This is our collection of the best Gender-Bender Anime character art. A mind-bending list of 15 anime series where gender-bending is the main plot or a recurring theme. Most of these are comedy series because, well, when was cross-dressing, body-swapping, or whatever not the source of hilarity? Get ready to dive into the unique world of gender-bender anime!
Naruto’s relationship with Sasuke Uchiha was the highlight of the majority of his life. Their relationship was complicated, especially due to the circumstances of their ancestors’ feud, dating back to the beginning of Shinobi; Naruto and Sasuke are the latest reincarnations of Asura and Indra Ōtsutsuki, the sons of the Sage of the Six Paths.
When the two were both Academy students, Naruto wanted to befriend Sasuke, knowing that he too was alone. However, when Sasuke proved to be better than him at everything, gaining popularity and admiration, Naruto grew jealous and made it his goal to surpass him. Ever since then, Naruto saw him as his rival and was bent to prove himself as an equal before both youths were made members of Team 7.
Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi), is the titular protagonist of the Fullmetal Alchemist series.
After losing his right arm and left leg due to a failed Human Transmutation attempt, Ed became the youngest State Alchemist in history by achieving his certification at age twelve. Three years later, Ed has become fully engrossed in his search for the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, an item with which he hopes to restore his younger brother Alphonse – whose whole body had been lost in the aftermath of the human transmutation.
Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護, Kurosaki Ichigo) is a Human who has Shinigami powers and is a Substitute Shinigami. Ichigo is the son of Isshin and Masaki Kurosaki, and older brother of Karin and Yuzu. He is also married to Orihime Inoue and has a son named Kazui Kurosaki.
Monkey D. Luffy, also known as “Straw Hat Luffy” and commonly as “Straw Hat”, is the main protagonist of the mangaand anime, One Piece. He is the son of the Revolutionary leader Monkey D. Dragon, the paternal grandson of the Marine hero Monkey D. Garp, the sworn brother of late “Fire Fist” Portgas D. Ace and Revolutionary chief of staff Sabo, and the foster son of Curly Dadan. Luffy is a pirate and his lifelong dream is to become the Pirate King by finding the legendary treasure left behind by the late Pirate King, Gol D. Roger.
Natsu Dragneel (ナツ・ドラグニル Natsu Doraguniru) is a Mageof the Fairy Tail Guild, wherein he is a member of Team Natsu. He is the younger brother of Zeref Dragneel, having originally died 400 years ago, being subsequently revived as his brother’s most powerful Etherious: E.N.D. (ＥＮＤ Ī Enu Dī). Natsu is also among the five Dragon Slayers sent to the future from four hundred years past, having an additional purpose in the assistance of the defeat of Acnologia.
Saitama (サイタマ, Saitama) is the main protagonist of One-Punch Man and the most powerful hero alive. Saitama faces a self-imposed existential crisis, as he is now too powerful to gain any thrill from his deeds.
He is currently registered with the Hero Association as a B-Class Rank 7 professional hero and is tasked to defend Z-City against Mysterious Beings. Under the Hero Association, he is given the name Caped Baldy (ハゲマント, Hagemanto; Viz: Bald Cape).
Son Goku (孫悟空 Son Gokū), born Kakarot (カカロットKakarotto), is a male Saiyan and the main protagonist of the Dragon Ball metaseries created by Akira Toriyama. Cheerful, tenacious and also a bit naïve, Goku is a Saiyan originally sent to Earth as an infant with the mission to destroy it.
Dragon Ball Z (Japanese: ドラゴンボールZ Hepburn: Doragon Bōru Zetto, commonly abbreviated as DBZ) is a Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation. Dragon Ball Z is the sequel to the Dragon Ball animeand adapts the latter 325 chapters of the original 519-chapter Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama, that were published from 1988 to 1995 in Weekly Shōnen Jump. Dragon Ball Z first aired in Japan on Fuji TV from April 26, 1989 to January 31, 1996, before being dubbed in several territories around the world, including the United States, Australia, Europe, India, and Latin America.
One Piece (Japanese: ワンピース Hepburn: Wan Pīsu) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. It has been serialized in Shueisha‘s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since July 22, 1997, and has been collected in 87 tankōbon volumes. The story follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a boy whose body gained the properties of rubber after unintentionally eating a Devil Fruit. With his crew of pirates, named the Straw Hat Pirates, Luffy explores the Grand Line in search of the world’s ultimate treasure known as “One Piece” in order to become the next Pirate King.
