"I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth."

--Ursula K. Leguin

November 2009



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You know what really frosts my cookies about the Getbackers manga?

(Aside from the appallingly gender-skewed and exploitative T&A which I page past as fast as possible and try not to see for the sake of my blood pressure, fuck you very much Ayamine. That one is a given.)

Aoki can't seem to decide whether Kazuki is the baddest badass in Badassville or the designated damsel in distress. His narrative position flips unpredictably from one to the other without anything in the way of signaling or set-up, and it gives me a case of story-whiplash.

I find it exceedingly predictable in shounen, to be sure; the polite ones are the ones you have to watch out for (eg Akabane), but the actively feminized male characters are either comic relief or, narratively speaking, women--women in a shounen manga, which means damsels in distress regardless of what minor skill they may have on their own account which allows them to mop up the small fry while reemphasizing that, in context, they are still weaker. Kazuki winds up written as both a and b, and rather randomly one or the other.

Second verse, same as the first: I actually have an easier time reading shounen manga when the female characters are absent, because the inclusion of female or even strongly feminine characters is almost invariably the signal for a rousing round of role reinforcement. *spits* Thus, again, my glee in any fic I find that ignores Aoki's inability to actually characterize across gender lines even when he set it up himself and takes on the work of reconciling Kazuki's character.


Sep. 9th, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC)
This is why I don't read that much shounen.

That and the female characters tend to be overly bitchy in some effort to make those characters seem like good role models. But I'd really take a thousand damsels in distress over one UltraBitch.
Sep. 9th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
*brightly* Or you get /both/, what fun! *shudders* Seriously.
Sep. 9th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
This is why Gundam Wing was, and still is, completely awesome. You had strong women who weren't all necessarily "Rah Rah Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves, I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar", every scene they're in is a feminist rally.
Sep. 9th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
Not all shounen is like that though.

Just saying.
Sep. 9th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
*considers* Can you point to some that isn't? Because offhand I can't actually think of any that involves women or female-stand-ins in the fighting and does not follow this basic pattern.
Sep. 9th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
I think that Yoshihiro Togashi's works (Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter) are good in that regard. He's an avowed feminist, and his women are realistic and awesome. Even the girls who are non-action have their moments of strength and awesome.

Also from what I've seen, Soul Eater. The protagonist is female, for Cripes' sake, and she's very capable.
Sep. 10th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
*nods* Togashi does well with his female characters, but he's actually one I put into the "absent female" category because he doesn't have any main or recurring female characters who are fighters, bar the trainers like Genkai and Bisque, both of whom are de-feminized in one way or another. They're good while they're there, but they're always peripheral.

I haven't read anything of Soul Eater, but that looks like it may be worth looking into!
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