are. Rather, the design has this stale flavor of out-of-fashion 90’s yaoi that I’ve grown out of by now.
Why is his hair in his face? Is it supposed to be a pompadour, or Trowa hair, or something else? Wouldn’t it obstruct his vision?
What is that belt between his knees? Wouldn’t that get in the way in the middle of a fight? It seems like an enemy could grab onto that or take advantage of it somehow. Does he unbuckle it when he gets home? It matches the color of his red pants. Did the red pants come with the bizarre knee belt, or did he have to buy it separately?
What’s up with the HUGE coattails? The crop top suit jacket isn’t so bad - it’s so cheesy that I kinda like it - but the coattails, man. That’s probably the silliest thing about this character. The back of it can only be described as a butt apron. Do you remember those Looney Tunes shorts where Bugs Bunny was playing a concert piano, and when he sat at the piano bench he’d dramatically fling his suit’s coattails behind him? Do you think Iori has to do that literally every time he sits anywhere? On the bus? At a McDonald’s? Or does he just sit on it? If he goes to the park and relaxes in the grass, goes he get grass stains on his butt apron?
And the choker.
His background isn’t anything special either. He’s basically a violent emo kid with an uncontrollable blood rage inside of him or something. He wants to kill the protagonist because Reasons. Wikipedia says “One of the main objectives planned for The King of Fighters ‘95 was to properly introduce Iori as Kyo’s rival.” In other words, he’s Shadow the Hedgehog. Got it.
But, here he is on this list. I don’t know what to say for myself. Much like Ace Attorney, I could probably make a list of sexy male characters just from fighting games alone. But mostly, I felt I had to include Iori because something about him was immensely appealing to me as a younger man-liker. And I want to stress that actually, recent redesigns of the character are not that bad. They got rid of the silly elements and now he just looks like he came out of a mafia-themed gay porn, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. He’s showin’ a little bit of skin. Grew out of the Hot Topic stuff. He’s a swol metrosexual who can kick your ass. Yeah, you know, I can totally get behind modern Iori Yagami now.
Out of curiosity I looked at some of the other characters in the KoF franchise. Kyo Kusanagi or Shen Woo are more appealing to me now as a 27 year old. And apparently there’s a blatant Polnareff rip-off in these games too. LOVE IT. The female characters aren’t bad either. Look at this lady! Or this one! If only I didn’t hopelessly suck at fighting games, maybe I’d finally try King of Fighters.
5. Akihiko Sanada (Persona 4 Arena)
Akihiko Sanada is probably my favorite character from Persona 3. He acts cool because he is cool. He doesn’t try to be cool, he just is. He really isn’t interested in getting attention from women, or anyone else for that matter. Although he’s aloof, he’s still friendly. There’s no egotism to his coolness. Cool. So cool.
But this is only half the story. The longer you play Persona 3, the more you realize that Akihiko is actually a huge dork. He isn’t egotistical because, in reality, he’s sort of oblivious to others around him. His hobbies include protein drinks, those spring grabby things that you squeeze to make your grip stronger, being sad about his dead sister and trying to convince his best friend not to be a drug addict (always works). Those things are either adorably nerdy or kinda sad. Akihiko already stands out by not being your standard “dumb jock idiot” character, but on top of that, he’s a cool guy with a lot of depth under the mellow smile. I think that’s the core of his sexiness: the mixture of cool senpai, sympathy, and awkward nerd.
The original Akihiko from Persona 3 could have easily made this list. But... our lord and savior Atlus Co., Ltd., long-time provider of extremely attractive characters, did right by me when they turned him into a beautifully meaty, half-naked university-student-slash-caped-vigilante for Persona 4 Arena. Basically, Arena’s Akihiko has all the same traits that made me love him in the original game, except now he’s super hot instead of super miserable. This Akihiko is more well-adjusted after the tragic events of Persona 3, and he’s just got back from a period of soul searching, aka being Batman in South America, which has granted his body a significant amount of bulk.
Just look at his......... core strength. He probably has, um, high endurance. And jeez, his pants are practically falling off - pull them up on your hips, you sexy idiot. We get it, you’re ripped! The scars would be enough to convince us you’re a badass. I’d think you were trying to seduce me, but Akihiko is way too clueless for that.
P4A even gives us a few cutscenes of Akihiko in a white suit. More men’s wear! Woo hoo!
The men’s wear doesn’t cover up that scar on his scalp, though, which I love. He still looks like a grizzly brawler even when he’s dressed up. He’d probably be proud of that.
