We think anime is, well, a whole lot gayer than that
October 15, 2018 12:39 PM   Subscribe

AniGay is a small group of good friends who love anime and care deeply about the multifaceted, nuanced ways in which it depicts queerness. Over the years, we’ve spent more time than it’s possible to quantify researching, analyzing, and conversing about queerness in anime together, and we’ve become frustrated with the tendency of popular discourse to reduce queerness to binary categories: “representation” (good or bad) and “canon” (yes or no).
Anime? Anigay.
posted by MartinWisse (18 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
This is delightful. I'm glad you posted this.
posted by Fizz at 12:45 PM on October 15, 2018

I saw this and was like "oh man I hope Elizabeth Simins knows about this" and, heh, okay, yes.
posted by cortex at 12:45 PM on October 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

The last time something posted here was this relevant to my interests, there were kittens involved.
posted by Sequence at 12:48 PM on October 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Which reminded me to actually add the tags for the people running this site, thanks cortex!
posted by MartinWisse at 12:55 PM on October 15, 2018

For those of you who are old like me and may have read this as Anti-gay, yeah I did too. And I felt much better by checking out the FPP.
posted by Splunge at 1:10 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Lupin and Jigen, Crime Husbands.
posted by RobotHero at 2:53 PM on October 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

Where does Ranma½ fit into the little graphs and categories?
posted by krisjohn at 3:15 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

There is also Anime Feminist for that perspective.
posted by gen at 3:32 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sadly I am on mobile, because this site does not work well on mobile.

That said, Yuri on Ice is so fabulous and great.
posted by FleetMind at 5:40 PM on October 15, 2018

Where does Ranma½ fit into the little graphs and categories?

At the beginning, I'd imagine.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:24 PM on October 15, 2018

Now that you bring up Ranma, their "queerness quadrant" examples were a lot heavier on anigay than on transime.

Ranma is kind of forced transition, and I'm not sure if that's metaphorical or implicit or if we need a third axis to explain what that is.
posted by RobotHero at 7:07 PM on October 15, 2018

Like there's some element of reassurance, where a straight audience that would reject a show where the character did this on purpose, but accepts a character that has it imposed upon them.

Like, the changes to Ranma's body are neither metaphorical nor implicit, but it still often doesn't register as queer because Ranma expressly didn't choose for it to happen. But the audience keeps choosing to watch it happen, so ...
posted by RobotHero at 7:23 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't think Ranma was coded in any way other than to make the most convoluted love dodecahedron possible, but the audience will interpret as they will.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:22 PM on October 15, 2018

I'm going to invoke death of the author so we don't need a fourth axis.
posted by RobotHero at 8:40 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Spoilers for Hunter x Hunter, Naruto/Boruto

Hunter x Hunter has been one of my favourite anime for most of my life, but only on reading through that HxH article do I realise that ALL four of the main protagonists are coded queer. Kurapika/Leorio was fairly obvious given that they fall into the feminine/masculine treatment that is prevalent in BL, but as a het viewer steeped in heteronormativity I didn't see Gon/Killua until the article because they don't fit in to classic gay tropes that are aimed towards het viewers.

I'm keen for the possible upcoming articles on maybe Kalluto (AMAB, presents as 'trap'-level feminine), Hisoka (bi/pan? Also uh pederasty), Pitou (gender ambiguous), Pouf (feels like some stereotype of queerness?), and of course Alluka, addressed with female pronouns by herself and people who see her as a human being (so far just her and her brother), and male pronouns by people who don't (everyone else including abusive family). I've never watched Togashi's previous works like Yu Yu Hakusho but looking through the plot now there seems to be gay and trans characters there too, and of course his wife's series, Sailor Moon, has a bunch of queer characters.

I was also astounded recently on watching Boruto - sequel to Naruto - by (single parent, presents androgynous, has inhabited other peoples' bodies) Orochimaru schooling his (synthetic human clone son) on gender binaries (Orochimaru has only been referred to as 'parent' through the series in regards to Mitsuki, and was presumed male by viewers in the original Naruto series):
Mitsuki, about filling in a form for class: About the guardian section- are you my father or mother? What should I put down?
Orochimaru: That’s a silly question
M: Well, I don't really care either way
O: There have been times when I was a man and times a woman... outside appearances don’t matter. The will to uncover all truth, that is the core of my being.
In a mainstream shounen anime! I feel attached to Naruto because I grew up with it, but the sexism/homophobia/fatshaming means that rewatches can be intensely uncomfortable. Boruto has some gross gaps still, but it's also turned around some of Kishimoto's (Naruto mangaka) blind spots, like the above where Orochimaru is the Queer Evil Villain in Naruto, and non-villain and meaningfully queer in Boruto. I hope the new writers can get even more progressive in the coming episodes.

There's also that thing where characters aren't referred to by gender in the Japanese series but have a gender imposed on them in English translations because of heteronormativity/queerphobia (e.g. Envy from FMA/:B). Same for things like occupations and just presumed gender in general. Sometimes I just watch raw files/with Japanese subs due to this, even though I generally prefer eng subtitles because reading in English is my fastest info absorption method and I occasionally have mild auditory processing problems.

I kind of realise now too that the majority of the anime I've watched have at least one queer character; it's often just another character 'type' in casts made entirely of tropes. They're not always positive representations though (often the villain/comic relief, and even if they're positive they're often fan service for presumed hetero viewers of the opposite gender of the binary).
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 12:20 AM on October 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Anime Feminist was mentioned earlier, here's a recent article about queerness: Going Beyond Severance: Metaphorical and literal queerness in Yurikuma Arashi.
posted by Pendragon at 2:25 AM on October 16, 2018

If you do need writing on Ranma½ Animefeminist has you covered there, too. Though they don't really dig into the character of Tsubasa who would be the most literally, explicitly queer character but often treated as a joke based on that.

You could also read Secret Gamer Girl who even has a post titled "Let’s talk about how Ranma is trans, and not as a metaphor." Which eliminates one half of the Anigay quadrants right in the title.
posted by RobotHero at 9:08 PM on October 26, 2018

From the Secret Gamer Girl posts, Ranma is a lot more into being a girl than I remembered. I had felt it was more of a "fantasizing about this magical spring" like Bowsette's super crown.

Like anem0ne posted in this thread: "if confronted with a button that would let them change their gender, would they press it?" only substitute "pressing a button" with "falling in a cursed spring."

So I kind of thought of the scenario as attracting trans people without the specific characters supporting a trans interpretation, but the Secret Gamer Girl posts are making me reconsider that.
posted by RobotHero at 9:48 PM on October 26, 2018

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