Granted, this would probably work much better if this post came out while Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu was still on, but I think it still works regardless. 😛
I don’t necessarily think it’s a secret, but I’m not sure if I’ve expressed my interest in “traps”, or wholesome convincing male crossdressers (yeah. :/), here a lot. You know, how they change “rules and expectations” of what gender is supposed to be. How they help provide examples of the fluidity of attraction and the rationalizations that some people bring up when they want to stay within what’s considered normal. The confusion that they can inflict in others (see: Prunus Girl) as well as sometimes in themselves (see: Hourou Musuko, and if only Minami-ke was a more serious work. Yes, I went there because the possibilities of Mako-chan seem endless. On that note, I’m very tempted to try to get Idolmaster Dearly Stars because of Ryou Akizuki’s situation and how he deals with it). And so on.
One thing that tends to stick in my mind regarding these characters are the comfort levels that they are shown to have regarding their respective situations and status. Disregarding, you know, reality, and all of that, the main struggles if you can call them that seem to be internal rather than external in terms of the acceptance of a trap (some exceptions to this rule are really awesome, like Hourou Musuko). And by that, I mean how comfortable they are with themselves rather than how others see them (how often do we see someone really not take a convincing crossdresser in stride in purposes that aren’t comedic, for example?). We have plenty of examples about males who are embarrassed about their situation of being put up0n for a variety of reasons (like Combutler Hayate or Ryou), and we have many examples of males who are comfortable with their identity as gender obsfucators, and use it to their advantage (like Aikawa from Prunus Girl or Jun from Happiness!!). But I haven’t seen a lot of traps take things in stride like Hideyoshi Kinoshita does, and it leads to a different kind of comfort to me, and another interesting look at how to look at these characters as a whole.
BakaTest had the nice running gags (in my opinion) of Hideyoshi having his own gender classification specific to him and the fact that he was basically the main fanservice (in the cheesecake sense and in most other senses of the word) character of the show. The combination of his “one of the guys” persona, archaic speech that enhances his supposed manliness, feminine looks and propensity to look really good in a skirt (among other things) can hit a ton of buttons for many viewers, as well as many of the actual shows’ cast. The fact that he’s a main focus in the ED that focuses on the males of the show and the ED that focuses on the females of the show with each gender’s respective school uniforms to the point that both seem to fit him really well is a nice nod to this. One could say that he”s the best of both worlds gender-wise to the point where other characters couldn’t necessarily make heads of tails of him.
The thing about Hideyoshi is that he doesn’t make this a focus of his character, which is used in another running gag the series has. Compared to some who bemoan their crossdressing fate and some who embrace and flaunt it, he usually doesn’t notice that he’s doing so until it’s pointed out to him. Then he wonders where the confusion comes from as he’s obviously a guy, and then he just moves on continues on whatever it is he has to do, while still wearing the female attire and giving the fans what they want in the process. Besides his initial confusion at the situation (since he usually requests clothes to wear and expects male clothing usually), his indifference to the situation at hand is notable, and speaks to the fact that he’s at least comfortable in his own skin as a man that crossdressing, no matter the intention, doesn’t phase him.
One thing about his acceptance of his circumstances is that it reduces Hideyoshi to a blank slate fit to whatever situation people can require of him, making him an object for people to drool over instead of a person. I mean, if he’s down with wearing girls clothes despite that not being his intention at all, surely he’s cool with go- being down with another guy, right? (though he’d probably say “That’s wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin.” :P) People can easily push him into someone who is embarrassed about his situation or someone who works it if it is something that they want (doujinshi, fanfiction, artwork and the like). And as a member of the drama club, when he’s given a role, either by the club or in whatever plan Class F needs his services in, he plays it to the best of his ability as an actor, be it a nurse, a ring girl, or his sister, which adds to that blank slate ability. He becomes just a pretty face to fulfill anyone’s needs, which is probably a nice example of the ultimate type of pander to the audience.
And yet, Kinoshita Hideyoshi is a master of his own identity despite the thoughts and wishes of everyone else. He at least knows he’s a guy even if no-one else does, that he’s not interested in any male affectations, and we know that he’s capable of doing his own thing and forsaking his identity (or at least his hairclip) if he needs to. And it’s not something that he brags to the world or uses to specifically bring attention to himself as an attention whore either. Of course, I’m probably projecting my own thoughts onto his character myself, but I think that he’s pretty GAR for that, and I wish that there were more traps like him. Would that sort of characterization ever become something commonplace though? Probably not, since it’s not as sensational or probably as lust-inducing as it could be for a crossdressing character. But I think it helps normalize things (“Hey look! He’s a trap!” “So?”) just a little bit more for someone who’s unusual enough that everyone takes notice of other aspects of the character.
Though, taking him out of context (or do I mean placing him in context? pyohoho~) is fine too. :3