May 2014


Strength Does Not Matter! The Beautiful Warrior, Shutumon

That’s the title of episode 16 of Digimon Frontier. There are two things going on here: first the title is suggesting that strength is unimportant and the second that Shutumon is beautiful. It’s not hard to realize what the implicit meaning here is: for girls, their strength is irrelevant, what is key is their beauty. And paired up with episode 15 where the enemy digimon gains her new evolution with lots of strength but at the price of being hideous, well, these two episodes are quite loaded with gender norms and tropes are old as human civilization.

It’s actually been a while since an anime (or manga) that I’ve seen has been so overt with expectations of beauty for women versus men. It’s not at all subtle in the least; there is only 1 female enemy digimon and it is only in her case that the question of appearance is ever raised. The other digimon are all male and are not particularly aesthetically pleasing. One is a mix between a gnome and dwarf, another is an inhuman lizard-like digimon and another a metallic humanoid. None really scream bishounen in the least and when they evolve into beast form, never is there any talk about their new appearance. In contrast, the animators of Digimon Frontier felt the need to make the single female enemy digimon not only cute and resembling a young girl, but also made her into a sort of idol in the digital world. Furthermore, they gave her a vain personality. In other words, they created her in a way that put appearance at the forefront of her character.

ranamon as an idol

Ranamon is an idol in the digital world.

(more…)

Advertisements

tonariTrigger warning. Also mild spoilers for the anime Hana Yori Dango and Rose of Versailles.

So back in 2012, the manga Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun got an anime adaptation and the anime blogosphere raised hell (or maybe it was a select few sites I happened upon). A few managa bloggers also chimed in with their outrage. The main point of contention was the threat of rape that happens in the very first episode (and chapter) of Tonari. A little later, I had decided to run a feature that looked at the worst the shoujo manga demographic had to offer, and deconstruct, through snark, why it was so harmful and problematic. Given the hell that was raised around Tonari, I thought it would be a great candidate for the feature. However having finished the first 5 chapters for my feature, I have to say that most of the criticisms levelled at Tonari missed the big picture about rape acceptance in manga and anime. (more…)

IMG243 Picture to the left was taken with my phone, so I hope it’s not too bad. I decided to give the 3-in-1 edition a go with Skip Beat and my experience with this edition is mostly positive. It definitely took awhile to get through the thing as it’s pretty long being really 3 volumes. But I loved the story, so it was definitely a good thing to have more of it in a single volume.

Summary


At first glance Kyoko Mogami seems to be an average girl, but she has a secret. Her special prince charming is none other than the famous raising star in the Japanese music scene, Sho Fuwa. Kyoko has been deeply in love with Sho since a child and did not hesitate to follow him to Tokyo to help him achieve his dreams by working part time jobs to support the both of them.

However, now that Sho has gotten a big break, he seems oddly distance and moody. In an effort to cheer him up, Kyoko decides to bring him some food from her part time job. In the process, she overhears him bragging about how he brought her along as a maid and nothing else. He even declares to send her packing if his manager promises to “take care” of him (in other words, let him live with her and be bed partners). Surprisingly, instead of crying her eyes out, Kyoko snaps and vows revenge on Sho. Sho only sneers saying she can only have her revenge if she makes it into show biz (since a regular person can’t touch a star); but he is confidence she will be unable to make it. (more…)