Everything that rises must converge

“most amps go up to ten. … These go to eleven. ” -Slavoj Zizek

Risa is due back to the hallowed halls of the Genshiken club room! Rejoice!

smut more recruits.web300Rika’s  shotacon younger sister will be popping back in to the Genshiken soon and that means the perv level of the Genshiken girls will kick up at least one notch. And not a second too soon! While Kio Shimoku has always treated the odd enthusiasms of the Genshiken members as Greek tragedies treated murder – much discussed, but carried out offstage, the mayhem remains integral to the story. The tradition of the Genshiken as a safe space for young people caught up in embarrassing fringe desires must be maintained. Time however has overtaken their kinks: the play of old-school otaku and vanilla grade fujoshi seems quaint: no longer abject but merely a commonplace hobby, like bird-watching.

Fortunately Shimoku-sensei stuffed a few cards up his sleeves.

Risa of course was one such ace, but the otokonoko genre references might turn out to be even more valuable.

Recall that in Genshiken time we are simultaneously in 2007 and 2014. In 2007, the “boys in skirts” genre was known, but was yet to become the next big thing in Japanese visual culture. In 2014 the bloom is already off the Bara.

Set the Way-back Sherman…

The first references to the otokonoko/ josou genre in the Genshiken show up when Kuchiki first encounters Hato-chan. Then they are followed by Kousaka’s josou game,  “I could take care of that for him”, and get full star treatment in the Nidaime anime. Three quarters of a year in Genshiken time and more than four years of “real time” have passed since Hato-chan walked into the club-room. The buildup towards the full use of otokonoko/ josou tropes has been slow, with the fujoshi fun and the stands making enough of a racket to make full deployment of “so embarrassed I’m crossdressing”, “forced to crossdress by girls/ scary older women”, “beginning to enjoy the attention” and so on, unnecessary, His crossdressing is discovered almost immediately by the girls, and any discrete skirt flipping/ bulge ogling takes place while he is asleep. The shower scene doesn’t count as part of the genre. Almost all of the cross-drama has taken place as inner dialogues over the odd arrangement that allows him to fan over BL stuff without feeling that his “real” self is threatened.

Voiced instances of the genre tropes carried an ironic, or at least referential tone and are linked to the tastes of the male characters. (Any interest from Ohno can be put down to the cosplay effect)  As in the real-life josou games and narratives previously noted, the genre at first glance appeared to be posited as a counter trend to the stagnating field of loli moe blobs. Perhaps heat-death was setting in; there are only so many ways to sexualized under-age 2D females: once incest, yuri-cest and twin-cest were all thoroughly overdone the thrill is diminished. “My younger sister can’t be so boring“. Time to move on to the younger brother who likes to/ has been wheedled into dressing up like a girl.

There was a point to my previous sloppy post, beyond the low comedy of 4chan trap crossdressing threads: diaspora fans (I am trying to find a different word than “western”, bear with it, please) were all pretty well following Kuchiki, Madarame or Kousaka variant scripts: “That’s gay dude!“, “couldn’t be that cute”, “doesn’t really matter”,  “If it has a skirt, it’s a [2d] girl [eroge chara]” and “OMG I’m beginning to …”

otokonoko argument on 4chn web600

The genre incorporates all these reactions within its narratives as well- hence the added enjoyment of restating them in rude vernacular on an anonymous image board.

>Traps=/y/
>Traps have never been /y/, and /a/ has been gay for traps since before it was /a/.

or per TV tropes:

“Otokonoko features both girl-on-crossdresser and guy-on-crossdresser stories (it’s one of the few places where you will find m/f stories and m/m stories side-by-side in the same magazine). The target audience is men who crossdress (or are interested), and men who have a fetish for crossdressers, and the art styles and tropes are typically those of male-oriented romance / ecchi / hentai material. There is also a significant Periphery Demographic of female readers. (Although guy-on-guy otokonoko is often mistaken for Boys Love Genre, anything targeted to women is not otokonoko.)”

You sure ’bout that?