...speaking of scars...
6. Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect series)
I CAN EXPLAIN! Wait, no. Why should I have to explain? This is Mass Effect. If you didn’t romance Garrus, you romanced some other weird alien thing, or maybe a space racist, or both (you know who I speak of). So whatever, don’t you judge.
Anyway, is it any surprise at all that Garrus Vakarian is on this list? He’s one of the most beloved Western RPG characters ever conceived. He’s a total badass, but he’s also considerate to others and deeply loyal to Shepard. An idealist with a distaste for bureaucracy, he has a strong sense of justice but is obviously frustrated by his perceived inability to change the world for the better. And of course, when he gets into a position of power himself, he finds out that it’s not so easy. This makes for a very endearing, sympathetic character who’s easy to feel for (and fall in love with).
And he’s another huge dork. He reads up on human customs (read: sex) so he can make you happy. He brings wine to your room and does an awkward little dance to soft porn music because he doesn’t know how else to begin such an encounter. Until later when he says “fuck it” and takes you out on a proper date where you shoot some guns. He thinks your hair looks good, and your waist is... very supportive. Awww! What a great boyfriend. :’) He tries even though he has no idea what he’s doing, and it’s adorable.
To be honest, I never got to play ME3 as I was in law school at the time, but I’ve watched his romance scenes from it on Youtube and I think my heart is going to break whenever I get around to playing it. I love Garrus, and his relationship with femShep, too much to be able to endure the uncertainty and heart-wrenching goodbyes. But that’s Mass Effect for you.
So yes, he’s on this list, damn it. Even if he’s a weird bird-dinosaur-insect alien thing. While he’s not physically sexy, it’s all about that personality. The sexy voice helps too. He’s more charming and lovable than a lot of the other characters on this list. And he’s cute for an alien, isn’t he? He’s making a perpetual >:3 face.
7. Dunban (Xenoblade Chronicles)
Oh, um, it’s another... guy in a vest.
I’ll admit that Dunban most likely made this list because I’m currently in the middle of playing this game on the 3DS, but it’s not like he doesn’t belong here! Dunban is a war hero who once the wielded the Monado, a special laser sword with the exclusive ability to harm flesh-eating robot monsters. However, at the outset of the game, using the Monado has done so much damage to his body that his entire right arm is almost completely paralyzed.
But then his sister dies, and a new person takes on the burden of the Monado (Shulk!). It might look like Dunban is powerless to help anyone now, and useless to boot, since he’s no longer the only person who can use the Monado. But does Dunban sit and cry about it? No. He gets off his ass and comes along to help, because he wants to see justice done, too. He just uses a sword in this left hand instead - and without any fanfare. Cry harder, Jaime Lannister.
At thirty years old, Dunban is the single adult character among a group of teenagers (and non-humans whose ages don’t match their maturity level). That basically makes him the party’s cool babysitter and voice of reason, and he fills the role well. And, of course, he’s hot! I mean, he could be hotter, Xenoblade’s graphics aren’t as great as they could be and the game’s official character designs are more calm and friendly-looking than sexual. But Dunban is well-built and long-haired, and he’s got one of those jaw-only stubble beards. His disabled right arm has darkened swirl marks from hand to shoulder, reminiscent of tattoos. It’s sort of a rockstar look, if rockstars wore vaguely steampunk/vampire capes and cravats.
It also helps that Dunban sometimes feels like the only playable character in Xenoblade who has brain, but that’s probably a topic for another day.
8. Chrom (Fire Emblem: Awakening)
It’s King Husband himself, Chrom from Fire Emblem: Awakening!
Chrom, man. He’s so cool. So dreamy. His smile! His honesty! His determination, his love for his comrades. And his beautiful face. His narrow hips. His beefy arms.
His butt. His royal, flat butt.
Why are you embarrassed, Chrom? You’re beautiful.
I think the best thing about Chrom is how devoted he is. He loves his family, especially his little sister Lissa, so he’s got the onii-chan charm on full blast right from the beginning. On top of that, you get to see him fall in love and married during the course of the game, specifically to your lady of choice, for maximum dollhouse fun.
But the most essential part of his character is that he’s a prince, and later a king. He has vastly more responsibility than what comes with being a big brother or husband. You really get a sense that Chrom loves his people, wants to protect them, and wants what’s best for them. He feels a strong sense of duty to those who fight for him especially. This can be a huge burden, especially if you go with Female Robin for his love interest, but he shoulders it the best he can. He’s very fatherly in that way... but he’s also literally a Hot Dad. Thanks to Awakening’s time travel, he gets to be a Hot Dad while he’s still young and legit hot.
