Anime was always vastly different from what we know on this side of the world. The notable Japanese genre has many differences in narration, tropes, and characterization that even anime lovers sometimes do not understand. The sexuality, gender, and design of the anime characters are only exclusive to Japan, and fans of the genre contributed by developing their phrases to characterize their characters.
For example, the word “trap” doesn’t apply to the types of Yu-gi-Oh cards, as I initially thought, but to the male crossdresser whose way of dressing is so convincing that he is mistaken for a real girl.
However, besides traps we encounter in the anime, there were women crossdressers whose way of dressing made them convincing men. The anime fans named them “reverse traps,” and plenty of them are in the anime genre. So for that, we decided to rank our picks of the 15 best reverse traps in anime. If you are interested, stick with us until the end!
15. Seishirō Tsugumi (Nisekoi)
We start this list of best reverse traps with Seishirō Tsugumi, at first a recurring character in both anime and manga series, but later pushed up as a supporting character who is in a relationship with the main protagonist.
Tsugumi is a hitwoman raised and trained by Claude Ringheart of the Bee Hive Gang. Tsugumi was originally introduced as a male student who transferred to Chitoge Kirisaki’s class to protect her from Raku Ichijo.
Tsugumi’s appearance confused a lot of fans – not surprising since she is wearing male school uniforms. Because of that, many people mistake her for a guy, but she doesn’t mind at all.
14. Nagi (Nyan Koi)
This next character is one of the bigger surprises on this list. Nagi Ichinose is a character from the anime Nyan Koi!, a quite bizarre anime where cats curse the show’s main protagonist after breaking their sacred statue – Kosaka needs to grant the cats 100 wishes or die of the cat allergy.
Nagi Ichinose is definitely included in the bizarreness of the show. She is a senior on a track team and heir of a powerful yakuza family from Kyoto. Her masculine behavior and boyish look often confuse people who meet her, including the main character. The viewers were shocked when they discovered Nagi’s “real” gender since the character was a convincing man. She also has a bizarre affinity for touching and flirting with girls when drunk.
A bizarre character indeed.
13. Daichi Kaoru (Ladies vs Butlers!)
Another odd character comes with the anime Ladies vs. Butlers! The anime revolves around children training to become servants for high society. One of them is Kaoru Daichi, a young girl who has been forced by her father to graduate from the academy as a man.
Kaoru is a crossdresser because of the situation and has fangirls running for her who think she is a man. She is a true reverse trap on this list.
12. Charlotte Dunois (Infinite Stratos)
Infinite Stratos anime presented us with the futuristic genre of anime where the exoskeleton, Infinite Stratos, threatens to destabilize the world – women can only operate the power armor.
Charlotte Dunois, formerly Charles, posed as a second male Infinite Stratos pilot student who transferred to the main protagonist’s class.
Of course, while spying on Ichiko, Charlotte’s true gender is revealed, and she eventually falls in love with him. Despite the gender reveal, Charlotte still uses male adjectives when introducing herself to other people.
11. Natsume Tsuchimikado (Tokyo Ravens)
Tokyo Ravens bring another reverse trap on this list – a girl named Natsume Tsuchimikado. Her role in the anime is really important, and the lore around Onmyodou magic is fascinating.
Everyone thought Natsume was a boy until her opponent ripped off her clothes. She is very shy and a skilled Onmyodou magic practician who enrolled in school in the male uniform, while after the time skip, Natsume is seen wearing a floral dress.
10. Yuu Kashima (Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun)
The next character on this list is Yuu Kashima, and possibly the best reverse trap on this list. Kashima is tall and wears skirts, but her charm and prince-like personality that brought her the nickname of “The Prince of the School” makes the girls in her school go crazy about her.
Kashima is androgynous, which means that a person displays both male and female genders in their looks. Moreover, Kashima is an incredibly attractive, tall girl who likes to flirt with other girls and address them as princesses.
She is quite a charmer and reminds us of another character on this list – stick around to find out who it is.
9. Kana (Haibane Renmei)
Reverse traps are often mistaken for tomboys, but this character embodies both – meet Kana from the anime Haibane Renmei. The girl dresses in a uniform suitable for teenage boys, and her tinkering and intelligence, which include inventions, make her a true reverse trap.
Kana is also quite cheerful and can be overeager at times, but she also exhibits a true and thoughtful side that viewers would not suspect.
8. Makoto (Idolm@ster)
The Idolm@aster is an interesting concept that first became popular in 2005 as a video game. Since then, it has procured projects in other media, including the anime that is popular in the anime genre.
The anime’s premise is simple – it follows the training of prospective idols and their journey to stardom. There are a lot of different characters in the anime, but one is suitable for this list – one of the Idols, Makoto.
She is also known as “The Pretty-boy Idol” and is considered a prince of 765 productions. She is both a tomboy and a reverse trap since her father raised her like a boy.
Because of her forced upbringing as a boy, Makoto desperately wants to be viewed as a girl but sometimes struggles to express herself in the ways it will present her as a female.
