Tuesday, June 26, 2007

opinion: Girls in Manga (aka tl;dr)

This is a response to BrokenPorecelainDoll's post on the status of women in manga. (go read it!) Maybe I read too much into it, maybe not. Hopefully she doesn't want to punch me in the mouth for going off on a (polite) tangent in her comments section. I figured I'd repost it here.
While you have a very valid point regarding hentai/ecchi manga, the medium as a whole has more ways to show all types of character, male and female. Mainstream American comics kind of got 'stuck' (for lack of a better term) in the superhero genre. Yes, there are other types of American comics, but most of the stuff on the rack at the shop is heroes.

While hentai can be gross and waaaaaay out there with the fetishes, it isn't a good indicator of what some of the good stuff coming out of Japan is.

In regards to the girls getting abused, being useless and sexualized the yaoi genre (and boys love to a lesser extent) fully covers the same things happening to guys very explicitly.

A great subgenre of manga is Josei manga.
Current Josei tites are Nana, Tramps Like Us, & Paradise Kiss. While these are more 'slice of life' titles, they certainly portray women in a more realistic manner.

If you'd prefer a butt kicking heroine, they're more in shonen manga - some examples would be Asuka from Evangelion, almost all the girls in Elemental Gelade, Tokiko in Buso Renkin, Meryl & Milly from Trigun.

Even in 'harem' type anime each girl has something specific and special about her. They can't cram all the great qualities into one girl, I guess. (Tenchi Muyo, Love Hina)

Unfortunately, fan service is pretty much obigatory nowadays. Often times it's the old tried and true 'oops, I fell & landed on your boobs', but if you can put up with a boob joke here and there, I'm sure you will find some titles to your liking.

I read/ have read American comics and manag for about 15 years now, so I feel fairly secure in my suggestions/opinion. I'm just happy to be reminded that I'm not the only girl reading them.

Edit: OK, it's manga rebuttal day. No one sent me the memo.
A post on MySpace with a similar theme of anime/manga characters beng useless & my reply. (Mostly regarding Sailor Moon. Yes, I like Sailor Moon. *flexes*)


Sharp said...

See, this is why your blog is better than mine. You post your feelings on a topic. I just report my life story, usually. Yawn.

Nice piece, incidentally. After reading the OP, I'd say she was talking more about people who tell her "read manga for girl stuff". She was pointing out that THOSE people are uninformed. I do have to agree, however, that it's easier to find likable females in manga than in American comics. However, that's mostly a side-effect of manga's much broader range. As much as manga can be gross or more sexual than typical American comics, it can be just as much realer or more dramatic. Manga's extreme's are just so much more pronounced than American comics, in every respect.

Brigid Keely said...

If you're looking for strong, well realized, female characters in manga than I suggest "Blade of the Immortal." Female characters are just as nuanced and interesting as the male characters, are complex, and kick as much butt. Even the spoiled, whiny, upper-class teen-aged girl has her moments of awesome... and is likable despite her shortcomings.

There are no "whups, that's a boob!" bits or panty shots. Women are more than just mothers and love interests and hotties. It's really cool.

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