I couldn’t really look into the Bully Hero without making a post about the opposite side of the coin. The Crying Hero can be picked on by the Bully Hero, but they can also operate alone. The key point is that they are fairly sensitive even if they are tough enough to get into big brawls and win. You would think that this type of hero is fairly easy to right and gain acceptance for . . . Nope.
Crying is seen as a sign of weakness by many people. It’s really the reaction of a person going through too much pain for them to handle. After all, we cry or tear up when we suffer physical injury, so why is it weird that we do so when mentally or emotionally wounded? Heroes put themselves into situations where a mistake can cost someone their life. Many possess a sense of empathy and kindness, which is a driving force to them becoming a hero instead of staying home. So, it makes sense that you will have some who don’t have the best control when it comes to pain or even victory. Crying is a natural reaction, so it’s a shame that people see it entirely as a negative.
I ran into this over the course of Legends of Windemere too. Luke Callindor had some crying moments throughout the series. I would get messages or see critiques that said this made him weak and unappealing as a hero. Forget that he went through hell and was tortured too. Yet, Nyx and Sari had just as much suffering with crying moments, but nobody seemed to get upset about that. This is why I think the Crying Hero is accepted more as a female instead of a male. Just look at Midoriya and how part of his character development is that he tones down the crying. I’m happy that he still tears up even in later stories because I don’t want him to lose that sensitivity. It makes him stand out in contrast to Bakugo the Bully Hero, who has had a few scenes where he’s shown tears, but it’s come with anger. These are manga and anime too, so it could be a cultural thing. Western ideals definitely have manly men with the emotional depth of a clogged toilet near the top of the list.
Are there any tricks to writing a Crying Hero? Nothing as difficult as the Bully Hero because the key point is to show that they have emotions. They are human enough to demonstrate the feelings that we don’t find appealing, which should make them more relatable. No matter how strong and unbeatable a hero is, they will benefit from revealing their heart. It doesn’t have to be crying either. They can rant in frustration, mope, talk openly about feeling like a failure, or anything that shows they are capable of emotional suffering. This makes their victories and pushing forward more potent with a potential bonus of inspiring readers to do the same.
Authors may be hesitant to do this too. It comes down to the idea that heroes need to be larger than life. This used to be a bigger issue where the good guys couldn’t die or be shown bleeding, so it’s not as prevalent. Yet, it’s still around on the emotional level these days. Your hero can be battered to the brink of death in a gory display with an audience not blinking an eye. They fall to their knees crying because they failed to save the day and you’ll get people complaining that they are weak. Although, that is kind of the point of the whole thing, which I think some authors and readers forget. You want heroes to show weakness to make them more humor, especially in the face of loss and pain.
So, what do you think about the Crying Hero? Could you write one or enjoy reading about one?