"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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Kazuki

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.

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