Gray Fullbuster (グレイ・フルバスター Gurei Furubasutā) is a Mage of the Fairy Tail Guild, wherein he is a member of Team Natsu. Gray’s most prominent feature is his spiky black-colored hair. He has dark blue eyes, and his body is toned and muscular which is not reflected in this piece of art.
Envy (エンヴィー Envī) is the embodiment of some of Father‘s envy. Envy is genderless, and has the ability to shape-shift. This ability can be used to assume the form of any existing person (or original personas that Envy itself creates). The can even modify their own voice to directly copy others.
Akatsuki (暁, Literally meaning: “Dawn” or “Daybreak”) was a group of shinobi that existed outside the usual system of hidden villages. Over the course of several decades, Akatsuki took different forms and was led by different individuals. Though each iteration is viewed as either subversives or criminals, all seek to make the world a better place through their own means. Each Akatsuki tends to have multiple lairs across the world, inaccessible either due to their remoteness or the various security measures that protect them.
L (エル, Eru) is a world-renowned detective who takes on the challenge of catching the mass murderer known as Kira. In his investigation, L becomes suspicious of Light Yagami and makes it his goal to prove that Light is Kira.
Light Yagami (夜神月, Yagami Raito) is the main protagonist of the Death Note series. After discovering the Death Note, he decides to use it to rid the world of criminals. His killings are eventually labelled by people of Japan as the work of “Kira.”
Who doesn’t know who Hideyoshi Kinoshita is? He’s the origin of the word Hideyoshi, referring to a guy who’s too feminine in looks and in personality that everyone regards him as a girl. That’s why some even consider it a third gender. But this article doesn’t only talk about Hideyoshis. Let’s meet girls who look like guys, guys who cross-dress, and even people body swapping with another gender!
All ranking information was taken on the date of publication.
Ouran Koukou Host Club (Ouran High School Host Club)
MAL Rated 8.44, Ranked #128 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Bones
Ever daydreamed about how it would be like to study in a school where only the richest can attend? You probably have. But have you ever dreamed of having a debt of 8,000,000 JPY (about 66,000 USD) just because you broke a vase of some weird host club? Such is the life of Haruhi, a girl who gets mistaken for a boy and is forced to be part of the host club to pay off her debts.
MAL Rated 6.06, Ranked #1270 | Aired Summer 2014 | Produced by Asashi Production
Ranma Saotome, a talented martial artist who has trained since he was a child, gets into an unusual accident during a journey. This accident changed his life… and also his body. From then on, contact with cold water turns him into a girl. Thankfully, hot water turns him back into being a guy. But that’s not weird at all. Because what’s really weird is the guy who turns into a pig when splashed with cold water.
Himegoto (Secret Princess)
MAL Rated 8.44, Ranked #128 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Bones
Here we go again with the debts. Don’t go into debt, people. It changes your gender. In Himegoto, we have a high school guy with an overwhelming debt. But good people paid them off. I wish I could tell you that it ends there but these good people were the student council of an all girl’s school. And – you can probably guess what happens next – he is then forced to live his high school life dressed as a girl.
Aoharu x Kikanjuu (Aoharu x Machinegun)
MAL Rated 7.31, Ranked #2157 | Aired Summer 2015 | Produced by Brains Base
In a world full of bishounen (pretty boy) characters, it is quite easy for a girl to be confused with a boy. And that’s what happens with our protagonist, Hotaru Tachibana. At some point, she finds herself joining a team and playing survival games with this team. The conflict is that her two teammates (bishounen, of course) would never ever accept a girl as a teammate. Our Hotaru loves playing these games so, but can she play the part of a boy as well?
MAL Rated 7.22, Ranked #2458 | Aired Winter 2009 | Produced by Shaft
Kanako’s dream is simple: to enroll in an all-girls school. Well, that’s normal, right? Yeah, sure. But not when you’re actually a lesbian who fantasizes about doing perverted things with other high school girls. She’s able to enroll into one and she even finds a target. But what if that target is actually a cross-dressing boy? How will Kanako handle Mariya, the boy in drag, when she absolutely hates boys and even breaks into hives upon contact with them?
Minami-ke (The Minami Family)
MAL Rated 7.86, Ranked #730 | Aired Fall 2007 | Produced by Daume
How do you handle your crush towards one of three sisters? Get the other two to force you to cross-dress, of course! Wait, what? Well, this is the path Makoto chose. You might think it’s foolish but I think it’s nothing but brilliant! Looking like a girl (thanks to the other two sisters), Makoto (or Mako-chan) gets to hang out with Minami Kana at her very house every time he so wishes. I can’t tell you about his progress with Kana but his progress to femininity has gotten to the point where he actually gets into this cross-dressing thing and starts buying dresses on his own.
