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.

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“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.

Ah, feminism, the ever misunderstood and misrepresented movement. I don’t know if the translator was trying to be funny here or if this is the word used in the original Japanese, but in Chapter 181 of Flame of Recca, Tokiya, during his fight with the two-faced Mikoto, who admonishes Tokiya for hitting her (a woman), and to which Tokiya replies that he is not a feminist so he has no qualms about hitting women.

FoR chap.181 pg.18 Feminist

Feminism = Treating woman like they are frail glass

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ichiruki

Debating what sort of post I should do for Valentine’s Day this year, I decided now would be a good time to do a post about my favourite IchiRuki moments in Bleach. Like I mentioned before, I do consider these two to be pretty much canon given how many important moments they share, so doing a full analytic shipping post isn’t really worth it in this case, but I still like to fan girl about these two from time to time. So as a compromise, I decided to do a shipping post highlighting my 5 favourite moments for this pretty much canon ship on the Day of Love. So without further ado, here are my 5 favourite moments for them: (more…)

Shipping. The black sheep of fandom. I know most people think shippers are a bunch of crazy lunatics, what with antics like calling the rival girl nasty things and wanting her to die, turning the rival guy into a heartless spawn of evil in their fanfiction, and just their crazy irrationality about anything that states their shipping preference isn’t canon, but we are not all like that. I admit, I love shipping. It’s a lot of fun. I love looking for little tidbits in favour of my preferred pair. So it’s very frustrating when a vocal minority makes the rest of us look bad. Even though I like to argue for a pairing, I’m the first to admit that most of this is very shaky and requires a lot of assumptions, but that’s what makes it fun in the end. So I don’t want anyone to take this too seriously. This is just my idea of having a good time. :)

I was originally going to do Ichigo and Rukia (IchiRuki) from Bleach, but I do objectively think that pair has moved out of fanon and into canon. There is just too much symbolism and special moments between them to miss the author’s intention and to argue for such a canon pair isn’t much fun so I changed my debut pair to Zoro and Robin (ZoRobin) from One Piece (another favourite of mine). Yeah, I know this pair is going to be hard to argue for, but I think there is enough tidbits in the manga to make it worthwhile. And yes, I will be contrasting with Nami, but only when necessary to build a nice contrast to prove a point. Before I delve into my analysis though, I think it’s worthwhile to provide a general background for both characters.

(Spoiler Warning!)
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It’s been a while since I’ve singled out a particular chapter of a long running manga and wrote a post about it, but this chapter bugs me on a number of levels. It was very painful to read this chapter because I’m a pretty big One Piece fan and I always liked Zoro, yet this chapter felt like all the bad things sticking out from time to time about the series finally came together in this one chapter. Sigh. Ok, here we go:

So the basic gist of this chapter is that Tashigi stays back with Zoro to fight Monet because she doesn’t believe Zoro can cut a woman. This is all fine and well especially since she looks down on him for this view, but that’s all going to be undermined by the fact that Tashigi can’t handle Monet on her own and Zoro has to step in to help her out (and to tell her off for talking big but not delivering). While he does admit to disliking slicing certain things (aka women), he still proceeds to cut Monet in half. Now this would have been a good subversion to the can’t hurt a women thing shounen works like to employ, but alas Zoro purposely doesn’t use haki so Monet survives the blow and Tashigi is the one to deliver the finishing blow. She calls him out on it next chapter, but Zoro refuses to admit he didn’t want to kill Monet because of her gender. He even starts talking down to Tashigi because she’s so weak. (more…)

Ok, so I haven’t watched all the seasons so this may change, but from what I’ve heard of the most recent seasons, it is not very likely. I’ve watched seasons 1-3 in their entirety and half of season 4 and a few episodes of Savers. That out of the way, here is why I think Tamers, aka season 3, is the best season and I really lament the fact that there aren’t any more seasons like it. (more…)

“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.

You know, I’m not one to complain about big boobs in manga and games. I actually don’t mind it too much and I think there are worse things out there for artists and story writers to do to their female characters. If the female character is tough and independent, but happens to have rather large chest (not grotesquely big mind you, I find those disturbing and just not sexy at all), I’m perfectly fine with that. Hey, why not let her be strong and interesting and sexy. Nothing wrong with that~ But for the love of all that is good, if you are going to emphasize a female character’s breasts, please please please at least know how to draw them. For an example of how not to draw them, let us turn to Flame of Recca:

Those are suppose to be boobs? They sure don’t look like boobs.  (Chapter 145, page 5)

Pro tip #1 – Breasts do not stand erect like that. There is something we like to call gravity, I’m sure you’ve heard about it.

Pro tip #2 – Shirts do not work like that. They are not glued to one’s skin, nor do they magically encase themselves around one’s boobs. I think I should know, I wear them everyday and my boobs don’t look like that. Unless you are drawing a character in a plug suit, there is no way the breasts should be so well defined in clothing, especially since the rest of her clothes/robes are obviously rather loose.

Pro tip #3 – Maybe you should google some images of normal women wearing normal shirts. That way the boobs you draw actually look natural and people don’t snicker at your lack of basic knowledge on human/female anatomy.

Pro tip #4 – I don’t know about anyone else, but boobs that look like two lemons cut in half and glued onto the torso of a female character do not look sexy. Mission failed.

Well then, that’s all I have to say about that. Carry on!

–SW

I don’t drop too many anime, but lately I feel like I should do it more often and I did end up dropping two anime series which just weren’t engaging me on any level. I think in the past I’ve been a bit too lenient on manga and anime and sticking with a series that I didn’t quite enjoy, but there was still something there that kept me interested enough to continue watching it. I think I’m going to start dropping stuff more readily now because I rather not waste more time than necessary on stuff I don’t quite care about. That said, knowing me, it still probably won’t be a lot. Hopefully I’ll be able to get through all the random harem recommendations soon enough. (If someone recommends me something, I put it on my Plan to Watch list and try to give it a fair chance, even if it doesn’t look like my cup of tea. I’ve even liked a few harem shows that didn’t take themselves too seriously and didn’t use specific tropes I personally hate, but I’m going off on a tangent here). Any way, that is my new resolution. We shall see if I can manage to keep it. As for the two anime I recently dropped:

El Hazard: The Alternate World (more…)