The summer season this year had quite a few examples of characters who either crossdressed or were gender-nonconforming in some way or another. Some portrayals were more questionable than others, though as someone who’d like to see trans and gender-nonconforming people to get more positive representation in the media, it was an interesting trend to observe. There weren’t really any instances of this that I felt like dedicating a single Twelve Days post to though, so I’ll just write about several characters that I feel like pointing out.
First however, I must admit that I may have gotten too excited about this brief trend, since upon seeing them I ended up gushing on twitter about how there’s suddenly “moar trans characters” in anime, when that might not have been the best word for these characters. More importantly, my gushing could probably have been compared to the cringiness of the SJWs that I like to make fun of all the time, and for that I apologize to my fellow twitterers and forum goers.
The first character that got me excited was Hato from Genshiken Nidaime. The show starts off presenting them as what seems to be a trans woman who’s biologically male but dresses as a woman, but as the series progresses it became less and less clear of why Hato crossdresses—with even the possibility of it just being a weird otaku hobby being a possibility. I already wrote a whole blog post about my thoughts on the character, but ultimately it was a positive portrayal of a crossdresser, but clearly written by someone who doesn’t actually know much about trans people.
Uchouten Kazoku was the other show that prompted me into cringey gushing. Throughout most of the first episode, the tanuki protagonist Yasuburou goes about his shenanigans whilst taking the transformation of a woman. With the addition of how prominent his female form was throughout the promotional art, this gave me the impression that this would probably be a big part of the show, but then it ended up not appearring in any later episodes; so in retrospect it seemed like a pretty odd way to introduce the protagonist. Which also makes my excitement towards the character even more embarrasing in hindsight, too. (Though Uchouten Kazoku ended up being great for other reasons.)
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince had funny timing since since the genderqueer character, Ange, only appears in the second half of the 2 cour series just as the other crossdressing characters of the season started cropping up. They’re a character whose gender is fairly ambiguous, and it’s difficult to tell whether they’re an effeminate man or a masculine woman; which is neat. It’s used a bit for humor though with the other characters often pondering about what Ange’s true sex is, but otherwise it’s not given too much attention.
Gatchaman Crowds has the crossdressing Rui, the effeminate OD, and gender-ambiguous alien Berges Katze, who are all major characters of the story. These could be considered the best examples here since these three character’s choices of gender expression are almost never pointed at; it’s never used for comedy or forced moral about acceptance. Really the only time it’s ever mentioned is when Rui is reading all the hate mail he gets from some internet trolls raging at him. I feel like this how more media should go about including minorities into their work, by just including them without their whole character revolving around whatever makes them a minority.