History of LGBTQ characters in animated series: 2020s

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Building on the progress in the 2010s, and anytime before, the 2020s held the promise of changing LGBTQ representation in animation in a significant way, especially when it came to Western animation. This went far and beyond anything in the 1990s or in the 2000s. In 2020 alone, the Steven Universe came to an end with the final episodes of Steven Universe Future,[1] as did She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, with its final season bringing the slow-burn lesbian romance of Catra and Adora full circle with their kiss saving the world (and universe) from destruction.[2] At the same time, The Hollow,[3] DuckTales,[4] and The Loud House,[5][6] Harley Quinn,[7] and Cleopatra in Space[8] featured LGBTQ+ characters while Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts premiered with a canon gay character named Benson.[9] In anime, Asteroid in Love,[10] and My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom![11] included LGBTQ characters, as did others.

For the list of LGBTQ+ characters in the 2020s, see the List of animated series with LGBTQ characters page. For fictional characters in other parts of the LGBTQ+ community, see the lists of lesbian, gay, trans, bisexual, non-binary, pansexual, asexual, and intersex characters.

Representation moves forward in anime[edit]

In the world of anime, there were a few series which included LGBTQ+ characters, all of which premiered in 2020. Four of those shows were aired on Tokyo MX. The first of these shows was Asteroid in Love featured two protagonists (Mira and Ao) who want to discover an asteroid together[12][13][better source needed] and have a friendship that develops into something that is more romantic.[14][10] Even in the show's ninth episode, Ao and Mira begin living together, continuing the low-key yuri romance.[15]

On July 14, Faye Hopper wrote a review of Asteroid in Love. She noted that the show has "fundamental cuteness" but criticized for not having enough to sustain all the episodes.[16] She further stated that Ao and Mira are "in the same position" at the end of the series as they were at the beginning, describing the connections between Ao and Mira as shallow. She specifically noted that the viewers "never understand how much Ao and Mira matter to each other," saying it never digs deep into the relationships between characters.

The second Tokyo MX show was Seton Academy: Join the Pack!. It featured an intersex, and possibly genderfluid, hyena named Iena Madaraba. Iena had a bigger role in the series, although still a secondary character. She is a spotted hyena with male genitalia and is confused about her true gender & sexuality, and although she later finds out that she is biologically female, she still allows others to refer her with either gender pronoun in episodes such as "The Wild Habits of a Troubled Animal."[17] Some criticized the episodes about Iena to have "a wave of transphobic undertones"[18] and not portraying gender identity accurately,[19] although the same critic was satisfied with the end of Iena's "gender arc."[20]

The third anime broadcast on Tokyo MX was an adult sex comedy, controversial because it walked "the thin line of how explicit anime can be"[21] named Interspecies Reviewers included an intersex protagonist, an angel with a broken halo, named Crimvael, and a one-time lesbian character, Bina Banana, a female film director who runs a lesbian succubus brothel.[22] Crim, is well-endowed intersex angel with a broken halo that, like Iena, has male and female genitalia, as noted throughout the series. On T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews, Stig Høgset, noted that while Crim identifies as male, he has "sexual organs of both men and women," saying that he acts like this is the "standard for all angels," and has some enjoyable sexual experiences in the series.[23] Høgset further pointed out that the show is centered around "a group of men going around having sex with various girls in brothel-like settings," and writing about their experiences at these establishments.

