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It’s Raining Men: Explaining the Appeal of the Boys (and Bots) of Overwatch

In their first article, Cora and Amanda broke down the romantic appeal of Overwatch’s female characters. In this second installment, they deliberate how the rest of the roster breaks down in terms of dateability.

Yes, even the cool science gorilla. Buckle up, folks.

Genji

Overwatch

Amanda: It’s time to start with the cherry on top of this beautiful sundae of boys: Genji.

Cora: Cyborg ninja!

Amanda: He gives me vibes of Snake Eyes from the GI Joe movie, which is not necessarily what you want.

Cora: How do I feel about Genji?

Amanda: He got a cute butt.

Cora: He’s got a very good butt. I dig his relationship with Hanzo, but unfortunately I’m full of up Brother Feelings until 2017.

Amanda: Yeah, that ‘brothers torn apart by ideology’ thing has been done to death.

But there’s some disability meta happening with Genji. And some transhuman meta. He had to come to terms with his body being augmented, and different, and that is very much a disability narrative.

Whether it’s a good disability narrative isn’t for me to say.

Cora: I hugely appreciate how much Genji has been through, and I want to learn more about the circumstances of why Mercy treated him with the technology she did. It’s ambiguous in canon whether he consented to that, and I would love some confirmation one way or another. I like that he’s coded as the “good” brother, or at least the one associated with the Overwatch organization. When this seemingly noble-looking archer shows up in the Dragons short, there’s this expectation that the slight-looking cyborg dude with green lights is the Bad One. I feel like his character is subversive in that way.

Amanda: I wonder if you were gonna spoon him if he would be cold or warm? And he doesn’t seem to have too many sharp edges.

I like imagining that at the end of the day he wraps himself up in a soft slanket and just chills. I want him to take whatever steps he needs in order to be comfortable. I would happily join him in his slanket and watch some Parks & Recreation.

Genji should be your boyfriend if: You want someone who can beat your high score in Fruit Ninja.

McCree

Overwatch

Amanda: It’s the first of your two filth sons.

Cora: No, I’m not ready to talk about my fave!

Amanda: Yes, your fave, the cowboy LARPer.

Cora: Um, it’s clearly a fetish. There’s no math involved.

Amanda: I bet Soldier 76 is the gamemaster.

Cora: Well, anyway, it’s no secret that McCree is my fave. Aesthetically, he hits a nice middle ground for me. He’s well-proportioned. I like his kinda scruffy beard. I like his voice. He isn’t too butch. He’s just butch enough for me.

Amanda: He straddles that line like a man straddling a horse—because he’s a cowboy. I’m not going to let you live that down.

Cora: Amanda, I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: cowboys cross over with a number of different fantasies!

That aside, I just really adore his character. He’s got this Han Solo thing going on, and he’s a redemption arc in progress. He got into some bad trouble as a teenager and had to choose between prison and joining Blackwatch (under Gabriel Reyes, I might add). His character was just the perfect storm for me. I think Blizzard was maybe spying on me, realized I didn’t have enough fictional crises in my life, and sent my garbage cowboy son to me.

Amanda: What I like about McCree is that he commits to his fetish. And I like his prosthetic arm! I feel like the last few years we’ve seen a cultural and media-based destigmatization of prosthetics, and I’m all for that. I hope the trend continues and we see all sorts of aids and prosthetics in media and disabled characters being as popular as McCree is in fandom.

And also, frankly, who wouldn’t want to be caressed by a robot limb? Is that just me?

McCree should be your boyfriend if: You want to save a horse.

Reaper

Overwatch

Amanda: I’m gonna give you the floor to talk about why you love this dramatic edgelord.

Cora: Well, when talking about Reaper, Reaper is only part of that story. It’s interesting and compelling, and I’ll talk about it later, but we have to take into account Gabriel Reyes. Who he was before.

AND WHAT A HOT MOTHER%&$#?@. Have you seen him? Have you seen Gabriel Reyes? Look at this face. Look at his goatee. That is a very attractive man.

Amanda: He’s really hypercompetent too. Everyone in Overwatch is, but his brand of hot matches up well with hypercompetence.

Cora: I want to see more content of what Gabriel was like interacting with the other members of Overwatch back in the day. Everything we’ve seen lore-wise has implied it isn’t terrible. Much of fandom has accepted him as the other Team Dad.

Amanda: You were saying what content you want to see more of, and I can answer that for you: You want to see more of him with his clothes off.

Cora: I was going to say more about his role in Blackwatch and taking McCree under his wing, but, I mean, obviously shirtless Gabe would be a win. Anyway, moving on.

It’s also simultaneously interesting and sad that Gabe can be framed in one of two ways. He can be seen as the “hero” of the story or as the “villain” of the story and there’s a lot of nuance that both of those takes miss.

