To Pee or Not to Pee: Gender and LGBT Representation in Manga and Anime

This week we looked into the theme of gender identity and sexuality, more specifically LGBT representation in manga and anime. I enjoyed reading both Kazumi Nagaike’s article, “The Sexual and Textual Politics of Japanese Lesbian Comics: Reading Romantic and Erotic Yuri Narratives”, which discussed Yuri manga, otherwise known as female-female (or lesbian) relationships, as well as the article “Wandering Son and Gender Identity” by Paul Jackson, which focused on the manga and subsequent anime Wandering Son, a story about about transgender gender identity: a boy who wants to be a girl, and a girl who wants to be a boy. I found this article particularly interesting, and I found it useful to read a portion of the actual Wandering Son manga before watching an episode of the anime in class. It was interesting to note the similarities and differences between the manga and the anime, and I found it to be an overall beautiful and well-put-together episode that depicted a very real and sincere representation of the struggle that many people go through while discovering who they are as a person, and in exploring their gender identity. The class discussion after this anime was very heartfelt, and it was nice to hear everyone’s comments about the importance of Wandering Son: that it was one of the few representations of transgender people that was both positive and educational and didn’t make fun of the characters. Continue reading