[TW: I am out of my depth on some of this more subtle trans* and gender stuff, but don’t mean to offend. This post is me sorting through my thoughts. You have been warned]
I continue to be intrigued by Masasumi Honda (from Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere), but as I have NO real grounding in trans issues to speak of, I have been keeping my mouth shut. But I still want to talk about zie.
So, the quick run-down of the character goes as follows: Masasumi was slated to take over zir father’s position as head a the Masasumi family, a powerful clan of retainers to the feudal lord of Musashi. In preparation for this, Honda started sexual reassignment surgery before the lord—in a move that no one understood, dismissed all his vassals. Honda was stuck, mentally prepared to change genders for the good of zir family and halfway through the physical transition.
For most of the series, Honda appears a sprung trap—so far as the audience is concerned. We know she’s a girl, biologically, but she wears a make school uniform and makes little or no issue of zir gender. This fascinates me, as most of the cast acts on Honda assuming that zie is a guy, and zie does nothing to dissuade them. In many ways it seems like zie has assumed the role that was denied: male scion of his family.
Of course, at the end of the show, zir’s assigned sex is revealed and zie acts in a feminine way: blushing, screaming, acting embarrassed, and is encouraged to adopt a female identity. I am a little confused by this whole line of events. It’s unclear (nor made issue of) how Honda identifies. The cast seems accepting, as they don’t spurn or admonish zie, but it seems they’re more interested in zie choosing her assigned sexuality?
Truth is, I have no idea what I watched. Honda’s gender was made a note of and brought up again at the end. I wanted to write something about it, but have no coherent thoughts because I just don’t understand all the sides of this issue. Such a fascinating (if brutal) idea for a character. I am going to assume it was handled poorly because the rest of the show is so over-the-top, but why make Honda a main character? Why add this wrinkle?