So it turns out that even though I love action-packed anime, nothing sucks me in like a potential romance. I watched two seasons of Kimi ni Todoke in a week, but it took me months to finish Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. I have a deep-seated love for shows that layer on the unresolved romantic tension.
Princess Jellyfish (also known by its Japanese name Kuragehime) is an interesting show that depends on a lot of tropes but also breaks out of them as well. Tsukimi, the main character, is one of a group of five girls who live in an all-female apartment building. Tsukimi and her buildingmates are all poorly-adjusted, socially awkward otaku obsessed with one thing or another, whether it’s trains, older gentlemen, Chinese historical drama, traditional Japanese clothing, or, in Tsukimi’s case, jellyfish. Continue reading →
So one thing that I’ve noticed is that cross-dressing tends to be both handled and looked at differently for the different genders. No one really thinks too much of a girl putting on pants, though I can think of a few movies or comics where the issue was brought up, but a guy putting on women’s clothes? That’s a whole different story. In fact, if movies, games, books, everything ever, is to be believed, men dressing up as women is funny.
One person, windupviolin, theorizes that this may also be because women are seen as less important than men, from society’s point of view. And because women are less important, our clothing choices are less important. But society has placed so much on the male role that it tends to stick out to us more. If you click the link at the start of this paragraph, you’ll find a bunch of pictures of men and women sharing each other’s clothes. Notice that your eye will more than likely be drawn to the man.
Whatever the case may be, however, it is still common for people to portray male characters dressing up in women’s clothes as humorous.
You’ve seen the movies, you’ve read the books; cross-dressing is a common theme in fiction. It’s in mythology, history, folklore, literature, operas, plays, movies, television, and even music. Most importantly though, it has caught the attention of the alternative and dare I say? nerdy aspects in the pop-culture experience that we call life.
There are a few different kinds of plot points based on cross dressing. A very popular one, especially by those such as Shakespeare is one I like to call: Girls in Caps and Trousers. Women dressing as men have been both a cultural and historical phenomena. Some are trying to find their lost loves, some to fight in a war, and some just want the same privileges and opportunities their brothers get. Since there are many of examples of this particular trope (Japanese anime has hundreds of them) I will stick to only a couple.