You may often hear this saying that in order to understand someone’s problems, you should walk in their shoes at least once. The gender-bender theme teaches this in a very specific format. In these types of anime, one or more of the main characters face a sudden change in their genders. This idea is quite an ancient one, as we can trace it back to Greek mythology. So, we can say that in stories where girls change into boys and vice versa, the viewers get a lot of options to choose from. The number of anime that has taken up this theme is uncountable. This minor genre goes well with main genres like comedy and drama. The gender changes in these anime can be caused by anything from magic to some new technology or some unexplainable reason. The list mentioned below does not depend on the quality of the anime as a whole but on what level it deals with gender issues. In these anime, the theme of gender is weighted over the other more commonly used themes.
22. Ouran Koukou Host Club (Ouran Highschool Host Club)
You might often dream about attending a school where only the richest can be a part of the student body. But it is not a very common thing to have a debt of 8,000,000 JPY (about 66,000 USD) just because you accidentally broke the vase of a school host club run by the handsome and popular boys of the school. It is apparently the life of Haruhi, a normal young girl who got admission to Ouran High School, a prestigious school for rich kids. Now to pay the debt back, she needs to be the host of the club, but the catch is that she has to play the role of a guy in spite of being a girl.
21. Princess Princess
Elite people do all kinds of crazy stuff. That is exactly what happens in an all-male prestigious school. Three guys are chosen to act and dress up as princesses. These guys are required to wear girl clothes and put on makeup all the time. They do not even feel too uncomfortable in this avatar, especially not when they are offered free lunches. They also get commissions from their photographs that are sold. The work as a princess is more important than even the school work, and their school supplies are provided for them. So there is nothing more really that a girl can ask for.
20. Log Horizon
Tetora is actually a male in real life but got stuck as a woman when there was a catastrophe, and she was using a female Human Cleric idol character at the time. Even though it was an accident, she still seems to have started adjusting to her new body without showing any kind of distress. She also does not show any kind of desire to return to her original male form. Due to her androgynous appearance, her guildmates were quite confused in the beginning.
19. Maria † Holic
Kanako has a sincere wish; it is to get admission in an all-girls school. It seems quite normal at first, but everything is not always the way it seems, because Kanako is a lesbian girl who dreams of doing perverted things to the girls in her school. She even finds her prey, but the complication is that the girl Kanako thought would be her prey is a cross-dressing boy named Mariya. Now it is a problem for Kanako because she hates boys and even breaks out into hives as soon as she comes into contact with a boy.
18. I My Me! Strawberry Eggs
This anime shows a rare aspect of gender inequality, gender discrimination towards the male population. The protagonist of this anime, Hibiki, wants to apply for a job in the Seito Sannomiya Private School, but he faces rejection solely because he is a guy. It makes him decide to prove something and also to earn a living; he transforms into a girl with the help of his friends so that he can get the job. Now you will have to see how he manages everything like a girl.
17. Tetsuwan Birdy Decode (Birdy the Mighty Decode)
There are body-swapping and gender change, but what happens when a guy has to share a body with a female humanoid intergalactic police officer. When Birdy is chasing an alien criminal on planet Earth, she accidentally kills a boy named Tsutomu. But it was a good thing that he could be saved from getting wiped out of existence by merging his body with Birdy’s. They have the power to interchange their bodies so they both can live their own lives.
16. Mahou Shoujo Ore
This anime has a lot of bizarre factors. When Saki Uno has to take up her mother’s job because of her back injury, she gets dictated by a Yakuza with a very uncommon name Kokoro that she is a Magical girl who needs to fight demons. She was very shocked when she found herself getting transformed into a very muscular man wearing a pink dress, and when the demons happened to have cute bear faces with very muscular bodies. But she has to do it no matter what, especially when she wants to save the boy she likes and also to save her dying career as an idol singer.
15. Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru (Otoboku: Maidens are Falling for Me)
Let’s not judge a boy for dressing up as a girl to get admission in an all-girls school. He had to do it because of his late grandfather, whose wish was for his grandchild to attend the same school as his daughter, but that was impossible as it was a girl school, and his grandchild was a boy. But everything turns out well when the said grandson dresses up as a girl and joins the school, and the students start liking him there.
14. Cinderella Boy
Here the two main characters Ranma and Rella, have their private detective agency. One day both of them get into an accident, and after that, they have not seen each other. The part that freaks them out the most is where they have a 24-hour long blackout, as they don’t remember what happened during those 24 hours. But the thing that actually happened is that the doctor who treated them put both of them in the same body. Now they switch bodies every midnight without any recollection of what the other did.
13. Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl)
This one is quite a complicated and weird one. Here the protagonist who happens to be a boy named Hazumu dies when an alien spacecraft lands on him. The aliens took it upon themselves to revive him, and they successfully did it. But things got complicated when they revived ‘him’ as a ‘her.’ After getting resurrected as a girl, his crush Yasuna professes her love to him, while earlier, she rejected him because she can see guys properly and only sees a blur. Now he is confused between his crush and his childhood friend, Tomari, who confesses that she has feelings for him while he is a girl. So, now he has to decide whether he wants to remain a girl for Yasuna, or wants to get back to his original gender for Tomari.
