?There are many things that make Japanese culture different from American culture, but one of the most notable is Japan’s incredibly inclusive concept of cuteness. Sure, Japanese consider babies and small animals cute just like we do in America, but over there, everything needs to be cute. Every big franchise gets cute-fied (or “super-deformed”) merchandise made of it. Every store needs a cute mascot; heck, many towns do, too. For many Japanese girls, being cute is more important that being beautiful. And for Japanese boys to be considered cute, they generally need to look like girls.
Yes, Japanese girls love their feminine-looking men, and nowhere is this more evident than in anime and manga. Both are full of characters who skirt the gender line, and then there are plenty who have already crossed the line, leaving it far in the dust — guys who look girls even to their characters in their anime and manga. In today’s list, we examine some of the most attractive women in anime… who just so happen to not be women.
8) Ritsu Sohma, Fruits Basket
?The kind-hearted and shy trainee of the Sohma family hot springs, Ritsu is portrayed as having an extremely low self-esteem, as well as issues with nervousness, with his only relief coming from cross-dressing. It’s evident that his self-esteem gets in the way of his ever having a normal life, as he spends most of his time apologizing for any and all things. In his limited time on screen, he seems to be a rather sad/pathetic character. He is almost always seen wearing women’s kimonos during the series, although he eventually does cut his long, light brown hair short towards the end of the series. Even though the animated series ended, there were several follow-up manga; oone in particular shows a turn of luck for Ritsu and a chance for a normal life, as he enters into a relationship with Mitsuru, who ironically spends most of her time in the series dressed as a boy.
7) Kazuki Fuuchouin, Get Backers
?When the Get Backers need assistance in their investigations, one of the names they call the most often is Kazuki Fuuchouin. Trained in the graceful fighting style of the Fuuchouin family, Kazuki is a force to be reckoned with. Kazuki’s long brown hair and elfish face would make anyone believe he was a woman… well, that and the fact that he’s usually seen wearing women’s clothing in the course of the series. Feminine look aside, Kazuki was a quick and deadly enemy, often referred to by the title of “Prince of Fear.” To change things up a bit, the ending of the Get Backers manga series changes this dynamic, by making the entire story some type of simulation, while in the real world, Kazuki is in actuality female, and married to his/her archenemy Juubei. I’m officially confused now.
6) Ayumi Saitou, Shion no Ou
?The first blue-haired character on this list is also the first of the traditionally nerdy girl character found in anime, similar to Ami from the Sailor Moon series, the only difference being that Ayumi is a dude. In fact, throughout the series, Ayumi is frequently shown to be a male. He dresses like a guy, going shirtless multiple times, accentuating his distinct lack of boobs. He has a unquestionable male voice, and actually plays a very convincing guy. The fact is, we know right from the beginning that Ayumi is a guy, but quite frankly, he still makes for a pretty hot girl when dressed accordingly. The oversized blue eyes and typically ponytailed hair just scream nerdy anime girl; although the lack of a vagina does not.
5) Haku, Naruto
?Haku, the soft-spoken, mild-mannered ninja of the Yuki clan has a very distinctive image when compared to the rest of the cast of characters in Naruto. Haku’s features are very soft for a ninja, with long straight hair, a kind face, and the large brown eyes typical of female anime characters. Having been trained by Zabuza since Haku was a small child, the ninja’s skills are deadly; able to manipulate water at a very early age, this power was honed into a very deadly weapon. But, this ninja’s looks are deceiving — as it turns out, Haku is packing more swords than just a katana. It’s hard to tell this though, as the first time he is encountered by Naruto, he is wearing a long, flowing pink sleeveless kimono, not quite the outfit that would make you think badass boy assassin. Interestingly enough, while the creator of the manga series specifically has stated in interviews that Haku was indeed a male, his character has always been performed by female voice actors. The fates were not kind to this effeminate ninja however, as he died rather early on in the series at the young age of 15.
4) Peppo, Gankutsuou
?Based on the Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo, Gankutsuou is a futuristic retelling of the classic revenge story. In it, the main character of the Count hires Luigi Vampa to kidnap Albert, thought to be the son of the Count’s mortal enemy. To do this, Vampa enlists the help of Peppo, who is told to seduce Albert, and lead him into the trap (no pun intended) where he is to be kidnapped. The seduction is pretty simple, thanks to Peppo’s curly brown hair, impish smile, and flirty demeanor, and Albert easily falls for it. While there isn’t much known about the character as she appears in the series, there is one aspect of her that is eventually revealed… she’s not a she. He eventually goes on to become a servant in the Morcef household, and falls madly in love with Albert anyways.
3) Buzam Calessa, Vandread
?The anime and manga series Vandread takes the battle of the sexes to new levels of extreme as males and females have been at war for years a la the Zentradi from Macross. Among the crew of the females is a sub-commander by the name of Buzam Calessa, or BC for short. She is an exotic beauty, a tall, olive-skinned person with almost Amazonian qualities. Her long silver hair distinguishes herself from the rest of the crew of her ship, all of which have very stereotypical anime hair colors. As the series goes on, several clues become evident that make one wonder about her. It isn’t until the second season that BC is revealed to be originally a dude, and the leader of the males’ intelligence agency, who was planted among the females as a spy.Clearly, BC didn’t half ass anything, going so far as to getting a complete sex change operation and wearing a voice-changing device in order to be able to fit in seamlessly with his/her enemies. Talk about getting wrapped up in your work.
2) Mizuho Miyanokouji, Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru
?Okay, this one is a bit of a cop out, as it’s not Mizuho’s intention to become a woman. Mizuho is forced by his grandfather’s will to attend an all-girls high school, despite the fact he doesn’t have the right parts to fit in (so to speak). There is only one way he can abide by his grandfather’s final wish, and that’s to crossdress. Initially, only a few people including his childhood best friend know his secret, but of course that doesn’t last for long. The strange thing is that Mazuho makes for a very attractive girl, and his artificial chest is able to fool just about everyone, even when trying on bikinis. Needless to say, a million dollars of plastic surgery wouldn’t produce boobs this perfect.
1) Fisheye, Sailor Moon
As one of the Amazon Trio of Sailor Moon Super S, Fisheye was a very sly combatant, using the powers of seduction to conquer men, extract their “Dream Mirrors” and gaze into their dreams. With long flowing blue hair, oversized blue eyes, Fisheye’s feminine sex appeal was obvious… and then he revealed his distinct lack of girl parts. and he made that part of his nefarious schemes — when he revealed to his victims that “Dude look like a lady”, they quickly fell prey to his evil. I can see it now, you’re talking with this exotic and beautiful girl, have a few drinks over the course of the night. You have to get over that she is named after a specific camera lens, but who cares. You get back to your place, when surprise, just like Slumber Party, she just whips it out. I guess that would be enough to put your typical male into enough shock to make you give up your Dream Mirror, if I knew what the hell that was. Of course in the hyper-sensitive American culture, this was retconned and Fisheye was made into a female character.
A fan of video games and science fiction from the moment he discovered his father's Atari 2600 and Star Wars, Jason Helton has been contributing to The Robot's Voice since 2011. Prior, he wrote for the UK's Den of Geek and was the producer and host of Iron Otaku Radio on XM's UPOP 29 channel. A die-hard fan of Battlestar Galactica (both old and new), Doctor Who, and pinball, you can follow him on Twitter @Razgriz1138.