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Twitter is falling in love with this anime’s zombie trans girl

Crunchyroll/YouTube

Meet Lily Hoshikawa, trans Twitter’s latest role model.

Warning: Spoilers for episode 8 of Zombie Land Saga follows.

Trans women just received representation from an unexpected source: a comedy anime about zombie idol girls. Cygames’ Zombie Land Saga revealed that idol Lily Hoshikawa is a young transgender girl, and the series’ trans fans are ecstatic.

For the uninitiated, Zombie Land Saga follows a zombie idol group called Franchouchou. Its members come from various walks of life across Japanese history, from courtesans to biker gangs, and they’re all zombies. That’s right, they’re all undead. That includes a young child actress named Lily Hoshikawa, who passed away when she was 12 years old.

In the series’ eighth episode, Lily reveals that she was previously assigned male at birth under her deadname, “Masao Go.” She passed away after noticing her first black whisker on her face, causing her to die from sheer anguish.

Of course, being a zombie is a blessing for Lily; now that she’s undead, she won’t go through puberty. She proceeds to come out to her fellow idols, who struggle with her trans identity at first, but ultimately accept her as a fellow girl.

“I’m still Lily, and that’s who I’m always going to be,” she says in the episode. Later on, she stresses “I am not Masao anymore! My name is Lily!”

It didn’t take long for fans to confirm that Lily is a trans girl. The series’ creators treat her as a girl, gender her as such online, and previous episodes hint to her trans identity. In short, Lily’s character arc is a trans one—and it’s pretty obvious.

For trans Twitter users, Lily is an easy character to love. She isn’t just petite and adorable, she literally dies from gender dysphoria. That’s way too relatable. She’s more than ready to stand up for herself, too, and assert her gender identity. She’s the perfect trans girl role model.

Lily fanart is also taking over Twitter, as artists drape her in the trans flag’s colors.

The girls and their manager, Kotaro Tatsumi, make for pretty great allies to boot.

It goes without saying that trans fans received plenty of pushback over Lily. Some anime viewers keep calling her a “trap,” a derogatory term used against trans women that conflates trans girls with crossdressers. Lily’s fans have since hit back, pointing out how the show pretty explicitly treats Lily as transgender and criticizes anyone who says otherwise.

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This isn’t the first time an anime series became a flashpoint for trans issues. Last December, a reveal trailer for Catherine: Full Body’s upcoming character Rin received criticism in light of the original game’s transphobia. Meanwhile, Doki Doki Literature Club creator Dan Salvato vocally criticized fans who were calling one of its characters a “trap.” 

While trans anime fans face an uphill battle with combating transphobia across fandoms, it’s refreshing to know there’s at least one character that has their backs—even if she’s undead.

Ana Valens

Ana Valens

Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.