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Summertime in Japan is hot. Like, REALLY hot. To stay cool during the summertime Japanese people started to wear yukata, a lighter and simpler version of the traditional kimono. Due to its association with summer, the yukata invokes a sense of coolth, carefreeness, and relaxation.
In anime, characters usually wear yukata during Summer festival episodes. But there are many characters who choose to don the garment at all times. There are some characters who, in addition to the seasonal festivities, choose to wear the traditional on select occasions. Regardless of the reason for wearing the yukata, there are only a handful of characters that are able to make the yukata part of their being. These characters make themselves identifiable by way of their yukata and also carry with them the summertime feel that comes with a yukata, regardless of the time.
Here are 10 boys/guys that make and are made by their yukata. Yukata guys, if you will.
10. Shira from Blade of the Immortal (Mugen no Juunin)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2008 – December 2008
Yukata are supposed to invoke a feeling of coolth and relaxation, not murderous rage and sadism. That, however, is exactly what you get with Shira. Shira is an "immortal" sadist who derives pleasure from torturing and killing his victims. So then, how is that a man who turned his own bones into blades, made it onto this list?
His yukata of course. Shira wears a pale yukata with a red sun on the shoulder, and bottom. The bottom of his is tattered and torn, taking from his nature. Shira definitely doesn't represent the cool and relaxing nature of a summertime yukata, but his simple, yet distinctive yukata has allowed him to slice his way onto the list at number 10.
9. Yaichi from House of Five Leaves (Saraiya Goyou)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2010 - July 2010
What is it with criminals and yukata? Yaichi is the leader of a gang of criminals called the “Five Leaves.” Despite this position, he still manages to live a relatively carefree life. Yaichi lives in a brothel and is usually seen smoking a pipe. Yaichi’s past, however, is shrouded in mystery, partially due to the fact that he doesn’t like to talk about it, but also because he prefers to live in the present.
Yaichi is easily recognizable by the pink yukata he is often seen wearing. Yaichi’s yukata stands out from the other members of the cast. His light hair and tanned skin also help to make the pink of his yukata pop. There’s no discerning feature to Yaichi’s yukata, but its unique color and his personality stand out enough to earn him the number 9 spot on the list.
8. Shichika Yasuri from Katanagatari
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2010 – December 2010
Shichika also doesn't possess many characteristics reminiscent of summer. He's a highly trained fighter; a swordsman without a sword. What's worse: he prefers to be half-dressed, finding clothes to be a hassle. Yet somehow he has made it onto our list. That is because the one time that he does wear a yukata, he creates an outfit that goes well, and is brought together with the addition of the yukata.
Shichika's aesthetic is red and black, and the seven-pointed maple. Shichika wears a unique one-sleeved yukata that allows his red and black adorned arm to show. The primarily red yukata is the exact inverse of his hakama, which is black with red maple leaves. For someone who doesn't like to wear clothes, Shichika rocks the yukata well enough to sneak into the number 8 spot.
7. J.J. Robinson from Gatchaman Crowds
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2013 – September 2013
J.J. Robinson is the benefactor of the G-Crew and guardian of Earth. With his powers, he chooses people he feels are worthy of a NOTE to become a Gatchaman and member of the G-Crew. Very little is actually known about J.J., but he is fond of origami and is often seen making origami birds. In addition to his love of origami, J.J. Robinson is also a very calm person.
J.J. Robinson wears an extremely nondescript yukata. It's just blue. That's it: plain blue. J.J. does a good job of making it fashionable, however. J.J. accessorizes his yukata with a red and black scarf, and a golden hair pick. His fashion choices, along with his uniquely darker skin work together to create a look that is wholly his own and cements him into the number 7 spot.
6. Hoozuki from Hoozuki no Reitetsu
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2014 – April 2014
The King of Hell has to stay cool somehow, right? One way to achieve this is by wearing a yukata. The other way is by just keeping it, and with his stoic nature, Hoozuki has no problem keeping his cool and composure. He does seem to lose his cool on a few occasions but is generally able to keep calm at all times.
Hoozuki's red and black yukata isn't too special of a yukata when seen from the front. The red and black yukata when paired with Hoozuki's very distinct physical appearance, however, does provide a unique and memorable look. The truly remarkable feature of his yukata is the Chinese lantern on the back, which is representative of his name. It is this small, personal touch that makes Hoozuki's otherwise simple black and red yukata worthy of its number 6 position.
