Anime Gender Bender

June 25, 2010

For those of you who are wondering, this isn’t a blog on cross-dressing. Nope. Nothing close to it. To cut things short, this anime gender bender topic that I am about to blog is about anime characters that are both male and female. In the sense that they are one of the genders at one point in time. Cross-dressers are stuck with a particular gender and only dressed themselves the other way. So what is my fascination with this gender bender thingy? With all due respect, I’m not influenced nor am I taking on this trend. Just that I happen to notice some characters are androgynous and at times you can’t really tell that the character is either a boy or girl.
So why not just do a blog on one whereby they are both, I thought. Yeah right. So what is so special about characters that possess both male and female body? In my opinion, they can experience and have view from both sides and thus you won’t here them say "I don’t really understand men/women". Sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise but they are just like double-edge swords and can be a total nuisance. So listed below are some of the anime characters that in my opinion fall under this category:
Ranma Saotome (Ranma 1/2)
Ranma Saotome
Original gender: Male.
How: While during a training journey with his dad, he accidentally fell into Jusenkyo’s Nyannichuan (Spring of the Drowned Maiden).
When: Changes into a girl every time cold water is splashed and back to boy with warm or hot water.
Who knows (selected): Others who fell into Jusenko’s cursed springs along with the Tendou family and those he fought with.
Good thing or bad thing: As probably the most famous gender switching anime character, it might be a bit of both. The good news is that he may use his female counterpart to his advantage combat-wise in terms of speed and agility. The bad news is that he lacks power in that department and has to fend off several love triangles and competitions.
Natsuru Senou (Kampfer)
Natsuru Senou
Original gender: Male.
How: Forced and chosen to become a blue team Kampfer by the Moderators.
When: At one’s own will or when other Kampfers are nearby
Who knows (selected): Akane Mishima, Shizuku Sangou and Mikoto Kondou.
Good thing or bad thing: The way I see it, it has got to be a bad thing. Ever since he has the ability to turn into a girl for that whatever Kampfer fight-to-the-death tournament, he has been attracting lots of unwanted attention especially from the girls’ side. ‘She’ is so hot that everybody wants a piece or just swoons over the sight of her. Not to mention the bloody dilemma that his secret crush Kaede Sakura is actually in love with his female counterpart and not the male one. Bummer.
Homura/Kagiri (Sekirei)
Original gender: Not known.
How and When: Anytime due to its instability.
Who knows: Everyone involved in the Sekirei Plan.
Good thing or bad thing: Is experiencing chest pains from time to time a good thing?
Ayu Tateishi (Ultra Maniac OVA)
Ayu Tateishi
Original gender: Female.
How: Due to Nina Sakura’s magic blooper to turn her into a pro tennis player to settle a court usage dispute.
When: She can’t change at will. The magic spell lasts for several hours.
Who knows: Only Nina.
Good thing or bad thing: Bad. Now that she has the structure of a boy’s body, she loses her tennis touch and becomes sort of inefficient. And she had to lie to her pals by saying this boy version is some relative of hers.
Yuuri Mito (Tayutama ~Kiss On My Deity~)
Yuuri Mito
Original gender: Male.
How and When: A magic stone given by Nue.
Why: To keep an eye on Yumina since she has Houou stuck to her head 24/7.
Who knows (selected): Yumina, Mafuyu, Mashiro and Nue.
Good thing or bad thing: Well, you can’t get into the All-girls Flawless section without turning into a girl, right?
Jun Watarase (Happiness! OVA)
Jun Watarase 
Original gender: Male.
How: At the wrong place and at the wrong time when a mix of magic spells were unleashed and hit him. Maybe I should rephrase that as right time and right place since cross-dresser Jun really wants to become a girl.
When: This one time spell may make him a permanent girl but reverts back to a guy by using up all the temporary magic in his body.
Who knows: His close pals.
Good thing or bad thing: Sure, he is happy that his ultimate dream of being a girl has come true. Unless he is willing to live with the fact that every guy who laid their eyes on her would instantly fall in love with her and start the tiring and endless chaotic chase, might as well turn back into a guy.
Ren/Run Elsie Jewelria (To Love-Ru)
Original gender: Not known. Though most likely male because Lala spends her childhood days with Ren (who is also tormented of being cross-dressed).
How: Those who come from Planet Memorze have the ability to switch genders when a specific stimulus is triggered.
When: Switches gender each time he/she sneezes.
Who knows: Anyone who knows him/her.
Good thing or bad thing: I’m sure both gender see Rito as their main rival. Ren likes Lala (who likes Rito) while Run likes Rito (who likes Haruna). Pretty tough position, isn’t it?
Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto)
Naruto Uzumaki
Original gender: Male.
How: Using his "Sexy No Juutsu". Hey, I don’t think it’s just an illusion because those gorgeous curves are for real.
When: Whenever he wants to.
Who knows: Heck, just about anyone.
Good thing or bad thing: Good to divert away the attention of those perverts. Sort of.
Emporio Ivankov (One Piece)
Emporio Ivankov
Original gender: Male.
How: The former Queen of the Kamabakka Kingdom possesses female hormones and since he ate the Horu Horu Devil Fruit which allows him to change the hormones of a person including gender.
When: At his own will.
Who knows: Those who know him.
Good thing or bad thing: "Everyone should have the freedom to become a man or a woman!". Enough said. On another note, he looks ugly in his male form. Big-headed guy…
Hazumu Osaragi (Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl)
