Male Intimacy and Why We Need More of It
This was an informally requested article by someone who follows me on Tumblr, I believe. After writing some initial thoughts on Tales of Zestiria for myself when I finished the game, I knew at some point I needed to talk about the relationship between the main character and his best friend.

It is very, very rare to see two men in a work of fiction who love each other and show it. This could be platonic or romantic, sexual or nonsexual; regardless, it's just not a thing we see much of. And that's because so many people are still afraid of being seen as gay or (for men) not manly enough. I'm happy to report that Tales of Zestiria, a Japanese role-playing video game where a boy named Sorey goes on a task to purify the malevolence in the world and save it from evil, has a physically and emotionally intimate relationship between two boys who have cared about each other for as long as they can remember.

Men in popular culture are confined to a few specific roles: the strong, powerful hero, the possibly nerdy underdog, the more effeminate-looking villain, or the father figure. Sometimes there's some overlap, such as the father or husband who is motivated to save his wife or daughter—or to enact revenge after she's died, yet another reoccurring trope. In isolation, these character types are not bad, but they're certainly boring because of their overuse. But what lurks behind these masculine heroes and less masculine villains or comic relief characters is a fear of intimacy.

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