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I am confused at how people describe gender roles and their trope classification in anime. I understand that traps are characters appearing to be girls but are actually guys. One of my favorite traps of all time is Steins;Gate's Ruka Urushibara.

However, I don't get what "reverse traps" are. Are they appearing to be traps but are actually legit girls (a trap trap)? Or a character that initially appears to be a boy, but is actually a girl (a girl trap)? For clarity, consider what you would call Charlotte (Charles) Dunios from Infinite Stratos.

charles charlotte

EDIT: This post is not intended to be offensive to other genders in any way, the naming convention of "traps" pertain to fictional characters in anime/manga only.

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    I have no clue how anyone could find this offensive – Pharap Dec 6 '14 at 7:00
  • I have never heard of this term. Is it a concept and term used in subculture in Japan, or was it invented by otaku outside of Japan? – seijitsu Jun 12 '15 at 1:54
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A traditional 'trap' is a boy disguised as a female. Note that this is not simply boys who look feminine, but characters who are pretending to be the opposite sex or who are presumed to be by the narrative of the medium.

Example 'traditional' trap:

Maria from Maria✝Holic

enter image description here

& Steins;Gate's Ruka Urushibara (as you mentioned earlier)

Not a trap: Ryuunosuke Akasaka (The Pet Girl of Sakurasou)

enter image description here

A 'reverse trap' is simply the opposite - A female character pretending to be a male one. This is why Charlotte falls under this category. (Until she is outed to be a female). Similar to above, characters who are masculine are not strictly reverse traps.

Example 'reverse' trap:

Haruhi Fujioka - Ouran Highschool Host Club

enter image description here

Not a reverse trap: Yū Kashima from Nozaki-Kun

enter image description here

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    Aah, so they should either be pretending or otherwise presumed by the audience. I've always thought Kashima was a reverse trap. Thanks, that cleared it up :) – romcom_god Dec 6 '14 at 1:34
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    No problem :) that's why they're 'traps' I suppose – Toshinou Kyouko Dec 6 '14 at 9:47
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A reverse trap, also known as a Bifauxnen (a portmanteau of Bishōnen and faux, meaning false in French), is simply a girl who resembles a boy. Conversely, what is commonly referred to as a "trap" by the English speaking audience simply refers to a boy who has the qualities of a girl, or otherwise known as a Bishōnen.

Charolotte Dunois would be a reverse trap using these definitions.

Sources:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Bifauxnen?from=Main.ReverseTrap http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Bishonen

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    "Bifauxnen" is read as "beef" + [-ounen] from "shounen" :) – Hakase Dec 5 '14 at 15:44
  • Bif aux nen? Sounds French. – кяαzєя Dec 5 '14 at 23:28
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    /Bee-fow-nen/ ? It's the first time I've heard this. Learned something today, thanks :) – romcom_god Dec 6 '14 at 1:38

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