Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Anime Thoughts: Cross-Dressing Special

In between other things, I've been able to watch a few episodes of anime here and there. This edition of anime thoughts focuses on two animes I've begun watching that both deal with cross-dressing in som way.

First up is Princess Princess. This show is about a guy who transfers into an elite, all-boys private school. Upon his arrival, he knows something is off about this school when the guys all lovingly look at him. He soon finds out that his school has an unusual practice. To keep the guys from going nuts (after all, there are NO girls in the school), the most beautiful and feminine-looking first years are chosen to become “princesses.” They get made up and dressed up as women to add the “female” support this all-boys school is lacking. This premise is quite ridiculous but the show is kind of fun to watch. I liked the one character who was pretty much “forced” to be a princess. He actually has a girlfriend and in the two eps I watched, seemed to really dislike the whole idea of being a princess. Considering that anime haters and even some anime fans say that male characters in anime often look too much like women, it's interesting to have a show where the male characters have an actual reason to look like girls. I don't know if this show is just an excuse for girls to see guys dressed like girls or if it's poking fun at the way anime and manga look at gender. Somehow, I bet it's probably the latter.

Now, Ouran High School Host Club is an example of that great shoujo convention...the girl who dresses up like a guy. In this show, the girl doesn't even have a reason to dress like a guy...she just doesn't give two craps about her appearance. At the ultra-exclusive Ouran High School (do all anime take place in private high schools these days?), main character Haruhi stumbles upon the school's Host Club while looking for a quiet place to study. The Host Club is basically a club of guys who use their good looks and personality to play the rich girls at the school. The club includes every single bishounen archetype: the flirty one, the twins, the quiet and stoic one, the old one who looks really young, and of course, the all-powerful and somewhat calculating one. Haruhi ends up in debt to the club and seeing as she has no money, she ends up serving (and eventually joining) the club. This show is really funny and has some nice (and very bright) animation. The people behind this show also animated Full Metal Alchemist and it shows. I liked this show a bit better than Princess Princess.

So, this concludes another edition of Anime Thoughts. Next time, my thoughts on Powerpuff Girls Z and a couple more animes.

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