Fans of the anime Gatchaman Crowds have spoken — according to a recent survey conducted by Anime Maru, the only thing important about the series is character Rui Ninomiya’s gender. Though some respondents cited such things as the show’s deeply introspective plot, relevance to the modern world, and creative use of social media as a plot point, an overwhelming number of fans pointed to Rui’s ambiguous gender as being the sole thing keeping them watching week after week.
The results of the survey came as something of a shock to director Kenji Nakamura, who has confirmed on multiple occasions that Rui is, in fact, a boy. “I don’t know where you people are getting this!” Nakamura stated in a recent interview. “I look at this survey and think to myself, ‘what is going on in these peoples’ heads?’ For the last time, Rui-kun is not a girl, transgender, or anything else for that matter. He is just a boy who likes wearing cute things because they make him happy. And listen, we didn’t have any kind of social or political agenda in creating Rui, we just wanted to make a cute character with strong convictions and ideals, that’s all. There is many different ways to interpret Crowds as a story of the modern era, but trying and make the whole thing about gender is not one of them.”
Many fans of the anime have been up in arms, taking to tumblr and threatening to boycott the rest of the second season if their incredibly narrow view of popular culture is not met. Many bloggers have even gone so far as to bombard certain members of the production crew with angry e-mails and letters (most of which were in English and likely ignored) stating that Mr. Nakamura’s statements were somehow offensive, though most failed to clarify just how that was true.
Others in the journalism field have also chimed in on the issue, with one reviewer from a lesser anime news site calling Rui a girl no less then three dozens times across multiple articles. When corrected on the matter by many fans, the reviewer in question has recently taken to calling Rui by name instead of using any sort of pronouns, resulting in awkward writing that is rather painful to read at times.
In the past, several members of the Gatchman Crowds production crew have gone on record as including Rui among the anime’s male cast, such as in the statement found here translated by tumblr user yoshi-x2., However, such statements seem to have been ignored by much of the fanbase online, who instead have chosen to write dozens of manifestos about Rui’s gender that completely ignore not only his underlying character, but also Crowd’s plot as well.
It seems this trend wil continue on for the foreseeable future, many anime analysts believe, as the recent revelation that Gelsadra, a red-skinned alien from the second season, was in fact male, rather then female as most viewers originally thought,will likely spawn another seemingly endless parade of poorly thought out essays and blog posting written entirely in capital letters.