MAL Rated 6.81, Ranked #3865 | Aired Fall 2009 | Produced by Nomad
Natsuru – the boy who went to sleep as nothing but him and woke up as a girl. But, the upside is he (or should I say, she) is not an ordinary girl. She is now a Kämpfer! So what’s that? Well, it’s a girl. A girl who fights. A girl who fights with other Kämpfer. Okay, so I guess it’s not so much an upside after all. But I guess everyone, male or female, now fawning over her makes it a little worth it.
Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches)
MAL Rated 7.99, Ranked #532 | Aired Spring 2015 | Produced by LIDENFILMS
If getting turned into a girl overnight for God knows how long is not your thing, then you may still consider body swapping with someone, be it a guy or a girl. One day, delinquent Yamada accidentally kisses top student Shiraishi and ends up in the body of Shiraishi. Unknown to everyone, Shiraishi is actually a witch who has body swapping powers. These powers are activated through kissing. There are other witches in the school and it is Yamada’s responsibility to kiss all of them! Err, well at least find out who they are.
Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl
MAL Rated 6.85, Ranked #3720 | Aired Winter 2006 | Produced by Studio Hibari
Let me try this in one go. So… The protagonist Hazumu dies after an alien spacecraft lands on him so these aliens revive him, but they mistakenly revive him as a girl and as a result, his crush, Yasuna professes her love even though she rejected him before because she can’t see boys clearly and only sees them as a blur, but then Hazumu gets torn between Yasuna and Tomari, a childhood friend who also realizes her feelings for him while he’s a girl. That didn’t sound weird at all, did it?
Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru (Otoboku: Maidens are Falling for Me)
MAL Rated 7.21, Ranked #2505 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by Feel
Another guy who cross-dresses to get into an all-girls school! But, let’s not judge him too quickly. He is simply carrying out the wish of his late grandfather for him to attend the school where his mother attended. It just so happens that it’s an all-girls school. He successfully gets into the school with some help and a good disguise. Too good a disguise, in fact, as he has managed to gain the favor of the majority of the students in school!
Tetsuwan Birdy Decode (Birdy the Mighty Decode)
MAL Rated 7.59, Ranked #1275 | Aired Summer 2008 | Produced by A-1 Pictures
Body swapping with the other gender is one thing. But how about sharing your body with a female humanoid intergalactic police officer? In pursuit of an alien criminal in planet Earth, Birdy accidentally kills a human boy called Tsutomu. Fortunately, they can prevent him from being wiped out from existence entirely by merging his body with Birdy. They can interchange their appearance at will so Tsutomu can still lead his normal daily life. Or can he?
I My Me! Strawberry Eggs
MAL Rated 6.96, Ranked #3352 | Aired Summer2001 | Produced by TNK
An anime that tackles the rarer form of gender discrimination: discrimination to men. Our initially male protagonist Hibiki tries to apply for a job at Seito Sannomiya Private School but is rejected simply because he is male. In order to prove something (and to have a job that can pay off his monthly rent), he dons a convincing female disguise with the help of a friend. How will he manage the student body, the staff, and his disguise all at the same time?
Tenshi na Konamaiki (Cheeky Angel)
MAL Rated 7.61, Ranked #1227 | Aired Spring 2002 | Produced by TMS Entertainment
Meeting a genie is surely a wonderful experience. But not for Megumi. At age 9, he was an aggressive boy who often got into fights. That’s why he wished to become a strong man in a man’s body when he encountered the genie, Pierre. So, like a good genie, he turned him into a female Megumi. He threw the book from which Pierre came but later decides to look for it. 6 years later, (s)he enrolls in a high school where a school bully falls in love with her after being beaten up.
MAL Rated 7.2, Ranked #2550 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Studio Deen
I swear, the elite do all sorts of weird things. In an all-male prestigious school, there is a tradition where three boys are chosen to become their princesses. When Tooru enters the school, he is offered the opportunity to become a princess. He, with the other two, is required to wear girls clothing all the time. Uncomfortable? Not really. Lunches are free, they get commission from the photographs of them that sell, princess work is on top of school duties, and their school supplies are provided for. What more can a girl (or a Hideyoshi) ask for.
MAL Rated 8.05, Ranked #461 | Aired Summer 2012 | Produced by Silver Link
I didn’t sign up for this. The lives of the five members of the Cultural Research Club are suddenly thrown into disarray when they begin to experience a strange phenomenon. They begin swapping bodies with each other without warning and consent. It might seem fun at first but not when you realize that their friendship with each other is on the line. How close is too close?