As a young person navigating the gender and relationship confines of the modern world, I've latched onto storytelling as a why to process and except my identity. I go to stories to find characters I relate with so they can teach me to feel comfortable in the body I was born with. Below, I'm going to share a few (of the many) characters who have spoken to me as unique examples of self-confidence. Incidentally, all these characters are from Japanese Anime or Manga.
Lio Fotia from Promare...
Is the first on my list and a character who has spoken to hundreds of viewers since Promare's debut in 2019 (Maybe including you.) But what I personally think makes Lio really stand out as a unique character beyond his flashy armor or flame wielding prestige is the sense of confidence in his identity he emits even when standing with the much more masculine men sharing the screen with him. A confidence that leaves viewers who may have like me assumed he was female from the film's poster no longer questioning his identity and chosen gender.
Koushi Sugawara from Haikyu!!...
Suga brings something completely different to the male gender. Laid back and often apologetic, Suga moves through the world with a level of grace and a lot less force then his teammates on Karasuno High-school's boy's Volleyball team. As shown by his nickname Sugamama, Suga is highly valued by his teammates no matter if he looks or acts differently. And even after losing his place in the team's starting lineup he won't stop fighting for a chance to prove himself worthy again. Sometimes it takes a mix of perseverance and patience to make a character great and Suga has ample supply of both, and a confidence to be himself no matter what.
Tamaki Suoh and Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran Highschool Host Club...
These two take gender in a completely different direction. The main two characters in Ouran High school Host Club, a Shojo comedy full of gender commentary, they're both comfortable taking gender roles a little more lightly than your average character from a romantic comedy. Haruhi, the heroin of the series, spends all her time at school cross-dressing as a boy. But instead of limiting her male counterpart's attraction, Haruhi's masculinity adds to her appeal, and gives her the space to act the way she wants which is decidedly un-Disney princessy. I'm still blown away each time I'm reintroduced to the manga that she was created over 12 years ago.
Snowbebe form Cats of the Louvre...
Is on this list for a slightly different reason then the four above. For more then half of the one volume Eisner Award winning manga Snowbebe, the central character of the novel focused on the Louvre, is a small white kitten with long fluffy fur. Like something out of my 10 year old imagination, Cats of the Louvre follows a mismatched family of cats living in the recesses of the huge old museum. And there's something about Snowbebe that's just slightly different from other young male leads. He's freed from the confines placed on must young boys making him almost a male equivalent of Chihiro, the heroin of Miyazaki's Spirited Away. In the future I hope there's more examples of children given the chance to star their stories with the positive gender undertones expressed by Snowbebe From Cats of the Louvre.
Each of the Silverfists take turns sharing their thoughts about illustration found in graphic novels, games, album art, and more...