Transgender characters have a complicated history in media, which is why it’s surprising that some transgender characters have complicated histories. the best transgender characters ever come from anime and manga. It’s no secret that the media’s representation of transgender characters isn’t the greatest. While there have been some great strides made in recent years to represent people from all walks of life, anime and manga are often left behind.
Even so, gay representation has a proud history in both mediums. Manga’s first transgender character debuted decades before Marvel or DC, and that representation only grew outside of the mainstream sources most fans would associate with the medium. However, even outside of the indie space, trans and queer representation can be found in all kinds of places that fans might not expect. The best transgender anime and manga characters are proof of how much potential both mediums have for inclusivity and thoughtful storytelling.
10 Seiko Kotobuki – Lovely complex
Seiko is one of the few girls Otani dates in Lovely Complex. When Otani learns that Seiko is transgender, she is shocked and begins to avoid her. While this definitely leans toward the “disturbing gender reveal trope,” Otani eventually snaps out of it and accepts Seiko for who she is. Seiko is a great character because she is always cheerful and optimistic, but she is not such a flat character that this is her only characteristic. For example, there is a video about her dysphoria, something that is rarely mentioned in the media. Lovely Complex introduces a character going through this experience but also shows how her friends are a great source of support for her.
9 Lily – Zombieland Saga
Zombieland Saga is one of the best anime of 2018 and Lily is part of the reason. Lily is the first openly transgender character of a major anime idol group, but before that, she was a legendary child actress during her lifetime. Unfortunately, the stress of her television career and severe body dysphoria eventually caused Lily to have a heart attack just as she began puberty.
Lily’s design evokes the colors of the transgender pride flag, with teal and pink as the main motifs. The most important thing is that all of her fellow idols support her and treat her exactly how she wants to be treated. And according to Anime News Network, an anti-TERF Lily meme was once printed and shared in the UK Parliament, so Lily may have the unique honor of being the only anime character ever mentioned by a Scottish MP in public. belongs to the law.
8.Natsuyoshi Utsumi – Our sunset dream
Our Dreams at Dusk’s Utsumi is an outgoing and friendly guy but a bit passive. He is quick to forgive and almost always has a smile on his face. However, he often hides his true feelings and is actually quite opinionated once people get to know him. Our Dreams at Dusk is a story about the LGBTQ+ experience, but it makes Utsumi a complex character beyond his gender identity. Utsumi is a nice person who works a normal job, hangs out with friends after work, and that kind of characterization is incredibly important for normalizing transgender representation in media. pine.
7 Tiger – My Hero Academia
My Hero Academia has an extremely colorful cast of characters and surprised many audiences to learn that Tiger, the fourth member of Wild Wild Pussycats, is actually a transgender man. This fact has never been announced, but My Hero Academia creator Kohei Horikoshi has confirmed that Tiger is transgender. As far as transgender characters go, Tiger isn’t the deepest and he doesn’t even get much attention. However, his brief description is overwhelmingly positive, as he is a confident yet supportive man. The fact that a transgender male character, presented in a positive light, is featured in one of the biggest anime series ever is quite a development.
6 Alluka – Hunter x Hunter
Alluka is Killua’s kind and affectionate younger sister in Hunter x Hunter. She is very clingy to Killua because the other members of her family are at best indifferent to her and at worst abusive. However, as long as Killua is around, Alluka seems completely content, which is why she is so attached to him. Yoshiro Togashi has a history of including transgender characters in his stories, and Alluka is a sincere yet subtle example shown through her friendships with others in Hunter x Hunter. Killua using Alluka’s preferred pronouns, as well as not using harsh words when he calls her his sister, is a nice respite from the scorn she receives from the other members of the group. family. Alluka’s representation of herself as a young transgender girl in Hunter x Hunter was still ahead of its time.
5 Shou Fujita – Star alignment
Shou Fujita only appears briefly in the series, but his appearance is important to the story. Maki Katsuragi, one of the main characters of the series, has an abusive father. Maki’s mother, Aya, soon made the decision to leave and officially divorced him. Soon after, she starts dating one of her old college friends, Shou, and they have one of the most positive adult LGBTQ+ relationships in anime.
Shou recalls feeling out of place in his younger years, detailing the discomfort he felt wearing girls’ clothes and having to live under what he believed was a “mask” to appease standards. society’s standards. However, as soon as he moved out and started being true to himself, he became much more confident. Feeling like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders is a feeling that many LGBTQ+ people can experience.
4 Togata – Fire punch
From the same author of Chainsaw Man, Tatsuki Fujimoto, Fire Punch is a very tense story in every sense of the word. However, the mysterious character named Togata is portrayed very well in the story, especially in how their gender informs their personality. They have a deep love for movies and idolize action heroes – to the point that they tend to be as crass and brash as the movies. However, in the post-apocalyptic hellscape of Fire Punch, films have long been forbidden to be made or seen. Despite Fire Punch’s wild story, Togata’s discussion of his identity struggles is actually handled very delicately and is a great representation of transgender characters experiencing severe dysphoria .
3 Nitori Lily – Wandering Son
Many anime fans may have heard of the anime Wandering Son and its surprisingly skillful handling of the subject of transgender identity, especially the main character, Nitori Lily. Growing up, Lily always felt strange. Her character’s storyline specifically focuses on her transgender experience from elementary school to adulthood. Wandering Son is at its core a coming of age story. As with gender, viewers explore Lily’s relationships with her friends and family, and are shown a variety of reactions to her identity as a transgender girl. Her story well explores the emotional pulse of experiencing gender dysphoria.
2 Ryo Watari – Boys Run The Riot
High school student Ryo Watari has always hated his uniform because it reminded him that he was considered a “girl”. Ryo has always struggled with his gender identity and feared judgment from his friends and family about it. His only respite is when he can go out in his favorite clothes and be seen the way he wants. Seeing a very well-written FtM character become a main character is a refreshing change of pace. That is the story of Ryo and his journey to finding confidence and expressing his true self through fashion. Clothing is an integral part of how society “sees” people, and the anti-establishment theme of Boys Run the Riot goes hand in hand with that.
1 Hana – Tokyo Godfather
From brilliant director Satoshi Kon comes Tokyo Godfather, one of the best animated films of the 2000s. The story is about three homeless people who find an abandoned baby among a pile of trash on Christmas Eve. One of those three people is Hana, a transgender woman. Hana is one of the most realistic portrayals of a transgender character in media, and with that comes a lot of discomfort.
Hana’s backstory of finding a job as a drag queen in a club to make a living, constantly being transgendered by others, living with a serious illness and of course, being homeless, are the problems a very real reality that many transgender people face to this day. Even though Hana is a worst-case scenario, it’s important that those situations come to light. Satoshi Kon understands the importance of appropriately representing the transgender experience.
The representation of transgender characters in anime and manga still has a long way to go, but that doesn’t mean the two mediums aren’t filled with intricately drawn transgender characters. Historically, these two mediums have actually been ahead of the curve compared to mainstream American comics and animated series. Not just one-note jokes, Best transgender characters in anime and manga are great characters that show the potential of great transgender representation.