The History Of Anime Traps, How The Trend Began, And Why It Matters

The History Of Anime Traps And How The Trend Began 1
Written by Theo J Ellis

The history of anime traps, these types of characters, why they look the way they look and more will be shared in this post.

That includes other things like:

  • Controversies.
  • Social media censorship.
  • Backlash.
  • Prominent anime shows.
  • What anime traps are NOT.

And a ton more. The history goes back longer than most anime fans think or realize.

Let’s talk about it!

 

What is an anime trap?

 

An anime trap is a crossdressing anime character found in various shows. You tend to find them in school anime or comedy, but it’s not exclusive.

It’s not exclusive to crossdressing but they tend to be. And of course they’re feminine so they’re mistaken to be women.

An androgynous male is another way of describing traps in anime, but they can be both genders (reverse traps).

Some romance anime and less commonly Police series, action, fantasy, or Shounen can feature TRAP characters as well.

People confuse trap characters with trans, but that’s 99% of the time NOT what a trap character is. It’s a crossdresser or a feminine character who’s usually male.

There is no “transformation” stage where a man becomes a woman, with the exception of anime shows like Zombieland Saga.

Being crossdressing characters DOES allow trans fans to relate to these characters though as there are obvious similarities.

 

Where the history of anime traps began

Osamu Tezuka metropolis manga 1949

It officially started with Osamu Tezuka’s manga in 1949, believe it or not. The manga was called Metropolis.

The character in this panel is a TRAP by definition, though the word was nowhere near catching on during this time in history.

The manga has parallels to real life with a scientist talking about how Dinosaurs became extinct because they could no longer adapt, and wonders if humans will ever reach that point in future.

ranma TRAP

It then continued in the year 1989. A special year for many reasons. One of those reasons is the anime Ranma 1/2.

This anime is about Ranma Saotome, a martial artist from China who ends up falling in a hot spring that curses whoever falls in.

This “curse” makes it so when Ranma is splashed with water or falls into it, his gender changes, becoming a woman with red hair in particular.

You can think of it as his “other half” since this effect remains, though he can become a boy again through the same method.

You can clearly see how Ranma 1/2 is responsible for the eventual future of anime traps since it influenced the trope to a more “mainstream” level, even if not in the same way it ended up being portrayed years later.

aoi trap anime youre under arrest e1646488871278

This “trend” of anime traps, and especially the more common feature of crossdressing continued in anime shows like You’re Under Arrest.

This police series based in Tokyo released in the 1990’s and is considered an underrated classic today.

In the anime you have main characters like Miyuki Kobayakawa and Natsumi Tsujimoto who work for the Tokyo police force. But within that police unit there’s a character called Aoi.

Aoi as they’re called is the definition of a TRAP. He cross-dresses as a female police officer, to the point where Aoi is referred to as a “she”.

There’s also no bias and others accept Aoi as they are. It’s not a judgmental anime in that way, despite the time period.

Rurouni Kenshin is another anime with a TRAP character from the 1990’s, and Sailor Moon as well.

 

The real trigger that turned “TRAP” into an internet slang term

its a trap star wars image meme

There’s a famous scene in the STAR WARS franchise. Return Of The Jedi is the series in particular.

Admiral Ackbar, one of the characters is quoted saying “IT’S A TRAP” when discovering and reacting to an ambush by an enemy fleet.

The year was 2004.

This reaction meme obviously blew up so big that eventual sites like 4Chan, the back alley site of the internet started to share the image in relation to anime.

That lead to the word TRAP being used in the anime community to the degree it’s used today, and the way it’s joked about constantly.

Social media eventually played a role in pushing that to another level after forums did the initial groundwork of blowing it up.

 

Anime TRAPS in the 2000’s

Ritsu Sohma 2001 anime fruits basket e1646488964830

As the year 2000’s kicked off, some prominent traps were highlighted. One of them being Ritsu Sohma from Fruits Basket (2001).

This anime is about Tohru Honda, a girl who after being homeless when her mum dies, has nowhere else to stay.

She’s adopted by the Sohma family, a family of men who turn into an animal from the Chinese zodiac after being “hugged” by the opposite sex.

But this wasn’t as famous as other traps at the time.

haku trap naruto anime character

One truly famous anime trap from the 2000’s that’s still referenced today is from the anime‘s industry’s big hitter Naruto.

During the first season of Naruto when everyone is still kids, Naruto meets a character called HAKU who looks like a girl on the surface.

This is because of how Haku dresses, and Haku’s long hair as well. And his feminine looks overall.

During one scene Naruto is SHOCKED when Haku before leaving says “by the way, I’m a guy”, which is part of the joke when fans say “IT’S A TRAP”.

These moments are what those words relate to.

 

The controversy of anime traps

reddit trap word banned subreddit censorship anime

At some point down the line, more so in the late 2000’s, the word “TRAP” was claimed to be a slur by the WOKE crowd on Reddit.

It’s more accurate to say the WOKE moderators of the now deleted subreddit relating to anime traps.

A site called Anilist made a similar copycat move after Reddit’s announcement.

In the era of trying to “policing” certain words that have no correlation with being derogatory or negative, “trap” is considered controversial by a loud minority who’s known for cancelling anything they don’t like, and drawing attention to things that are nonsensical.

 

Are Traps Gay?

YouTube video

This is a common question in the anime community, usually phrased as a sarcastic joke, and posted as memes as well.

Some anime fans don’t believe traps are gay for their own reasons, others do believe it.

My take on it it is yes, Traps are VERY gay. And they’re definitely bisexual if you wanna take it even further.

What I mean by that is if a straight guy finds traps attractive (Men who are feminine or cross-dress), that either implies you’re gay or you’re bisexual.

Otherwise the attraction wouldn’t make any sense since you’re intellectually aware it’s a man crossdressing, but with feminine characteristics.

But that’s just me.

 

The trend of anime traps

anime traps statistics since 2004 trends anime

Since 2004, the trend of anime traps has grown and hasn’t stopped ever since. It’s still on an upward trend.

That means more and more people are using the word “anime trap” more often, they’re searching for it more often, and more fans are being exposed to the definition.

Not to mention more fans are curious as to what it means, which characters are traps, and things relating to the term in general.

anime traps map trends google anime

And believe it or not, but the TOP 5 COUNTRIES who search for anime traps are:

  • Philippines.
  • Vietnam.
  • Indonesia.
  • Malaysia.
  • Singapore.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the most attracted to traps, but it means they do search for it the most.

It’s not too surprising considering these countries are also MASSIVE hubs for anime, anime fans, and people who love anime on levels most can’t understand.

They’re fanatical.

 

The future of anime trapp’n

rider of black astolfo gif

As it stands the trend of anime traps aren’t going away. They’ve become a staple in the anime community and a source of memes, sarcasm, fun, and humor on a daily basis.

Aside from that, traps have also become favorite characters for many anime fans regardless of what way they swing.

More crossdressing characters will show up, and potentially anime characters who are actually trans as opposed to being gay or feminine.

 

SOURCES:

  • Google Trends.
  • Know Your Meme.
  • Wikia.
  • Reddit.
  • YouTube.
  • Wikipedia.

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