LBGTI characters shouldn’t be confined to just four genres.
I’m really happy that there are more and more LBGTI characters cropping up in anime and manga – and I’m not talking about in shounen ai, shojo ai, yuri and yaoi (because that’s just damn obvious), but in mainstream shounen, shojo and seinen series.
I want to have a big rant about how important representation of different sexualities is in all forms of media, but you should know that already. It’s great that for years Japan has been publishing shounen ai, shojo ai, yuri and yaoi stories, but at the same time it would be nice to see more LBGTI characters in mainstream genres, because why should they be confined to four?
But there are an increasing number of non-straight characters cropping up in mainstream manga and anime series. And here is a small collection I have found from my years of watching anime and reading manga:
Yoite: Nabari no Ou
Yoite’s gender is something they hardly touched upon in the Nabari no Ou anime, which is a shame because they are one of the few characters to be questioning their gender in a mainstream title.
Even if it is never stated in the manga directly, it is most likely that Yoite is intersex. Their confusion of which masculine or feminine pronoun to address themselves with suggests that they do not know which gender to identify with, because they do not fit into either.
Although Yoite’s gender identity struggle is something that is addressed lightly in the manga and anime (at the end they decide they want to be called Yoite, and therefore they want to live as a man), it’s there to add an extra depth to their character, and another struggle that they have to deal with among everything else.
Ymir and Reiner: Attack on Titan
I love these two, especially in this scene, and I love Hajime Isayama for making these two canonically gay, especially with the Ymir and Krista ship.
In so much shounen and seinen the suggested sexual attraction between two women is often only added in as boy targeted fan service, but you know that Ymir and Krista are a couple from their interactions with each other, which isn’t done in a over the top fan service way. They get the same level of respect as all the other characters.
A big kudos to Isayama for his characterisation in this series. He’s handled it expertly.
Yukimura and Kanou: Kaichou wa Maid-sama
I don’t know what everyone else thinks about this, but to me this page heavily suggests that Yukimura and Kanou are a gay couple.
It might not be said out in the open, but the way Yukimura says, “You can say that Kanou-kun’s a part of the family already”, and from just how close the two of them were throughout the whole series (plus all the jokes that revolved around Yukimura’s sexuality, and the fact that Kanou said that he didn’t like women) seems to point towards them being a canonical gay couple.
It would please me much if this were the case.
Aoi: Kaichou wa Maid-sama
A seriously big hats off to Kaichou wa Maid-sama for its representation of boys, because not only do we have the almost certain canon Yukimura x Kanou couple above, but also Aoi’s cross-dressing character.
At the end of the manga it is said that Aoi is going out with Honoka, one of the maids who works at the Maid Latte, which means that he still might not fit into the LBGTI theme of this post (although he could be bi), but I wanted to mention him because he has another personality trait that is rarely represented.
Aoi is a professional cross-dresser, and remains to be so at the end of the manga. I love the struggle he goes through in the series, trying to get his family to accept who he is. He makes such a good point towards the gender roles that are assigned to us at birth, and about how society frowned upon those of us who try to break out of those roles.
Aoi’s struggle wasn’t shoved to the back of this manga as a tiny part of it, but was bought to the forefront to highlight the sort of struggles that boys go through. Misaki helps and supports Aoi throughout the series, helping him comes to terms with who he is, and getting other people to accept him too.
Mattsun: Aoharu x Kikanjuu
I know the whole gender bent character who then gets a confused love interest is always added into plots as a comedy point – and I must admit it is very funny to watch Mattsun struggle with his feelings towards Hotaru – but I love how it means that Mattsun is pansexual.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, being pansexual means that you are attracted to someone’s mind rather than their body. You don’t care about their gender, just their personality.
Which is exactly what Mattsun is doing. He’s fallen for Hotaru not for her gender (or at least what he thinks her gender is), but for her personality. He fell for how kind she is, how supportive and caring. He fell for her smile and her upbeat personality. He’s damn confused about his feelings since he thinks she’s a guy, but later he doesn’t reject her for it. He doesn’t force himself to fall out of love with her – in fact his love for her keeps growing and he still has sexual thoughts towards her.
Bless you, Mattsun. You’re going to be so relieved when you find out that Hotaru has been a girl all along.
Ginger and Gina: Gangsta
Hello, more canonical lesbians!
It is possible that Gina is gender neutral, or steering towards becoming a transgender man – I only say this because of her preference to being called sir, and her general mannerisms.
Gangsta is such an awesome manga for representation – Nic is deaf, Worick is a male prostitute, there are a lot of POC characters and Gina and Ginger are gay, and there are some awesome female characters in this series.
So much love for this manga.
Alluka Zoldyck: Hunter x Hunter
I love that Togashi made Alluka a transgender girl – not only does she have an extremely powerful nen, but she is also struggling to get her family to accept who she is.
I love her and Killua’s relationship. Killua is the only member of the Zoldyck family that allows Alluka to be who she wants to be. All the other members of the family call Alluka “he”, basically rejecting the fact they want to live as a girl. Killua is the only one who knows how to deal with Alluka, and is the only one who doesn’t exploit her powers – when the rest of his family were experimenting with them, Killua was always curbing disaster by fulfilling the terms of Alluka’s wishes. He cares about her, enough that he parts ways with Gon in order to look after her.
Bulat, Akame ga Kill
I loved Bulat. He was such a badass and I loved how he became a potential love interest for Tatsumi, even if Tatsumi never really returned his romantic feelings – to Tatsumi, Bulat was a big brother figure, someone to look up to and admire.
I liked how the author represented his sexuality – it was done in a funny, but courteous manner. You knew that it was a part of his character, but it wasn’t thrown in your face. It was stated and then left alone (with the odd cute moment with Tatsumi when Bulat made a half attempt to come onto him).