Could This Be the Coolest Gay Man in an Anime For Straight Guys?

His name is Oboro, and he is gay.

Gay guys have it rough in anime, just as they do in every other entertainment medium. Sure, gay girls have it rough as well, but at least they generally are portrayed as sexually attractive, get to do lots of cool things, and are occasionally sane. Gay men have not been so lucky; Just look at poor Leeron in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

This was seriously the only image I found of him alone.

Leeron is portrayed as creepy, poorly dressed (seriously WTF), gratuitously man-hungry, and, in a show where virtually every character is given a chance to do something ridiculously badass (especially in the movies), Leeron is the only one who never gets to shine on the battlefront. What a gyp for a guy who was around since episode two! Sadly, this is pretty par for the course in anime, especially in anime for guys. Creators seem to think that for you to know a character is gay they need to have the tendencies of a rapist and an undying thirst for man-flesh.

Oboro, however, is different. In Utawarerumono, an anime based off of an adult visual novel, Oboro is the hotheaded young swordsman who is driven by the desire to help his sickly sister and to constantly improve his swordcraft. He is the first of many vassals to the main character, whom he refers to as ‘brother’ out of great respect. In a shounen anime, Oboro probably would have been the protagonist, and the main character in Utawarerumono sees him as a sort of protege to whom he will pass on his knowledge in the hopes of growing him into a fine young man.

There are a couple of scenes wherein Oboro shows a bit of fear towards female sexuality, which had led me to simply peg him as a ‘virgin’, however, it actually turns out that he isn’t a virgin at all. And that he is, in fact, gay. The show even gives you proof (this is sort of a spoiler, but not really.)

!!!

What you see above would probably be considered a pretty pimp moment of banging some hot twins, were it not for the fact that those twins are boys.

It is actually possible to see the above and never realize that Oboro is gay, because you may be Trapped in Canon. In the anime, it is never explicitly stated that Oboro’s twin vassals Dori and Gura are male. It is, however, explicitly stated in the game. That said, the anime gives the viewer no reason to believe that the twins are female except in the way of looks. No one ever refers to them as female in the series, and the two speak in purely masculine phrases and address themselves using male pronouns. They are voiced by a woman (Akeno Watanabe, no stranger to playing masculine women) who performs them in a boyish way, to suggest that they are merely pubescent, not female.

Given Oboro’s outright rejection of feminine wiles and the way that he cherishes his sister, it isn’t that surprising to find he isn’t interested in women, and when you consider the way that Dori and Gura are constantly attached to him, it’s also no surprise that he’d be sexually intimate with them. It all feels natural when you consider those factors – the only reasons you wouldn’t expect him to be gay are that you might not know about the trap twins, and that it is so abnormal for a gay male character in an anime for guys to be such a badass and not some kind of serial rapist.

I for one find it very refreshing to see a character whose gayness does not define them, but who just happens to be gay (escaping from that homo ghetto that follows around most of the gay characters in pop media.) It’s nice to think that the creator of this series might have been writing Oboro’s character and thought “hmmm… I think he should also be gay” instead of thinking “I want to write a gay character!”

(As an aside, I created a yaoi category just for this post. I’m surprised I made it 3 years without needing it.)

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18 thoughts on “Could This Be the Coolest Gay Man in an Anime For Straight Guys?

  1. I think I may have to watch it now. It might be interesting to see something out of the ordinary like this.

    • Utawarerumono is a great show. I just finished it myself, and even though it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to fantasy action series or anything, it is excellently written and paced with awesome characters and one of the coolest male leads I can think of. I’ve got a full review forthcoming. But anyway I highly recommend it.

    • He is fully aware that they are boys, though. And he made it quite clear that this wans’t the first time that this happened. He knew the consequences of letting himself get drunk around them, and he did it anyway, and he made no complaints about the deed (only about the hangover.)

      Besides, as I pointed out in the post, it’s not hard to believe that he is gay at all.

  2. It’s tricky, because one could accuse Oboro of being a pederast instead. But what’s the difference between “liking them young” and that?

    Leeron is pretty terrible… But that picture is great! Very “Xanadu.”

    • I had never heard of this ‘pederast’ thing, but now that I’ve read a bit of the wikipedia article, I could totally see this being something that the writer had stumbled upon in researching something and wanted to incorporate into a story. Very interesting!

      EDIT: I feel even more strongly that this may be true seeing that it was evidently quite prominent in old Japanese society. Very, very interesting…

      • The Leeron picture is actually a picture of how he’d be in the alternative universe of Double K. I don’t think it’s a knock on his character at all, but captures the 80s feel of the AU as well. :P

  3. There was that one big dude in Ga-rei Zero who was presumably gay. I dunno if he was just playing along with the girls’ joke, but I don’t think so.

    He kicked ass though. I think he was the one with the giant drill arm. Also **SPOILERS** one of the few survivors, and he gets a badass eyepatch in the end. **END SPOILERS**

    And I didn’t think Leeron was portrayed terribly… exaggerated camp gay, yeah, but he was the one who came up with the idea to run the Dai-Gurren UP A MOUNTAIN and then SPIN KICK a flying fortress. Not quite like being in a Ganmen right at the front lines but still pretty badass, I thought.

    • It’s funny to say this, though, because the scene I detailed above is literally the only ‘gay scene’ in the show. But I guess it could also make you have a lot more fun with Oboro as a character if you think of him as being gay the whole time (the scene is in episode 17 i think, so without this knowledge you’d never have known for the greater part of the show).

  4. As far i know, Oboro is not gay, just very stupid.

    In the adult visual novel of Utawarerumono, Oboro didn’t know what happened between him and the twins during the time he was drunk.

    He just drink with them until get unconscious (note in the anime it’s THE TWINS who keep making him drink). When he is unconscious, they do what they want with his body (just like they planned!). When he wake up, they already gone, and Oboro “feels his body funny” (quoted from the game).

    It seems Oboro just think he got a good night with his best friends, drinking like a true man. He don’t know what they did with him.

    On the other hand, maybe he IS GAY, not liking someone so sexy like Karura… (^^)

    • Hm. It’s difficult, because we have to cross over the two canons, and it’s hard to decide how much of it we want to attribute to the characters. I’m really liking 2DT’s idea that Oboro is a pedarest because it makes sense with the family situation of him and the twins (a contract entered by their parents for them to be his servants) I think it can be somewhat left open for interpretation, but this is certainly the path I want to think is right.

      • now this is where we differ- I don’t give a shit about whether or not someone is gay in the context of an anime unless they chuck distracting sex scenes and shit at you all the time always

        i guess it’s because I’m old enough to still think of it as “siskel and ebert” and grew up on a diet of looney tunes and school suspensions that grew into expulsions and juvie time then jail time, yet manage to mostly get As in school as long as I don’t get lazy

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