We also don’t fully know how he became Reaper. We know he died in some way during the explosion of the Swiss Overwatch facility, and that Mercy’s tech had something to do with bringing him back into the form he’s currently in.

Amanda: He has a lot of angst about that. It’s a cool counterpoint to Genji, who has already been through his angst for the most part. Reaper’s coming to terms with not being in the same state of existence he was before.

Cora: You know, this is the first time I’ve seen a villain type like this—i.e. a man of color—gain a lot of popularity.

Amanda: Yeah, there is a glut of white villains. And fandom likes to glamorize hot white villains. The ones who aren’t hot and white—or male—are usually demonized.

I really enjoy Reaper. I also really enjoying laughing at him because he’s ridiculous.

You should date Reaper if: You like Kylo Ren but could do with less WASP angst.

Soldier 76

Overwatch

Amanda: DILF 76.

One thing that amuses me is that unless you have his Strike Commander Morrison skin equipped, you can’t really see his face, so you really don’t know how bangable he is without it. You only ever see his Steve Rogers-esque young face.

Cora: He’s got that one skin where he’s covered in camo and you can get a pretty good idea of his older face. It’s the same as with Ana, in that I’m not into age differences, but he’s a bit of a silver fox.

Amanda: The ultimate.

He’s almost evolved beyond Dad status. I mean, he could feasibly be Grandpa 76. He’s persnickety and very “Kids, get off my lawn!”

Cora: He could be an older dad with teenagers.

Amanda: True. He had all these people late in life and now he’s regretting all of his choices.

Cora: I would be down to bone, now that I think about it.

Amanda: I love that I had to extract that confession out of you. Now that the truth has been told, it can’t be taken back. Cora is down to bone DILF 76.

Soldier 76 should be your boyfriend if: You want to get AARP benefits before you personally qualify. Or if you have a thing for Hot Dads.

Bastion

Overwatch

Cora: The only non-gendered non-human.

Amanda: It is perfect. I need to come up with more hyperbolic language to encapsulate the fact that when I look at Bastion I want to cry.

Cora: I feel like there are a lot of reasons to look at Bastion and cry. His sad backstory, his bird friend, when you see him as part of the opposing team on Hanamura…

Amanda: I’ll say this and then we can send me straight to hell.

In a situation where you can have an intimate relationship with Bastion—who knows, maybe it’s fully functional like Data from Star Trek: TNG—what do you imagine from its plethora of beeps would be its sex noises?

Cora: “Deet deet deet deet.” Dating Bastion would be difficult purely on a communication level.

Amanda: I would feel heard, but I don’t necessarily know that I would understand Bastion in return. That might cost us the relationship.

Cora: You can’t have a relationship without two-way communication.

Amanda: Maybe it’s not meant for that. Maybe it’s a lone ranger. It slips out of bed, turns into a turret, and wheels out of my apartment before the dawn.

Cora: Thank you for bringing us there, Amanda.

Amanda: Look, I know you would never bang the robot with the little bird, and I feel bad that I would. But if there’s anything that Mass Effect 2 and now Titanfall 2—as I have weird romantic feelings for my titan—and really all videogames have taught me, it’s that I want to date and/or bang the robots.

We need to make robot media that makes me feel guilty.

Cora: I’m thinking maybe you should watch Westworld.

Amanda: I think Bastion could consent, and that’s what’s important.

But I don’t want to hear your naysaying. I will date this perfect robot, who is alone in the world with only a bird.

Cora: Joining you in Hell for a second, the one and only thing I’ll say: built-in vibrator.

Bastion should be your botfriend if: Beep beep, doot doot.

Hanzo

Overwatch

Amanda: He makes me happy because his boob always out. Doesn’t he get cold? He’s just perpetually standing around with half a boob out.

Cora: It’s very Hawkeye Initiative of him. It’s not even on the side of his body where the bow would go. It doesn’t help his aim or anything. It’s not tactical at all.

Amanda: I admire that commitment to aesthetic. I feel like Hanzo and I would have a lot to talk about on our dates where he just mutters cryptic stuff into his soup and unleashes his dragon whenever a waiter startles him.

I feel this in my soul: Hanzo is not a well-adjusted human.

Cora: He puts on a good show, but he is going through some stuff. He needs many, many years of therapy.

I mean, he’s a handsome guy. I dig Hanzo. I will say that it’s interesting to me how much fandom femmes him up. Not every piece of Hanzo fanart I’ve seen does, but much of it emphasizes the long hair and softens his face or slims him down. I look at Hanzo, and I think “Japanese Chris Hemsworth.” He’s very butch.