Hazumu Osaragi
Original gender: Male.
How: Was killed head-on by an alien spacecraft and got his whole body reconstructed into a girl.
When: Can’t change back. Has to live his life as a female.
Who knows: The whole damn world! No thanks to that alien’s worldwide announcement-cum-apology.
Good thing or bad thing: Sure with his new life as a girl (and having a hard time adjusting to it), the girl he loves, Yasuna Kamiizuni, finally confesses to him and this opens up another love triangle for his childhood friend, Tomari Kurusu. His lady pals may accept him for his new body but I guess he has to put up with his perverted dad and advances from his best guy classmate, Asuta Soro (whose love shall not be returned!).
Kuugen Tenko (Wagaya No Oinari-sama)
Kuugen Tenkou
Original gender: Unknown. Since this fox deity lived so long, he/she can’t even remember.
How: It is part of his/her magic ability.
When: At his/her own will.
Who knows: Since I didn’t really see this show, I’m guessing that the Takagami brothers whom he/she loves and protects should know about it.
Good thing or bad thing: The female one does attract attention with her ears and beautiful eyes. Pfft… Nekomimi fetish people…
Mei Ikaruga/Akira Ikaruga (Maze The Megaburst Space)
Original gender: Don’t know. Didn’t really see this show.
How: Not sure. See above.
When: By daytime, the female Maze (Mei) is dominant but the male Maze (Akira) takes over when night falls.
Who knows: My guess is that everyone in the travelling group.
Good thing or bad thing: Considering that there are several characters who fall in love with the female side and that the male version is a wild sexual predator towards any pretty girl he sees, that’s not a good indication, right? Oh yeah. In time both Mazes did fall in love with each other. How do you do that if you have just one body? A mirror?
Ranma Himatsuri/Rella Shirayuki (Cinderella Boy)
Cinderella Boy
Original gender: Well, the both had individual bodies of their own initially.
How: While stumbling across a crime scene, they were badly wounded and then mysteriously put together into one same body by a mysterious doctor.
When: They swap genders after every 24 hours at the stroke of midnight.
Who knows: Who knows, since I didn’t watch this show either.
Good thing or bad thing: Having no recollections or memories while the other gender was in control the day before is definitely a dangerous predicament. Imagine if you are suddenly conscious without knowing what the other side did and finding yourself in really hot water.
Tomoki Sakurai (Sora No Otoshimono)
Tomoki Sakurai
Original gender: Male.
How: Using a card from Ikaros.
Why: Because he wants to peep on girls and have some skinship bonding with them. In other words, he’s a pervert.
When: As long as the machine is stable and he keeps his pervertness under control.
Who knows: Ikaros, Nymph and Eishirou Sugata.
Good thing or bad thing: Definitely bad. Not only he loses control of his inner pervertness by outraging the modesty of the female bath house customers, he turns back into a guy in the midst of it all and has his cover blown. Do you he deserves to die?
Two sides of a coin…
This list is not meant to be definitive as there may be many more other gender bender characters out there yet to be discovered by me. Maybe I haven’t seen them ‘transform’, that’s why. Heh, who wants to ‘show’ me that they’re both a boy and a girl? As you can see that many of the anime characters here are of the male origin. I guess it is partly true when we say to let your feminine side out. And of course by swapping genders, it isn’t entirely a good thing for them either. All the troubles that come along with the other side add to the unnecessary problem and misfortune. Especially love triangles and awkward situations as an unknown stranger to certain parties even if you’re the same person.
There may be other characters from other animes which I did not include in my list. For instance Yubel of Yugioh GX is a hermaphrodite (possessing both male and female reproductive organs) and in this sense is both male and female at the same time rather than either one at a time. As for Chrome Dokuro of Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, I felt that she and Mukuro Rokudo do not share the same body. I just think that both bodies switch places with each other. Megumi Amatsuka from Tenshi Na Konamaiki was omitted because since I watched the series, it was just her state of mind altered that she thought she was a boy turned into a girl and that she had been a girl all along. The rest include those guys from Sailor Starlight in Sailormoon ‘who turn into women while fighting’, the entire race being born as females in Simoun and only at the age of 17 do they make the decision of wanting to remain a female or turn into a male, Vision Of Escaflowne‘s Allen Schezar’s long lost sister named Celena was transformed into a mean male antagonist, and a magic trap in The Tower Of Druaga which results in the entire party swapping gender. Manga-wise, Futaba-kun Change would’ve been included in this list if it was adapted into an anime. The family members change genders when they are sexually aroused so you’ve got a case of mistaken identity that the poor kid thought his dad is his mom and vice versa. Dangerous. Not to mention fanfiction gender swapping like Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu’s Kyonko. Need I say more?
Like they always say, don’t judge a book by its cover and it is what is in the inside that counts the most. Sort of. Even in today’s real world, medical technology is already present to change genders of those who feel that they were being born in the wrong body. But the key point here is not what kind of body you have, but rather are you satisfied with what you have now. Also, you can’t call these gender bending anime characters losers because "Behind every successful man is a woman", or rather inside for their cases so to speak.

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