The crossdress comedy genre indeed seems to be the property of second-tier shonen/ seinen magazines:

No Bra ran for 5 volumes from 2002 in Gekkan Shounen Champion, Brocken Blood has 9 volumes from 2003 on in Shonen Gahosha/ Young King.

Depsair broken scanlate fail c8p13 web600

Tripeace 2008-2013 ran in Square Enix’s Shounen Gangan, who also gave us Fudanshism- Fudanshi Shugi (2008 – 2013, 7 volumes)  Prunus Girl (2009-) and Josei Danshi (2012 on). As a video game company that spins off properties into manga and anime they appear to really like the genre’s potential.

Softbank mobile’s Flex Comix Next carries Suemitsu Dicca’s Oto x Maho since 2008 and most of the other titles it publishes are seinen (remember her(?) name  – we will return to her works in a bit.). Comic Rex runs Himegoto (2013) and 2 spin-offs that have been re-merged into the main story.

There are tons more – I just pulled a sampling from the TV tropes Otokonoko page and aggregator searches as examples.

“Melodramatic” treatments of a crossdressing character, such as  Himegoto – Juukyuusai no Seifuku (2010, Moba Man – Shogakukan) and Bokura no Hentai (2012, Comic Ryu -Tokuma Shoten – seinen) seem to be pitched as more pervy knock-offs of Takako Shimura’s  gentle and bittersweet  Hourou Musuko/ Wandering Son. (2002-2013 Comic Beam – Seinen). They are more than they first appear to be.

Don’t call me daughter…

So far, so seinen. It can be assumed of course that the fujoshi brigades were busy trolling these offerings for fun stuff to ship from the start, as the “as long as she/he is cute” seems a fine way to lead two males into some steamy seme x uke action. But the genre is still supposed to be aimed at curious guys (and I am willing to bet, far more popular in “the west” than in Japan). Things get a bit fuzzy when one starts wondering about where all these odd tales first popped up.

Job confronts_fudanshismch2.11 web600

In 2010, Comic Rex spun off its josou titles into a full-blown otokonoko magazine “Waai – boys in skirts“. Inside the pages were odd bits of crossdressing advice, tons of make-up ads and among other series, Suemitsu Dicca’s Reversible! Other magazines popping up to cash in on the craze included Million Publishing’s Oto Nyan,/ Oto Nyan Omega (2010-2012). All could be considered to be following on the heels of the 2010 Wagahai wa “Otokonoko” dearu! (I am an Otokonoko!): a manga/ book how-to guide for 3D otokonoko enthusiasts written by Nanami Igarashi.

Manga critic and historian Jonathan Clements wrote this about the genre in 2012 (Big block-quote warning!):

” I’m sure you’ll agree, this is something of a subgenre of a subgenre. But ever since spinning off from the boys’ magazine Comic REX in April 2010, WAai has still had enough faith in the size of its readership to punt out 270 pages of  glossy, high-quality printing four times a year – that’s once per season, in order to ensure varying uses of colours and imagery. The cover to this issue by Akira Kasakabe has two attractive ladies in a state of summery deshabillé, sorting out their lippy and watching the midsummer fireworks. Oh, except they are not ladies. They are both blokes, it says here.

If at first you can’t believe your eyes, the strapline at the top makes it as
clear as possible: “Inside this publication are cute kids, but they are not
girls. This is a new magazine for otoko no ko of the new generation.” The
Japanese otoko no ko literally means Man-Girl or Mannish Girl, but is it
intended here to mean “ladyboy”? We are back in the fascinating world of the implied reader – is this a magazine for boys who like dressing up as girls, or is it a magazine for girls who like to look at boys dressed up as girls?

WAai’s niche is still small – it is half the size and double the price of
mainstream magazines, and is not included in the online sales figures of the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association. But this is how all new niches start; the publisher Ichijinsha would be mad to print a million copies and hope that the readership to match it magically arrived out of nowhere.