In April, the episodes of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, a fantasy-drama anime, began airing on Tokyo MX. The series follows a girl named Catarina Claes who was previously an otaku who "died in a past life" and enjoyed an otome game,[11] who amasses a bisexual harem pining for her as she tries to avoid being a villain and becomes very thoughtful.[24] This anime features three lesbian characters. Mary Hunt develops romantic feelings toward the series protagonist, Catarina, differing from the script of the otome game, Fortune Lover, beginning in the second episode of the series, and she later concocts a "terrifying plan" of sorts to get them to stay together.[25] Sophia Ascart, in the eighth episode, when inside the book world,a pins Catarina against a wall, confesses her love, and proposes they move in together.[26] Maria Campbell, in the show's season one finale, Catarina asks her who she likes, and she says "the only one I love, admire, and want to be with for all time is you, Lady Catarina. So please allow me to stay by your side from now on."[27] In May 2020, seven of the 10 spots of a "weekly favorite couple poll" by Anime Trending[28][29] were shipping characters with Catarina![30] The same month, voice actor Kouichi Yamadera, who voiced characters in Cowboy Bebop (Spike Spiegel), Dragon Ball Super (Beerus), and Lupin III (Koichi Zenigata) who had trended on Twitter when he created a meme about being a date with his boyfriend, made a video version of the same meme, which picked up "over 41,000 retweets and hundreds of amused comments from people impressed with how flamboyant Yamadera looks" as a gay voice actor.[31] The season ended, with a "friendship ending," one reviewer calling it a "very definitive ending for Catarina and Her Polyamorous Bisexual Harem of Doom,"[32] and an upcoming second season sometime in 2021.[33] The series was later praised by Rebecca Silverman and Theron Martin of the Anime News Network for being well-done, and offers "a rewarding bisexual power fantasy" which Caterina is unaware of due to her dense nature.[34]

Apart from these series, there are a number of other anime with similar themes, which also aired on Tokyo MX. One of these was Tamayomi Baseball, adapted from a baseball manga series of the same name, which around centers Yomi Takeda, a pitcher, who reunites with her Tamaki Yamazaki, her childhood friend, and they fulfill their promise to each other as they start their baseball journeys, which aired from April to May 2020.[35][36][better source needed] Others pointed out to Kaguya-sama: Love is War. In the second season of that anime, which aired from April to June 2020, two characters, Kaguya and Chika, got married in a board game.[37][better source needed] Additionally, the action, comedy, and harem series, Super HxEros, which aired on Tokyo MX, also had LGBTQ characters. Specifically one character, Maihime Shirayuki has an unnamed "lesbian prince girlfriend."[38] The show features Kirara Hoshino's friend dating "an older girl," with everyone acknowledging it and moving on.

In 2020, other networks broadcast shows with LGBTQ characters. One of those was If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die on TBS. In this anime, the protagonist, Eripiyo, is obsessed with her favorite idol, a shy girl named Maina Ichii.[39][40] Eripiyo becomes obsessed with Maina Ichii, resulting in using almost all her money to buy Maina's merchandise.[41] Additionally, Assault Lily: Bouquet which will air on the same channel may have similar themes.[42] In a review on Erica Friedman's Okazu, Kristin called it a trap for yuri, saying she highly doubts "it will be worth it unless you’re really into the skin and bouncing boobs of teenage girls."[43]

There are other series with LGBTQ+ themes which aired or will air on Japanese television. For instance, in July 2020, a science-fiction fantasy named Journal of Mysterious Creatures, based on a web novel from China, centers on a 23-year-old jobless man named Yoshihito, who rents rooms in his house, first to a girl (later shown to be a werewolf) named Lily, who is attracted to Vivian, a vampire, as they all live in the same house.[44] In October 2020, the romantic yuri anime titled Adachi and Shimamura premiered on TV Tokyo. It follows two close friends, Adachi and Hougetsu Shimamura, with Adachi wishing they were closer, even having "dreams of kissing Shimamura."[11] As such, the series, previously a yuri light novel series of the same name written by Hitoma Iruma, will focus on Adachi and Shimamura falling in love. There are a number of other examples. For instance, Kaede Johan Nouvelle, Riri Hitotsuyanagi, and Yuyu Shirai are lesbian characters in Assault Lily Bouquet, which has an openly homoerotic focus, with some calling the romance between Kaede and Riri a good sign for those fans tired of having lesbian characters "doomed to the Wasteland of Subtext."[45] In this anime, Yuyu competes with Kaede for Riri's affection.

