I once talked about the fascination of anime lap pillows, and why fans love them.
It’s the same story with anime headpats, but the reasons are different and the trope is different as well.
- Why do anime fans love anime head pats.
- What do anime head pats signify?
- Which anime started the trend that’s so popular today?
- What kinds of anime show this?
Let’s talk about the why and all the rest of it relating to anime headpats.
Here’s a list.
Why fans love anime headpats:
1. Senpai relationship
In life regardless of your age, you’ll always come across someone younger than you, older than you, and someone who looks up to you.
This is the “senpai relationship” I’m talking about.
In anime, sometimes the Senpai, the person the other character looks up to is the one giving out the headpats which is a small but big part of what defines their relationship.
It can be a female character headpatting another younger female character, a male character (the senpai) headpatting the female character, and usually nothing other than these combinations.
That leads to my next points.
2. A sign of adoration
One definition of adoration is worship, but that’s not the point being used here. It’s a sign of love, respect, or adoring the other person in some way.
Not romantic love obviously, but a different kind of love.
Subaru Natsuki’s relationship with REM in Re:Zero is a good example of this. Once they get on good terms in season 1, you can see Subaru headpatting Rem whenever she helps him out.
Especially during the time when Subaru is being selfish and wanting to join Emilia in the Royal selection meeting.
The same is true when Subaru Natsuki headpats PETRA, who is the orange-haired girl from the village with a red bunny accessory on her head.
These types of headpats signify a type of love or respect for the other person.
That leads to the next point.
3. A sign of wanting to protect someone
Using the Re:Zero example again, we see this in the first season of the anime series. During the time when Subaru is in the mansion killing himself to please everyone, he burns out eventually.
Then, Emilia lets him rest in her lap and starts patting his head and stroking his hair.
This is a sign of wanting to protect someone and make someone feel safe, whether that person is someone you care about, love, or want the best for in life despite their hardships.
A headpat in this context means the person cares a lot about you, and anime fans love this.
4. Personal satisfaction
Sometimes a headpat in anime isn’t always about thinking about the other person, or making them feel safe, or doing it because you care about them, etc. Sometimes it’s about selfish pleasure.
That’s not a bad thing.
A headpat can mean the person doing the headpatting gets some sort of satisfaction out of it. It feels good to do it, and when they get the chance with whoever they’re relatively close with, they jump at the chance.
In this context, it can work to calm down the person doing it.
That leads to the next point.
5. A stress reliever
Going back to Re:Zero again, Subaru Natsuki in the first few episodes runs into FELT, the little kid who lives in the slums. After talking to her on his re-run, he decides to start patting her on the head.
In this case, he’s not patting FELT on the head because he cares a whole lot about her, or because he wants her to feel safe, etc.
No, in this scenario it’s because headpatting FELT gives Subaru Natsuki a sense of relief, and helps him calm down his own nerves about the upcoming battle he’s mentally preparing for.
It works as a stress reliever and makes him feel happier in the moment, as well as a dose of optimism he didn’t have moments before.
6. A sign of romantic feelings
In the case of romance in anime, or in real life, head patting can be a sign of romance and how you feel about the other person.
That can be before a relationship is established, or it can be after a relationship is established between the two people.
One example is when Kaizaki Araata headpats Chizuru Hishiro in the anime Re:Life. It’s towards the end of the slice of life anime.
That moment captures romantic feelings between the two, even though it only lasts for a few moments.
Of course, we see this play out in other anime as well like Re:Zero, Clannad, and other romance anime.
7. A sign of assurance
In the anime series Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends, Sena is seen stroking and headpatting the head of Kodaka Hasegawa’s younger sister.
At this moment, she feels assured and safe.
The same thing happens in Clannad when Tomoya headpats Nagisa, his eventual girlfriend, while she’s crying to give her a sense of assurance and safety.
This also happens in many other anime like:
- Asterisk War.
- Is The Order A Rabbit.
- Sword Art Online.
- Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
- Non Non Biyori.
And a lot more.
8. The cute and wholesome aspects of headpats
And the last point is more about how wholesome it is in general. If you were to tie all the points together, you could easily put it under the wholesome or cute umbrella.
That’s why it’s satisfying to watch, be entertained by, and why anime fans love the anime headpatting trope so much.
It’s relaxing and wholesome at its worst, and sometimes a good laugh at best depending on what the context actually is.
In the end, there are a lot of reasons why anime fans love anime headpats, and why there’s a fascination for it.
These 8 reasons cover the majority of it, and each anime fan enjoys anime headpats for different reasons despite some of those reasons aligning with the majority.
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