The Japanese mainstream has treated the otoko no ko “phenomenon” with a degree of suspicion – perhaps wisely, considering the penchant of the media for making up new fads on the spot and hoping the herd will follow. In 2010, the Engan bus company offered spoof free tickets to transvestites as an April Fool’s joke. Later in the year, the same company offered a free ticket promotion for real, but only to female passengers who would dress up as sexy “moe” girls. The transvestites should sue!

The use of the term otoko no ko has been gaining ground in Japanese for the last ten years. But it’s only in the last two years that it has suddenly blossomed into a definable subculture, with its own publications, slang, traditions and inevitable media attention. WAai isn’t even the only magazine for otoko no ko. Already in the last year, the Japanese market has seen the arrival of Change H, Oto(star)ko and Otoko no Ko Club magazines. Meanwhile, Enterbrain has test-marketed the manga anthology Super Otoko no Ko Time, and Square Enix has tried Joso Shonen Anthology (Boys in Girls’ Clothing). Newtype, the trend-setting anime magazine, has already tested an experimental title for the otoko no ko market, with the release in August 2011 of a live- action photography special featuring boys dressed as girls. It sold out on the day of release – but was that a sign of an untapped market, or simply of deliberate under-printing to manufacture headlines?

Its aficionados are keen to point out that these characters are not transsexuals – they are transvestites, dolled up in women’s clothes as an
attempt to show a sensitive side. They are, we are assured, boys who like the idea of softness and silkiness, experiments with lipstick and girlish pursuits – an assertion which places them firmly on a timeline that reaches back for several generations, to the manga revolutions of the 1960s that valorised flower-sniffing sensitive types in reaction to the ludicrously macho heroes of the day. Japanese Wikipedia even has its own page on the phenomenon, which goes to great pains to point out that otoko no ko have absolutely nothing to do with sexuality. Just because a boy wears women’s clothes, he is not homosexual, nor does he “want” to be a woman. The artwork in WAai makes that abundantly clear, with images of characters in bikinis and lingerie, pouting for the camera but displaying telltale flat chests and posing pouches that leave nothing to the imagination.

However, there is a flipside. Is this really a magazine for transvestites? The editorial content delivers one message, but the advertising tells a different story. If we want to be cynical for a moment, let’s not immediately assume that otoko no ko materials reflect a grass-roots demand that Japanese conglomerates are sweetly serving. Let’s instead assume that a bunch of large cosmetics companies have realised that heterosexual men represent a bogglingly large untapped market for sales of make-up. Has some bright spark at Shiseido or Nivea suggested that the marketing team take a step beyond “metrosexual” and try to flog lip-gloss and crimpers directly to absolutely everybody?

WAai’s concept of femininity does appear oddly and over-enthusiastically
consumerist. In other words, its attitude is that women are “made” by buying stuff. Shopping maketh the woman, in WAai’s eyes – it’s a beautician’s idea of beauty, and seems largely materialist and product-orientated.

This is a no-win situation for critics. If we question the motives of the
publishers, we are attacking transvestites’ right to be different. But if we
report on a “phenomenon” that isn’t really a phenomenon at all, but a cynical appropriation of a subculture as an excuse to bootstrap a new fashion fad, then we are mere stooges of the marketing machine. Meanwhile, it is arguably the height of cynicism to latch onto someone’s heartfelt beliefs and lifestyle, merely because you want to shift a job-lot of depilatory cream. If it’s “in” to be a transvestite this season, that’s all very well, but that’s like saying its fashionable to be Asian, or short-sighted, or tall. What happens next year?
[….]
Meanwhile, there is a heavy and frankly boyish concentration on new anime series, with larger-than-normal features dedicated to modern serials such as Astarotte and Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts. Games reviews also take up a substantial proportion of the front matter, including self-explanatory titles such as The Boy Loves Dressing Up as a Maid and Bokukano: Ladyboy Sex Chat.