There were other efforts at progress in the 2020s in anime when it came to representation. In March 2020, the voice actor Shiki Aoki for Idolm@ster, who voices Asuka Ninomiya, came out as a trans man, explaining how gender identity and sexual orientation are different.[46] He also stated that he identifies as pansexual (in the past he had identified as bisexual), his journey to discovering his gender identity, and noted the growing awareness of LGBTQ+ identities, although people continue to "feel uncertain about their identity," encouraging them to speak with him. Around the same time, The Daily Dot published an article talking about a Gender and Anime at Anime Boston in February 2020, noting that manga and anime have "a dearth of gender representation," with issues within Japanese culture itself, with crossdressing and genderqueer identity often made out to be a joke or a "trap" for the protagonist.[47] They further argued that Hourou Musako in Wandering Son is one of the "few sensitive portrayals of transgender characters out there," with one panelist calling it the "only true transgender anime in existence" and saying listeners should be "sensitive when discussing gender identity." In 2021, Luminous Witches[48] created by Shaft, may have yuri themes.[49][better source needed][50]

In January 2021, Takuya Satou's Otherside Picnic, a yuri anime, will premiere, Satou having experience with anime, specifically by directing Asagao to Kase-san.[51][36] Two months later, in March 2021, Twittering Birds Never Fly will premiere as an original video animation produced by Blue Lynx, a Fuji TV subsidiary. It features Yashiro, a masochist and yakuza boss warms up to his new bodyguard, Chikara Doumeki. As his entreaties fail, he discovers why his bodyguard only wants to stay at "arm's length" to himself, rather than get involved in a relationship.[52] Mamoru Oshii's Vlad Love, which has no premiere set after being originally scheduled release in October 2020,[53][54] may premiere sometime in 2021.

An increase in Western animations with LGBTQ storylines[edit]

