Content Warning: Homophobia, transphobia, murder, prison, and violence
Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 6: Stone Ocean
Disclaimer: This article is speculation. The thing definitely did happen but we have no concrete evidence as to why the thing happened. In this article, I will be discussing the predominant theory as to why things went the way they did and why people believe this theory but I can not confirm any reason with 100% certainty.
So I really love manga and anime a lot. I love talking about it and it feels weird that I haven’t written about anything in this very broad category yet but here’s the thing. It’s a very popular topic. WordPress is filled with tons of manga/anime blogs and I follow a pretty large portion of them. The vast majority of people who write these blogs are far more knowledgeable on the topic than I’ll ever be and many of them are just flat out better writers than I am. For this reason, I prefer to just stay in my lane but lucky for me there can be some crossover.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is fucking weird if you couldn’t guess from the name. I could spend all day trying to explain it to you and it still wouldn’t make sense until you watch or read it. Even then, you’ll still probably be confused. For this reason, I will only explain what is absolutely necessary for this article.
Narciso Anasui is a major protagonist in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 6: Stone Ocean. They have a weird obsession with disassembling things. This led to them disassembling their girlfriend and the man she was cheating on them with. This is what brings them to the Florida Prison where most of the story takes place. Their stand (I’m not explaining stands so just think of them as super powered ghost friends where you have the same powers as that ghost friend), Diver Down, allows them to move, or rather dive through, solid surfaces. They are helplessly in love with the main character, Jolyne Cujoh. What else should you know about them? Let’s see… Oh yeah! They have an off screen sex change out of nowhere that is never explained or even addressed!
Anasui first appears in chapter 24 as a woman. She appears as a woman again on the cover of chapter 27. She doesn’t have another appearance until chapter 58 except now she is a he and he will continue to be until his death in chapter 155. This change is never acknowledged in the story and we’re expected to just roll with it. JoJo fans already do a lot of just rolling with it so this doesn’t seem like an unfair thing to expect of us but that doesn’t stop a large portion of the fan base from asking, “why?”
The most popular theory is that the Shonen Jump editorial staff, at the time, refused to have a lesbian protagonist so Hirohiko Araki changed Anasui, who had only been a background character so far, to a dude. While this has never been confirmed by anyone involved, the theory does have footing. This isn’t just JoJo fans thinking the worst of people. Part 6 was written and published from 2000 to 2003 and there was a lot of homophobia in Japan at the time. We also know through various interviews that Hirohiko Araki was uncomfortable with his editorial staff at the time and felt creatively restricted. We know that shortly after Stone Ocean, he jumped ship from Shonen Jump to Hyper Jump and introduced his first explicitly gay relationship in Part 7. It’s likely that he had wanted to do this for a while, considered how many implied gay relationships there were between villains in Part 5 (Sorbet and Gelato, Squalo and Tiziano, Cioccolata and Secco, etc). These are a few of the reasons this theory is so prevalent.
This isn’t the only possible reason things ended up the way they did. Hirohiko Araki could have just changed his mind. He’s known for just making the story up as he goes. This isn’t the first time things have randomly changed without explanation in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and I doubt it will be the last time. It’s also possible that the change was made in order to appease his target audience. Shonen Jump is a publication that is mainly targeted at teenage boys and Araki was already pushing the limits with Stone Ocean. He introduced a cast of mostly women, with a woman for a main character, in a non-Japanese setting that was stationary (meaning there wasn’t a lot of change of scenery since the majority of characters were prisoners in a prison or employees if that prison). These were all things that were considered unappealing to Japanese, teenage boys at the time and Stone Ocean wasn’t as popular as one might hope. The change might have been made to simultaneously add another male protagonist and avoid adding another thing his target audience might not like.
Regardless of the reason, it will be interesting to see what happens to Anasui when Part 6 finally gets animated. What will most likely happen in the show is that Anasui will just be shown as a dude the whole time. There is a petition I found on change.org that I’ll post in my works cited section. It requests that Part 6 be changed so that Anasui is a woman the whole time. Their reason is that we live in a more progressive world now and that is the most progressive thing you can do. I appreciate their sentiment but I disagree. I think the most progressive thing that could happen is that they keep Anasui exactly the way they are, gender swap and everything. That might just be a pipe dream, though. Japan is a country that, at the time this article being written, requires trans people to be sterilized so that they can’t reproduce. As gay people are seeing increasing representation in manga and anime, the only trans characters I’m aware of are Anasui and that girl from Zombie Land Saga. I’m not counting cross dressers as trans. They are distinctly different. And no, I’m not counting porn you pervs…
- Meti『Not The Bad Guy』. “Diving Into the Serious Strange Situation of Anasui’s Sex.” YouTube, YouTube, 7 May 2018, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgG-yxH79Zw.
- Araki, Hirohiko. JoJo’s Bizarre Adevnture Part 6: Stone Ocean. Shonen Jump, 2000.