Bloodbath: Why Do So Many Anime Characters Have Nosebleeds When They’re Aroused?

Any anime or manga fan will tell you that the sight of characters suffering sudden, sporadic nosebleeds when they’re sexually aroused is not uncommon in Japanese-created works.

A male character catches a glimpse of a girl undressing, a girl has the object of her affection wink seductively at her, a character trips and finds his face inches from a female character’s ample bosom; the result is always the same- a flushed face followed by a gushing nosebleed.

The idea is that sexual arousal causes an increase in blood pressure, which in turn sets off a nosebleed. It’s certainly true that arousal or embarrassment can cause us to flush– I can clearly recall my face bursting into flames when I was 12 years old and the girl in my class whom I was madly in love with was dared to kiss me on the cheek– but could it really cause a nosebleed?

NicoNico News turned to a medical professional to find out whether there’s any truth to the anime phenomenon, or whether it’s just an old wives’ tale…

Dr Kōichiro Kanaya, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the Kaneyama Clinic, Yamaguchi prefecture, is on hand to shed some professional light on the case of the nosebleed-suffering sexually aroused…

“It’s true that blood pressure rises when we’re sexually aroused, and it’s been well documented, but there is no connection between arousal of this kind and nose-bleeds.”

Now that’s the kind of doctor we like- straight to the facts.

Nosebleeds usually start because of damage to the septum, the good doctor tells us, which is why so many little kids who can’t keep their fingers out of there can often be seen in the school nurse’s office with tissue jammed up their nostrils…

“Since the inside of the nose is one of the more fragile parts of the body, I can understand where the theory that increased blood-pressure caused by sexual arousal causes nosebleeds might come from;” Dr Kanayama continues, “but the human body is made from some pretty soft, flexible stuff, so I couldn’t really say that the argument is entirely sound.”

So why on earth would we see this happening in anime and manga so often?

Dr Kanayama has a theory about that:

“In the past, people like pro wrestlers would intentionally give themselves small cuts on their forehead in order to build tension and atmosphere in a match. I can only imagine that the idea of extreme stimulation and an excess of energy was portrayed in the same way with nosebleeds, and it’s come to be the accepted method of representing that feeling.”

So, it’s just a way of expressing… other… bodily explosions, huh? I suppose we can live with that. It certainly helps keep anime a little less ‘R’ rated…


The first time I ever saw an anime character suffer a nosebleed, outside of boxing story Hajime no Ippo, anyway, was in the peculiar series Hare no chi Guu. At the time I had no idea what was going on when a young nurse character suddenly started gushing blood while spinning around, and I simply passed it off as yet another bizarre joke, but since then I’ve seen it everywhere.

According to NicoNico News, though, seeing anime and manga characters’ noses explode is nothing to worry about- they’re perfectly healthy. If anything, they’re a little too healthy…

We’ll leave you now with a great little video- and ode to nosebleeds in cheeky anime Baka and Test, otherwise known as Baka to Test to Shōkanjū (Idiots, Tests, an Summoned Breasts).

We hope you like the colour red…

Source: NicoNico News


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