"Otokonoko", also known as "Otoko no Musume", is a Japanese genre of romantic and/or erotic stories for men, focusing on Attractive Bent-Gender
. The name is a pun.Details
It is sometimes called '"josou" ("women's clothes"), a more generic term for male crossdressers.
Otokonoko features both girl-on-crossdresser and guy-on-crossdresser stories (it's one of the few places where you will find m/f stories and m/m stories side-by-side in the same magazine). The target audience is men who crossdress (or are interested), and men who have a fetish for crossdressers, and the art styles and tropes are typically those of male-oriented romance / ecchi
material. There is also a significant Periphery Demographic
of female readers. (Although guy-on-guy otokonoko is often mistaken for Boys Love Genre
, anything targeted to women is not
Although cute crossdressers in romantic situations have been an occasional theme in shonen
since the '80s, otokonoko did not start as an identified genre until about 2004. Most works created before this are not usually considered part of the genre, although some have been grandfathered in.
An otokonoko character must be anatomically male (no Hermaphrodites
or Gender Benders
) but look convincingly like an attractive girl. Most identify as male, but even when the character identifies as female, few works try to deal with actual Transgender
issues in anything like a realistic way. Since otokonoko is mainly an otaku
thing, otokonoko are quite likely to wear Sailor Fuku
, Cat Girl
or Naughty Nurse Outfits
as well as "ordinary" female clothes.
Some non-fiction magazines exist to provide advice and help with crossdressing for men who identify as otokonoko in Real Life
and who crossdress to achieve the look (or want to).
Most otokonoko is technically seinen
, although some is shounen
. Works aimed at a female audience are never this, so don't list shoujo, josei or boys' love.
The following works either technically aren't Otokonoko or precede the establishment of Otokonoko as a genre, but have been influential in its development:
- Maria†Holic - The inspiration for dozens of "boy crossdresses to infiltrate an all-girl's school, gets involved in pseudo-lesbian sexual hijinks" stories, although it's not the first to do this. It's not quite an example of the genre (in ways, it's almost a parody of it, actually).
- Happiness! - Jun is pretty much the type-model for the "guy meets cute girl, finds out girl isn't a girl, decides he doesn't care" plot. Doesn't quite fit into the genre, as Jun is only one of a number of possible Love Interests in the game and is mostly a side-character in the anime adaptations.
- No Bra - Like Happiness!, a model for the "guy meets cute girl, finds out girl isn't a girl, decides he doesn't care" storyline. Predates the genre, sometimes grandfathered in as it otherwise fits quite well.
- Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu - Hideyoshi is an icon for the subculture. Doesn't quite fit into the genre, as it doesn't focus on Hideyoshi's love life.
- Wandering Son - The three "crossdressers" are all transsexual but the series is often mistaken for an Otokonoko series.
- Stop Hibarikun - Hibari is well-known as a classic in the genre but the series predates the genre by at least twenty years, being from The Eighties. Also Hibari is implied to be transgender.
- Princess Jellyfish - Kuranosuke is an icon, well known for being both incredibly fashionable and a rare adult crossdresser, and the series does focus on the Sibling Triangle. But it doesn't quite fit the genre, being a josei aimed at young adult women.
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Anime and Manga
- There are a couple of magazines that focus specifically on otokonoko manga:
- WAaI! boys in skirts (more clean) (suspended indefinitely as of early 2014)
- Oto★Nyan (more raunchy) (on a possibly permanent hiatus as of summer 2013)
- Otoko no Ko Comic Anthology (filthy)
- Amahara-kun +: A sociopathic trap tries to convert other boys into traps by whatever means necessary.
- Boku to Boku: A girl who looks like a boy befriends a crossdresser.
- Bokura no Hentai is light on the Fanservice, but it's seinen and therefore fits the "targeted towards men" part. Notably, one of the three main characters is explicitly transsexual, while the other two are boys who are crossdressing for personal reasons. The series comes off as a Genre Deconstruction as with its cute art style and "Middle school crossdressers' premise it seems to be normal game.. But the cast has a serious case of Dysfunction Junction and the series handles its topics seriously.
- Brocken Blood: a borderline example, started off as a gag comedy with a crossdressed Magical Boy but has increased the crossdressing-fanservice levels to appeal to otokonoko fans.
- Himegoto by Norio Tsukudani, a rare 4-koma work. The first in the genre to get an anime.
- Himegoto Plus: A spinoff focusing on the main character's little brother.
- Josou Shounen, a manga anthology featuring cross-dressing boys. The majority of the stories have romantic elements to them. Some more notable recurring series include the following-
- Hatsu Kokuhaku: A boy is roped into cross-dressing in order to get closer to a classmate he likes... initially, anyway.
- Zenryoku 'Otome': A cross-dressing boy becomes infatuated with the person who saved him from a perverted train passenger.
- Haruno to Natsukawa: A student's male friend takes his entrance into high school as an opportunity to make his cross-dressing debut. Hijinks ensue as the friend attempts to get closer to the student.
- Mayo Elle Otokonoko: would be yet another "boy crossdresses to infiltrate an all-girl's school, gets involved in pseudo-lesbian sexual hijinks" story, except that most of the "girls" aren't...
- My Cute Crossdresser: a guy who likes doing makeup convinces a classmate to crossdress so he can use him for practice, gets turned on by the result. One of the first in the genre to be officially published in English.
- Onnanoko Tokidoki Otokonoko: yet another "guy meets cute girl, finds out girl isn't a girl, decides he doesn't care" story.
- Past Future: A boy starts crossdressing to try and bond with his disapproving and distant sister.
- Prunus Girl: yet another "guy meets cute girl, finds out girl isn't a girl, decides he doesn't care" story.
- Reversible!: An all boys school that at first glance seems to be coed due to the eccentric dress code, and the relationships that develop there.
- The Secret Devil-chan: guy wishes for Horny Devil to take his virginity, gets cutie, freaks when he realizes he forgot to specify female cutie.
- Sensei Anone: A hapless male high-school teacher gets pursued by an also male student who wears girls' clothes.
- Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru: Possibly the original "boy crossdresses to infiltrate an all-girl's school, gets involved in pseudo-lesbian sexual hijinks" story; released at a point where the genre didn't have a name and consequently advertised as "Girls Love" even though the main character is male.
- Otoko no ko club is a nonfiction magazine aimed at otokonoko which provides tips and techniques for crossdressing.
- Wagahai wa "Otokonoko" dearu! (I am an Otokonoko!): A manga how-to guide for otokonoko hopefuls written by Nanami Igarashi, son of shojo manga artist Yumiko Igarashi (Candy Candy) and voice actor Kazuhiko Inoue and himself an otokonoko.