Regular readers of this magazine may have noted on several occasions that the Japanese comics market is embroiled in a massive argument about the depiction of minors. Its most recent incarnation was in September 2011, when two members of the Japanese parliament presented a petition calling for anime, manga and games to adhere to the same sort of censorship rules as other publications. In other words, there is still a massive fight about the depiction of little girls in print, and it is your correspondent’s suspicion that a large part, if not all of the otoko no ko phenomenon is not about reader demand at all, but merely a new way of circumventing the censor. Just as white panties and blank crotches, tentacles and robots formed new and odd tropes in anime and manga, could it be that bluntly stating that these “girls” are really boys is a sneaky way for certain publishers to hang onto images of flat-chested dollymops, without incurring the wrath of future censors? If so, it’s a very sneaky trick, but let’s not assume it’s a sign of sea-change in attitudes
towards cross-dressing… Unless it is.

Jonathan Clements is the author of Schoolgirl Milky Crisis: Adventures in the Anime and Manga Trade and Anime: A History. This article first appeared in NEO 92, 2012.”
— from http://schoolgirlmilkycrisis.com/2014/02/25/waai-boys-in-skirts/

 A job-lot of lip gloss ain’t the only thing being peddled though. I am going to risk over-emphasizing Suemitsu Dicca’s Reversible! not only because it does what it does in such an odd way, but also because of her other works.

The premise is odd: Misbehaving rich kid males and a few trannish poor guys get packed off to an all male boarding school way up in the mountains where the school rules state that they must cross-dress on alternating weeks. Seems like LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness caused more damage to Japanese culture than previously assumed. This will get them to stop acting like jerks towards women, give them a chance to learn / learn of “feminine-ish” wiles and incidentally practice the responsibilities of their respective social classes while testing the strengths and weaknesses of male friendship.

A Confederacy of Dunces…

Aside from gratuitous cross-dressing tips (I bet a cookie these were lifted from Igarashi-chan’s book) there is a whole lot of way too insightful dialogue on the dangers of seeking approval, much ado about superficial X authentic attraction and plenty of the use of the abstracted feminine as other to construct male subjectivity. The story quickly lurches towards the quasi-shoujo realms of a chaste shonen-ai tale, with occasional panchu shots. Suemitsu Dicca is a big fan of the inviting abstracted “feminine”, otherwise know in fujoshi circles as the inviting/ trickster uke. Noted too is the play of social classes in the story; another big fave of BL tales.

Those wishing to see what else Suemitsu-sensei has written better be ready for hard-core yaoi dojins.  The mangaka is fully rotten. Yikes! Otokonoko tries to seduce newly met male friend, male friend is already quite gay and thinks he is seducing innocent, confused cross dressing youth. Human orifices can’t do that ensues. Note to mangaka: no glove, no love! Being a smut purveyor entails certain responsibilities in this age (what has this blog done to me? A year ago I would have freaked at seeing something like that. now all I can say is yup, looks textbook rotten…).

“Officials have already met with leaders of Japan’s $5.5 billion adult
entertainment industry in an attempt to develop regulations that conform to some small standard of basic human decency. Attending the talks were the heads of several major studios, including WoundSexerCo, Maid Molest Universal, Innocent Schoolgirl Despoil Youngest Daughter Lips Plunder Incest Distribution, and Sunrise-Rape-Rape-Nihon.
In what may signal a chastening within the industry, leading film producer
Golden Dawn Global issued a press release this week voicing its “humility and bewilderment” and offering to cease international distribution of its blockbuster series Pregnant Ladyboy Sodomized Facedown In The Rice Bowl, a 23 -part epic that has reportedly left thousands of viewers feeling repulsed, defiled, and forever doubtful about the inherent goodness of mankind.”
http://www.theonion.com/articles/japan-pledges-to-halt-production-of-weirdo-porn-th,2657/

Earlier efforts at the “do I care if it is a girl?” genre are better at getting the characterization down to believable limits. Any reader may be reasonably forgiven for wanting to wring the neck of the lad in No Bra, because he is such a pathetic horny wimp. Even when he somehow gets enough resolve to track down his barely remembered childhood friend’s true circumstances, it will take a major meltdown for him to man up and tell the truth. Like Mada, it is not a case of ‘can’t process” but that processing has stopped at Good to be King.  Oh well; magic dick syndrome is a classic young guy fail. At least his internal dialogue is far more guy-like. The annoyance develops only as a side effect of us buying the premise!