In the 2020s, representation became more pronounced than before in Western animation. This included shows like Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, Cleopatra in Space, The Owl House, The Hollow, Harley Quinn, Hoops, and Adventure Time: Distant Lands, with the promise of upcoming seasons of Hazbin Hotel, Helluva Boss, and gen:LOCK, RWBY, along with a variety of soon-to-come shows like Lumberjanes and DeadEndia. At the same time, series like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and Steven Universe Future, both of which had various LGBTQ characters, came to an end in 2020.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Baron, Reuben (March 27, 2020). "It's Over, Isn't It?: Rebecca Sugar on the End of Steven Universe". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on March 29, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  2. ^ Opie, David (May 15, 2020). "She-Ra's season 5 finale just changed TV forever with a groundbreaking moment". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on May 16, 2020. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  3. ^ Trumbore, Dave (May 8, 2020). "'The Hollow' Season 2 Review: Netflix's Underrated Animated Series Levels Up". Collider. Archived from the original on May 8, 2020. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  4. ^ Morrison, Matt (April 4, 2020). "DuckTales Season 3 Reveals Violet Has Two Dads". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  5. ^ "45 Times Cartoons Absolutely Killed It When It Comes To LGBTQ Representation". BuzzFeed. June 24, 2020. Archived from the original on June 17, 2020. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  6. ^ Crowley, Sammie [@SammieCrowley] (February 15, 2020). "Hope my Loud House fans enjoyed today's Valentine's Day episodes!! I am obsessed with how cute Lainey and Alice are! It was important to Karla and the whole writing team that in an episode about coupling up we had LGBTQ representation. It was definitely worth fighting for ❤️ 🌈" (Tweet). Archived from the original on February 15, 2020. Retrieved August 13, 2020 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Knight, Rosie (May 15, 2020). "Harley Quinn Season 2 Episode 7 Review: There's No Place to Go But Down". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on May 16, 2020. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  8. ^ Wahlgren, Kari (June 17, 2020). "Such a great episode of "Cleopatra in Space." Loved playing Akila's mom Pothina with the lovely @cissyspeaks as mom Theoda. Families come in many forms, and I'm so glad this show chose to show that. Love is love. And dorky parents are universal". Instagram. Archived from the original on August 14, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  9. ^ Duffy, Nick (January 16, 2020). "Netflix's new animated series Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts features a beautiful coming out moment". PinkNews. Archived from the original on January 27, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Liu, Michelle; Pfeiffer, Andy (January 30, 2020). "This Week in Anime: Is Asteroid in Love Worth Watching?". Anime News Network. Anime News Network. Archived from the original on February 25, 2020. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Jones, Isiah (December 5, 2019). "10 Must-Watch Anime Coming In 2020". CBR. Archived from the original on December 6, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  12. ^ "Two Promises Synopsis". Official Asteroid in Love website. January 27, 2020. Archived from the original on February 15, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2020.In the translated version of this page, it says "Konohata, who entered high school, was shocked when the astronomical club, which she had decided to enter, was gone. Mira had a dream of "discovering an asteroid" that she promised to a young person...Waiting for Mira in the clubroom were three unique seniors and another..."
  13. ^ "Anime Winter Season 2020: Final Thoughts". Yuri Reviews. April 1, 2020. Archived from the original on May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  14. ^ "Remember the Memories Synopsis". Official Asteroid in Love website. Quro. January 27, 2020. Archived from the original on April 5, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2020.In the translated version of this page, it says that Mira and Ao have a "study session with Mira's older sister [and]...experience their first part-time job at a tin bakery" while noting that "the two go out on a "station-side date" with their first part-time job fee, and see Suzu and Ino walking side by side. Surprised by the surprising combination, she secretly chase after them.
  15. ^ Beckett, James (January 4, 2020). "The Winter 2020 Anime Preview Guide: Asteroid in Love". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on April 1, 2020. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  16. ^ Hopper, Faye (July 14, 2020). "Asteroid in Love [Review]". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on July 15, 2020. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  17. ^ In the official episode description, a translation says "What is masculinity and femininity? I want to hit Hitomi-chan as it is without being swayed by such a thing! If you have a strong feeling and an unbreakable heart, you can overcome any wall! I want to say, but it's a tantrum. Because you are trying to get over it, you're a kuso hyena and a xoratelle." Also, the official character list has a description for him (斑刃 イエナ役), but it is in a form that cannot be currently translated.
  18. ^ Doyle, Matt (January 29, 2020). "Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 4 [Anime Review]". Matt Doyle Media. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  19. ^ Doyle, Matt (February 4, 2020). "Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 5 [Anime Review]". Matt Doyle Media. Archived from the original on March 5, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  20. ^ Doyle, Matt (February 18, 2020). "Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 7 [Anime Review]". Matt Doyle Media. Matt Doyle Media. Archived from the original on February 21, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  21. ^ Jones, Isiah (February 18, 2020). "The 10 Most Anticipated Comedy Anime of 2020". CBR. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  22. ^ Makungo, Meshack (March 13, 2020). "Interspecies Reviewers Episode 10: Release Date, Spoilers and Preview". OtakuKart. Archived from the original on June 29, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  23. ^ Høgset, Stig (2020). "Interspecies Reviewers". