A mile in another’s shoes, as the saying goes, will help you better understand how they see the world. Gender bender stories often feature a protagonist who wakes up in a different gender than they did when they went to bed. When it comes to stories in which a girl transforms into a boy or the other way around, there are plenty of options to choose from.
An anime adaptation of this story has taken to it as if it were water. There are comedies and dramas, and it can be magic, new technology, or something that can never be fully explained. For this reason, we’ve decided to re-evaluate our old list of suggestions and bring you some fresh options.
10. Maze * Bakunetsu Jikuu (Maze: The Mega-burst Space)
Shown from April 1997 to September 1997
After waking up with amnesia and her room in ruins, Maze had no idea that the worst was still to come. In fact, she’d also been taken to a mystical dimension where she’d accidently saved a fleeing princess from the Dark Lord’s minions, who had destroyed her country. However, her magical light powers and the ability to call a massive mecha belonging to Mills’ family don’t really help the issue, especially when she turns into a guy who is far more interested in sex than in finding the route back home and their memories at night.
It’s hard to imagine a better comedy than Maze*Bakunetsu Jikuu, which feels like it belongs in the ’90s. Even if there are a lot of fanservice situations, the tale is still interesting. The fact that boy Maze and girl Maze are such polar opposites is one of the most intriguing aspects of the story, especially in light of the gender-bending elements. Rather than seeing them as a person who changes gender at random times of the day, we might see them as unique individuals. If you’re a fan of the gender-bending genre, this series is a must-see.
9. Cinderella Boy
It is a private detective firm run by Ranma Hinamatsuri and Rella “Cindy” Shirayuki in Kirin Town, a futuristic yet hazardous city. Ranma has a lot of problems since he takes on cases because he is a gentleman rather than because they pay well, whereas Rella is well-off and enjoys getting into perilous situations. Although they haven’t seen each other since a car accident, they both endure 24-hour blackouts in which they can’t recall anything but wake up in bizarre settings. Because of the doctor who saved their lives, they both wound up in the same body, so when midnight chimes and they switch places, they don’t remember anything about the other.
Cinderella Boy, based on a one-shot manga by Monkey Punch, is an enjoyable anime. Despite the fact that the protagonist’s name is Ranma, the novel was written long before the popular Ranma 12 anime, even though the anime was made much, much later. Despite the fact that Ranma and Rella’s bodies change gender, they are two distinct individuals, and thus respond to waking up in each other’s clothes extremely differently. One of the funniest shows out there; it’s short, sweet, and will have you chuckling at least once a show.
8. Tenshi na Konamaiki (Cheeky Angel)
Megumi has quickly become one of the school’s most popular students. This woman has long hair, is taller than the majority of people and athletic and slender. She’s a real beauty! That is why both males and girls, including Genzo, the school’s bad boy and even Miki, her best friend, try to be close to her. Although she was born a girl, Megumi had always been an aggressive, rough-and-tumble young man with aspirations of standing tall amongst his peers. His wish was granted by an extremely devious spirit, who instead transformed him into an adolescent female, making it impossible for anybody save him and Miki to recognize him as such. When he first discovered the curse, he’s been searching for a solution to break it ever since.
One can see how Japanese society’s view of gender is deconstructed in the humorous story Tenshi na Konamiki. A lot of lads at school are smitten with “her” since they observe how she doesn’t act like a meek doormat when her body is transformed into a female one. It’s Miki who insists on Megumi not changing her hair, but it’s also Miki who contributes to the dismantling of traditional gender norms. It’s a terrific narrative about how individuals react when their world is turned upside down, even if the finale is a bit of a deconstruction.
7. Kokoro Connect
There aren’t many students in the Yamaboshi High School’s Student Cultural Society Club. In reality, they don’t give a fuck about what you think. All of the members of the club founded it since they couldn’t fit into any of the other clubs at the academy. Consequently. In reality, things aren’t quite that simple in that place, though For no apparent reason, they start changing bodies out of nowhere. All of them have been in the other’s shoes at least once by the time Yui and Aoki trade places. The fact that they all have dark sides and don’t want to have their secrets known makes it difficult to bring them closer together.
Kokoro Connect takes a more serious tone than the other games on this list. When you wake up one day and discover that your body no longer matches your gender identity, it’s difficult to reconcile with the fact that it’s also not your actual body. A buddy of yours has placed you in the shoes of someone else. Every episode of this 13-part series is a pleasure because it goes in some unexpected ways.
Every child is born a woman in Simulicram’s kingdom. If a girl turns 17 on her birthday, she has the right to participate in a religious rite where she is given permission to enter a mystical spring that transforms her into a man if she choose to do so. As a result of the kingdom being guarded by Simoun, which can only be operated by those who haven’t made up their minds about gender, their army is disproportionately young. For as long as the present Simoun pilots choose to safeguard their country from a neighboring kingdom’s war, they are granted permission to avoid the springs.
As easy as it would have been to dismiss Simoun as just another show that merely wanted an excuse to have short-skirted women in it, the tale actually tackles a number of very fascinating genre subjects, such as the idea of choice and how difficult some decisions may be to make. More than one character makes the conscious decision to transition from being female to male, and we get to witness their physical transformation throughout the course of the novel. There comes a time where the battle storyline loses importance in favor of the series’ extensive world building.
5. Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches)
When Ryuu Yamada started high school, he was determined to make a difference. He was a delinquent in junior high, but he knew he could start again in a new school. Unfortunately, he had grown tired of it by the second year and was once again the school’s bad boy, getting sent to the principal’s office on a daily basis for his misbehavior. He and Urara Shiraishi, one of the school’s honor students, are startled to learn that they have swapped bodies when he has a nasty tumble. This power, which is activated by kissing, has been assigned to the Supernatural Studies Club, where they must identify others with similar powers that can be activated by kissing.
Comedian Yamada-Kun is back, and he has a few solid gags. With a storyline that requires a person to walk around kissing people left and right, it can be tough to keep the fan service light. Shiraishi and Yamada’s romance is complicated by the fact that they are the characters that undergo the biggest physical transformations. Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo is a really fun gender bender anime for you to watch because of its unique approach to relationships.
Not to mention being a part of an unusual battle royale situation that sees Natsuru Senou being escorted around the streets of a city by an animated tiger, Natsuru Senou didn’t want to live his life that way. Despite this, he’s content with his current situation. Since he was chosen to be a Kampfer, there is a regulation that only females can be Kampfers. The fact that he can transform back into a boy means nothing; he will do so when fighting calls for it. Some of the Kampfers want to kill him, while others, such as his best friend, want to date him, which only complicates matters. Natsuru wishes he hadn’t gotten out of bed on the morning he found his new body because of all of these issues.
Kampfer is one of the most well-known and lauded examples of a gender-bending animation today. The characters are lovable, the animation is beautiful, and we can empathize with Natsuru’s anguish at the absurd circumstance he finds himself in. In this anime, even if the final outcome isn’t to everyone’s liking, what really important is how they get there. No time will be wasted wondering how they could’ve ended the series in a better way because of the fights, the power-ups, and the relationships of each character to each other.
3. Mahou Shoujo Ore
Saki Uno didn’t know what to expect when she was asked to take over her mother’s part-time job after her mother was unable to do so due to a back injury. Kokoro (the Japanese word for “heart”), a Yakuza member with an unusual name, told her she was now a Magical Girl who had to fight demons. She had no idea she’d be transformed into a muscular man in a pink dress, or that the demons would have bear faces and bodybuilder physiques. She was definitely not prepared for either. In order to save the boy she likes from the demons and her own waning career as an idol singer, she must do this now.
A lot of fun can be had with Mahou Shoujo Ore! As a parody, it takes everything we love about Magical Girls and cranks it up to 11. That everyone takes craziness so much for granted is what makes the series even more enjoyable for Saki, who is always surprised to see how everyone else does. For the time being, it’s one of the best new gender bender anime on television, even if it hasn’t finished airing yet, so we won’t know if it succeeds or fails.
2. Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl
There are some risks involved in making a wish on a falling star. But Hazumu Osaragi wasn’t really expecting to be killed by a UFO when he was trying to mend his broken heart. Fortunately for him, the alien piloting the ship, Hitoshi Sora, decides to bring him back to life, although Hitoshi makes a small mistake: instead of regenerating him as a boy, they turn Hazumu into a girl. And that’s when Hazumu’s troubles really begin, as now, the very same girl who broke his heart, is completely in love with “her” and Tomari, Hazumu’s childhood friend, is none too happy about the change at all.
Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, is one of the few gender-bender anime where the gender change is not kept a secret. Hazumu doesn’t seem too bothered about the change, and in fact, doesn’t try to look for a cure, but at the same time, has no idea how to behave like a girl. Because every character knows she used to be a boy, that makes their interactions with her very different, something Hazumu notices and doesn’t quite understand. It’s a fascinating study of gender roles and how individuals perceive gender presentation, with a dash of humour thrown in for good measure.
1. Ranma 1/2
Ranma Saotome was raised to be a man among men from the time he was a baby. In every contact with his father, Genma, since he was a youngster, the only heir to the Saotome’s Anything Goes Martial Art School has been trained in a variety of martial arts. Because he wants to be the best, Genma promised his wife that he would not return until Ranma was the manliest man on the globe, and so he sent him on a life-long training tour. There’s only one problem: they stumbled into a cursed spring on their way there. When Ranma gets splashed with icy water, he transforms into a female.
Ranma 1 2 is one of the most popular gender-bending animes in the world. When Viz Media started importing anime, it was one of Rumiko Takahashi’s best-selling manga, and that made it even more popular and well-known. Moreover, its popularity isn’t the only reason why it’s at the top of our list. The show is very amusing. The action is fast-paced, and each character has their own unique charisma. That’s why, despite its age, it’s still a must-see for any anime fan, even if it’s one of the oldest on the list.
More than ever, gender is a thorny issue. The issue is not insurmountable, however, as there are artists who are willing to take on the task of telling stories that are both entertaining and thought-provoking. In addition, they give us a glimpse into how Japanese people regard gender, which is something we don’t often get the opportunity to see in action.
What do you think of the genre? What are your favorite gender-bending anime? Is the concept appealing to you? Is there a character in these stories that you particularly admire? Let us know what you think in the comments.