Fantasy Mancandy: My Top 5

Here's a Christmas dish! In October, I promised some eye candy of the animated kind. Since Christmas is coming, and I'm in a giving mood, I figured it's the perfect time to share my top five most-dishy guys (who aren't all drawn, but at least whose representation is clearly fantastical!).

What can I say? It's the little things that make me happy. And by "little things", I don't mean—Weellll, you know what I don't mean. Ahem-hem!

Dishy Eye-Candy #1: Ian Nottingham

And how. Let's start this with a bang, shall we? My first and arguably most-drooled-over obsession.

Ian Nottingham is both an anti-hero and a villain. Brutally raised, horrifically treated, shaped and molded like supple clay, he became Kenneth Iron's right hand man. Groomed early not only to survive taking on the legendary Witchblade, but to control it, he is one tough customer.

And one gorgeous, beautiful hunk of a man.

Ian was drawn by the late and very great Michael Turner, whose passing was met with great sadness. His distinctive style shaped a generation of what I most lovingly call T&A comics. Nobody draws jaw-droppingly handsome black-haired men like Michael did.

Hunka-Hunka Beautiful Man #2: Vash the Stampede

I don't usually dig blondes. To be fair, I married a blonde, but that's the rule of my family. We tend to play with one (in my case, brunettes) and marry the other. The mancandy is a blonde, don't you know.

And then there's Vash. Maybe it's the story—Vash is an orphan of dubious origin, who has survived as a pacifist in a dangerous, unforgiving world. Considered to be the first human Act of God, chaos and destruction follows in his wake. And as the story of Trigun proceeds, he finds his morals, his determination and his very nature challenged to the breaking point.

Whatever it is, he's worn, scarred, and still unfailingly optimistic. Until it becomes impossible to keep a positive face, and he comes face to face with his worst fears.

I love him. I want to kiss his scars all better. Is that weird?

Lust-Magnet Fictional Dish #3: Rain, via Ninja Assassin

Okay, maybe it's the black hair. Then again, look at that picture and tell me you noticed the hair.

I joke about this movie. It's pure ninja-hack-and-slash schlock, and I love it. The man is gorgeous, his character has a sense of humor, there's ninjas and blood and a pretty woman who isn't as helpless as all that (except maybe against ninjas, but who isn't?).

The man's name outside of the movie is Rain. He is a pop star. I hope to see so much more of him as time goes by. I love martial art films, and in fact collect a lot of the epic flicks—Hero and House of Flying Daggers and the like. But I also collect the schlocky ones, like Sukiyaki Western Django.

Ninja Assassin, and Rain, fit right in.

Heart-Stealing Dish of Dork #4: Alistair

Oh look, another blonde! Well, more like a sandy blonde, but still. It's lighter than I normally like 'em, but spend ten minutes with him and you'll fall head over heels at, "Wait, you're not another mage, are you?"

In my long and storied history with Bioware games, I have only really fallen for one character: Carth Onasi, the Star Wars character I loved to tease. torment. poke at and generally make fun of. Nothing was more entertaining than listening to him stammer, "No, that's—I just—Wait, that's not what I meant...!"

Until Dragon Age. Until Alistair.

Charmingly geeky, terribly unpolished, sweet and salty Alistair. A man whose past comes back to haunt him even as he struggles with you to save your country. A man who mumbles things like, "Mmmm, wet frocks," and strives to be virtuous in the face of sheer temptation. (Wherein he says gleefully, "All right, I'll admit it: I'm a bad, bad man. I'm in.")

Watching him grow into a King (or, if you prefer, a fully-fledged Grey Warden and hero) is one of my favorite storylines in a Bioware RPG, and I've saved all the really adorable scenes, like when he finally asks you to share his tent for the night... I won't ruin it, but if you aren't charmed right out of your virtual knickers, you have no soul.

Subtly Sexy Shadow King #5: Kyoya Ootari

This one might seem out of place. You may be thinking, "What on earth is so appealing about this animated twig?" Settle down, now, and let me spread the goodness that is Ouran High School Host Club.