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on May 6, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  24. ^ Jones, Steve; Dupree, Nicholas (May 28, 2020). "The Sweet Life of Villainess Catarina Claes". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  25. ^ Beckett, James (May 31, 2020). "My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Episode 9[review]". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on June 14, 2020. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  26. ^ Beckett, James (May 27, 2020). "My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Episode 8". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  27. ^ Beckett, James (June 22, 2020). "My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Episode 12". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on June 25, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  28. ^ Morrissy, Kim (May 27, 2020). "My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Anime Dominates Anime Trending's Couple Polls". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  29. ^ Anime Trending [@AniTrendz] (May 7, 2020). "Madlads, Here are your TOP 10 COUPLE-SHIPS for Week#4 of Spring 2020 🔥 Vote: atani.me/voteship" (Tweet). Archived from the original on May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020 – via Twitter.
  30. ^ Specifically Maria and Catarina, Mary and Catarina, Sophia and Catarina, Keith and Catarina, Gerald and Catarina, Alan and Catarina, Nicole and Catarina.
  31. ^ Morrisy, Kim (May 27, 2020). "Voice Actor Kouichi Yamadera Kicks Off 'Drinking With Boyfriend' Video Meme". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  32. ^ Beckett, James (June 22, 2020). "My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Episode 12". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on June 25, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  33. ^ Loo, Egan (June 20, 2020). "My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Anime Gets 2nd Season in 2021". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on June 22, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  34. ^ Silverman, Rebecca; Martin, Theron (June 26, 2020). "The Best (And Worst) Anime of Spring 2020". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on June 30, 2020. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  35. ^ Mateo, Alex (February 14, 2020). "Tamayomi Baseball Anime's Teaser Promo Video Streamed". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on February 15, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  36. ^ a b "Yuri News Update: March 2020". Yuri Reviews. March 11, 2020. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  37. ^ "Anime Spring Season 2020: First Impressions". Yuri Reviews. April 15, 2020. Archived from the original on May 11, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  38. ^ Thomas, Monique; Dupree, Nicholas (August 27, 2020). "This Week in Anime - Is SUPER HXEROES Sexiness a Bug or a Feature?". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on August 28, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  39. ^ "Stay Cozy with Funimation's Winter 2020 Lineup 🔥❄️". Funimation. December 6, 2019. Archived from the original on March 23, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  40. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (May 17, 2018). "Oshi ga Budōkan Ittekuretara Shinu Manga Gets Anime". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on July 5, 2019. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  41. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (October 10, 2019). "'If My Favorite Pop Idol Made it to the Budokan, I Would Die' Anime's Video Reveals Hina Tachibana as Maina". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on March 7, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  42. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (March 6, 2020). "Assault Lily Bouquet Anime's 2nd Teaser Video Previews Theme Song". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on March 20, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  43. ^ "Assault Lily Bouquet, Guest Review by Kristin". Okazu. October 14, 2020. Archived from the original on October 15, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020. |first1= missing |last1= (help)
  44. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (June 21, 2020). "Journal of the Mysterious Creatures Animated Series Premieres in Japan on July 7". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on June 21, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  45. ^ Beckett, James; Silverman, Rebecca (October 2, 2020). "The Fall 2020 Preview Guide--Assault Lily Bouquet". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on October 5, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  46. ^ Morrisy, Kim (March 7, 2020). "Idolm@ster Voice Actor Shiki Aoki Comes Out as Transgender Man". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on March 7, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  47. ^ Romano, Aja (March 2, 2020). "When it comes to transgender representation, anime has room to grow". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on June 27, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  48. ^ The full name is "Allied Air Force Magical Idols Luminous Witches" or "Renmei Kūgun Kōkū Mahō Ongakutai Luminous Witches"
  49. ^ "Yuri News Update: May 2020". Yuri Reviews. May 24, 2020. Archived from the original on May 6, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  50. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (April 9, 2020). "Luminous Witches Anime's Promo Video Reveals Animation Studio SHAFT". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on April 12, 2020. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  51. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (March 5, 2020). "Otherside Picnic Sci-Fi Yuri Novels Get TV Anime". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on March 26, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  52. ^ Hazra, Adriana (October 2, 2020). "Twittering Birds Never Fly OAD's Promo Video Streamed". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on October 5, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  53. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (March 3, 2020). "Mamoru Oshii's Vladlove Anime Unveils Key Visual, Character Visuals". Anime News Network. Anime News Network. Archived from the original on March 3, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  54. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (May 8, 2020). "Mamoru Oshii's VladLove Anime Delayed Due to COVID-19". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on May 13, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2020.

Sources[edit]