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.
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.)