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I don’t remember where I read this statement, but someone on the internet said that if an anime or web-novel character refers to themself ボク in katakana they are probably a boyish girl. I should say that I'm steel at the beginning of my journey in Japanese language and surely missing a lot of nuances.

So I recently started reading my first web-novel (悪役令嬢の兄に転生しました) and I’m really confused with gender of one character named Tirunoa. They are a magic teacher that refers to themself ボク and almost every sentence end with ね~. And because of ね~ it seems more like childish than boyish.

「ボクとカイン様の仲だもの。さて、今日から君も魔法やるんだよね。張り切ってやってこーね!」

「イル君!イル君!イル君は初期の初期からね!ボクねぇ~、このねぇ~、魔法出来ない子が出来るようになる瞬間!ってのを見るのが大好きでねぇ~。魔法の家庭教師もっとやりたいんだけどねぇ~。面接で落ちちゃうんだよねぇ~。また新しい子教えられるの嬉しいなぁ~。カイン様は優秀過ぎてもうつまんないんだよねぇ~。カイン様もねぇ、最初に魔法使えた瞬間はねぇ、飛び跳ねて喜んで可愛かったんだけどねぇ。もう、勝手に本読んで勝手に使えるようになっちゃうしねぇ。つまんないねぇ。さっ!じゃあまずは自分の魔力を感じるところから始めよっか!手ぇ握ろっ!ね!」

Later it is said that they grabbed their 12 years old disciple, lifted him up and spun around.

部屋に入れてもらい、紳士の礼を取ろうとしたカインにティルノーアは飛びついて頭をなでくりまわしてきた。その後、腰を掴まれて持ち上げられるとぐるぐると回転させた後にソファに落っことされた。

I doubt that as a woman they can lift 12 years old boy. At the same time, it would be no surprise if they actually can just because it’s a Japanese web-novel. Can someone tell me what I'm missing to understand their gender? What should I pay attention to?

UPD. I found manga and exactly chapter with this teacher but somehow it confused me even more than web-novel. Teacher Tirunoa

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    What exactly is your question? You are asking if it is possible to infer the gender of Tirunoa the teacher from the language of the character?
    – sundowner
    Nov 29, 2022 at 9:31
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    if an anime or web-novel character refers to themself ボク in katakana they are probably a boyish girl. - this is not completely false, but it is too narrow as a rule. You should just look elsewhere in the description whether the character is a man or a girl or what.
    – sundowner
    Nov 29, 2022 at 9:32
  • @sundowner Yeas, the main problem is that I've found no description in the novel. Other characters refer to them "Tirunoa" or "Tirunoa-sensei" and even the author didn't use any pronoun or noun to describe them. Nov 29, 2022 at 12:52
  • Please see my edit. I tried to determine his gender by searching for the word ティルノーア in the novel (>200 instances) before searching on Twitter, but I still couldn't figure it out. Maybe he is intentionally depicted gender-neutrally.
    – naruto
    Nov 30, 2022 at 2:45

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I know nothing about this novel, but judging from this quote alone, I got the impression that this person is more likely to be a chatty man who speaks in an eccentric (childish, frivolous but friendly) manner. But it's not odd at all if this person is a chatty woman. ボク written in katakana might serve as a weak hint that the use of this personal pronoun is not very traditional, but it doesn't immediately mean the user is a boyish girl. Very few teachers speak like this, and that alone can be an enough reason to katakanize 僕.

EDIT: The author of this novel found this question! According to the author, ティルノーア is officially male, but looks like there are his fans who did not know his gender :)

Twitter screenshot

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    Sometimes also some people just prefer writing it in katakana, I know back when l'électeur was around he always used to write ボク and オレ
    – Angelos
    Nov 29, 2022 at 10:25
  • Thank you very much! Nov 30, 2022 at 6:00

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