In my long and extensive anime-watching history, I’ve come across a few pretty attractive people in my life. Such as these.
But haha, I’m sure you’d have guessed by now that I was lying a little at the beginning. I didn’t encounter these attractive people in my anime adventures; I searched them on TVTropes under the category of “viewer gender confusion”. It’s all in the April Fools spirit, and the anime industry loves to fool us everyday of the year.
I guess my true experience of a trap is Ruka of Steins;Gate, because for the first time the anime really consistently plays into his gender ambiguity. In other anime, the trap character will simply be remarked on on the first encounter and then ignored from then on. But no, Ruka’s gender is a vital plot point! Did I mention how much I love Steins;Gate?
But yes, I met another big trap in Cuticle Detective Inaba, where the person who looks and speaks in every way a girl turns out to be a master cross-dresser, and even to the end of the first episode I refused to accept that that could in any way be a guy. But Cuticle Detective Inaba is a weird anime, and everything in there is for gags.
But I guess what interests me is that in Japan, even real-life guys look like traps. There are many feminine-looking guys, especially in the acting business, and even guys that aren’t traps are 80% bishounen, or “pretty boys”. It seems my friend may have a point there when he said girls love guys who look like girls. Or maybe the girls who love anime and Japanese males love guys who look like girls.
I suppose this is related to the whole cross-dressing trend/sub-culture that Japan is facing. More guys in Japan are dressing up as ladies and walking the streets at night in skirts and wigs. It’s not really cosplaying, because cosplaying is dressing up as a character specifically, but cross-dressing is really expressing yourself, and maybe even your true gender, in a set of clothes that wouldn’t have been normal for you. But yeah, visual kei toys with this boundary too, with their heavy makeup and androgynous clothing (think Unite and LM. C)
But I must say when it comes to androgyny, the Koreans are catching up. When I look at Korean boy groups nowadays, their plastic surgery can be so extensive that they look literally androgynous. They’ve got heavy makeup, skintight trousers and feminine features, and they’re not trying to make a statement like visual kei. Even when it comes to the Western world, people like Justin Bieber and One Direction are increasingly favoured for youthful features and a feminine voice. The world as a whole seems to be progressing towards a liking for feminine males. Maybe that’s why Asians are getting more famous, because Asian guys do look more feminine than Caucasian guys, don’t they?
But back to the topic of traps, which are on the same level as cross-dressers in that their gender is virtually indistinguishable. The pictures I used above aren’t really at trap level yet (though Haku does come close) as compared to Ruka and that guy in Inaba. But guys do love them, don’t they?