One of the popular recurring themes in anime history is that some characters look the opposite of their actual gender. The reason could be because of looks, and some just prefer to become a woman at heart. There are numerous series lately that are showing this theme, and even popular shonen series like One Piece and Naruto had their fair share of such characters.
Haku is a male character in the Naruto series who dresses and looks so feminine. To be honest, everyone watching Naruto for the first time will react that he is one of the most beautiful female characters in the series. But upon learning more about Haku, we got slapped with the bitter reality.
In this article, we will not talk about Haku’s unique Kekkei Genkai, the Ice-Release, and his jutsus. We will talk about his gender, and so as the reason why he decided to dress like a lady. In this way, we will understand more about this short-lived, yet very popular partner of Zabuza, who is a popular character in his own right, too.
Haku is a boy since he was born. He acted and lived just like a boy in his snowy village hometown in the Land of Water. He was never a girl, to begin with, but his appearance tells otherwise. Haku is an androgynous male, giving him features that are more on the female’s side. When he was young, he looking like a little girl. Thus, Haku was granted a beautiful face, which Naruto noted to be more beautiful than Sakura.
But even if Haku is a man, to begin with, he still tends to drop someone’s guard because of his beautiful appearance. Surely, and as a shinobi, Haku would use this to his full advantage against opponents who might get distracted when he pretends to be a girl. Thus, her feminine appearance has granted him an advantage in attacking enemies. This is very evident when Naruto first saw him but had no idea that such a beautiful girl would be a man, and a mercenary at the same time.
As for Zabuza, he held a special bond with Haku, like a father and son relationship. Zabuza is fully aware of Haku’s real gender, and the fact that he only looks like a girl. Zabuza still treated him like a son, and not as a daughter despite his looks. But since Haku was a child, he was well-trained by Zabuza to become a killing machine who would act as Zabuza’s “weapon”, aside from his sword. After all, looks only matter for a while in the ninja world of Naruto.
Sadly, there is no such jutsu in Naruto that would alter one’s gender (but please enlighten me if you find one). Haku being androgynous is a natural occurrence that rarely happens to people. Sure, there’s Orochimaru who might be capable of manipulating genes, but he did not know Haku at all and might resort to taking over Haku’s body instead had he known about him. If there was any, for sure Haku would have no interest in attaining it due to his character, and how short-lived he was.
As for the author’s side, there was no confirmation if he intended Haku to be a girl in the first place. Thus, we can all assume that Kishimoto designed Haku to look like a teenage girl. As said earlier, androgynous males are a recurring theme in several anime series.
Some look like a girl but acts like a man. At the same time, some are completely women at heart, like a trans-female. But based on Haku’s character, he acts like both, which might show that Haku does not regard gender difference because of his appearance.
Haku only looks so feminine because of his beautiful face due to being an androgynous male. His face has the appearance of a beautiful lady, which Naruto was impressed even if Haku told him that he was a boy. Aside from having a beautiful face, he also possesses long hair to make him look like a girl.
Additionally, he also has pale skin, which might add up to the quality of his beautiful appearance. Lastly, to make him appear like a female, Haku also has a slender body that matches his delicate-looking face.
His way of clothing also made him seem like a female. First, his ninja outfit is the standard pinstriped outfit used by most Hidden Mist Ninja, where Haku is a member. He also wears a green haori over it, along with a brown sash at his back, which has a fringed trail design. The lower part of his outfit appears to have skirt-like apparel for the lower part of it, which is why Haku’s dress somewhat looks feminine.
Additionally, when not in his shinobi attire, when he was in the forest picking medicinal plants, Kahu was wearing a pink outfit. This girly outfit is a pink sleeveless kimono. Knowing that kimonos are what Japanese girls wear, it just shows that Haku has already lived up to pretend to be a girl simply because of his feminine looks. Additionally, the design of the outfits that he wears fits him perfectly outside and inside of battle.
But in terms of character, Haku is very far from being female. Though he is not the type of person who acts too manly and would have the character of a kind-hearted and caring boy towards people, Haku never acted like a woman at all. Though his fighting style looks better to be used by a kunoichi, Haku still acts like a man when in battle. This just shows that Haku only has a feminine appearance, but there’s nothing feminine about him once you get to know his character.
Haku was first shown in Episode 9 of Naruto in the anime, and Chapter 15 in the manga. However, this is not the part where he revealed his gender. He was never introduced properly in this part as well, only as being the enigmatic masked partner of Zabuza, thus never revealing his face at all, too.
The actual part where Haku revealed his gender was in Episode 12, or Chapter 21 in the manga when he was unmasked and seemed to be in disguise as a local picking up medicinal plants. He found Naruto sleeping in the woods as he was picking up some plants. The two then had a chat, where Naruto was impressing him about his training, believing that Haku is a girl because of his looks.
This scene also caused Haku to tell Naruto that he is a boy, but Naruto still told him that he is “prettier than Sakura” because of his looks. Throughout the conversation, Haku was never shown to have a feminine characteristic, as he was just having a planned chat with Naruto since he found him lying near him in the woods.
As you can see, Haku is only a girl in terms of appearance. But in terms of his original sexuality and behavior, he is still a boy at heart. It’s just that he gained the rare condition of being an androgynous – no more, no less!