Anime fans will know that the world of anime is filled with the strangest of characters. Whichever trait you consider, you’ll probably find several characters that fit the bill in an anime series. This also applies to genders and gender identities, a hot topic in the Western world. And although anime is not that focused on these issues, genderqueer and non-binary characters have been appearing in the world of anime for ages. In this article, we will bring you a list of the 20 best ones you must know about.
Now, we have to state that anime characters rarely identify – openly – as non-binary, so the list won’t include such characters but characters who could fit the bill of a non-binary character based on their traits, behavior, preferences, or physical appearance. Alongside a brief introduction to each character, we will also explain why we included them on our list. Of course, the article will contain only human characters, as aliens or other species don’t fit the bill.
1. Kiruko (Heavenly Delusion)
Kiruko is one of the series’ two protagonists, a young girl who runs a “handyman” business and is 18 or 20 years old, according to her own words. At Mikura’s request, she escorts Maru to bring him to “Heaven.” She is quick-witted and possesses excellent insight and judgment even in unfamiliar situations, but she is also slightly clumsy. As it turns out, Kiruko is actually Haruki, whose mind and consciousness have been transplanted into the body of his late sister, Kiriko Takehaya.
It is revealed that after the attack, dr. Sawatari took them and operated on them so that he could save them, as in any other scenario; both of them would have died immediately. Kiruko is thus a great example of a potentially on-binary character, as she is a boy’s mind in the body of a girl, despite how she identifies in the story and the challenges she faces.
2. Yamato (One Piece)
Yamato is the biological daughter of Kaido, although he has renounced all connections to his father. He is a big fan of Oden Kozuki and worships him so much that he wants to “become Kozuki Oden.” She thus says that he has become a man and is therefore considered as such, which both her father and the crew of the Hundred Beasts accept.
He became a major ally of the Alliance of Ninjas-Pirates-Minks-Samurai during the Wano Country Arc. Yamato is by all means a female, but while he is aware of that fact, he identifies himself as a male and behaves like one; he even bathes with the guys in one manga panel, so we had to put him on the list.
3. Haruka Ten’ō / Sailor Uranus (Sailor Moon)
Haruka Ten’ō, aka Sailor Uranus, is one of the strongest characters in the Sailor Moon series. This character was in the third arc of the original manga series and the Sailor Moon S season of the 1990s animated version. Within the Sailor Senshi of the Solar System group, Sailor Uranus belongs to the team of the Outer Senshi, who has been in charge of protecting the Kingdom of the Moon and Silver Millennium since ancient times.
And while Haruka does identify as a female and as a lesbian, her androgynous appearance, as well as the fact that she often dresses like a boy, shows that she has a very fluid interpretation of her own gender, which is why she is on our list.
4. Nagisa Shiota (Assassination Classroom)
Androgynous in appearance, Nagisa is a very intelligent student who tries to spot every weakness in Koro-sensei in order to find the best way to kill him. For this, he writes his observations in a notebook as the story progresses. He is also one of the only students to have been close enough to kill him from the start of the series, using a “pseudo” suicide bombing and anti-sensei balls.
During a mock assassination against Takaoka, his skills as an assassin come to the fore. Later, Koro-sensei, Lovro (Irina’s mentor), and Karasuma will find him a real gift for the assassination, which worries the latter. Well, if you wanted to fool someone into thinking that Nagisa is a girl, you’d be doing a great job; Nagisa dresses like a girl and looks like a girl but is actually a boy, and that was enough fluidity for us to include him on the list.
5. Akito Sōma (Fruits Basket)
Numerous Sōma, including Yuki, Kisa, Isuzu, and Hatori, have been scarred by Akito. She is a victim of the Sōma family curse, but a spirit from the Chinese zodiac does not possess her. Instead, she plays the part of the Jade Emperor, a character from the legend surrounding the creation of the zodiac. She refers to herself as the God of the Zodiac and the ruler of her soul.
Akito is actually a character whose gender is so ambiguous that the 2001 anime portrayed the character as a male, while the manga and the 2019 anime portrayed Akito as a female; this was enough for us to include Akito on the list.
6. Jūzō Suzuya (Tokyo Ghoul)
Jūzō Suzuya (actual name Rei Suzuya) is an androgynous-appearing man at the start of the series. He is distinguished by its stitches, present solely for aesthetic purposes. He urgently likes to fight. He was raised as a child by a ghoul named Big Madam, who subjected him to various forms of torture and encouraged him to engage in combat, giving him extraordinary agility and a lack of pain perception (in the manga’s conclusion, he has his leg severed but doesn’t appear to be aware of it).