Full blown rotten narratives have a bad habit of transplanting an articulated emotional complexity onto male characters that would be out-of-place, even in female characters. Hyper-Shojo-ism!

I await a dojin-ish series where the main characters just appear to sit staring at each other while they process ever more elaborate internal monologues about trying to guess their own position and second-guess the other’s. Every 4 pages the characters are allowed to voice a few non-committal words to keep the game going. The same panel art repeats endlessly.

While the ZOMG panchu- with- bulge LoL! versions of the genre are simply loli retreads, the more complex versions can be reasonably classed as attempts to take classic BL/yaoi dojin tricks and turn them into a viable niche market product that can be pushed on X-curious otakus while delighting the hearts of the fujoshi tribes. Add to this that a subgrouping of fujoshis were always too interested in too-young protagonists, and that the flat-chested hairless otokonoko is a way to “18+” their nasty shota tastes with plenty of chances for otokonoko x otokonoko and/ or otokonoko x manly bishie pairings. Very convenient, in fact too convenient…

Houston we have double box-office!

Unfortunately for Japan’s publishing community it looks like the execution of this nefarious marketing scheme (Mwahhh-hahhh!) still needs work. As of 2014 all of the otokonoko magazines have folded. A few collections and tankubons will bring in some cash, but the genre is clearly not yet ready for prime time. (Curses, foiled…) This despite the impression that the boy-in-skirts trick was the new MSG of manga and anime; just sprinkle on any old hackneyed series and it was suddenly all edgy and fresh again. Still a niche of a niche, or of several niches…

Which in an odd way makes it perfect for the Genshiken.

Both the boys and the girls in the club-room can think of the otokonoko genre as their own private Idaho, or indulge themselves in the illusion that the other side has been suckered into thinking it was made for them, when really… All while accommodating/ displacing real-life concerns about legislation, western suspicions and “a certain bear

Welcome to the desert of the real

In the Genshiken, riajuu heterosexual desire is so fraught with danger that allegories taken from extreme narratives of human-ish pairing are the only way to approach it. or:
riajuu heterosexual desire is so boring and unattractive that it must be “charged” /”cathected” with tales of improbable longings in order to make it navigable and worth the effort.

Sin+Copyright fujoshi_rumi c47p66 web600

Or both.
And of course there will be consequences…

Advertisements

Through All Your Houses Wandering

While waiting for Genshiken ch 93, I find a bit of background on Madarame’s latest otaku fixation and consider the proper terminologies.

The small universe of bloggers I check up on have, with one exception been rather silent on the double whammy ret-shading presented in not one but two hot spring/ onsen episodes/ chapters. Basically, Hato is now quite fully man-crushed on Madarame, even if he is not quite sure about larger issues. In ep 13 of the Nidaime anime. Madarame hasn’t been crushed on quite yet, (…forever!) so he is characteristically supportive. Manga Madarame is of course absent with a fractured wrist, but the rest of the crew have no doubts, and Hato is forced to agree that yup, he’s beginning to feel something and needs time to cool his head.

Going home, with the inevitable meet-up with Her (ok, ok, Kaminaga), right around Christmas still leaves me with hope for A Genshiken Carol with three spirits, but I ain’t holding my breath (much); followed by a New Years Eve at the temple mini arc. (Want! The first New Years Eve mini-arc was one of the things that hooked me on Genshiken, Want!)

