“Mini Mendacious Moments” is a feature about small moments (a page, an opening sequence, a character design, or something a character said) in manga, anime, or games that simply makes me pause and just wonder why something so silly, bad, demeaning, or pertaining to a double standard was even mentioned or briefly touched upon. Being such a small and blatant moment, in-dept analysis will not be given, rather, this is more for snarky me to share my snarky commentary.

So, we have another example (and more to come) from Flame of Recca. Ok, I am honestly not trying to pick on this manga (and I am enjoying it even with all these silly things). It just so happens that I’m reading it and Please Save My Earth right now, and it happens to be a rather easy target for a number of reasons. Please Save My Earth is a lot harder to pick at because it is so well written (from characters to the plot), whereas Flame of Recca, it’s not bad, but it isn’t as detailed and intricate as PSME, making it easy to see vivid character and narrative flaws. That and Flame of Recca likes to use tropes that I particularly think are kind of questionable.

Today’s case is about the characterizations of one of the antagonists, a female warrior named Neon from Kurei’s elite group of warriors, the Uruha. This warrior had been shown as a cold- hearted murderer, easily killing anyone who pisses her off or betrays the Uraha. She kills fellow Uraha member, Genjurou, after he is defeated by Recca and doesn’t bat an eye, for example. She is also not above taunting little kids. She taunts Koganei about his past with Kurei and how the latter doesn’t really care about him. So in short, she is one big bitch and that’s cool. I like to see crazy murderous bitches too. The thing is, this happens at the end of her fight with Recca:

Yes the crazy murderous bitch is actually a misguided villain via the power of love. (Chapter 76, page 17)

Now the weird thing about this is the fact that for the last few chapters the manga has been heavily, and I mean heavily, hinting that Neon is a lesbian. So what the hell is going on here? Does she love her two female warriors, Aki and Miki, or does she love Kurei? I guess she could love both, but the thing is, why is this revelation just dropped on you out of the blue. There were no prior hints that Neon felt anything for Kurei. She seemed to be in the Uruha because she liked to fight/kill. So why this 180 now? Well, I think I know why, but anyway, I dub this “rapid characterization back-pedalling” since the author seems to be quickly taking back everything he told us about this character in the last moments of the fight.

Now he did something similar with Kage Hoshi, but it worked there because it made sense in the context of the story. Here? Not so much. Neon never mentions anything about stopping Recca for Kurei’s sake until this very moment, which seems weird because she has no reason not to tell Recca that she’s going to defend Kurei. There is also the oddness of her previous taunting of Koganei. She and Koganei are really similar in that Kurei rescued both of them and both of them care deeply for him as a result. So it seems weird that she would go out of her way to destroy his feelings and faith in Kurei if she felt the same. Not to mention this is a direct contradiction with her gentle persona in the flash back. Even if she killed Genjurou because that was what was expected of her as a member of Kurei’s Uruha, the taunting was in no way required of her. She could have waited till their fight with Hokage to finish off the “traitor”.

Why do I care? Because it’s exasperating when an author can’t stick to his characterization and decides to salvage his villain in the last moment so his straight arrow hero won’t have to dirty his hands. Because as we all know, Recca would never hit a women. If Neon was an irredeemable murderous bitch, our dear hero would have to become a hypocrite and we can’t very well have that, now can we? :P

That said, Flame of Recca does avoid a more annoying trope of Designated Girl Fight, which is pretty astonishing given that the lead “doesn’t like to hit girls”. Other than one time at Kurei’s mansion, Fuuko, the only female fighter on team Hokage, has been fighting male opponents. What’s more, she isn’t regulated to the weak opponents either. So as much as I like to pick at Flame of Recca, the manga doesn’t go down cliche road all the way and I certainly like that the author treats his female fighter as equally capable.

–SW

Advertisements