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'Even Boys Can Become Princesses!': Hugtto! Precure Anime Stands Up to Traditional Gender Roles

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

The most recent episode of the Hugtto! Precure television anime series is causing a stir among Japanese fans for discussing gender issues with its characters. The anime's episode 19, titled "Waku Waku! Akogare no Runway Debut!?," premiered on Sunday. The theme of the episode is that anyone can do or be anything they want, and key dialogue in the episode said, "Even boys can become princesses!"

The story of the episode revolves around a fashion show. After an invite from male figure skater Henri Wakamiya, who is also modeling in the show, Hana's classmate Emiru Aisaki decides to participate. Emiru is a girl who likes to play electric guitar and wants to be a hero, but her older brother Masato discourages her. The theme of the fashion show is "Girls too can become heroes!"

During preparations, Masato appears and says, "'Hero' is a word for boys." He calls Emiru's appearance in the show "inappropriate" and tries to take her away. Henri then appears in a dress and stands up to Masato, who says to Henri, "You're a guy, aren't you?" Henri responds, "I'll have the appearance that I myself want. People set limits in their own hearts. That's a waste of time and life."

Protagonist Hana also chimes in and says, "Everyone has a hero in their heart!" Later, Masato becomes a monster, captures Henri, and holds him in the air. Henri says, "I ended up in the position of a princess, didn't I?" Hana then replies, "It's okay! Even boys can become princesses!"

It seems that the characters' words of support not only reached their fellow characters in the episode, but also touched the real-world audience. Many net commenters responded in support of the episode's message that encourages children to be who they want to be, regardless of their gender or how other people may respond. Some commenters noted that the words and messages in the episode may help children with worries that arise as they grow and develop into adults. Some viewers also emphasized that the message of "anyone can do or become anything" is applicable to people of all ages.

The anime premiered in February, and it airs on Japan's ABC, TV Asahi, and affiliated stations on Sundays at 8:30 a.m.

An episode of Kirakira ☆ Precure a la Mode previously caused a stir among fans in November, when speculation spread that the first male Precure could be about to appear.

Thanks to Kimiko for the tip.

Sources: Anime! Anime! (Kōtarō Nakase), The Huffington Post Japan (Shino Tanaka)

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