But meanwhile, found a few neat things:

Genshiken_072_006

We all kind of get the whole trap-character Josou ero-game thing that Madarame re-acquainted himself with due to Kousaka’s new job, but here is an extensive write-up on it at the Girl Cartoons blog: “Josou, a discussion – Part 3: Josou Sanmyaku and the otokonoko’s will to power”  (http://8c.dasaku.net/?p=72 link dead see below) The whole 5 part series of posts is really quite well done, but some outre links at the ends of the posts (I’m guessing) got post 1 scrubbed. Fortunately a mirror survives:

Update: The entire five part essay series on the Girl Cartoons blog site seems to be scrubbed. Fortunately, it was scraped by The Archive and cached versions survive. In view of the obscurity of the subject and the detail of the five essays on the josou/otokonoko genre, as fantasy displacement and extreme “imagined other/ other sexuality”, I append links to the cached versions:

Josou, a discussion – Part 1: Josou, fetishism and gender identity
http://erodatabaseanimal.tumblr.com/post/814768641/
https://web.archive.org/web/20100920200856/http://8c.dasaku.net/?p=13

Josou, a discussion – Part 2: What is the appeal of pontificating on the appeal of traps?
http://8c.dasaku.net/?p=56
https://web.archive.org/web/20111116013721/http://8c.dasaku.net/?p=56

Josou, a discussion – Part 3: Josou Sanmyaku and the otokonoko’s will to power.
https://web.archive.org/web/20111115221930/http://8c.dasaku.net/?p=72

Josou, a discussion – Part 4: Otokonoko as surrogate victim     http://8c.dasaku.net/?p=76
https://web.archive.org/web/20140412113757/http://8c.dasaku.net/?p=76

Josou, a discussion – Part 5: Boku no Pico as progenitor of the otokonoko   http://8c.dasaku.net/?p=96
https://web.archive.org/web/20140412114907/http://8c.dasaku.net/?p=96

Genshiken_081_018

So Madarame might be moving from lolicon to josou-con. Per the essays above is the fantasy is fantasy issues that come up for real-life otokonoko genre fans. Reading all that stuff might … Naw… Expect some Genshiken in-joke references to rorikon wo naosu houhou) or”How to Cure a Lolicon”. Interestingly enough, one of the points of the above essays is that (simplification time) the boy readers come for the cheap thrills and stay for the novelty feels/ gender tourism. I have advanced a similar notion as yuri has “grown up” and I see from the essay that the Girl Cartoons blogger finds echoes of this in Galbraith on Shoujo, though it probably goes back as far as Matt Thorn. The josou/ otokonoko phenom though is still firmly grounded in the ‘ero” sphere, which lead to certain problems:

What started this was a link to a discussion of how Hato’s character comes off to a real life trans person found at: http://animeisdead.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/problems-with-genshiken-nidaime-and-its-handling-of-gender-issues/

Which is the second such appraisal of Genshiken’s Hato from a trans person I have found on the net, the other being a much earlier review of how an early model manga Hato was still sympathetic, in contrast to other obnoxious treatments. The reviewer at anime is dead sums up:

“The big issue with Genshiken Nidaime and its take on gender issues is that it tries to attempt a realistic and positive portrayal of a crossdresser, without really having any apparent knowledge of gender issues or why many even crossdress in the first place.

[…  ]

The first explanation is that Hato essentially only crossdresses so that they can read BL, due to a bad experience with a previous club who reacted poorly when finding out that Hato as a male was into BL. That’s a bit off-putting since it implies that people crossdress due to trauma, which certainly isn’t true in most cases. Then later it’s implied that Hato may do it because they’re gay, which is bad since sexuality doesn’t really have anything to do with crossdressing. And then the third and probably most sensible (i.e. least problematic since it’s technically a valid reason,)  Madarame rationalizes Hato’s crossdressing as just another otaku hobby and obsession. The way Nidaime tries to explain Hato’s crossdressing isn’t the most ideal, though to its credit it at least tries to do so in a way that doesn’t outright dismiss Hato’s identity.”

An earlier blogger’s view from a trans perspective:

“In the second installment of the manga, Genshiken Nidaime, we meet Hato-san, a girl who is later discovered to “really be” a boy.  As the series is ongoing, it is still unclear what Hato’s “true” gender identity is (transsexual, transvestite, other, ) but this is a plus, because in truth, Hato hirself isn’t sure what hir true identity is.  Hato is learning and exploring hir gender otherness as we watch, and the struggle is particularly interesting because hir sexual identity is mixed in with hir social identity of “fujoshi/fudanshi” (a “rotten” person, referring to someone engrossed in slash literature,) and hir sexuality (gay, straight, or other?) Hato is so many “others,” it’s distressing.  So far, Hato’s story has been treated with interesting realism and tact, though there are characters, as always, that repeatedly try to “convince him” to just live as his assigned birth sex.”
– http://fandommatters.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/transsexual-identities-in-manga/

Well, I should know better than to lurk-post after 10:00pm, but I commented, and probably went on too long – and whatever Hato’s character construction points I advanced, the parts that are irksome or worse for those who have skin in the game involve the presentation and sympathetic treatment of the character. Fair Dinkum mate!