Please note that by linking this to Hulu, I am strongly encouraging you—no, I am demanding that you go watch this show! It's short, it's subtitled, it's hilarious. Shrieking in helpless laughter kind of funny.

And the best part? Though it's often silly, it's an anime that actually shows some of the most amazing and heart-tugging character growth I've ever seen as the series progresses.

Kyoya begins as the quiet and controlling man behind Tamaki's vibrant personality. Nicknamed the "shadow king" (of course based off the wildly popular shojo style where each beautiful male character embodies a certain archetype), he becomes so much more than just the one who keeps an eye on the bank books and subtly arranges matters.

Like all of the boys in the Host Club, he falls a little bit in love with Haruhi, the female lead—but not in a "torn between love affairs" way. He grows, he becomes something more than just a manipulator, and over the course of the series, you love him, too.

It does not hurt that he has black hair, is tall and lanky, seriously wealthy, driven, ambitious, determined, and so much more than his family thinks he is.

And when you get a peek into his heart, a glimpse into his real motives, well... we may be back to the no soul issue.

So there's my top five. What I really must know is... If Santa were to stuff your stocking on Christmas Day (or if you got to choose who'd light your Hanukkah candle, cozy up your Kwanzaa, etc), then who would your fantasy dishy guy be?

Karina Cooper is a paranormal romance author for Avon. Her first book, Blood of the Wicked, will be released May 31st, 2011. She actually has more than five men that she'd just love to dangle on a string, and they routinely shuffle position based on mood and day. Quite frankly, if she could, she'd have a shojo reverse-harem in a freaking heartbeat, with her mancandy as the Prince character. What? Like you wouldn't...


  1. Alas, alack! Every fantasy guy I imagine is either woefully straight or woefully an undead monster who would eat my soul.

    If I wasn't in danger of being devoured, I think I'd like a slice of Gerald Tarrant, the Neocount of Merentha, from C. S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy. And if he was open to a boobless rendezvous, I'd flatten some hay with Jean Tannen from Scott Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora.

  2. For mind, you can't go past Aragorn. I was in love with him in print, before the movie came out. The movie made it even better.

    Then there's Corin of Amber and Akkarin from Trudi Canavan's Black Magician Trilogy.

    Then we get into paranormal romance and urban fantasy and the list grows madly :)

  3. @Puss: Hey, it's a fantasy list. Gay, straight or endearingly crooked, we are free to lust to our heart's content. ;) I like your choices—though I'm with you on the hesitation about being devoured bit.

    Then again, could be fun! ;) (Jeez, we're naughty over here today...)

    @Nicole: Aragorn! I <3 Aragorn, especially as played by the yummy Viggo. Carl Urban's Eomer almost made this list, but I decided to tuck him away for a later event. ;) He's far too tempting to put him in a mancandy dish with a bunch of others.

    Notice I stayed out of the paranormal/urban fantasy books, too—there's just so many to choose from! But if I had to? Jericho Barrons, from Karen Marie Moning's Fae series. I think I'm obsessed.

  4. I like Zero from Vampire Knight, Able from Blood Trinity, Sobe from Loveless (probably my favorite. love the long hair and glasses). And the Ninja Assassin guy . Loved that movie. I want that weapon, hey! I am talking about the knife on a chain ;)

  5. You do like 'em big, don't you? :)

    I just like "Mr. Big" - from SATC - lol!

  6. @Sharon: Abel. Oh, yes! I almost forgot about him! He's phenomenal. I also confess to a little crush on Wolfwood from Trigun (SOB!) and Sebastian from Black Butler.

    Good choices, lady. I'll take my gorgeous anime guys any day of the week.

    @Kathy: Naughty. ;) And you know, Mr. Big is certainly a winner, too! (He's brunette, I realize suddenly... mrowr!)

    We who live in these elaborate glass houses cast no stones. ;)

  7. Vash I can see but Kyoya? I love Ouran but my fave of the boys is Mori, the strong, silent, dependable one.

  8. Karina - you are awesome! I love your list of mancandy! And very informative too!

    Hope you have a great Christmas!


  9. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  10. Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.


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