A character from the Naruto anime universe has officially stated that he’s gender-fluid.
In terms of LGBTQ representation in Japanese manga and anime… there’s isn’t a lot. While there will always be the boys’ love and girls’ love genres, those gay and lesbian romance stories are typically written for the opposite sex’s fetishism of gay romance.
In addition, gay men are often depicted as comical characters, perverts, or villainous.
One such character who fits the bill is Orochimaru from the popular Naruto series that ran from 2007 to 2017 (1999 to 2914 if you want to go by the manga/comic).
Since debutting in 2000, that character has been presented as a villain, gay, sometimes a woman, a mad scientist, and an implied pervert.
That said, the character was given a redemption arc later on the series and made into an anti-hero or a passive aid to the main characters.
Then, the popular Naruto franchise came to a close in 2017. But, as with many franchises making millions of dollars, the story didn’t end there. The powers-that-be began brainstorming the idea of a sequel series about the children and next generation of the story.
While Orochimaru’s role grew smaller, he still held significance as the parent of one of the sequel’s main characters. This then, naturally, brought forth a new question. How did Orochimaru have a kid?
This is a question displayed front and center in the sequel anime titled Boruto (after Naruto’s son). In a recent episode, main character Mitsuki asked Orochimaru, “Are you my father or mother?”
Orochimaru, ever the realist, answered simply, “That’s a silly question.”
“There have been times when I was a man and times a woman,” he answered further. “Outside appearances don’t matter. The will to uncover all truth, that is the core of my being.”
That’s right, Orochimaru has now confirmed that he considers their gender to be fluid.
Again, Japanese anime has a dodgy past when it comes to representing LGBTQ characters, and Orochimaru is no different. That said, it’s good to see a positive and almost simplistic change come to the character and genre.
Is this a turning point for LGBTQ characters in anime? Who knows, but this is at least something that we gay geeks can celebrate.
3 thoughts on “Popular Anime Villain-Turned-Good Orochimaru Confirmed He’s Gender Fluid”
There is no such thing as
There is no such thing as gender fluidity. Gender is your chromosomes, you are either male or female. Gender roles and stereotypes don't define gender. People who identify as genderfluid and nonbinary interpret gender roles and stereotypes as the definition of gender.
Anime is not precisely progressive. This is a villain and anime usually attributes gender noncomformity and homosexuality to villains. The Japanese always conflate homosexuality with transvestism too.
You've gotten the term "gender" confused with the term "sex." Most health, social, and science experts agree that sex relates to the biological. The chromosomes and physical aspects.
Meanwhile, gender is more social and psychologically based. As such, socially built and upheld concepts like the whole "girls=pink/boys=blue" idea are "gender" roles/stereotypes.
As for anime not being progressive, I agree. In fact, I state that in my article. That said, a character who was previously presented in all the ways that we both described has been made into respectable representation who's no longer a villain. That's something to celebrate.
We have a disagreement here. Gender is your chromosomes (male or female); sex is the product of your gender (chromosomes), that is, primary and secondary sex characteristics. People who identify as genderfluid and nonbinary will say they don't feel like a man or a woman, that they don't identify as either. However, being a man or a woman is not a feeling, gender is not a feeling; gender is simply a biological fact. What they actually don't identify with or reject is the social construct around male and female which they misinterpret as the very quality of being a man or a woman..