But what gave me even more pause was a link found to another blog considering such matters in further depth. Like the Fandom Matters post above, which got into condemning some of the more obnoxious treatments and depictions of trans characters in Japanese visual culture, the post at A Certain Blogging Tobiichi makes a strong and poignant case on how the casual terminology used as genre shorthand can really hurt and offend. “Dehumanization: The Term ‘Trap” at http://tobiichi.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/a-trap-by-any-other-name/ gives some background on the term, misty origins and how nasty it can be.

Primum non nocere 

No one wants to be bully, even an an accidental one, so I can see that I probably should stop casually throwing the term “trap” around my posts. Even if it refers only to characters in manga and anime, only a few I’ve seen actually try any “trapping”, and most cut to a quick reveal and do the otaku-flavoured otokonoko/ josou thing of claiming to be a completely separate, possibly ideal female-ish creation. (which doesn’t make them less obnoxious, but situates them in a male otaku practice) Hence Kuchiki’s desperation to blurt out the “can’t be a girl” line that gets him swatted. So the term is imprecise to the genre trope as well as being hurtful.

Handling the Obnoxious Stereotypical Trap Character (the OSTF?) is the easiest part of a language retooling effort. We can reserve “trap” with caveats for a nasty portrayal of a crossdressed young male character out to “trap”. But what then does one call Hato?

Crossdresser works,, but leaves too much out to “type” the character.

trans (as a noun) is a bit clunky and perhaps should be reserved for characters where issues of personal, felt gender being different from birth ( cis-) gender are being highlighted. The Girl Cartoons essays go through the permutations quite clinically and with a certain thoroughness.

Otokonoko sounds useful, until one realizes that it is an otaku portmanteau/ pun, like fujoshi and comes with a loaded history:

cue the TV tropes block quote:

“Otokonoko is a Japanese genre of romantic and/or erotic stories for men, focusing on Attractive Bent-Gender male Crossdressers. The name is a pun. The word “otokonoko” normally means “boy” (literally “male child”), but swapping the “ko” meaning “child” for a different “ko” meaning “girl” gives a compound that Japanese sites like to translate as “male maiden”. It is sometimes called ‘”josou” (“women’s clothes”), a more generic term for male crossdressers.
Otokonoko features both girl-on-crossdresser and guy-on-crossdresser stories (it’s one of the few places where you will find m/f stories and m/m stories side-by-side in the same magazine). The target audience is men who crossdress (or are interested), and men who have a fetish for crossdressers, and the art styles and tropes are typically those of male-oriented romance / ecchi / hentai material. There is also a significant Periphery Demographic of female readers. (Although guy-on-guy otokonoko is often mistaken for Boys Love Genre, anything targeted to women is not otokonoko.)
Although cute crossdressers in romantic situations have been an occasional theme in shonen and seinen since the ’80s, otokonoko did not start as an identified genre until about 2004. Most works created before this are not usually considered part of the genre, although some have been grandfathered in.
An otokonoko character must be anatomically male (no Hermaphrodites or Gender Benders) but look convincingly like an attractive girl. Most identify as male, but even when the character identifies as female, few works try to deal with actual Transgender issues in anything like a realistic way. Since otokonoko is mainly an otaku thing, otokonoko are quite likely to wear Sailor Fuku, Meido, Miko, Cat Girl or Naughty Nurse Outfits as well as “ordinary” female clothes. Some non-fiction magazines exist to provide advice and help with crossdressing for men who identify as otokonoko in Real Life and who crossdress to achieve the look (or want to). Most otokonoko is technically seinen, although some is shounen. Works aimed at a female audience are never this, so don’t list shoujo, josei or boys’ love. ”
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OtokonokoGenre

