It was one of those weird conversations that lead to a blog post. A friend and I were discussing manga and anime characters that don mustaches or beards and found ourselves struggling to name many. Alright, so we could name quite a few but a lot of them were bad guys. Could it be that tons of facial hair was synonymous with an evil temperament in such series? Yea, I am feeling bad for Hagrid if he ever ends up in anime format.
Well, it turns out it was not as clear cut as all that. And, this is the weird bit, a lot of other folks have talked about bearded and mustached guys from various manga/anime. I certainly didn't expect to find the pages that I did. Ookay! These sites did clear up matters … just a bit. I can only hope that someone tackles this issue and writes an extensive analysis of mustached folk as portrayed in these shows. For now, you can check out TV Tropes and read about the significance of hair and their contribution to the plot.
Coming back to the topic on hand, here's what I found out about bearded/mustached fellows. I couldn't decide on relationship between facial hair and a character's alignment but it looks like these features were vital for development of personality traits.
Like me, you might have overlooked a character with a hairy line above his upper lip. After all, it's not something you look out for, is it? Well, do you know where you are almost always likely to find a man donning a fantastic handlebar mustache? In the military or police force! Why is it that cops and commanders are granted such features? Something about looking mature and manly … so, good cop has handlebar mustache, bad cop has pencil thin, Klingon-like ones? Soichiro Yagami is the perfect example of the handlebar variety.
Alright, the next one. Funnily enough, kings, mayors and knights also come complete with a upper-lip space filler. It could be that, just like in Western stories, these positions are normally associated with older, wiser characters? And that there is a certain amount of masculine dignity attached to having one of these? If you are looking for an example, think of King Fahn from Record of Lodoss War.
There's another group of characters who will end up with a mustache and beard – scientists. Ever notice how a number of scientists are given stubbles, mustaches or grizzly beards? To be honest, a lot of evil scientists in anime/manga have that youthful Diedritch look going for them. This means they are clean shaven and look like they should be part of a shampoo ad. However, you do get the occasional character with more than his share of facial hair. Chances are, when such a character lands a beard/mustache, it will be one to be reckoned with. Check out Kurotsuchi Mayuri from Bleach.
You know a group that lacked a lot of bearded/mustached men? Vampires. It could be that these guys didn't like matted blood on their faces or, like my friend pointed out, maybe bishies made better vampires. However, there is one glaring exception to clean shaven vampire - Johnny Rayflo from Vassalord.