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“Gar” is an Internet slang term associated with same-sex affection for overtly masculine characters found in animes and manga. It is typically used by fan boys as an adjective to characterize a male character as being cool, badass or otherwise admirable. The concept can be also seen as the antithesis of “moe.”
The term “gar” is rumored to have been coined on 4chan after an anonymous user accidentally posted “I am gar for Archer” to express his admiration for the character from the Japanese anime series Fate/Stay Night, which was meant to be read as “I am gay for Archer.” The earliest known definition of “gar” was submitted by Urban Dictionary user Ryukage on May 2nd, 2006, describing the term as same-sex appreciation for a male character’s masculine traits.
In December of 2006, 4chan began the nomination phase of the first SaiGar tournament to select the most masculine gar characters in anime and manga. The first round of voting was commenced on January 2nd, 2007. After a series of elimination rounds that were held between January and March 2007, Guts from the manga series Berserk was announced as the winner of the tournament.
On January 17th, 2008, Singaporean blogger ckwiz posted an article explaining the concept of gar in details. On November 10th, Yahoo Answers user I <3 Anime submitted a question asking for the definition of gar in the context of anime. On July 5th, 2009, an entry for gar was created on the Internet culture wiki Lurkmore. On December 8th, My Anime List Forums member dpjdm submitted a thread asking others to list the most gar anime or manga character. On June 3rd, 2010, a thread referring to Archer from Fate/Stay Night as “Gar Archer” was posted to the /a/ (anime & manga) board on 4chan (shown below).
On November 30th, 2011, the gaming news blog Screw Attack published a list of the “Top 12 Men of Anime,” claiming it was “a list of gar.” On November 9th, 2012, an anonymous user on 4chan’s /a/ board submitted a thread asking others to share their own lists of gar characters. On April 8th, 2013, another discussion thread about gar characters appeared on 4chan’s /m/ board (mecha), which was met by several replies jadedly noting that gar threads had become less popular in recent years.
Gar has different meanings on the /a/ (Anime & Manga) and /m/ (Mecha) boards on 4chan. On /a/, the term typically refers to strong, masculine and stoic characters, while it refers to more aggressive, loud and boisterous characters on /m/. The term has been compared to the Ancient Roman concept of Virtus, a virtue associated with perceived masculine strengths such as courage, honor and worth.
Anime and manga fans have often used demotivational posters and other image macros to explain the concept of gar.
Related Term: Manime
The term “manime” loosely refers to anime franchises that are primarily aimed at a male demographic, similar to the term “shonen manga,” which describes a variety of manga series that are specifically marketed toward younger males.