The Female Perspective

After some very frustrated tweets, and some not so bad, I decided to write a few impressions on the female characters of the anime I’m watching this season, so my tweets don’t make me sound like I hate my own gender (I could have fooled myself?!).  Brace for personal opinions.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
Going alphabetically makes this easier, since AnoHana actually features some of my favorite  females this season.
Anaru (what an unfortunate nickname, I must say, makes pixiv almost impossible to browse) could have been on the annoying side, but she feels the most relatable. She is not just the jealous girl who hated her best friend for liking the same boy she did; she genuinely liked Menma, and that is the very source of her conflict. Anaru is a real sweet girl, who just tries to fit in. I don’t feel she’s fake as it could be easily understood; she just can’t be herself because she can’t deal with who she is, her guilt is too much to bear. Anaru is not selfish (barely anyone in this series is), she doesn’t seem to like conflict, but she’s stuck right in the middle of one. I really wish she’d stand up for herself more – instead of letting Yadomi or Yukiatsu defend her – but she can’t progress that fast, no. Everyone is far too damaged for such drastic maturing. Right now, it’s okay to be confused and hurt. But she’s getting there.
Tsuruko is my favorite. She seems the most emotionally controlled one, but the more controlled she is, the more I wonder when she’s going to break down. Maybe she won’t. But she seems to have a serious one-sided love, and while she appears to be fine with things as they are, how long is that going to last? How long will she keep her priorities straight – if she does at all? Tsuruko appears smart and blunt and honest – on subjects that do not involve her. She seems, instead, closed inside herself, as an observer to the lives of her friends. She appears to have her future all planned out, which is something I really like, but I believe her emotions will betray her. I just don’t hope she’s going to pull a Keito. I cannot take another unbalance between love for that one person and love for oneself, especially for such smart and apparently strong characters. Are strong females just secretly little girls with a crush? Please. (Oh my, I’m ranting about SD again).
Menma is… A more complicated case. She’s sweet, no doubt. Especially in the flashbacks; as the “grown-up” Menma, not so much. Menma is the rock pulling down every single character in the show. Naturally she’s been used as the piece that will lift everybody up – including herself, but every time she cries (and she cries every episode), she takes Yadomi on a guilt trip, she makes him cling to an existence that hasn’t been there. With her being his only force of motivation (all with his father being supportive only by letting him overcome things on his own), I wonder if he wouldn’t be better without her. Actually, I do believe that. But then we wouldn’t have as much emotion in the show. I don’t hate Menma, but I just… can’t like her. She’s not wise with the knowledge of the afterlife, she’s as confused as her friends, full of flaws and debatable decisions, a true teenager, but she brings as much pain as joy. I can’t like Menma. I want her gone.
Ao no Exorcist
Here comes the first real problem. I’ve been ranting about this show and its females the most on twitter, because it really gets to me that I was very excited about this anime but apparently A-1 Pictures is settled on never fulfilling my expectations, or just plain trolling me.  I call Kuroshitsuji II as a troll. Or maybe Kuroshitsuji in its entirety. I’m getting carried away.
So far, we’ve only been presented two main females: Shiemi and Kamiki, both with very contrasting personalities but equally annoying in their existences.
It’s not really Shiemi’s fault that I can barely stand her – ever since she was introduced, I knew we were going to have some trouble, for she had that one stereotype; that frail body, the ever-present smile, the “ganbatte masu!” stance. Even if Shiemi tries her hardest as an exorcist, she is bound to her stereotype. She is the support character, the obligatory romantic interest (who has no chemistry at all with Rin), and any accomplishment on her part feels like an accident, an act of chance. She’s not useless, no. But even in Bleach, another mainstream shounen series (and AoEx was written as a mainstream shounen), if Rukia was unfortunately a damsel in distress for most of the first arcs, it felt that Tite Kubo just paralled her to Ichigo and other monstruous men, which led to her appearing weak and useless. She was far from defenseless. She felt like she was robbed of her own power because the spotlight was not hers to bear, but she was strong. Shiemi will never be strong, not enough to be paralled to any men. She has her place. And she stays in it.
It is Kamiki’s fault that I hate her guts, though, because she embodies the arrogant jerk pretty well. Is it supposed to be a defensive mechanism? Are we supposed to feel bad for her because she’s actually a pretty good girl, but she had real unfortunate things done to her/her family? Everybody’s had their share of unfortune in this anime, it’s basically what drives them, and while Bon could also be considered arrogant, he only acts on supposed condescendence when Rin seems to be favorited by the school staff with no real talent, whereas Suguro had to work his way from the very bottom to where he is now. It’s understandable. Kamiki acts high and mighty and better than everyone because she has talent? What is talent without competence?
Ao no Exorcist has a problem with its emsemble cast in general, not just with the females, which makes me wary. I have hope for future episodes, and most of all, I have hopes for this character.
[C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
[C] was an overall surprise, which I picked up expecting pretty much nothing and came out of it rather satisfied. Maybe because it’s not set in high school and talks about high stakes such as the future; not a romanticized future, but one in which we need to worry about our expenses, about how we’re going to build and sustain our families. I also really like Mikuni, but he’s not a female, so let’s get to the subject…
