A bold claim on my part, but it’s true. Awhile back I wrote about Tokyo Babylon and the relationship between Subaru and Hokuto Sumeragi and how excited I was to see it. I wasn’t expecting to see them since most manga/anime rarely have twins and when they do it’s even more rare to see boy/girl fraternal twins represented.
I want to explain that fraternal twins come in three variations. Fraternal twins can be two girls, two boys, or a boy and a girl. This occurs because fraternal twins happen when two separate eggs are fertilized at the same time. Identical twins occur when one egg is fertilized and then separates into two. (Just some background for those who might not remember that part of Biology.) Famous same gender fraternal twins in anime/manga are Yuzu and Karin Kurosaki from Bleach, and then Rin and Yukio Okimura from Blue Exorcist. However, I’m only focusing on twins that comprise one male and one female.
Like finding a character that looks like you, or has a similar name, finding fraternal twin representation is really hard in manga. Or I should specify that finding positive representation is hard. There’s way too many sets of fraternal twins that fall into some really negative, and rather disturbing trends when I was researching. In fact I have two whole posts on the subject of negative portrayals of fraternal twins in anime/manga which I put a little too much effort into that turned into a raving negative mess.
Instead of focusing on the negative, despite the amount of time I sank into it, I’d rather focus on the positive. After doing some research and reviewing my completed anime and manga I realized that two of my favorites series, ever, have the two sets of twins I support the most as positive representations. I hadn’t even really considered that maybe part of the reason I loved these two series was because of the twins…
Without further ado or dwelling on the negative, here’s the two best sets of fraternal boy/girl twins:
Subaru and Hokuto Sumeragi
Before I get into spoilers, let’s talk the good stuff. Hokuto, is considered the ‘lesser’ of the two omoyouji’s, as in her power is lower then Subaru’s. While this could set up a ‘power grab’ between the two, it never happens. Subaru goes along with his fate that he has to be the next in line for the clan, and Hokuto immediately becomes his backup. While we often see Subaru at least in Tokyo Babylon battling it out, that doesn’t mean Hokuto’s hopeless. Hokuto knows her skills, and often utilizes them to assist her brother and other’s without their knowledge.
Subaru is the more ‘submissive’ of the twins in personality. Hokuto is often seen as the ‘dominant’ twin, with her often yelling or loudly expressing her displeasure. Rather then being a dominant verses submissive situation it’s some very normal and realistic personality traits.
This is honestly where I saw myself and my own twin. I was always the loud one, quick to boss my brother into playing with me and the like. My twin brother is a genius even when we were kids. I harbored some jealousy towards him, but more often set myself up to be his cheerleader. My brother never told people about his accomplishments, but I was more then happy too. Just like Subaru and Hokuto, our talents were different and I had no problem backing my brother up in my own way and style. It really warmed my heart to see that in media, let alone a manga.
Subaru and my brother were really similar as they let us, the sisters get away with being loud or overbearing essentially ‘for them’. Subaru would never yell at the family for overworking him, but Hokuto would. My brother would never tell people no, but I certainly would for him.
They’re not competition with one another ever. They know their skills, and they know their siblings skills/strengths as well. Rather then trying to sabotage one another, in Tokyo Babylon they just build each other up to the best of their abilities.
This next bit is a bit spoiler heavy for X/1999, so jump to the next line break if you want to skip.
The next part of the twins is the… true drama of being a twin. Which is the terrifying idea that one of you dies first. No one likes to think about dying, and with twins it’s even more wild. You’ve literally had this other person with you since birth, how would you ever live without them?
Unfortunately, that’s the reality of X/1999 is that Hokuto left earlier then Subaru and honestly… it’s so realistic. After talking with other, older twins who are now a ‘twinless twins’ and showing them some scenes of Subaru without Hokuto… well it confirmed my fear. It’s realistic what Subaru goes through as a grieving twin. (I can’t speak about the monsters he has to battle and/or being a savior of the world maybe.) The sense of loss and how to cope with it in relation to Hokuto is very real, and a very honest look at something I haven’t seen any coverage on before in fiction.
It’s not something I’m necessarily proud of or makes me happy to see but seeing it even having this sort of trauma of being a twin acknowledge is amazing in my opinion. I’m so thankful for CLAMP to dare and take a shot and writing something that real and raw.
Megumi and Jun Yamamoto
Oh S.A. that’s a series that when I look at it is just a conglomeration of so many other previous plots but I do love it so. These two are considerably more ‘boring’ then Subaru and Hokuto. Both of them are incredibly smart twins, ranked within the Top 10 of their school. For awhile Megumi and Jun Yamamoto really only had each other and their best friend Ryu Tsuji.
I do agree and acknowledge that twins can be very exclusive in nature and often prefer each other’s company then other’s especially when they are young. Megumi and Jun do a great job of showing this especially in flashbacks to their young lives. I can only imagine it gets worse with more money involves though. I wasn’t exactly pleased with this trait being carried into high school (as it rarely does in the real world). However, it gave both Megumi and Jun a ton of ability to really grow as characters and people. The way they chose to develop their relationships with other members of S.A. and their significant others at their own pace was fantastically done.
Personally, my twin and I never had the problem of being too exclusive. I had my group of friends, and my twin kept to himself for awhile. Not anti-social but just preferring the group of a few rather then many.
A weird coincidence is the both Megumi and I didn’t talk. Granted, Megumi did it as a young adult, and I did it as a child. Nonetheless, I never thought about being non-verbal as a twin girl being something I would see in manga, let alone write about but here we are! What’s heartwarming is how in-tune to Megumi Jun remains to be, able to speak on behalf of his sister for awhile until later chapters. It’s an effect that very few would notice, except, well for me!
As in my case, I had a non-verbal stage as a child. I won’t go into details other then now you can’t get me to shut up. (kidding, mostly). My brother, much like Jun, was very in tune to me and often was able to speak on my behalf. The best instance was me just gesturing at the cabinet and my mom pulling everything out of it in frustration. My twin brother walked by, looked at me, looked at the cabinet and said ‘She wants a cookie’ and walked away. My mom was never the same after that. That’s just a fun aside to the main point though.
Another thing is that the Megumi and Jun have no sense of competition with one another. Both of them got into S.A. on their own intelligence and individuality, and they’re both smart in different aspects. Both of them have completely different interests and it shows in the series. They support each other, attending events or offering support and encouragement. There’s some hesitation between the two at points, when significant others get involved especially, but it’s never more then the natural level of concern.
I never made the Top 10 of my school, but my twin sure as hell did. Yeah they had special events and awards for being ‘that smart’ as it were. However, my mom always demanded that I be included in it to support my brother and support him I did. I was never resentful of his academic intelligence. Much like Megumi my talents laid with the arts; I was the editor of our once a year art magazine and everyone knew me for that.
Megumi and Jun weren’t fighting off demons or other supernatural baddies. Neither were my brother and I. When it comes to representation it doesn’t always have to be this big, exciting, over-the-top-holy-crap type of representation, at least in my opinion. Sometimes you just want to see people like you acting like normal people, you know?
And thus, concludes the much more positive version of the best representations of (confirmed) fraternal twins in anime/manga. I’d love to hear from other twins about other’s I might have missed, or just other people’s thoughts and perceptions as non-twins. Drop a comment below and make my day!