Widely considered to be /a/'s most famous meme. GAR, also spelt Gar or gar, is a term used to describe an anime character that is the epitome of what it means to be manly and badass. Individuals of this standard are as rare as they are awesome, emotionally overwhelming those watching to the point of orgasming in surprise and excitement or sobbing uncontrollably in a flush of admiration.
It has been described as a neologism of the Latin "virtus", an ancient (and forgotten) Roman concept glorifying men who strive for a life of courage, self-sacrifice, cunning, overcoming the impossible and honoring those who die a worthy death. Virtus for the Romans and Greeks was not sexual love (eros), but a deep respect requiring a higher sense of admiration and comeraderie neglected in the modern era.
Originally applied solely to Archer, a character from Fate/stay night, due to the harmony of the two words (Gay for ARcher). Allegedly derived through a curious typo by an Anonymous expressing love/admiration for Archer after his gutsy last stand in episode fourteen of Fate/stay night. That Anonymous intended to say, "I'm Gay for Archer", but mistakenly typed "I'm Gar for Archer" instead.
Given the context, which was a turn-around from going gay for effeminate male characters (see: Bridget), the term "gar" immediately gained manly/badass connotations, quickly catching on with Anonymous after a short period of forcing. A common phrase in /a/ at the time was, "You are gar for badasses but gay for traps". After a while, the word's meaning started to become objective, as opposed to subjective. Rather than saying "I'm gar for Archer", people began to say "Archer is GAR", usually in capital letters.
/a/ssholes also found success at spreading the meme on /m/, where GAR became synonymous with "hot-blooded" mecha pilots. Coincidentally, /m/ was even more receptive of the term because one of the most hot-blooded mecha anime ever produced, GaoGaiGar, conveniently had with the word "Gar" (ガーGā) in its title. This association allowed /m/orons to quickly adopt the term, and parallels with GaoGaiGar have allowed non-4channers to better understand the concept.
Possibly in response to /m/'s ideal of GAR, the popularity of "cold-blooded" characters began to rise on /a/. In contrast to a hot-blooded characters, who frequently act first and think later, cold-blooded characters are exceedingly cunning and are slow to make a move. They tend to lack the overtly physical superhuman qualities of hot-blooded characters (like cyborg implants or a mecha), but make up for it with enhanced intelligence and incredible foresight. The archetype of "cold-blooded" GAR is Akagi Shigeru, the genius game prodigy from Mahjong Legend Akagi who psychologically terrorizes his opponents before permanently destroying their reputations and forcing them into several lifetime's worth of debt. Light Yagami from Death Note was arguably the first well known example of such a character, but he is commonly considered to have been "de-GAR'd" after he fell apart in the final third of his manga.
This broadening of the criteria for defining "manly/badass" lead to characters like Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Yuuichi from Kanon (2006), notable for their pessimism and dry wit, being considered GAR. Additionally, some female characters with manly traits like Revy from Black Lagoon or (according to some) Takamichi Nanoha from Mahou Shoujou Lyrical Nanoha. At times, arbitrary animals or inanimate objects were also called GAR (whether these labels were sincere or sarcastic is debated to this day), and much blood was spilled in /a/ during Summer 2006 as to what or who can qualify.
These debates eventually lead to the creation of SaiGar, a popular competition employing a "GAR" theme.
/a/'s annual "Man among Men" tournament, centered around the popular "GAR" meme for manly/badass characters. Created in response to 2ch's SaiMoe 2006, which had irritated many Anonymous with the ellimination of many beloved /a/ icons, with the final slap in the face from Suiseiseki (Rozen Maiden) victory over Fate Testarossa (Magical Lyrical Girl Nanoha A's) in the November finals. One day, an Anonymous made an offhand suggestion in /a/ that 4chan should hold its own version of SaiMoe. After the idea was forced for a while, many Anonymous warmed to the thought but voiced sentiments leaning toward a "sister" tournament, rather than a mere clone; because of the GAR meme's popularity and how it conveniently contrasted the female associations with "moe" with an emphasis on masculinity, a tripfag named "SaiGAR Guy" wrote a script emulating SaiMoe's methods for counting votes and set up a website dedicated to the tournament in late November. Nominations were held in December 2006, with the first round of voting occuring on 01/02/07 and the finals on 03/07/07
SaiGar has been largely credited as introducing many lurkers and Anonymous on /a/ to old and obscure anime featuring Gar characters they would not have normally been exposed to, notably Mahjong Legend Akagi and Captain Harlock. Additionally, threads devoted to SaiGar brought change from angry opinion-related trolls regarding certain controversial anime (such as Evangelion), and brought a respite for the universally hated "viral marketing" meme from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. There was also a rise in new /a/-centric shops and fanart during the tournament's run, particularly 4koma "Churuya-san" parodies of high profile matches. Nearing the end of the tournament, a casual illustrator dubbed by Anonymous as "SaiGartist" paneled sketches for both semifinal matches, as well as the final and an "interlude" picture featuring the four semifinalists together prior to their respective battles.
However, the tournament has also been criticized for polarizing the relationship between 4chan boards /a/ and /m/, due to differences in interpretation over the word Gar; /m/'s general interpretation is synonymous with "hot-blooded" mecha pilots, whereas /a/'s views on manliness can extends beyond merely emotional outbursts, physical combat and proactive, often violent tendancies. Due to /m/'s strong coalition cohesion in backing mecha pilots, which were strongly represented in the tournament, /a/ became annoyed and bitter toward /m/'s victories, and following the tournament's conclusion tensions between the two boards remain stretched.
SaiGar Guy himself has been personally attacked for doing little to clarify confusion or police his own tournament. His carlessness lead to the lumping of all Gundam characters into a single category, as well as incidents of multiple enrollments (Shiki Tohno/Shiki Nanaya and Char Aznable/Quattro Bajeena) and ambiguities (Kenshiro from Hokuto no Ken versus Kenshiro Kasumi from Souten no Ken). While cheating in the form of multiple, fradulent votes was apparent from the beginning of the tournament, the matter was not even discussed until Archer from Fate/stay night (the original GAR character) was delt a crushing, fabricated defeat by dark horse Eikichi Onizuka from Great Teacher Onizuka. In defense, SaiGar Guy explained that he considered the SaiGar tournament to be fragile, and wanted to simplfy matters and have as little involvement as possible for fear of jeopardizing anything. His goal was to establish a genuine interest in this first, "experimental" tournament, hopefully allowing for a more secure and highly prestigious follow-up tournament in subsequent years.
The ultimate winner of the tournament was Guts, the main character of Berserk, who was awarded with the coveted titles of "GAR KING" and "SAIGAR CHAMPION '07" in a highly controversial final match. This was because his opponent, the subsequent runner-up, was Master Asia from the mecha anime G Gumdam, essentially rendering the final bout a matter of "/a/ versus /m/", with defactors on both sides. Master Asia was defeated by a narrow margin of four votes, with both Guts and Master Asia overtaking each other in vote count numerous times during the polling period. This extremely competitive match earned the approval of many Anonymous who had brushed off the tournament as a sham, as well as those from /a/ and /m/, resulting in some reconciliation between the boards.
SaiGAR has since returned for its second tournament, with nominations open from Monday 19th November 2007 until Sunday 23rd December 2007. The tournament itself began in the first week of January 2008, in line with SaiGAR 07. SaiGAR 08, however, failed to generate either the following or the intense /a/ vs /m/ rivalry of the previous tournament, and in late February it was announced by SaiGAR Guy that he was "tired of this" and the tournament was suspended indefinitely.