The next Manga/Anime I will take a look at in terms of gender will be „Kuragehime“ by Akkiko Higashimura, published in Japan by Kondansha, the Anime was directed by Takahiro Omori in „Brains Base Studio“ in 2010 with a total of 11 Episodes, while the manga started in 2008 and is still ongoing. Like always I will first give you an introduction to the manga (this time a little earlier since I will be busy this WE) before taking a look at the cultural studies topic, this time Gender 😉
Plot:one with the afro)
Kuragehime is about an18 year old girl who, after her mother passed away, went to Tokyo to become an illustrator, Thing is, she is a total jellyfish Otaku! And she behaves like a classical otaku: the doesn’t dress well, has no soft-skill, is rather shy and not self confident at all. She also failed to get a job until now.
So she lives at a place where only Otaku girls like her live, men are not allowed at all!
These are the „Amars“ as they call them selves and Kuranosuke, to whom I will come later.
From left to right its: Banba (the one with the afro) is the train otaku, behind her is Mayaya who is a „Records of the three Kingdoms“ fan, then comes Tsukimi she is the protagonist and, as mentioned jellyfish otaku, in the middle is Kuranosuke, next to him (yes him) is Jiji, who is osbessed with older men, and the last one is the daughter of the owner of the apartment Chieko, who loves traditional Japanese clothing and traditional Japanese dolls (dressed in Kimono XD)
One evening Tsukimi goes to a small shop for water pets, to take a look on a jelly fish but discovers that in the same tank is another jellyfish (btw: Kurage=jellyfish in Japanese) who will kill the other fish sooner or later. She tries talking to the shop-person but can’t since 1. its a he 2. he is even a hipster XD. Kuranosuke appears, looking like a stylish girl (similar to that he looks on the picture) and helps her out, she naturally does not realize his sex. So he comes along with her, and decides to stay in her room, and well only the next morning she discovers she spent the night with a guy in her room.
Since male persons are absolutely prohibited to enter the Amamizukan (name of the building) she has to keep it a secret, and against her hoped Kuranosuke simply decides he finds things around there interesting and keeps coming over.
To quickly explain about Kuranosuke, or Kurako as the other Amars later call him: He is the very rich son of a very rich and influential politician. In fact he is the grandson of the prime minister. But he is only the son of an affair who, for what ever reason, stays at the house of his father since he was I guess around 4 years old. His mother was an actress and Kuranosuke already as a child admired her clothing and was always interested in fashion rather the politics. He also has an older brother who is also becoming a politician. Kuranosuke started cross dressing simply because he finds female clothing more interesting then male clothing, not because he felt he was more a woman or something along the lines.
After this introduction the main plot is approaching: Amamizukan (a living district in Tokyo) is supposed to be mostly tared down to built a great luxurious hotel, this includes Amamizukan, but the tenants are all job less and couldn’t afford anything else. Kuranosuke decides to help them and via some side routes they start a brand. Yes all this not well dressed, in fashion not interested people are to start a brand called „Jellyfish“ because it is clothing inspired by Jellyfish, Tsukimi does the design, the others have to somehow get it together which brings them many nights awake with rather unprofessional results
this though became the first dress.
To save their home they do a fashion show with more of these dresses and try to make a less formal line and find out how difficult it is to actually make money with this.
In between a (possible) love story between Kuranosukes brother and Tsukimi is taking place while it is being hinted at, that Kuranosuke himself might actually like Tsukimi in a romantic way (tho ugh he himself doesn’t want to believe this)
As you can see the gender identity of Kuranosuke is rather interesting. He is neither gay nor a „drag queen“ (in Japanese Okama) or crossdresser because he feels rather like a girl then a boy. This is why I will concentrate on that aspect in the upcoming analysis 😉 But also the female Characters, like Tsukimi are not exactly the stereotypical „girl“ but it would be too long to include both in one article. If requested I can do another post on them later, if you want that, please leave a comment.