Everyone, regardless of gender, deserves to be represented in the media. Androgyny is exemplified by characters like Haku and Crona.
Anime provides for a wide range of aesthetic styles because it is such an extravagant and expressive medium. Using this approach, characters can be depicted in a variety of ways, including ones that defy conventional gender conventions.
The gender of many anime characters is never explicitly specified. They are left in a state of limbo, unable to clearly be classified as either masculine or feminine. There are many well-known androgynous characters who play important roles both within and outside the media in which they are featured.
1. Why Gender Nonconforming Representation in Anime Matters
Gender nonconforming people, like everyone else, rely on diverse media to get their voices heard. When characters resist binary presentation, it provides a source of inspiration and helps normalize it in society. When androgynous characters are shown to be heroes and leaders, audiences are reminded that gender-nonconforming persons are just as capable of greatness as their straight counterparts. In society, they are full and complicated individuals who deserve recognition and respect.
Attack on Titan’s Hange Zo is a great example of androgynous portrayal. Hajime Isayama, the manga’s author, has purposefully kept Hange’s gender up in the air. Hange has played a significant role in Attack on Titan’s tale as an androgynous character. Numerous riddles have been solved and titan-killing weapons have been created thanks to their superior intellect. Later in the series, Hange’s abilities as a leader and strategist earned him the post of 14th Commander of the Survey Corps.
2. No More Gender Roles in Anime
When a character doesn’t fit neatly into a male or female role at first appearance, gender assumptions are less likely to be imposed on them. They can do whatever they want, whether it’s masculine or feminine, without anyone noticing. Gender is not a factor in some of these actions and personality traits.
The character of Haku from Naruto isn’t constrained by traditional gender stereotypes despite the fact that he is a guy with a highly feminine facial appearance. He wears feminine attire, but he can still be harsh to people who he considers to be enemies. Throughout the series, Haku exhibits both masculine and feminine characteristics. To help his comrade Zabuza, Haku frequently goes out of his way to fetch medicine and cater to his wounds. As a result, they are a formidable combatant capable of defeating opponents decades their senior.
3. There’s Still Room for Change about Gender Identity in the Anime World
It’s common for androgynous characters to symbolize transformation and fluidity. Due to the freedom they have in deciding their own identity, it’s tough to nail them down. Identity doesn’t need to be static for these characters; they know they can evolve and adapt as their needs change.
Ego from Fullmetal Alchemist is a shapeshifter that prefers to take the form of a variety of different animals. Despite their androgynous appearance, Envy is able to change genders and forms in order to maximize their chances of winning the competition. When it comes to Envy’s personality and abilities, there is never a dull moment. Envy has complete control over their public persona and image.
4. Anime Can (And Should) Break Gender Stereotype ‘Rules’
People who exhibit in a way that is the polar opposite of their gender identification demonstrate to viewers that there is no such thing as a “gender identity” per se. Stereotypically feminine individuals don’t have to behave in a manner consistent with their gender identity, and the same holds true for male characters. I don’t believe that gender is a set of laws that must be obeyed blindly.
Inosuke Hashibira, the protagonist of Demon Slayer, does not follow any gender norms. Inosuke is frequently described as having a feminine face throughout the show. As a matter of fact, despite this, Inosuke is the exact opposite of feminine in every other sense. He’s arrogant, obnoxious, and well-built. Inosuke feels confident in his identity despite the disparity between his appearance and his demeanor.
5. It’s Okay to Be Unsure about Gender in Anime
Gender can be a bit of a snag. When it comes to gender identification, there are a lot of different components that might be overwhelming. It’s not uncommon for anime characters to be unsure of their own identity from time to time. These characters demonstrate to the audience that it’s okay to be perplexed in the face of new information. Understanding begins with a state of confusion.
They would probably say they don’t know how to react to such question if someone were to ask Crona from Soul Eater. Crona is unsure of the answers to most of the questions they’re asked, especially when it comes to matters of identification. Crona’s androgynous appearance represents this, yet as the series progresses, Crona becomes more assertive. They come to terms with who they want to be in the end.