Big Madam makes him fight other humans in an arena for the visual enjoyment of the ghouls. In terms of gender-related trap characters, Jūzō was one of the best. He looks exceptionally feminine but is actually a boy, and deciphering his actual gender was a very fun ride, which why we are honoring him with a place on our list.
7. Q / Kyūsaku Yumeno (Bungo Stray Dogs)
Kyūsaku, also known as “Q,” is a 13-year-old member of the Port Mafia. His ability is called Dogra Magra, which allows him to exert mind control over people. This “curse” is activated when the head of a doll he always carries breaks or if someone hurts him.
Q was considered too dangerous by the mob and was locked up for that. Q is a character whose gender is officially listed as being unknown, and since the character has both male and female traits, we simply had to include him on this list.
8. Hange Zoë (Attack on Titan)
Hange appeared as a group member assigned to watch over Eren Yaeger before the military trial. Hange is also there with the rest of the Survey Corps during the interrogation, where Levi brutally beats Eren in front of everyone. After the young man is accepted into the legion, Hange is in charge of investigating Eren’s ability to become a titan.
On the mission to retrieve Wall Maria, Hange received injuries from the Colossus Titan’s explosion but helped defeat the battleship and became commander after Erwin’s demise on the mission. Hange is one of the best-known non-binary characters in the anime world, and even Isayama himself never revealed Hange’s gender, and since the character has both male and female traits, we had to list Hange on here.
9. Jack the Ripper (Fate)
Jack the Ripper was perpetuated in legend as a symbol of madness. Hence, “Jack,” says that the Berserker class is the only one that truly fits it. Jack is a unique servant who is unaware of their true identity. Because of this, it has no normal form and only communicates with its master through telepathy.
Flat Escardos is able to sense the magical energy flowing through the command spells to an unknown location. It is a voice that has no unique characteristics, making it impossible to discern gender, age, or other features of the profession that are normally revealed by details in the voice. Jack the Ripper can be anything because he is nothing in terms of gender, and such fluidity was enough for us to include it on this list. Jack appears feminine but bears a male name.
10. Emporio Ivankov (One Piece)
He is the ruler of the Kamabakka Kingdom. He helps Bentham and Luffy escape from the dangerous wolves of the Level 5 prison. He heals Bentham’s wounds and also helps Luffy heal from Magellan’s poison. He has a strange power whereby he can make a huge impact with a single wink of an eye. Emporio Ivankov is one of the rare characters on this list who openly identifies as non-binary, as he is the founder of the newkama system, which goes completely beyond the concept of gender as such. He was a sure addition to our list.
11. Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV (Cowboy Bebop)
Originally from Earth, Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, mostly called “Ed,” is a somewhat androgynous young hacker who says she is 13 years old. Ed can be seen as a “free spirit”; she likes to exclaim for no reason and has childish rhymes. She’s often distracted, and she’s the show’s primary source of physical humor. She rarely walks but prefers to run, crawl, jump, roll, and walk on her hands and can’t stand having something on her feet; they are always naked.
She often speaks for herself in the third person. Not much is known about her origins except the fact that she grew up in an orphanage after being abandoned there by her father, a man named Appledelhi Siniz Hesap Lütfen. Edward is also one of the most famous genderqueer characters in the world of anime – she was born a girl but dons a male name and behaves like a man, showing that the concept of gender is quite fluid in her case.
12. Bentham / Mr. 2 (One Piece)
An okama and the user of the Copy Copy Fruit, with which he can copy the appearance of any person whose face he has previously touched. Sanji defeated him. He befriended the Straw Hats and sacrificed himself to be captured by the Marines so they could flee Alabasta. He was happily reunited with Luffy at Impel Down. As an open crossdresser, Bentham doesn’t really identify as either male or female (despite being biologically male), so we gave him a spot on our list.
13. Ryūji “Yuka” Ayukawa (Blue Period)
Yuka is impetuous and seemingly confident, though she carries many fears. With her generally cute and dazzling appearance, Yuka attracts many people. Both Yuka’s mother and father disapprove of Yuka’s identity and lifestyle. Her home life is unsafe and sometimes violent. Yuka can only find comfort in the company of her grandmother, who accepts Yuka as a person and Yuka’s aspirations.
Yuka wears a mixture of male and female school uniforms. This is a deliberate style choice and highlights Yuka’s resistance to conformity. A new character from the hit series Blue Period, Yuta is a brilliant example of how modern-day anime and manga can effectively deal with gender-related issues of the modern era.