The only female I’d call main here is Msyu, who I really like. She’s endearing in her ignorance about the human world, and it makes me wonder if she’ll be just an asset. Episode 8 tells us otherwise, but we still don’t know what’ll become of the assets once the anime is over. She’s also strong, which is her whole purpose, and while Kimimaro worries about her like Entrés never worry about their assets, they fight together. Msyu doesn’t become a shield, she’s not shoved aside because she’s not strong enough, because she’s frail and cute and should not fight. Kimimaro holds her hand and together they win the Deals. I was rather happy about this. There is no line drawn, no roles; it’s a true partnership. It makes me like Kimimaro more, too.
Only other females worth mentioning are Q, who I guess would please Nagato Yuki fans but I just don’t give that much of a damn, and Jennifer Satou, who has such a crappy English and nasalized voice I wish she’d just stop talking (and eating crap). But that’s about it.
Hanasaku Iroha
This one is also a bit problematic, since its cast is composed of mostly females and I can barely stand most of them. I guess we could go from worst to the not so bad ones.
I’m going to talk about Minko and Nako together because then I can let my frustration all out. Nako used to really get on my nerves because her shyness made her a really incosiderate jerk and that dreadful episode 4 just made her a big fanservice target. It almost got me to hit my head repeatedly against a wall. Episode 10 made her a little more likeable, but I still don’t like Nako at all; she is just too cutesy and sweet and shy and I bet the boys love her, but I just want to tie her up and hide her in a closet and hope nobody finds her. Whereas Minko is a reharshed Mio with incredibly bad social skills and who is slowly getting over herself. I understand her frustrations and how Ohana seems to make everything worse every time she tries to make things better, but Minko is just plain rude. I wish the anime wasn’t pushing so much on the drama between her, Ohana and Tohru. It makes me want to scream.
Tomoe is not so bad. Actually, I don’t feel anything in her particular direction, so a lack of reaction should be taken as positive. She’s an older woman who had doubts about her future, but she likes her job so she stays there through thick and thin. Nice. Okay. That was a very annoying episode to tell me that, Tomoe-san. I have similar feelings for Yuina, who might have playful accents and be really pretty and fantasy-worthy, but my only reaction is “She’s okay”.  Tomoe keeps me somewhat sane in the episodes. Yuina is just there.
Takako should disappear so I don’t have to listen to so many English expressions in a Japanese dialogue anymore.
As for Ohana… She should be the center of the growing, and she just might be, but in the sense that everybody matures around her and not the other way around. Ohana already felt really responsible prior to the arrival at Kissuiso, so what are her lessons? Group work? The value of a job well done?  She has a pretty good personality, makes plenty of mistakes but still tries her hardest, but with such an irresponsible mom, I never really expected less of her. So perhaps her “growth” will be in the romantic department? I don’t know. I feel like Ohana is too good for the cast she works with. She’s the only reason I’m still watching the anime.
Hidan no Aria
Don’t look at me being competent, despite my really good fighting skills, in reality I’m just a frail little girl who needs to be saved by the horny protagonist!
– The anime.
Sekaiichi Hatsukoi
The ukes take the sexual harrassment in their place so it’s all good.
I was supposed to be caught up with this anime as much as I am with the other titles in this list, but the pretentious direction in assuming that I’m acquainted with the setting and characters and plot put me off, so I’m very behind.
My brief reactions to the girls I’ve met are…
Mayuri must  have some sort of intellectual impediment.
Kurisu, perhaps I expected too much of you. Bickering like a child with a mad scientist was not in the list.
Tiger & Bunny
I was a bit surprised the other day when I thought, “I wish T&B had more female characters”, since I’m so invested in this anime in ways that do not tend to involve girls. And I don’t even dislike the existing girls, they’re just very much background characters. But, next to Kotetsu and Barnaby, all the heroes feel like background characters.
Karina/Blue Rose feels a lot like a real teenager, and setting her to be the one hero to question her motivations and job was a good decision. Her brattiness and naivety fit well with her without making her unbearable – maybe because T&B knows what character growth is. Her catchphrase is very amusing and ended up not being too overplayed as the plot grows thick, and my only tiny problem with her is that sometimes her voice won’t really suit her when she’s dressed as Blue Rose. Or maybe that was just my impression during episode 10.
I remember some people complaining about the episode focused on Pao-Lin/Dragon Kid’s backstory and how it felt sexist, but I wouldn’t say so. I wouldn’t say the anime was calling her out on not being girly enough; I felt that, as a female, of course her sponsors would want her to stick out more, especially when the only other female hero is Blue Rose, but it being her task to take care of the mayor’s baby didn’t come to me as “you must do it because you’re a woman”. They didn’t pull that with Blue Rose. She was in charge of the baby because he happened to get along with her, and the baby made her value her own family more. In the end, Pao-Lin is still a girl with her own personality, who doesn’t act ungirly just because. Having grown out of my very own “ewww girly things” phase, I see Pao-Lin as just a girl who likes what she likes, and wearing a hairpin won’t make her the victim of a patronizing society.
Agnes is an awesome woman everybody will think twice before contradicting. And she is competent in what she does, and is smart and charming and she greets the heroes with “Bonjour”. I could never unlike her.
Screencaps from Random Curiosity, Tenka Seiha and Metanorn.