The Girl Cartoons view is more to the point:

“Otokonoko quote above: The term is a pun on the word 男の子 (otoko no ko), meaning “male child”, with the character representing “child” exchanged for the homophonous character for “daughter/young girl”. It is for the most part connotationally and denotationally parallel to the English fandom term “trap”, minus the immediate implication of deception—of “being trapped”—in the English term. A history of the term’s usage via Google Trends dates its coinage to around the year 2009.

[… later discussing a rather nasty ero work..]

…When the protagonist’s biological sex is revealed, he is verbally abused by the two men, being called a “tranny” (okamayarou) and a pervert for becoming aroused given the situation. When he uses the word “otokonoko”, which is of course an otaku-coined neologism, he is mocked and ignored. The protagonist represents not just broadly the victimization of the non-masculine by a masculine society, but the victimization of the male Josou fan himself by a heteronormative and anti-queer society.”
Josou, a discussion – Part 4: Otokonoko as surrogate victimhttp://8c.dasaku.net/?p=76 (link died, see above)

So the term is not only an otaku-ism but carries baggage with it. The game Madarame plays is a otokonoko game full of josou characters, but Hato is not an otokonoko or josou character because of his professed limited reasons for crossdressing.

Similarly, Josou as term for a young m to f crossdresser shares the above baggage.

From Kabuki one can lift the terms onnagata (“female-role”) or oyama. These might be useable, but I assume they also already carry too much historical baggage. Works fine for the lad in Kunisaki Izumo no Jijō, but less well for Tripeace, Usotsuki Lily and Hato, all of which I previously characterized as “trap-lite” or one who crossdresses convincingly for reasons that have little or nothing to do with personal gender or sexuality issues.

Of course this kind of plot fig-leaf is probably -or soon will be-  as annoying to real world trans folk as the fujoshi habit of deploying the “I don’t like guys, I only like you” line is to some members of the gay community, but for now it is a stock character trope. As previously mentioned, it usually comes with some small “super power” or at least some heightened personal awareness.

From Takarazuka Revue we get musumeyaku (娘役, literally “daughter’s role”) as opposed to otokoyaku (男役 , literally “male role”). Apparently the fans have also come up with the term onnayaku (女役): literally, “Woman Role-Player”; an unofficial term used by fans to refer to the musumeyaku, as the word musume means “daughter” while the word onna means “woman”, and therefore implies a greater level of equality with the male -gendered actresses who are called otokoyaku (otoko means “man”) Some fans have begun using the word onnayaku to refer to the older female-gendered actresses who are more experienced and well-known than the younger girls.– liberally lifted from the wiki entry. 

Not quite Hato yet, give him 5 years…

Wait, got it.. otomeyaku. That should parse out as acting (or presenting) in a maiden’s role.  That’s a good Hato-fit; although fujoshi-yaku could be coined just for him, and him alone. A cursory google-search doesn’t get any hits on these as trope terms. A fresh neologism! Yum!

(Later: not so fast buddy boy: already used by western Takarazuka fans, pops up in yuricon forum entries among others.. Yup Erica-sensei’s gang got there first, again! -Awwww-)

Next time: Ch 93! After the Festival – No fantasy for you, Mada and Rika butts in!  Hooray! The raws iz out…

Can't get no...

Can’t get no…

 

Much Later: While searching for Hato Kenjiro’s Genshiken-verse pen name (Takeya Mikako grrr.. always forget it) I stumbled upon a site; an exhaustive compilation/ bibliography of extant Transgender characters/  motifs in manga, comics, books and , well… everything… Jana’s TG Lists; transgender in media. Since 31 January 2004. Current to December 2015 , at least.
See: http://tmapps.net/index.html  Old/ backup site: http://tmap.uphero.com/index.html

So, there are folks who care deeply about these matters and are there for those who need them. The project looks very powerful.