Relationships in LNs


  • Member

    I've long noticed a trend where the lead is 8 out of 10 times paired with a shy girl. Even when they seem mature and open when introduced, the moment she falls in love, she turns into a shy girl barely able to hold hands. And most of the time, the male lead is just as shy. I'm aware that Japanese aren't really big on being publicly affectionate, but doubt that has anything to do with it, since they are equally shy, if not more so, when alone.
    Just to be clear, i have nothing against shy girls and boys, but for it to happen almost with every novel where romance is a thing, makes me wonder. And it's starting to feel unnatural. Is this a cultural thing? And if so, why? Cause i never really see much of this in chinese webnovels. Nor english fantasy books that i read.
    There are probably many more novels that aren't like this then i am aware of and i have come across some. Like Arifureta(but that one is just a different kind of extreme). It's usually either; "No affection until after marriage" kind of thing or; "slobber all over eachother at any opportunity". Few middlegrounds.
    Also, i don't read many novels where the romance is the main focus, so no doubt i miss out on much because of that. I also rarely, if ever read novels with female lead. Nothing against those, just not my cup of tea.

    I did go off on a few tangents, but at the end of the day, is there a reason why a majority of non-romance focused novels almost always have the lead fall for the shy girl, and balk and almost vehemently reject the agressive one? Not to mention the utter lack of interest in the more mature, calm ones, until they too turn out the be the extreme shy types who simply use their mature appearance as a facade?


  • Premium Member

    I would posit that it's a feedback loop - people read things that reflect upon how their lives are going, and they live their lives the way they read it should be.

    PDAs are, in general, not done in "proper" society, so books reflect that.

    Of course, the decline in Japanese birth rate is partially because of this.



  • Experience is probably the easiest justification, at least if it's their first. Not knowing where exactly to draw the line when they're vastly interested in the latter leads to overcompensating when dialing back.

    Another reason is that it's far more entertaining at the extremes, rather than the middle. A good way to think about the middle-ground is when both parents are part of the story, which are the ones that are most memorable or have the most memorable relationships.


  • Member

    @SomeOldGuy PDA? Don't get the acronym.


  • Staff

    @KopiCAT Public displays of affection.


  • Premium Member

    I always assumed that this was due to LNs being targeted at adolescents. I imagine that many LN readers relate strongly to the feelings of awkwardness and shyness around romantic interests. Self-insert escapist literature allows them to experience plausible-seeming romantic scenarios that they themselves may still be several years away from experiencing in real life. I believe that this is also the reason for other romance-related staples of the genre, such as bizarre and implausible scenarios where a tumble or spill leads to accidental groping - because that is the sort of thing that inexperienced teenagers find titillating.

    FWIW, this was one of the things I liked about Arifureta. It's nice to have a protagonist with an actual libido who can make up his damn mind and just get back to moving the plot forward.


  • Member

    @unknownmat Funny thing about it though is that sometimes you have the two leads being made fun of by kids for being overly shy. "are you really highschoolers? You are even worse then us, and we are only 10" And every now and then, you have the leads friend/friends develop their relationships more normally. There are certainly some shyness involved, but not to such an extreme extent that it actually stops their relationship from progressing. But hey, maybe i just answered my own question. Them being so darn shy is a way to extend it. And i will give credit where credit is due, it's a nice way to postpone without annoying drama. So it takes them sometimes a year or two to actually end up as an official couple despite obviously liking eachother, and both being aware of the other's feelings.


  • Premium Member

    @KopiCAT
    It doesn't sound like you found my answer very helpful. It's a bit difficult to comment in general because there is such a variety of material out there. You might want to try listing some examples so that people will know what you are talking about, and can comment specifically.


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