12. Oda Nobuna no Yabou (The Ambition of Oda Nobuna)
A high school student, Yoshiharu Sagara, who finds himself in the middle of a war and is almost killed if not for the legendary Hideyoshi Toyotomi. But in the process of saving Yoshiharu, Toyotomi loses his life. Before dying, he asks Yoshiharu to become a feudal lord in his place. It changes history, and Yoshiharu pledges to stop it from changing any further. Among all this chaos, he saves Nobuna Oda, who is the female version of Nobunaga Oda, and finds out that in the alternate universe that he is a part of most of the warlords are women, and he becomes a part of this journey.
11. Yamada-kun to 7nin no Majo (Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches)
It’s not really gender change that is shown in this anime, it shows body swapping between a girl and a boy. The school delinquent Yamada, one day, accidentally kisses the school top student Shiraishi. But unknown to Yamada, Shiraishi is a witch, and her power is body-swapping, which is activated by a kiss, and well, isn’t it what they did accidentally. So, now Yamada is stuck in Shiraishi’s body, and to get out of it, he needs to find other witches. There are other witches in the school, and Yamada has to kiss them all, or at least find out who they are.
10. Body Jack – Tanoshii Yutai Ridatsu
The anime is about Dr. Toyama, who takes control of the body of a girl who is beautiful with the help of his strange invention. The young Asagedani is allowed by him to slip into the body of the girl so that he can be able to experience how it feels to be a girl. But then the girl’s classmate mistakes his activities as a sexual advance from her friend because of the body swap issue. You need to watch the anime to find out how the doctor solves his problem.
A tragic story of a boy who went to sleep as himself but woke up to be a girl, and just not any normal girl but a Kämpfer. Now, this tragic story might not be that tragic because being a Kämpfer is good, but being a Kämpfer who gets to fight other Kämpfers is even better. The aspect that makes this sudden change even more bearable is the fact that now everyone, whether a girl or a guy, is seen to be fawning over him (or should it be her), and this fact makes him giddy.
This story deals a great deal with gender issues and many other themes. Here you get to see the characters given a choice to change their gender. In most of the gender bender genre anime, you will see that most of the gender changes happen either unconsciously or forcefully without once consent, but that is not the case in this anime. The plot tells the story of a kingdom named Simulacrum where every newborn is a girl, but on their 17th birthday, they get the choice of changing into a man if they want.
7. Minami-ke (The Minami Family)
What do you think about dressing yourself as a girl in order to be a part of your crush’s life? This brilliant idea was thought of by our main character Makoto, who liked a girl named Minami Kana and was even ready to become a girl to be with her. Minami’s two sisters dressed him into a girl, and this enables him to spend time with Minami whenever he wanted to in her own house. As he continues to pretend to be a girl, you will find him enjoying the process of cross-dressing.
6. Tenshi na Konamaiki
We all wish to meet a genie at least once in our lives. Megumi is a very aggressive young boy who had the good luck to meet a genie named Pierre. Megumi wished to become a strong man in a strong man’s body in front of Pierre. But he gets turned into a girl Megumi, who gets angry and throws away the book from where the genie came. Now after some years, he enrolls in a high school where the school bully falls in love with him after getting beaten up.
5. Aoharu x Kikanjuu (Aoharu x Machinegun)
A girl can be confused as a boy in a world which is full of pretty boys. Hotaru Tachibana, the protagonist of this anime, faces something similar to this situation. Hotaru is a girl who loves to play online games, and one day you will find her joining the team, and both her teammates are pretty boys. But the complication in all of this is that these boys will never allow a girl to be a part of their team. So, you can guess what Hotaru does next, and you will have to find out whether she can play the role of a boy well.
4. Maze Bakunetsu Jikuu (Maze: The Megaburst Space)
Maze is a young girl who one day wakes up from sleep with amnesia but also with her room half destroyed. Everything goes further downhill from then on as she finds out that she has been transported to a magical realm. There she accidentally saves a runaway princess Mills from her enemies. One of the cool parts of this change in Maze’s life is that she acquired magic powers, but it is also true that at night she also becomes a man who is only interested in sex. Now, the characters of girl Maze and boy Maze are very different and can be considered as two individual characters.
3. Himegoto (Secret Princess)
This anime also revolves around the plot of owing debts. After so many anime, you should never make debts because debts change your gender. Here you will find a young, High School going guy who has a huge amount of debts, but those debts are paid off by some good people. Everything becomes a mess after this, as these good people turn out to be the members of the student’s council of an all-girl school. Well then it is quite predictable as to what happens to this guy – he had to spend the rest of his high school dressed as a girl.
2. Ranma ½
Ranma Saotome is a boy who was trained from a very young age in the field of martial arts, and he has become a very talented martial artist after he has grown up. But then something bizarre happens in his life. He gets into an accident, and everything changes after that. From then on, whenever he would come in contact with cold water, he would turn into a girl but would change back if he touches warm water.
1. Kokoro Connect
This is utter chaos. Everything is a mess, and no one has anything they can do about it. The lives of five students, who were also members of the Cultural Resource Club, become crazy when they start swapping bodies among each other out of the blue without any transparent reason or any of their consent. In the beginning, it was all fun and games, but soon they understand the serious situation they are in, and the problems they might face because of this situation. They understand that their friendship with each other is on the line, and they can lose more than they can afford to.