Fun With Quasi-Gayness in Level E

I finished Level E tonight and found two elements of the show that I really appreciated: the first is that it’s a fantasy/comedy series with a cast of characters whom are all entirely believable and superbly written (especially the Color Ranger kids); and the second is the quasi-gayness of the Prince.

Level E is a shounen series with a good deal of masculinity to it, yet it can’t help but feel quite gay. It’s a rare case wherein there are a lot of attractive male characters, most of whom aren’t effeminate, but rather are manly-looking and handsome guys—probably ones that gay guys would actually be into rather than girls who like gay gays.

Baka Ouji is the most effeminate guy in the show with his long hair and light voice, although he’s still tall, well-built, and has broad shoulders. He also has one hell of a fashion sense, often dressing in outfits that can’t be described as anything but “gay,” in an entirely good way. He shows up in stuff like low-cut pink tanktops and skin-tight leather pants and, of course, always looks good in them. He also isn’t afraid to cross-dress and get himself into gay situations.

What I love about this all is that the prince isn’t gay, nor is Level E a gay show (the only homosexual character to appear is actually female for that matter). For all the pretty boys, there are also plenty of beautiful women. The series goes for having both handsome men and beautiful women, instead of focusing on one or the other.

The way I see it, Level E is a show that’s very comfortable with its sexuality. The show doesn’t have to make excuses for the prince—he’s portrayed as effeminate, but that doesn’t mean he’s gay. The series is willing to let him be that way.

I think it’s fascinating how the prince is almost painted as an “action heroine.” In particular, the opening video and song (which is called “Coldfinger Girl”) resemble a pulp film centered on some sort of femme fatale, when it’s actually about the prince. He’s painted in that sort of style throughout the series, and I love that the creators felt they could represent him that way without having to make him gay or female.

9 thoughts on “Fun With Quasi-Gayness in Level E

  1. i don’t think the creator was looking to make the prince look quasi-gay. I got androgyny more than effeminism from the prince, because his manner of dress is clearly male. His face and hair look more female, and his body is almost a mix of the two human genders.

    He’s an alien that chose a quasi-male form for his human-like body. Nowhere in the show does it say what way his race bats, so to speak. Wrapping it into the choice of “skin” is really just looking at the surface. What I found humorous was, as you said, the choice of outfits and actions. My guess is that the prince’s research into humans caused the prince to choose the outer traits and outfits without abandon because of the prince’s observations of human culture.

    Either that, or he really wanted to look like a gay man. I’ve thought too much about this. Show was good and I liked it.

    • I think you’ve overthought this, considering that we know his race has male and females and that he’s straight. He *does* marry a woman at the end of the show. And I totally think he was trying to look gay on purpose because Prince is just like that.

      • I guess so, but his race’s concept of male and female may be different than our traditional concept. It’s like when the Macbac came down and had to be told to tone down the insect look a bit.

        Regardless, looking gay on purpose probably came from something he observed about earthlings. Craft decided to look like a bad-ass agent, so Prince was probably watching soap operas or something else like that and decided on his look.

  2. interesting take on the whole gayness of this show. You’re absolutely right, despite wearing gay looking cloth, I never once thought that he’s gay or trying to be feminine. Same can be said for Kuranosuke despite him crossdressing most of the time.

  3. I think “gayness” is not exactly the correct word in this case… it doesn’t quite capture what the Prince is about. E Minor over at Moe Sucks! makes the comparison between the Prince and the classical archetype of the “Jungian Trickster”. Think of the Prince as something like the Native American Coyote, or the Norse Loki – they’re not just petty pranksters, but rather their pranking is rooted in a sort of rebellious challenge to the status quo, to traditional authority. http://moesucks.com/2011/03/02/level-e-turning-tricks/

  4. To tack on a segment I forgot in my original comment – I do agree overall with your end assessement, Level E is confident in its sexuality: the crossdressing antics of the Prince means more that he’s willing to flaunt the norms of propriety, to snub his nose at what’s “proper” for him to wear (and he’s gonna look convincing while doing it too!).

  5. Pingback: Even More Awesome EDs, ~2011 Edition | My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull

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