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Anime Research Project

Homosexuality in Anime

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"Tokyo Godfathers"
tokyogodfathers.jpg

            Like many themes in anime, a characters sexuality is almost never the main point; it’s just taken for granted that the audience understands.  It is in these assumed relationships that the common theme of homosexuality finds itself.  For example, in Cardcaptor Sakura it is mentioned often how strange it is that Sakura’s older brother, Touya, and his inseparable best friend Yukito do not have girlfriends.  Touya claims to love someone else, but it is never said who, it only implies that it may be his friend.  There are many debated relationships such as this one in many different shows; ranging from Sailor Moon to X (Solomon). 

            Out of the different types of hintai anime comes a large yet unspoken difference in Japanese and American culture.  Yaoi, the aforementioned romances between gay men, are created by women for female audiences.  Just like in American pop culture where a lot of lesbian imagery is made for men, just the opposite is done in Japan.  The male relationships in anime are typically made for females to view and enjoy.  At the conventions held for Yaoi manga at least 85% of the population there are straight women (Solomon).

ranma.jpg
"Ranma 1/2"

            There is a common theme of suggested cross-dressing found in many anime.  Starting with Tokyo Godfathers’ homeless transvestite to Ranma ’s main character Ranma Saotome, these types of characters have always been very common.  In Ranma the main character, a male martial artist, turns into a red haired woman when he is hit with cold water, then returns to his true form when hit with hot.  It just seems natural to have a man turn into a woman in anime.  There is also a common use of women’s voices for male characters and vice versa.  Even in obviously strait characters this method is used to create a kind of openness.  In Rurouni Kenshin the main male character, the deadliest assassin in the world, has a female’s voice.  With his long hair and small figure he is easily mistaken for a woman.  Even though this is a love story between a man and a woman, there is a suggestion at homosexuality (Solomon).    

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