“No matter what the situation…the correct answer is always twintails!” -Mitsuka Soji
Hair can be deep, real deep. For females especially, hair is a girl’s best friend. And it’s not too hard to see why. Hair can make people look good and girls often spend tons of money on hair care products to keep their locks split-end free and in tip-top condition.
Hair is a common symbol in literature and other storytelling mediums. For women, hair represents beauty, strength and elegance–attributes of feminine identity. How one does one’s hair tells a lot about a gal. Tradition suggests that long locks are considered more feminine–shorter, pixie cuts tend to be associated with tomboyish girls. Letting one’s hair down is favored style among younger women while tidying up one’s hair in buns and updos are associated with older or married women.
Twintails (also known as pigtails) are a hairstyle that are almost always associated with young girls.
Gonna be the Twintail!! (Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu) doesn’t pretend to be a deep show but manages to say a few clever things about hair and female identity. Using twintails as the motif for exploring female sexuality actually kind of works.
How do twintails relate to female sexuality? As previously mentioned, twintails are a hair style associated with young girls. It seems that almost all girls go through a phase where they sport some twintails. And why not? Twintails are associated with cuteness and youth–two things that Japan goes crazy over.
Twintails are also associated with the innocence of childhood, which makes them a perfect vehicle for representing sexual innocence. Unlike your typical light-novel (LN) male protagonist, Mitsuka Soji isn’t interested in breasts, lips or butts–he’s a straight up twintails guy.
While the fluidity of gender roles provides plenty of fanservice and humor for viewers who want it, Soji’s ability to transform into Tail Red, a superhero girl with magical powers is an important component to the story’s commentary on feminine identity. Soji’s obsession with twintail hair indicates his virginity–both physically and emotionally. He isn’t romantically interested in girls–much to the disappointment of his harem–and sexual innuendos don’t even register on his radar. He ignores sexual advances and is baffled by his mother’s (and others) attempts to have him get laid. Although he might be on the only guy on Team Twintails, he’s unmistakably the most feminine of them all.
Soji’s obsession with twintail hair makes him viewed as an eccentric. Why? Because guys aren’t typically supposed to have weird hair fetishes? No, because his obsession with twintails is not a fad or a phase he’s going through. Hairstyles and fads come and go. While certain hairstyles have staying power, twintails is one of the few that has a peak age–you see young girls wearing twintails, you rarely see twintails in older women. Along the same lines, Soji’s intense passion for twintails when he is on the cusp of childhood and adulthood seems inappropriate.
Like a child though, Soji’s love for twintails is pure, unadulterated, and unsullied. To him, twintails represent the epitome of beauty. He puts them on a pedestal, the way a child might worship a hero. And lucky for him, as Tail Red, he can live his dream of not only having twintails but helping to propagate them on Earth. What he doesn’t know is that his image of twintails is an unrealistic, fleeting dream.
Soji finds it horrifying that certain individuals like Twoearle can’t ever wear twintails. While this may seem silly–after all, it’s just a matter of just arranging one’s hair into twintails, the permanence of Twoearle’s inability to wear twintails is directly related to the fixed state of one’s loss of virginity. Twoearle, by losing her twintails, has lost her virginity, and cannot ever hope to reclaim her virgin state. The hands of time are unforgivably unidirectional–sexual maturity once realized cannot be undone.
The looming threat of the Ultimegil’s invasion can be interpreted as the ominous inevitability of sexual maturation. Soji might be able to live freely in his virgin paradise as Tail Red now, but sooner or later, one normal day, he’ll start to pay attention to something other than those fetching twin-tails, and for the first time in his life, a different, more primal, and infinitely more terrifying impulse will take precedence over his fawning over the cuteness of a girl’s twintails.
“What has come over me? How is that I’m not preoccupied with Aika’s twintails, but even more so with her lips. That’s no good. To even forget about twintails for a moment…that isn’t possible, is it?” -Mitsuka Soji
While this might mean the end of his career as Tail Red, there is a silver lining. Soji’s love for twintails has been characterized as overwhelmingly powerful, but never particularly complex. This is largely because Soji’s twintail obsession objectifies women. We see this in how Soji categorizes girls as with and without twintails, and for those with twintails, their specific subtypes. He doesn’t see just how much care is put into a girl’s hair and how a girl is so much more than her hair. Seeing past those twintails, to the girl between them, is the first step towards becoming an adult.
No child, however he or she thinks otherwise, actually likes growing up, but it’s a storm that we all have to weather through. Puberty is a frightening experience because what we lose in the process of becoming adults may be worth more than what we gain as adults. The best outcome is to find out that our childhood dreams and passions feed directly or indirectly into our adult pursuits. Twintails may no longer be your one and only love, but they might still hold a special place in your heart.