Warning: Intense staring at this pic may turn you into a mushy goo due to overheating.
This is a repost of a old post from my old blog, Extrange is Metrosexual. Now with 150% more flaming resistance.
As with any community, anime fans has it’s own set of terms to describe their unique characteristics. But words like Moé, Tsundere, Yandere, Trap, Boomer or Bishie are quite recent and have a blurry line of definition. GAR is one of them. And no, I’m not referring to the primitive predaceous North American fish, which covered with hard scales and having long jaws with needle-like teeth. No I’m talking about GAR, the word used to define the kind of guys with such an aura of coolness and manlyhood around him that makes other males weep in joy and kneel in their presences.
The first appearances of the term appeared on /a/nime section of 4chan, the famous imageboard (not for the best reasons). According to the story, one guy was expressing his (yaoi) love for Archer, the character of Fate : Stay Night anime and Ero-novels and wrote as a typo “I’m GAR for Archer”. Others account that the typo was in purpose, due the combination of the words (Gay for Archer). Nevertheless, the comment was expressed due to the heroic and macho last stand that Archer displayed during his fight with Berserker in the anime. Since then, the word GAR was spread as a meme associated to males who are so manly and badass that makes other males weep in joy and pure admiration for them ( or something like that….).
GAR can be viewed as a modernization of Virtus, a Roman concept fairly forgotten in present times. According to Wikipedia , “Virtus was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It does not mean virtue in general, but something more like valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth (perceived masculine strengths, which may indicate its derivation from vir, man). It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors, and was personified as a deity.”
Hot And Cold GAR
We know he only has eyes for Simon…
From this basic concept of GAR, several Anime/Manga communities diverged to two extreme visualizations of GAR; Hot Blooded GAR and Cold Blooded GAR.
Hot Blooded GAR is associated with characters who express their manlyness in the heat of the battle, able to stand up and face even the most dire of the situations. It’s a common feature among mecha pilots and as examples we have GaoGaiGar (which conveniently has GAR on it’s name) and more recent Kamina/Simon in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
In the opposite direction we have the Cold Blooded GAR, who express their badass attitute through their cunningness. They usualy plan ahead every moves before acting, in blatant contrast of the “Shoot 1st, think later” attitude of Hot Blooded Gar. As examples we have Colonel Mustang from Full Metal Alchemist, Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass or L/Light from Death Note.
Other Kinds Of Gar
I’m not GAR! I just wanna kill myself in peace!
As any evolving concept, GAR’s lack of a defining line has led to new variations of the theme. One recent variation is the Female Gar, with Claire from Claymore and Revy from Black Lagoon being the ephitomes. In spite of their female status, they can emanate a manly aura in their actions and attitudes that surpass the real males around them. Other not recent variation is the Laid Back GAR. Characters like Shunsui Kyoraku from Bleach or Ken Matsushiro from Yakitate! Japan have a very relaxed attitude, not looking at first worthy of the GAR title; but once they jump into action , they truly show their confidence in their skills and all the manly attitude they have. The last GAR style to be referenced is the pessimist/sarcastical GAR; Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Nozomu Itoshiki from Sayonara Zetsuboi Sensei show perfectly how an extreme pessimist and cynical view of the world and surroundings can lead to GARness.