Pride & Pitfalls: Queer Representations in Anime

milkboys Films & TV 4 Comments

In terms of sheer quantity, there are a lot more queer characters in anime than there are in American cartoons. Until recently, queer representation in American animation has faced two ridiculous obstacles: the idea that cartoons are just for kids, and the idea that it’s inappropriate to expose kids to the existence of queer people.

Thankfully that first obstacle started being challenged in the ’90s with shows like The Simpsons and South Park, and the second obstacle’s being challenged now thanks to shows like Steven Universe and The Loud House. In Japan, however, neither of obstacles exist. There’s been anime for adults almost as long as there’s been anime, and kids anime have long featured openly queer characters.

As for the quality of queer representation in anime, it’s a mixed bag. While there isn’t the same “think of the children!” panicking as in America, Japan still has a fair deal of cultural stigma around the queer community.

Because of this, while including queer characters is less taboo, they’re often portrayed as jokey stereotypes. Sometimes these stereotypical characters are written well enough to transcend their problematic origins, other times they can be incredibly offensive (let’s never speak of “Puri Puri Prisoner” from One Punch Man). There’s also the yaoi (boys love) and yuri (girls love) genres which focus on same-sex relationships, but often in a very unrealistic and fetishized manner.

As the LGBT rights movement picks up steam in Japan, there’s thankfully been an increase in more respectful and believable portrayals. This article will examine how 20 popular anime approach their queer characters.

Read on…

Comments 4

  1. “In Japan, however, neither of obstacles exist. There’s been anime for adults almost as long as there’s been anime, and kids anime have long featured openly queer characters.”

    And since we’re a north american comics/superhero blog, we *are* bound by obstacles, so when picking CCS we highlight Touya and Yukito, rather than Shaoran and Yukito even though the latter gets featured way more in the anime. I have nooo idea why our queer apostles at CBR made that choice… Or why they didn’t mention, say, Hisoka in HxH…

    Please, China, could you invade north america already?

    1. Just don’t tell the evil people in the western lgbtqiabc movement. They’d burn it and then you at the stake, intolerant liberals as they are.

      Virtually all shit Europe’s imported the last 50 years have been from the US. I don’t see China exporting anything near as shitty, so the day they invade the US is the day I open a bottle of Dom Perignon.

      I don’t have any illusions about the future of Japan though. The movement is, as the cbr article noted, getting more powerful there as well. Japan will get as intolerant and hateful as the west, they won’t be able to withstand the US and the movement as they spread their hate. That process started many years ago.

      1. There is a USA manga / shota maker. At least one. The one example do find do mail off to my guy in Europe. Will now try to find that more local producer. .
        — there are several reasons the lgbtq+ hate this writer is similar to why the religious and the atheists hate this guy here. The reason starts during the Bell Telephone monopoly lawsuit where do accidentally find a lawyer of the thing and tell him that the Bell Tel claims of the universal law of information and their claim of the universal law of chaos are both absurdities. Do show him. do also show the nonsense of the universal law of entropy, a popular concept at the time. Do show that such ideas are neither universal nor guarantees nor more than mere locals. The judge at the time decides. Do hate not the any who hate this person. Do live despite some attempts on this’s life.
        — The lgbtq+ hate because they officially hate sex with under 18 year olds. Atheists hate this because they kill MM O’Hair and they say they do not as they steal the money & will not let them forget that and because do love the idea of gods and the love they represent though this does believe nothing of any religion. the love might even be self destructive but the love is there. Love is something to fight for and die for. At all ages.
        — Do have many illusions of the future. Know not of such of the future.

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