Getting into anime means exposing yourself to a lot of new ideas, for example learning concepts like senpai and kohai (senior/junior in a school or organization). which we don’t generally have in English. It also means getting used to stories about characters whose genders might not be what they seem at first glance. I’ve been watching the “fan service” anime Mayo Chiki!, the latest in a long line of series involving “female” characters who are actually boys (“traps”), or girls pretending to be boys for some reason (“reverse traps”). The themes in Mayo Chiki! are by no means rare, and many anime series (Maria Holic, Baka Test) and visual novels (our X-Change/Yin-Yang series, Princess Waltz) employ stories about characters with ambiguous or changing genders in one form or another — you should see the gender-bent fanart Hetalia or Haruhi fans create on the Interwebs, too. Stories of characters in non-standard gender roles have deep roots in Japan, and people here are fascinated by Kabuki actors who are able to play female roles as well as members of the famous Takarazuka Revue, in which all stage roles including male ones are performed by talented females. Why are these stories so popular? I’m not sure, but I can tell you that female characters speaking masculine Japanese is…pretty darned hot.
Mayo Chiki! is a fun “reverse trap” anime.