Amanda: His sleeve tattoos, his grey at the temples. I fully support whatever fandom wants to do in terms of expressing their love for him, but it is funny.

Cora: He doesn’t look like he smiles more than once a decade.

One more thing I’ll say—I like how clean and put-together he is. His beard’s really well trimmed, he keeps his hair long but pulls it back. His outfits are pretty immaculate. I feel like he’s a character whose appearance matters a lot to him.

You should date Hanzo if: You want someone to pierce your heart. With an arrow.

Junkrat

Overwatch

Amanda: Jameson! Oh, he’s only twenty-five! What a small baby.

Cora: Oh no, I didn’t know that. He’s only a year older than me!

Amanda: Also, he’s from Junkertown, Australia. And was with the Junkers gang.

Cora: I just love when Blizzard uses very subtle references in their character names.

Amanda: I feel bad talking about the bangability of Junkrat—and Roadhog—because they are dating and in love and I don’t want to get in the way of that.

Cora: I do like his body type, and I know he’s super thin and still kinda muscly, but it’s a nice break from videogame-beefy.

Amanda: They did make a token attempt to have body diversity in the men too. I like that Junkrat is disabled in more ways than one with the missing leg and being affected by radioactivity. I like Junkrat a lot and people love him, not just Roadhog but fandom too. He’s cute. I love his little jester outfit.

Cora: I think sleeping with Junkrat would be like sleeping with a wire. Like a live one.

Amanda: You think he might electrocute you? Well, honestly, he might do it intentionally. For fun.

Cora: No! Just that I feel like he’d be doing a lot of like, writhing. I feel like he has a hard time sitting still. Also it was real unfortunate for me when they released the Junkenstein skin. Have I mentioned before that I’m really into Frankenstein mythos? Because it’s one of my favorite books and I have a weakness for mad scientists.

Junkrat should be your boyfriend if: You are Roadhog. Or if you want to go on dates in hazmat suit.

Torbjörn

Overwatch

Amanda: Torb is like, um.

Somebody out there wants to play with his beard braids. It’s not me, but someone wants to do it.

Cora: Something that I’ve seen in fandom before is people posting their interpretations of each character’s sexuality, and Torb is often the token straight guy, which is hilarious to me, because I read him as the gayest of the dudes.

I mean, he has a biker skin for no conceivable reason.

Amanda: That’s fair.

Cora: There’s literally an emote of him sitting on his turret as it fires.

Amanda: Are you trying to imply that it’s sexual, Cora Walker?

Cora: Yes, yes I am.

Amanda: I need to understand what his deal is.

Cora: He strikes me as a character a lot of my gay and bi dude friends are into.

Amanda: Yeah, he does have some gay pin-up aesthetic going for him.

You should date Torbjörn if: you were just a huge fan of Balin in the Hobbit movies. Also, if you remember which one was Balin.

Reinhardt

Overwatch

Amanda: He gives me way more Team Dad feels than Soldier 76. He’s a tank and he has a barrier to protect his children.

But, you know, there’s nothing written in the lore of Overwatch that says we can only have one dad. Reinhardt and Soldier, my two dads.

Cora: Technically Reaper would be the second dad. I feel like Reinhardt is more like the cool uncle.

Amanda: Reinhardt would let me have sips of his mead during holiday parties.

Cora: I think he gets overlooked, which is sad because he’s one of the most noble characters in the game. That’s fundamentally attractive to me. I feel like, when Overwatch was collapsing and there was increased tension between his friends (Jack and Gabe) he didn’t notice, just kept doing his thing. He’s lost a lot and I appreciate that he doesn’t seem to have let that loss change him. That’s rare in fiction. He also still very much cares about Ana—of all the original Overwatch team members he’s lost, it seems as though that one struck him the hardest.

Also, for the record, Ana is my main healer, and whenever someone queues in as Reinhardt, an angel gets their wings.

Amanda: But in terms of on a dating level, I feel like he’d call you “ma’am”—or “sir”—but also be really intense. He’d make sure you have a good time. You’d call him again for sure.

You should date Reinhardt if: You want someone to prove that chivalry isn’t dead—or inherently misogynistic.

Roadhog

Overwatch

Amanda: He’s forty-eight, which means there’s an age difference between him and Junkrat.

Listen. As poorly as I think Roadhog would take it if someone tried to date Junkrat, I feel like you’d be even more dead if Junkrat found out you were putting the moves on Roadhog.

Cora: And would you blame him? He’s a catch!

Amanda: I quite like Roadhog, but I know a lot of people find him repulsive. Some of that is because he’s got his Mad Max and/or serial killer vibe: the mask and hook and his whole pig theme.

