Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Anime and Gender

Okay after the princess flying on a white halberd with hearts Soul Eater Not is really flippin' girly. And I don't know how I feel about that. My instinct has always been that the distinction between male and female interests is largely cultural and the original Soul Eater played that up.

The protagonist and more than half of the cast were female and they kick just as much ass if not more than the guys. One of them is literally a sword, and a scythe chain. Hell the entire story is a female coming of age plot wrapped in a Shonen i.e. teenage male targeted show. It even has some pretty strong condemnations of male infidelity.

For most of the series Maka is pissed at her dad for ruining his marriage and "making mom cry". It was a show that tried and succeeded in bridging the gap and being inclusive to everybody.

This thing is pushing it. Whenever I see that in a show I start to worry because I start thinking of the pink isle. The idea that we have to artificially girlify everything to make it interesting to women. That's not to say don't be inclusive. There is no excuse for not having more character model customization in video games for example. But I think it's kind of stupid assuming that reason women don't like tools is because they can't find a pink hammer. That is stupid and assumptious  on so many levels. For the record I disagree with that statement and did a whole other blog post on it.

I'm a dude but I just feel like literally adding hearts and pink wings to a giant SPEAR misses the point. Of course this is the original team so eh. All the same there was a lot for women to be interested in with the original (yes I know there was a lot of fan service, no need to bring up Blaire)

I had the same problem with Fam the Silver Wing but I had so many other problems with Fam: The Silver Wing I let it go. Seriously that show can go die in a fire. Alex Rowe is a sky pirate.

Now that I think about this whole thing is making me question gender in anime on a whole new level. Awhile back, when talking about Madoka Magica I said that magical girl anime was the female equivalent of shonen fight anime which are no less exaggerated but on the male spectrum. Oh I can't help it.

Both genres are hyper gendered. Since I'm a guy and grew up with them I cut shows like Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragon Ball Z a lot of slack for their Liefelding.

My original position was that if I could have that I shouldn't make fun of magical girl anime but I'm starting to shift as I realize they're both ridiculous, but as a kid I was too stupid to see it. I just knew that Freiza blew up Namak and that made him evilllllllll. There isn't much difference between Goku and Usagi. Their pecs are about the same size.  Don't get me wrong if they're having a dark tournament marathon on I'll be there in a heartbeat, but still these shows send the message of what it is to be masculine or feminine and that's worth talking about.

More over could either genre work if they were totally divorced from gender? Like I said the original Soul Eater played by DBZ rules without DBZ abs. Except with Black Star, but that's kind of the point of his character.  He's overcompensating and everybody around him knows it and wishes he would just grow up.
They basically turned what was as close as you could get to a gender neutral shonen fight show into a magical girl show and that is kind of interesting, annoying but interesting.

Even though I know he's an insane sociopath there is a bit of me that wants to be like Kenpachi Zaraki despite the fact that in this day and age physical fighting capability means almost nothing.

Freaking 11th squad. Why because I've been indoctrinated to believe that physical combat strength is the zenith of masculinity even though it's generally useless and for that matter stupid. But action is action and there has to be a way of divorcing fight scenes from notions of masculinity or femininity for that matter.

Fight Club is about trying to futilely cling to notions of masculinity in a world where those notions must adapt or die. The space monkeys were a bunch a dodos and didn't know it. Still how would the framing of the narrative feel if instead of a bunch of guys they were women. How would the movie work if all of the brutality was divorced from notions of masculinity?

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