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11 Times Anime Shows Totally Got LGBTQ+ Characters Right

WE. ARE. HERE. FOR. IT.

When it comes to anime and mass media, it's easy for LGBTQ+ characters to get stuck with particular stereotypes or for their sexuality to exist solely for comic relief.

Viz Media / Via media.giphy.com

Though there are many instances of misrepresentation and fetishization of LGBTQ+ characters to appeal to hetero audiences, there are anime that more or less give better representation given the time these shows came out.

In no particular order, here are 11 anime shows with a great representation of LGBTQ+ characters (may have some mild spoilers).

1. Hunter x Hunter (2011)

Alluka surrounded by a wall of stuffed toys.
Nippon Animation / Viz Media / Fuji TV / Funimation / Via crunchyroll.com

What it does right: Alluka Zoldyck, Killua's younger sibling, is trans. Depending on who's referring to Alluka, especially among family members, they may mention her as their brother. However, Killua makes an effort to use she/her pronouns and refers to her as his little sister.

Additionally, there are a few characters that have androgynous appearances with others often mistaking their gender, though not played for comic relief. Kurapika is one such character who is often mistaken as female, while Melody is mistaken for a male.

What it's about: Gon, a 12-year-old boy from Whale Island, dreams of becoming a Hunter like his father, who left when Gon was still young. In order to follow in the footsteps of his father, he takes the rigorous Hunter Exam and meets several friends along the way.

2. Attack On Titan (2013)

Ymir and Christa looking into each other's eyes while overlooking the snowy mountains.
Wit Studio / MAPPA / Funimation / Via crunchyroll.com

What it does right: Ymir and Christa Lenz are one of the couples we're all rooting for in this anime. It's pretty apparent the two soldiers have feelings for each other (Ymir literally tells Christa to marry her). Christa even tells Ymir that as long as she is with her, no matter how screwed up life gets, she doesn't feel afraid. Attack On Titan also features non-binary representation through Survey Corp squad leader, Hange Zoe, who doesn't present as either masculine or feminine.

What it's about: Attack on Titan is set in a world where humanity lives inside cities surrounded by enormous walls to protect them from human-devouring titans. The story centers around Eren Jaeger and his childhood friends, Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert. Their lives change forever after the appearance of a Colossal Titan, which brings about the destruction of their hometown and the death of Eren's mother.

3. My Hero Academia (2016)

The Wild, Wild Pussycats forming their signature pose.
Bones Inc. / Funimation / JNN / Via crunchyroll.com

What it does right: Two characters identify as trans, Magne of the League of Villains and Tora of the Wild, Wild Pussycats. During the Shie Hassaikai arc, when Overhaul refers to Magne with he/him pronouns, League of Villains members Toga and Twice are quick to correct him, even with a lace of a threat if Overhaul makes the same mistake.

What it's about: My Hero Academia is set in a society where 80% of the population has a superpower or "quirk." The story focuses on Izuku "Deku" Midoriya, a teenage boy whose dream is to be a hero even though he was born without a quirk. Despite this obvious challenge, he enrolls in one of the world's most prestigious hero academies.

4. Yuri!!! On Ice (2016)

Victor and Yuri looking into each other's eyes almost as if they were about to kiss.
MAPPA / Funimation / Via crunchyroll.com

What it does right: This is a show where not only the audience is rooting for Yuri and Victor, even the support characters ship them together. The dynamic between Yuri and Victor is healthy, there isn't much of an age gap, and the story focuses on a growing relationship between two fully consenting adults.

What it's about: 23-year-old Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki suffers a crushing defeat in the finals of the Figure Skating Grand Prix and considers retiring from his skating career. He returns to his hometown and finds himself in the spotlight when a video of him performing a routine previously executed by his idol and five-time world champion, Victor Nikiforov, suddenly goes viral. The award-winning skater himself flies to Japan to offer Yuri a proposal to be his coach and train him to win what may be Yuri's last season.

5. Sailor Moon (1992)

Haruka and Michiru holding hands and looking at each other romantically.
Toei Animation / Viz Media / Via hulu.com

What it does right: High school students, Haruka Tenou (Sailor Uranus) and Michiru Kaoiu (Sailor Neptune), were definitely not cousins, as stated in the English dub (not that that's a "more appropriate" relationship...) Haruka often dresses in masculine clothing (except for when she transforms into Sailor Uranus) and flirts with a lot of the female characters. On the other hand, Michiru presents herself as more feminine. It's very obvious that the two are a couple, they're often affectionate towards each other, as one does in a relationship, and make inside jokes about being alone together.

What it's about: Middle-school student Usagi Tsukino befriends Luna, a talking black cat, who gives her a magical brooch that transforms her into Sailor Moon: a soldier destined to save Earth from the forces of evil.

