I was an active user on the now defunct Sailor Moon Uncensored Forums, we had a discussion about homosexuality in anime. We were talking about numerous gay characters that were awesome and great, and how much cooler Japan was than American for allowing homosexuals to appear on these series. Yada yada.
Then one user (an openly gay male) made a statement everyone (including me at the time) seemed to disagree with: gay characters in anime are usually stereotypical. He discussed Haruka and Michiru, the two main gay couple in the series.
“They’re always the most sensual out of all the characters”
And it’s true. You never hear Ail or En making implications about their sex lives like Haruka and Michiru. Usagi never seductively asked Mamoru to help her change. Whenever someone hits on Mamoru, Usagi gets angry and freaks out. When Fiore gets a little to close to Mamoru, Usagi makes this face:
Hm. Zoicite and Kunzite are the first gay male couple in the series. Zoisite of course is super effeminate, cross dresses (at least once in both manga and anime), hates women, and acts flamboyant. You’d never hear, oh say, Jadeite scream like a girl. And of course Kunzite is the “top” in the relationship, being so masculine and dominate.
Let’s look at examples outside of Sailor Moon. How about Pokemon? Everyone knows Pokemon! Remember that one super flaming trainer who owned a Chansey? Waaay back in the first season. Here, I’ll show you a picture to refresh your memory:
(image and info courtesy of Dogasu’s backpack)
What’s his name? Okama-san. Okama is Japanese slang meaning faggot. Okama-san has a high pitch voice, wears make up, a belly shirt, earrings, and creeps out the main cast when he shows up.
For an earlier example, we can look at my favorite series Cutie Honey. Written by Go Nagai, who is just known for being offensive, it’s no surprise he’s featured negative caricatures of gays in his work too. Honey goes to an all girls school, where all of the students are lesbians. Hairy, ugly, masculine, usually downright scary looking lesbians. In the anime this is toned down, making only Honey’s teacher a lesbian.
And there she is. Yes she has facial hair. Yes she has hairy legs. Yes she plays with her boobs. Yes all she does in the show is act “strange” and “crazy” and tries to win Honey’s affection. She appears in the remade series Cutey Honey Flash as well, without her mustache. But she still plays with her breasts, and freaks out all of the girls around her.
And finally I want to look at Hibari from Stop!! Hibari-kun. Hibari is a teenage boy who looks and poses as a girl.
Hibari wants breasts, and has a crush on his (straight) family friend Kohsaku. This drives his family, and Kohsaku crazy. Through out the series everyone calls him a ‘weirdo’ to which he replies ‘I’m not a weirdo!’. Other homosexuals that appear on the show are also “weirdos’. We see the volleyball player Jun, who’s taller and stronger than most of the boys in her school. Her mother is a stereotype of Takarazuka Revue, with her brothers look exactly like Glenn Hughes from The Village people.
They spend sometime wondering why Hibari “turned out” the way he did, and one theory is because “he was raised with all girls since he was little”. I found that interesting, and something I could even relate to. I often wondered if my sexuality, my mannerisms were partly based off the fact I grew up with all women.
Any one have any other examples or comments?
This is just my opinion so obviously it has no basis in fact, but I’ve always felt like homosexuality is kind of a quirk (idk what other word I could use) in Japan. They have no problem portraying homosexuals/crossdressers/transgenders in the media, but are noticeably less accepting when said individuals appear in real life.
Also, all of the series you listed are rather old (Sailor Moon alone is 20 years old), so it’s always possible that the trend of having gays as stereotypes has died down somewhat (I don’t watch very many new animes so I can’t say for sure). But like I mentioned above, while Japan doesn’t have a problem with having LGBT people in the media, that doesn’t necessarily make them more tolerant.