Those actions lead to people thinking she is strange. Nevertheless, Makoto is still a compelling anime idol and a great choice for this list.
7. Eve Boland (Spice and Wolf)
The entries on this list are getting more interesting and “reverse trappy,” if I may create a new word. Eve Boland is one of the unique fantasy anime Spice and Wolf characters.
The anime follows a plot that focuses on economics, trade, and peddling – the anime doesn’t follow the usual sword and magic premise of the fantasy anime and is unique.
Eve Boland is a merchant with mysterious background whose clothing style and design remind us of Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto The Last movie, with short hair, a headband, and a long cloak.
Since the anime takes place in medieval times when women were not respected, especially in the trading world, Eve’s choice of clothes is understandable. Regardless, she deserves the place on this list.
6. Subaru Konoe (Mayo Chiki!)
This entry originates from the romantic comedy anime, where the main protagonist has an intense fear of women. When he finds out that one of the butlers is, in fact, a girl, the duo works together on Subaru’s secret from the evil headmaster.
Subaru’s style is usual for the reverse traps – suit or an outfit fit for men, neckties, and long coats that suppress the women’s curves. At first, she wants to kill the boy who discovered her identity but by the end of the anime, the two end up together.
5. Otto (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha)
Action anime that includes magical girls always garner traction with anime fans, including Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. The anime follows the story of the shapeshifting mage Yuno, who came to Earth to collect 21 dangerous ancient Jewel Seeds, which give living beings unnatural powers and turns them into monsters.
One of the anime characters is Otto, a girl with boyish looks that is actually a Combat Cyborg. Otto looks like a legitimate boy, and when she turns into a cyborg, she looks even more like a boy. Otto might be a girl, but she is a convincing boy, that’s for sure, and definitely deserves to be on this list.
4. Kino (Kino’s Journey)
We talked a bit about Kino’s Journey anime in the best WWII anime list article and mentioned the themes the anime focuses on.
Kino spends her days traveling with her trusted talking motorcycle Hermes, and we discover a more and more jaded picture of our world during her journey. The phrase “The world is not beautiful; therefore it is.” is the center of the anime, and the main protagonist of the anime Kino caught our eye with her style and the weaponry she handles.
Besides Hermes, which makes her look like a badass, Kino’s fashion consists of typical reverse trap “behavior” – some fans even mentioned a pure shock when they found out Kino’s a girl.
With the pilot-like outfit, long green coat, leather boots, and “Woodsman,” a .22 caliber autoloading pistol, Kino is a true reverse trap and deserves the place on this list.
3. Haruhi Fujioka (Ouran Highschool Host Club)
Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran Highschool Host Club is in our top three reverse traps list. Her story is intriguing and really interesting. Haruhi attends Ouran Academy, an elite school that only rich kids attend.
She is a highly intelligent first-year student from a middle-class family. Because of the financial situation, Haruhi needs to study really hard. Her reverse trap look was “forced” – she had to cut her hair because the gum was stuck in it and wears old, baggy clothes because the Ouran uniform was really expensive.
Her being a boy situation gets even more serious when she joins the Ouran Host Clubs full of boys. Haruhi is a certified reverse trap and definitely belongs on this list.
2. Naoto Shirogane (Persona 4 Animation)
Some fans argue that this character should definitely be higher on the list, and they wouldn’t be wrong. The Persona franchise is mostly popular for its amazing games, but the game Persona 4, considered one of the best games of all time, procured the anime as well.
There are great, iconic characters in the show, but one caught our eye for this list – Naoto Shirogane. Her character is literally the definition of a reverse trap character – she is convincing anyone, me included, that she is a boy.
As you can see throughout the list, some girls felt pressured to crossdress, while Naoto is simply like that. Her choices of clothing, the way she talks, her mannerisms, and just her make her the perfect reverse trap, and she definitely deserves the top spot on the list.
However, my bias and subjectivity won over this time, and frankly, it is not that controversial at all.
1. Haruka Tenou (Sailor Moon)
Finally we finish our list of best reverse traps in anime with Haruka Tenou. Haruka Tenou is one of the most influential anime female characters of all time. During the 1990s, Sailor Moon was one of the most popular anime in the world, and the way the characters and anime themes were presented, especially the gender and sexual fluidity, was really unique.
Besides being a usual magical girl anime, where Sailor Senshi fights the evil forces, Sailor Moon proved it’s much deeper than that. The anime was censored to oblivion in the West, but the media still could not fully censor Haruka or Sailor Uranus’s gender and sexuality.
For years, Americans that watched the Sailor Moon in English dub thought that Haruka was a man and a cousin to her partner Michiru Kaiou. Imagine my surprise when I first watched Sailor Moon and realized Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune are not cousins – they were so much more.
Haruka’s civil identity has style – she wears both feminine and masculine clothing (the latter much more), and she does not mind being called a man or a woman, which hints at her gender fluidity.
Even Sailor Moon is confused when she first meets her and crushes on her from the first meeting. Haruka is a certified reverse trap that likes to confuse people with her looks and is a badass car racer.