September 23rd is Bisexual Visibility Day, a day that exists because bisexuality is often considered to be invalid. Just in case you’ve been living in a world where bisexuals are so stealth, you’ve never met an out one–hey ho! We’re real, and sometimes we even see ourselves represented on screen. Also, because bisexuals are greedy (that’s a joke) many are celebrating the whole month of September. In fact, I’m pretty sure September itself is bisexual! Henceforth it shall be known as Bitember.
As someone who once suffered from not seeing myself represented in media, I actively seek out characters who validate my identity. When I was an anime nerd in high school I didn’t realize that anime would be a medium where I found satisfying representation, but there are quite a few queer anime characters who offer exactly that. To celebrate Bisexual Visibility Month, I present my four favorite bisexual anime, in no particular order. Fight me, if you wanna.
Michiko & Hatchin
Michiko & Hatchin is a fast-paced, high stakes anime full of gunfights, police chases and gang battles. After making an impossible escape from a supposedly impenetrable prison, Michiko Malandro tracks down Hana Morenos, a young girl living with an abusive foster family. Michiko is still in love with Hana’s biological father, Hiroshi Morenos, and takes her away from her horrible foster family so that the pair can track Hiroshi down.
Before we get to the bisexuals, I want to note that Michiko & Hatchin is gorgeously and intricately designed. It’s a master class on revealing characters’ personalities through fashion, a visual feast of lushly colored favelas, jungles, deserts and depressing seaside villages, and Hana and Michiko’s character development over just 22 episodes is so heartbreaking and engrossing, it’s a hard series not to binge. It’s also the series on this list that is most coy with its characters’ bisexuality.
There are some queer minor characters in the series, but I am particularly interested in Atsuko and Hana. Atsuko Jackson is a cop and Michiko’s childhood friend; she’s constantly chasing Michiko in an attempt to return her to prison. When Michiko accuses Atsuko of being in love with her, Atsuko responds in a very drastic “the lady doth protest too much” manner. There is certainly some kind of love behind throwing your life into chasing after another person, and when Atsuko receives a solo episode separate from Michiko, she spends it with a beautiful young woman who reminds her of her childhood friend. Atusko is clearly queer, but possibly gay, not bisexual. However, I’d be remiss not to mention her.
I may lose a few people here, but over the course of rewatching this series, I felt very convinced that Hana is bisexual. She’s a kid, and she’s just beginning to learn about who she is when she’s able to fully be herself, outside of an abusive foster home. Late in the series she has a dramatic flirtation with a young boy, but prior to that she runs away and follows a girl named Rita to the circus. That Hana’s feelings for Rita are more than friendly is not fully explored, although Rita initially mistakes Hana for a boy and pretends Hana is her boyfriend in order to ditch a silly ex. Rita’s confidence and personality enchant Hana; she seems lost in a crush.
Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran is one of my all-time favorite series partly because I identify pretty hard with Haruhi, so I bring a lot of personal bias into this one! There’s a good deal of contention among fans about Haruhi’s identity, but I read her as agender, asexual and panromantic. The series circles around Haruhi pretending to be a boy so that she can participate in Host Club and repay the debt incurred when she shattered an expensive vase. When the boys of the Host Club all finally realize Haruhi is not a boy, she mentions that she has a “low sense of gender.” She’s comfortable flirting with girls during Host Club, and, when the highly theatrical lesbians from Lobelia Academy try to recruit her to their school, says she finds their way of life “interesting.”
There is a strong argument that Haruhi is aromantic, and I respect that reading greatly. I think I want Haruhi to be bisexual because I identify with her so much, but this series is also very bisexual in other ways! For one, Haruhi’s father outright says he is bisexual, and for another, it’s a show about overcoming trauma by bonding with found family. The Host Club boys all openly and happily flirt with women–granted, to make money, but they also seem to enjoy it–but maintain close relationships with each other that either border on romantic or, in the case of Hani and Mori, are outright romantic.
Yuri on Ice
You’ve probably seen people enthusiastically tweet about Yuri on Ice, but if you’ve yet to check out the series, let me tell you that it lives up to the hype! This anime opens with Yuri, a professional Japanese ice skater, returning home after an embarrassing defeat. However, a video posted surreptitiously online of Yuri skating to his idol Victor’s program prompts Victor himself to turn up in Yuri’s doorstep! Victor wants to take a break from skating by coaching Yuri to, well, victory.
Victor is the biggest, silliest, cutest bisexual Russian ice skater to walk the Earth. He’s touted as one of the hottest bachelors, a man who’s left a string of girlfriends in his wake–I actually don’t know how many ex-girlfriends Victor has, it might not be very many–but he’s so inspired and awed by a young hot mess of an ice skater that he moves temporarily to Japan to train him. Yuri and Victor are clearly OTP but Victor is a bisexual honey, end of story.
Like Ouran, Yuri on Ice gives us a world that is pretty homoerotic, embedded in a world where women gaze at men. Chris, for example, seems like a possible ex of Victor’s, but loves using his sex appeal on the ice to seduce everyone, regardless of gender. Yurio and Otabek develop a friendship that quickly gets steamy–we’ve all seen their exhibition skate, right?!–but Yurio’s sexuality is pretty undefined, especially considering he’s only 15. Considering it’s a series in which two men get engaged, it’s pretty queer, but also very bisexual.
If you live under a very heterosexual rock and have never heard of this series, allow me to introduce you to one of the greatest magical girl anime you will ever see. Sakura is an upbeat, happy fourth grader who discovers a book full of cards in her father’s massive library. When all the cards leave the book in a rush, Sakura learns that she must re-collect them to keep a terrible disaster from befalling the Earth!
“I love this show because almost everyone in it is bisexual” is generally how I describe Cardcaptor Sakura to others. Honestly, it’s more effective to do this with bullet points:
- Kinomoto Toya, Sakura’s brother – in love with Yukito, his best friend, but also once loved Mizuki Kaho, a shrine maiden who also teaches at Sakura’s school.
- Li Syaoran – eventually develops a big crush on Sakura, but first has to work up the courage to hang out around Yukito, who makes him turn beet red, have heart palpitations, and be unable to speak.
- Kinomoto Sakura – has a big big crush on Yukito and eventually dates Syaoran, but also describes Mizuki-sensei as making her feel all warm and happy.
- Clow Reed – a bisexual daddy, come on, now.
Cardcaptor suggests that some of the characters develop these feelings because they are drawn to powerful magic, but each crush is dealt with seriously and consistently. Additionally, the four characters listed above don’t fully express the show’s queerness; Tomoyo, Sakura’s best friend, is in love with her and expresses those feelings very openly in the manga. Yukito only has eyes for Toya and can easily be read as gay. I imagine Cardcaptor exists in a world where queerness is widely accepted and unquestioned, which feels appropriate for a lighthearted series about a young girl learning that her strength and compassionate are limitless.
Who are your favorite bisexual anime characters? Tell me all about them!