And if Chrom is having children, we know he must be having sex. Lots of sex.
Just think about it. Sweet, polite, loyal Chrom, flatbutt-naked, doin’ it.
Do male characters in other games have sex and have healthy relationships? Yes, of course. Some of the sex is even on screen for you to enjoy. Nothing adds more sex to a game than, well, literal sex.
But in the case of FEA, there’s never a moment where they actually give you the goods, so to speak. It’s just a logical and necessary step 2 between marriage and children, so if you’re going to be a pervert and think about it like I have, it’s all going to be in your imagination. Imagination is a powerful thing. And at the foundation of whatever you conjure up in your head is Chrom’s happy marriage to his wife. Suggested sex within a loving, supportive relationship can be just as good as plain old explicit sex. Chrom himself is a sexy guy, but it’s his relationships and actions in FEA that get him on a list of top sexy male characters.
9. Gaius (Tales of Xillia)
Okay, so, this guy is my modern day Iori Yagami. The only Tales game I’ve played is Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube, which I liked a lot at the time but I suspect hasn’t aged well. However, I have a few friends who are into the Tales series, so much like Iori Yagami, I get exposed to a lot of enthusiastic discussion about the other games, including their characters.
I have developed a crush on this guy, Gaius, based on osmosis alone. I know very little about him or the game he’s from. Tales of Xillia is the one with the female protagonist, right? With the multicolored hair? It didn’t interest me enough to pick it up. It might have been during my dark years of law school too, where I played almost no new games.
But let’s talk about Gaius. He is on this list purely because I think he is sexually attractive. That’s the only reason. After reading all my thoughts on other characters so far, you can see some familiar elements in play. I’ve seen him in a few different costumes, one of which is basically fantasy men’s wear. He’s dark-skinned, dark-haired, kinda rugged and tousled-looking. Every picture I’ve seen of him has him brooding or scowling. Is he brooding in the game? Is he rugged? What’s with the suit, is he some kind of JRPG lawyer? I have no idea, I only know that he is beautiful, and I wanna touch his mancleavage.
My favorite look for him is the one you see in the above image, which must be some kind of super saiyan mode or special move or whatever, because there’s very few images of it online. It’s got the same vibe as bikini armor: ornamental, totally impractical, and oozing sex appeal. I am more than okay with that. Are those tattoos all over him? God, he has a tattoo thing, too. Who made this character? You’re a gift. Thank you.
10. Professor Sycamore (Pokemon XY)
Yes, I am including a Pokemon character on this list. And it’s not just me! The fan reaction to him was enormous!
He doesn’t look like any Pokemon professor we’d seen up to that point. He isn’t an old man or a rotund middle-aged guy. He’s cool. Professor Juniper from the previous game, the first female professor, also had a certain flair to her, but she’s still not as hip and scruffy as Professor Sycamore. The crazy hair and sleepy eyes make him the first hipster professor. You know he rolled out of bed this morning, lazily shaved his chin, shoved half his hair to the side and wandered into his office at 10 am with a venti Starmiebucks latte in one hand.
The love continued even after the game came out. XY featured, for the first time, some character animations for the major players in the story. It’s sparse compared to other games, but it immediately provided a lot of wordless characterization that these games could use more of. He’s very suave and kinda smarmy, smirking at you before battle but helplessly shrugging and giggling when he loses. Sycamore is more like an eccentric science teacher lighting his desk on fire in class to demonstrate the flammability of alcohol than a weird old man who wants you to do a bunch of free work for him.
Maybe they thought they had to up the ante and make XY’s Pokemon professor suave and stylish, since it’s set in pseudo-France? It’s a little stereotypical, but I can’t say I mind. I love this guy. Hon hon hon, baguette jokes!
Well, there you have it: my personal top 10 sexiest video game men! At the moment, at least.
I know I left out a lot of popular inclusions to lists like this, like Ezio, Nathan Drake, Bigby Wolf, Geralt, etc. But I haven’t played their games, and their looks didn’t do enough for me on their own, so they didn’t get onto this list. I wouldn’t have had anything to say about them.
However, maybe you do. I’d love to hear about any other sexy men I forgot and didn’t talk about. So leave a comment, maybe......