14. Gowther (Seven Deadly Sins)
Gowther is the Sin of Lust of the Seven Deadly Sins. Gowther’s true nature was actually that of a puppet created by Gowther of Selflessness, serving as his “father” intermediary to other members of the Ten Commandments. His Sacred Treasure is the Herritt Double Arc, which he uses to activate his Magic, Invasion, and Lost World Abilities.
While he might look like a girl and even behave like a girl sometimes, Gowther is actually male, so we think he is yet another great example for our list of the best non-binary anime characters.
15. Rimuru Tempest (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)
Rimuru Tempest, formerly known as Satoru Mikami, is the main protagonist of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. Rimuru is the creator and ruler of the Jura Tempest Federation in the Jura Forest and the partner and closest ally of the True Dragon Veldora Tempest. Rimuru is also one of the Octagram’s demon rulers.
He resides in Rimuru City, the Jura Tempest Federation’s capital. As for Rimuru, the character was originally a male, but the reincarnation is a female-looking genderless character (at least officially). Based on that, we thought that Rimuru would be a great addition to this list.
16. Kino (Kino’s Journey)
The series’ main character, Kino, explores many nations on his talking motorcycle, Hermes, while learning about the locals’ traditions. Her original name Sakura corresponds to blossom in the Land of Adults, but she chooses the name Kino after meeting Hermes. The word Kino, which means “cinema,” is derived from the German word “kinematograph,” which refers to a cinematograph. Thus, Keiichi Sigsawa simply used this abbreviation. The gender of Kino is initially unclear in the anime, but she is revealed to be a girl on the eve of her twelfth birthday in episode four of The Land of Adults.
17. Najimi Osana (Komi Can’t Communicate)
An ambiguous gender character, Najimi Osana, and Tadano have been friends since high school. Knowing him for a long time as a boy, it is to Tadano’s surprise that Najimi now wears a girl’s uniform, albeit with a boy’s tie, as they both advanced to Itan High. Najimi’s gender is still unknown, although Tadano considers him to be a boy. Najimi regularly switches between saying he’s a boy or a girl and laughs that someone thought otherwise.
All of them are his best friends from childhood, as everyone at school has known each other since childhood due to his family’s frequent moves during this period. As a result of his childhood move, Najimi has a remarkable capacity to communicate with and make friends with others, but she ran into trouble when Tadano introduced her to Komi because an earlier unsuccessful attempt to make friends with Komi had left her with psychological pain.
18. Haruhi Fujioka (Ouran High School Host Club)
Haruhi is the main protagonist of the series. This first-year student manages to attend Ouran Academy thanks to a scholarship, which she must maintain with high grades since she does not have enough financial means to pay for it. Shortly after arriving in Ouran and accidentally breaking a very expensive vase, she incurs a debt to the Host Club and is made to work to pay it off. Mistaken for a boy, the club initially assigns her trivial tasks, naming her “the club’s errand boy”, but once they discover that under her glasses and wrinkled clothes, she is “a very attractive boy,” she becomes an official club member.
Her honesty and natural flair let her quickly earn popularity among the club’s guests, who are unaware that she is a girl, a fact that the club members discover by accident and keep secret. In addition, although Haruhi has the opportunity to correct that she is a girl, she also decides to save it in order to be an official member of the club and to be able to pay her debt without money since the deal turns into her serving a thousand customers.
19. Gren (Cowboy Bebop)
Grencia Mars Elijah Guo Eckener, or more simply Gren, is an ex-soldier who, during the Titan war, served in the infantry alongside Vicious, towards whom he had a deep admiration and blind trust. At the end of the war, his hope of returning home and becoming a jazz player fades when he is caught on charges of being a spy and prosecuted by court-martial on Vicious’ own testimony.
The man’s neurological system collapses as a result of such an unexpected and seemingly unmotivated betrayal, causing him to lose sleep and develop schizophrenia. The treatment based on experimental drugs administered to him in prison to cure him, from which he becomes addicted, profoundly alters his hormonal system making him, it is not known to what extent, a hermaphrodite.
20. Desmond (Carole & Tuesday)
Singer and pianist, he was very popular when Carole and Tuesday were little. Due to the radiation from Mars, he is becoming a hermaphrodite, and thanks to the influence of female hormones, his sensitivity has increased; however, his physique is very weak, and he constantly needs a drug, which however causes him to momentarily lose his voice.
Since the death of his only love, she has lived with an AI in his botanical garden, having little contact with the outside world and thus fomenting legends about him.