5. Mitsukuni "Honey" Haninozuka from Ouran High School Host Club (Ouran Kouku Host Club)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2006 – September 2006
Honey makes the list despite a yukata not being his usual choice of garb. In fact, his yukata isn't even one of his most distinctive looks. Honey does capture all that it means to be a yukata guy, however. Honey, the oldest member of the club at 17 years old, is a boy lolita, an older guy who is cute and child-like. As such, Honey gets to live life as if it's Summer every day by relaxing, enjoying sweets, and living a life free of most responsibilities.
Honey has worn a yukata on two occasions in the show: a simple blue at a garden party themed event, and the more memorable and vibrant pink during a traditional Japanese themed event. The custom pink yukata is worn over a bottom layer of green and is adorned all across the fabric with yellow flowers. Honey, showing that he's able to wear a diverse assortment of yukata and maintain his cute charm, comes in at number 5.
4. Shungiku Koikawa from Mushibugyou
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2013 – September 2013
On the surface, Shungiku, with his muscular build and frightening visage, doesn't quite represent the cool, carefree nature that one thinks of summertime and a yukata. Combine his appearance with his murderous history and Shungiku is not someone you want to cross paths with, even during a Japanese summer festival. Shungiku does, however, enjoy slacking off and drinking sake, which helps to add a bit of summertime vibe to this otherwise murderous yukata wearer.
Shungiku wears his yukata in a manner that goes well with his nature: halfway off and draping from his elbows. Though this is probably not the best style for combat, he makes it work for himself. In addition to his way of wearing his yukata, Shungiku also has a very unique and recognizable black yukata with red flames on the edges. Shungiku does a great job of inserting his personality into his yukata, earning him the number 4 spot.
3. Sabato Rokudo from RIN-NE (Kyoukai no Rinne)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2015 – September 2015
Sabato is the easy-going, half-shinigami father of Rinne, and owner of the Damashigami Company, an illegal soul collection business. Sabato is the CEO and President of his business, but hopes that Rinne will take over someday, allowing him to retire and enjoy a carefree life. Sabato hates working and his way of speech reflects his easygoing attitude.
With the addition of a blue haori, Sabato wears the same white yukata as Rinne. The yukata's most defining feature is the Red Wheel of Samsara towards the bottom and the flame near the left breast. An additional touch that makes the yukata stand out from others, is the black obi, which also features flames from the wheel of Samsara. The yukata is representative of shinigami and the underworld and, along with his nature and his ability to accessorize, earns him the number 3 spot.
2. Gintoki Sakata from Gintama
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: April 2006- March 2010
Is it any surprise that Gintoki has made it onto the list? I sure hope not. Gintoki is everything that is expected of a yukata wearer. Even his half closed, "dead fish eyes" convey a sense of laziness which is very befitting of Gintoki. He spends most of his days idly reading Jump Magazines and has a love of sweets, which again, goes along with the cool, carefree image that a yukata portrays.
Gintoki has one of, if not THE, most recognizable yukata in all of anime. Gintoki wears a white yukata with blue swirls at the bottom and end of its sleeves. In addition to his yukata, Gintoki has a very distinctive manner of wearing his yukata as well. Gintoki only wears the left sleeve of his yukata, with the right side hanging down over his obi. Gintoki's demeanor, distinct yukata, even more distinctive, lazy way of wearing his identifiable yukata captures the very essence of this list, but is still only good enough for the number 2 spot.
1. Shunsui Kyoraku from Bleach
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: October 2004 - March 2012
The top spot just barely goes to Shunsui Kyoraku, the former Captain of the 8th Division. Shunsui has all the qualities of Gintoki, but takes them to the next level. Shunsui is an extremely lazy and laid-back character, often found relaxing, drinking sake, and taking naps. Even as a high-ranking member of the Gotei 13, he doesn't like fighting, preferring a peaceful route.
Shunsui wears a characteristic pink flowery yukata draped over his shoulders, which is the most effortless way to don the garment. In Bleach, the captains all wear the same black and white uniform, with a colored underside being the only distinguishing feature. His straw hat, yukata, and laid back attitude allows him to stand out among the other captains, as well as snag the number 1 spot.
Summer is winding down in Japan, and as a result, many people are putting away their yukata Not the majority of the guys on our list, though! Nope, these guys will continue to wear their signature yukata day in and day out. It's a good thing too, because without their yukata they'd be a completely different character.
Let us know what you think about the list. What summer kimono-clad guy did we miss? Tell us in the comments below!