Our Representation in Anime: Lesbians

Our Representation in Anime: Gays

August 7, 2010 Comments (0) Views: 9493 Anime

Our Representation in Anime: Bisexuals

Continuing with the series, the second under the microscope will be bisexuals, who, by far, are the most under-represented in anime.  If everyone is either vaguely homosexual for comedic purposes or straight, what is the need for bisexuals who can just be one or the other?  That’s the sad question that I believe most people around the world ask, so the same dilemma undoubtedly shows up in Japanese animation.
So, I’ll make a stretch, and add in the character archetypes that I believe are more often than not bisexual.  The first is “Male Protagonist with an Inseparable Rival,”  with the best example being Guts from Berserk. He is clearly in love with Halle Berry (she has a name…I just don’t remember), but at the same time, the sexual tension and general relationship he has with Griffith is nearly undeniably homosexual.  In a world riddled with war and famine the two only care about each other.  Almost no one else matters.  So these types of leads always come off as bisexual.

Oh yeah, it’s Caska.

The second type of character that I find to be unfailingly bisexual is the “Lesbian Who Was Emotionally Hurt by a Man.”  Yasuko Sugimoto from Aoi Hana exemplifies this archetype.  As Fumi’s love interest, she wrestles with her upper-class family knowing about the nature of her relationship with Fumi, despite the fact that her dating girls is no secret.  What is a secret though is the reason why she started dating girls in the first place.  Bet you cant’ guess what it is.  So our wondrously feminine and graceful Yasuko acts out by rejecting her femininity,  dressing androgynous, and kissing girls.  Besides making her a bit foolish, she winds up being portrayed as bisexual and a little gender-queer.

I know Fumi.  She is trying too hard.

One of the few characters I’ve come across who proudly identifies himself as bisexual is George from Paradise Kiss.


What is interesting, though, is that he is also the ‘exotic male’ who seduces the lead female into the rabbit hole of the fashion world, so in that respect, his sexuality and how it pertains to his character served many purposes on a dramatic level.  It creates doubts on the part of the heroine as to the security of the relationship between the two, it distinguishes George as being different from other guys she has met, and it helps fill the “mysterious” quota that all shoujo romantic leads must have.
With all that in mind, I think that bisexual characters have vastly untapped potential, and is an instance where ambiguity isn’t as detrimental to the presentation as it may be in others.  The conflict of identity and properly conveying it to his/her love interests can allow for more impacting moments than if they were treated with binary hetero/homo sexuality.
The next spotlight will be on the gays, but right now, I want to know what you think.  Are there any other definite bisexual characters?  Are they handled well or poorly?  Do you even agree with the two character types that I threw into the bisexual category?
Tell me about it in the forums.

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