6. Wandering Son (2011)

Yoshino, Shuichi, and Saori smiling.
AIC Classic / Fuji TV / Via crunchyroll.com

What it does right: Wandering Son discusses being transgender, gender dysphoria, relationships, and the emotional toll it has on protagonists Shuichi and Yoshino while at the beginning of puberty. Both characters feel strangled over societal norms on gender issues and this anime does justice in focusing on their struggles. This show reminds the audience of the importance of having someone close who cares and tries to understand what you’re going through.

What it's about: Fifth grader Shuichi Nitori is known as one of the prettiest girls in school, but to her dismay, she is biologically male. Fortunately, Shuichi has a childhood friend with similar feelings of discomfort related to gender identity, Yoshino Takatsuki, who doesn't identify as a girl, though biologically female. These two friends find comfort in one another, but their lives are further complicated when they must learn to navigate making friends -- and keeping them -- at a new school.

7. Given (2019)

Ritsuka and Mafuyu looking at each other nervously.
Lerche / Crunchyroll / Fuji TV / Via crunchyroll.com

What it does right: All of the main characters essentially identify as LGBTQ+ in one way or another. As for the relationship between protagonists Ritsuka and Mafuyu, Given takes a different direction on the progression of a romantic relationship. Rather than build a story with over-the-top drama, their relationship is based on a development of trust between two friends who grow feelings for each other until they become a couple.

What it's about: High school student and electric guitarist Ritsuka Uenoyama is losing his passion for music until he randomly meets Mafuyu Sato. When Ritsuka hears Mafuyu sing for the first time, it resonates with his heart and the distance between them starts to change.

8. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)

Madoka holding on to Madoka as she is injured.
Shaft / Aniplex of America / JNN / Via crunchyroll.com

What it does right:Though Homura Akemi doesn't explicitly confess her feelings to Madoka, it's clear her actions are fueled with romantic intention. Additionally, there aren't any notable male characters in this series outside of Madoka's family members who appear in a couple episodes, and the show is fully female-led. In the rollercoaster events that transpire throughout the series, with Homura Akemi, it wouldn't make any sense if she's not head-over-heals in love with Madoka.

What it's about: Madoka Kanome is your typical middle schooler whose life turns around when she encounters Kyubey, a magical being who offers to grant any wish in exchange for dedicating the rest of one's life to battle witches, magical beings whose souls have been tainted by darkness.

9. Steins;Gate (2011)

Luka shyly looking down while standing on a bridge.
White Fox / Funimation / Via crunchyroll.com

What it does right: Luka Urushibara is trans and even expresses that it's her dream to reincarnate as a female, as she feels that’s her true self. Her entire character arc involves using the time machine created to change the past so she would have been born female.

What it's about: Self-proclaimed mad scientist, Rintarou Okabe, and his lab members, Mayuri Shiina and Hashida "Daru" Itaru, have the ability to send text messages to the past with their invention of the "Phone Microwave." However, throughout their experimentation process, an evil organization named SERN that has been doing its own research on time travel tracks them down. It's now up to Okabe and his friends to not get caught and survive this dangerous game of tag.

10. Cardcaptor Sakura (1998)

Touya leaning into Yukito as they talk under the trees.
Madhouse / NIS America / NHK BS2 / Via crunchyroll.com

What it does right: This is only really present in the sub version since English dub censored most of the romance between Touya Kinomoto and Yukito Tsukishiro. As much as Sakura likes Yukito, when she later confesses her feelings, Yukito admits that Touya is his "number one," and she agrees to support their relationship. Additionally, Tomoyo Daidouji, Sakura's friend and costume provider, is probably a lesbian since most of her romantic affections are towards Sakura, though it's not explicitly confirmed.

What it's about: Ten-year-old Sakura Kinomoto opens a mysterious book in her family's basement and accidentally releases the magical Clow Cards. Through her ability to open the seal, Sakura reveals that she was born with magical powers, and it becomes her responsibility to retrieve the missing cards.

11. Sweet Blue Flowers (2009)

Akira hugging Fumi outside in the snow.
J.C. Staff / Right Stuf Inc. / Fuji TV / Via crunchyroll.com

What it does right: This series closely follows the growing relationship between Fumi and Akira in a very sweet way, similar to experiencing one's first love. Sweet Blue Flowers does flow at a slow pace, though in a very poetic way.

What it's about: Shy and soft-spoken Fumi Manjoume and upfront and caring Akira Okudaira were best friends in elementary school, but this changed when Fumi and her family moved away. Years later, Fumi returns to her hometown after being accepted at Matsuoka Girls’ High School. She finally reunites with Akira, who's set to attend Fujigatani Girls’ Academy. Despite their reunion, their relationship isn't the same as it was years ago.

Of course, there are so many other anime shows with LGBTQ+ representation.

Do you have a fave that wasn't on this list? Let us know in the comments!

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