4 thoughts on “The Female Perspective

  1. Awesome post! The type of anime girl that always gains my attention are the crazy off the wall characters but also the fun cute ones as well, however there a few others that are great as well.

    For Anohana I would pick Menma because is a fun character and I agree with you she does cry and cry and cry some more, I also like Tsuruko! And yes I am waiting for her to have a breakdown too which looks like it might happen soon.

    Exorcist doesn’t have very many females running around but Shiemi I can see her easily as the “Orihime” type shes there, likes the main guy but that’s all we can expect from her sadly.

    And them we have Kamiki the usual Tsundere type! I thought she would be a lot of fun but damn she is quite bitchy! Hopefully she doesn’t stay that way forever..That extra girl looks interesting!

    [C] Yeah not many to choose from either I like Mysu not to mention that outfit ❤

    Hana Iroha I think the only one I really have fun watching would be Ohana she seems to be the most interesting and very cute!

    T&B Again not many girls to choose from but Dragon kid and Blue rose! Dragon kid just reminds me of Misaka from Railgun only blonde and quiet.

    Great read 😀

  2. Even I don’t like menma…. I just can’t like her like you said in the post. I feel there is nothing much impressive about her…..For some reason I wonder if some other character was used instead of her in the show … it would be great. I did not have a single tear fall during the entire anohana anime. I just couldn’t relate to menma at all! I wanted to like her but I just couldn’t!!

  3. I also hated to way Anaru and tsuruko were treated. Menma over Anaru and Tsuruko even after she was dead!? That’s ridiculous. Anaru and tsuruko were much better characters compared to Menma, Menma was just way too…….. I don’t know how to describe but she wasn’t someone who deserved the role that had been given to her. I just can’t relate to menma or feel anything for her at all!!! I feel terrible for Tsuruko and Anaru! I wonder what yukiatsu and jintan ever liked about menma.

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