Utsumi Natsuyoshi – My 2nd Favorite Character in Shimanami Tasogare

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“Don’t pity us and feel superior.”

When I was at Crunchyroll Expo in 2017, I had a nice lunch with a colleague who I hadn’t seen in a while. We talked about what was going on in our lives and she said I should do a book with my blog posts to help promote mental health awareness. She felt that I was doing a good thing for the community. I was trying to process some stuff at the time and felt maybe I can try to do something back for fandom.

However, a few years later, I’m starting to wonder if it’s really something I want. While I did talk about Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare’s Someone-san as an important character I can relate to, there’s another character that stands out to me as well – Utsumi Natsuyoshi.

Utsumi is a transgender man who used to be referred as Natsumi when he was a female child growing up. His backstory gets revealed in Volume 3 of the series as one of his female classmates in high school, Oyama, recognizes him at a tile-making workshop Utsumi was teaching at. Oyama then starts to volunteer at the drop-in center where Utsumi spends his time. She then tells Utsumi to join her to meet all the old girl friends from their high school volleyball days. Utsumi goes to the meetup with some discomfort as Oyama believes that being transgender is a disorder compared to being gay. The meetup becomes unbearable for Utsumi as Oyama wanted Utsumi to be a spokesperson/advocate for sexual minorities at her daughter’s school. Utsumi believes that it’s not his interest to be a role model and tells Oyama to back off as she was forcing her unwarranted optimism onto him.

Where to start with this? I …continue reading