I’m torn when it comes to talking about his attractiveness. To some people he’s gross, to some people he’s fine, and to some he’s hot, so saying “Gee, I wish they’d make this fat character more conventionally attractive instead of coding him as scary or gross” is just a tangle and isn’t valid for everyone.

But for every person who says “Eugh, Roadhog,” I love him even more.

Cora: He’s a bear. A hairless bear. An otter?

There’s something very compelling about his character design. The little touches make it for me.

Amanda: He has a nipple piercing. I just want to point that out.

Cora: That is factual information. This is very important reporting you’re doing.

I really like the motion where he pulls up his jeans. I find myself pulling up my pants all the damn time. It’s like trying to get back from Camp Muir; they just keep falling off. Glissading pants. It’s cute on him, because his character design is so abnormal in many ways, but that’s a small, human motion that I relate to. I also like his pig tattoo.

Amanda: Roadhog is definitely himself. He doesn’t care what you think about him. You know, they always say confidence is sexy.

Cora: I was thinking that, I believe Roadhog and Junkrat are in boyfriends together, but I’m not 100% sure they’re monogamous. I think they might be poly. Or down for a threesome. I’d be down for a threesome.

Roadhog should be your boyfriend if: You want in on that sweet Junkrat/Roadhog action.

Winston

Overwatch

Amanda: I would just like to mention, Cora Walker, that when we were discussing the article, you said in a tone of what I’d describe as worry, “So are we gonna talk about the attractiveness of the non-human characters?” And the answer is of course we are.

Cora: This is callout culture. I’m being called out. Honestly, though, I feel very protective towards Winston. I think part of that is the short with him, where we see him as a little baby looking out at the stars and having such wonder in his eyes. I just want him to stay hopeful! And good!

Amanda: Winston handsome and so smart. I can’t say that I’m lining up to jump into bed with Winston, but could I have a deep and romantic experience with him? Yeah, probably. He strikes me as the type to get to know me as a person and learn what I like and give that to me.

Cora: I just want him to be safe. He’s a cool, fun science gorilla.

I will say, his Science Dad? From the New Horizon Project, who is named Dr. Winston? I would bang on his desk. I’m just sayin’.

Amanda: Insensitive. “I’m going to talk about how I’d bang Winston’s dad but not Winston.”

Cora: I love Winston! He’s one of my favorite characters. He’s probably my main tank. I love his character design in a totally platonic way!

But I do want to bang his dad.

Winston should be your boyfriend if: You wanna be Fay Wray in a Halloween couples’ cosplay.

Lucio

Overwatch

Cora: Yes! Oh, Lucio.

Amanda: He’s a prince. I mean, he’s a freedom fighter DJ, which sounds like a romance hero. He’s the romance hero of my dreams.

Cora: He’s a gentle man. He reminds me of every Disney prince.

Amanda: He’s one of the hottest characters.

Cora: He has very gentle features, which I am into.

Amanda: Of every man in the roster, and maybe every woman, he is the most dateable. It might be hard to maintain a relationship as he’s a freedom fighter and famous, but it would be worth it. He’s just a good guy, very cute—who wouldn’t want to take him home to their parents?

Cora: It’s so great to have a male healer. I’m such a sucker for caretaking men, and he just fits that category so well. I encourage our readers to seek out meta by folks of color about Lucio being a gentle, caretaking man of color that are really cool.

Amanda: He’s going to save the world, take me to a hot club where he spins, and then make sure I get home safely. I think I’m the most bummed Lucio isn’t real out of all of them, honestly.

Lucio should be your boyfriend if: Lucio should be your boyfriend.

Zenyatta

Overwatch

Amanda: Just straight out the gate: tantric sex.

Cora: We like to ease into the raunchy stuff, clearly.

Amanda: I don’t want to boil down Zen to the fact that he’s an omnic monk, and I don’t know if it means he’d abstain from relationships or sex—in which case this is disrespectful and I’m sorry. But he cute. 10 out of 10.

Cora: I don’t think people understand how young he is.

Amanda: Yeah, he’s just twenty.

Cora: He’s a whippersnapper! While he mentored Genji, that doesn’t mean he’s ancient and untouchable. Some of his emotes are hilarious. Like the one where he gives himself a fistbump? That’s comedy gold!

Amanda; Yes, I go for men with a sense of humor.

Cora: I want to see that come out more. And by that I do mean come out literally. As pansexual.

Amanda: Everyone in this game is pan. It’s the future; sex and the gender binary are antiquated ideas.

I like his hidden depths, that he isn’t everything he appears to be—he appears to be a wise, calm figure, but he’s also twenty and he’s funny. I would be willing to try and plumb those depths.

Cora: I want him to read poetry to me.

Zenyatta should be your boyfriend if: You know that still waters run deep.

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