I always love it when book blogger tags make it to the anime blogging world, and I often have Angelica to thank for this! The Bookish Mash tag on which I based a weird anime satire also came from Angelica.
This is from half a year ago, and I’m stuck between feeling sorry for not writing this post sooner and feeling sorry that I’m writing this post at all, when there’s a term paper due in a few days and I still haven’t started on it. But I’m kinda tired of academic papers after two months of those, so can I just call this my #selfcare moment?
Anyways, I have a thing for side characters (if my Build-A-Harem post says anything), and anime is a medium that is sadly full of underrated ladies, so I’m glad to have the opportunity to talk about them.
- Please PINGBACK to me at Kate @ Melting Pots and Other Calamities. Or just Kate. And PINGBACK TO A SPECIFIC POST OF MINE. I won’t see the post otherwise, and I’d like to see it.
- Answer the questions.
- Choose female characters from books, movies, TV, anime, Webtoons, etc.
- Tag as many people as you want, but at least one person.
- Have fun!
1. Name a heroine you like, but whom you feel is always overshadowed by the male characters in the story.
I’ll go with Kaya Miyoshi from Bakuman, though this was a tough choice with the sheer amount of female healers and childhood friends out there. Miyoshi has such a vibrant and attractive personality, but she’s doomed to be the mangaka’s companion from the start. I might have squealed in delight a bit when *SPOILERS* Takagi marries her in the middle of a series – a surprising development at such an early point (and such a young age) – but after their marriage, she becomes nothing but a supportive housewife who “doesn’t get it” when her husband talks about his artistic aspirations.
The same thing can honestly be said for Azuki, who basically serves as Mashiro’s McGuffin the whole time. I truly love the Ohba-Obata duo (creators known for Bakuman and Death Note), but the androcentrism always disappoints me a bit (Death Note‘s women serve as tools more than fleshed out people too).
2. For that matter, name a heroine whom you feel is always overshadowed by the other female characters in the story.
Hitting me with another hard one! My initial choice was Maiya from Fate/Zero, but I think the series (and Maiya herself) is highly conscious of the tragedy in her role as an overshadowed bodyguard/thirdwheel, which is already paying her good tribute. Also, Kiritsugu cries at her death…
I’ll go with Misaki Kirihara from Darker than Black. As a police officer, she’s determined, commanding, and efficient, but is able to have independent thought for herself. I’d call her a more mature version of Akane Tsunemori from S1 of Psycho-pass, but she isn’t devoid of a strong sense of justice and a touch of idealism either.
Despite adoring Yin when I watched Darker than Black, it was Misaki who had always been my favourite character. Ironically, both Misaki and Amber (yes, Amber too, despite all the suspense building up to her) are overshadowed by the silent Yin and the arc-to-arc structure of the first season. Both play an important role in the series itself, but they don’t have a fanbase out there and are hardly talked about. *Shrugs* I guess Yin is more waifu material?
3. Name a character who had potential but was greatly underutilized in her story.
Retsu Unohana from Bleach. Captain Unohana is shrouded in mystery in the anime. We know that she, along with Ukitake and Kyoraku, has been a captain for 200+ years, and that people generally respect/fear her, but that’s about all we know about her as a character.
In the manga, *SPOILERS*, she is revealed to be the first Kenpachi and a natural slaughterer, but what does she get to do next? She gets to be sacrificed in a fight with the current Kenpachi Zaraki just so he can obtain a bankai. So much for the uncalled-for plot twist, and it reveals practically nothing about her current character and provides no explanation for her transition from murderess to healer. It’s an intriguing backstory, but I wish more was done with it (same goes for most of Bleach‘s backstories near the end).
4. Name a female character who you either find better in her book than her movie, find better in her movie than her book, or whose portrayals you find equal.
With manga to anime adaptations, variations in character are very difficult to observe because anime seldom condenses its source material as much as film does. I guess I can talk about Juliet Capulet from Romeo x Juliet as an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Juliet. I love how she’s as a crossdresser (instead of Romeo!) with an alter-ego called “The Red Whirlwind,” and the fact that she has a fearless and wholesome personality. OG Juliet, who enjoys suicidal monologues, is not wholesome at all.
That being said, Iago’s wife Emilia is my favourite character from Othello, but the anime totally destroyed her by making her some shallow and annoying sidekick to Juliet…
5. Name a character who you want more backstory on.
Risa Aoyanagi from Psycho-pass somehow strikes my fancy. She’s an inspector who appears infrequently in S1 and is sadly wasted in S2, but she seems to have a cool personality and I love her style and that beauty spot she has… Okay, okay, if you want a less minor character from the same show, I think some backstory on Shion Karanomori would be a treat. We got a brief arc on Yayoi already, so why not Shion?
6. Name a character with traits you feel are sadly overlooked by everyone.
This one is definitely not without a fanbase, but I do think the personality traits of Emilia from Re: Zero are often underappreciated. It’s not just because she shares the name of my favourite Shakespearean side character! I just don’t understand how so many people shun her in favour of Rem. Emilia is gentle, caring, and pure, but she has her boundaries and wouldn’t tolerate too much nonsense. Subaru does have it tough, but that doesn’t mean Emilia doesn’t have a right to be mad. Also, her looks are absolutely endearing and she has the sweetest voice in the series. I admit that she won’t make a great queen, and Rem does have my sympathy as a relatable character, but at the end of the day, Emilia is a healthier individual and she heals my soul. (Although Beatrice is possibly best girl.)
7. Name a morally grey character (Villain or anti hero!).
Kikyo from Inuyasha would be a good choice. I always found myself oscillating between Kikyo and Kagome when I watched Inuyashsa as a kid. Kikyo’s actions of stealing dead girls’ souls and physically (and emotionally) attacking Kagome are unquestionably selfish, but she also has so many reasons to be this way. She sacrificed her entire human life (which was cut short too) and personal happiness for the greater good, but at her death, all she tastes is betrayal. Not to mention that her lover found himself a new girlfriend (?) after she’s been buried under the dirt for 50 years. The romance between her and Inuyasha is one of the most complex and emotionally charged ones I’ve seen in anime. And when she offers her priestess services to villages around her and babysits their children, she’s hardly that villainous…
8. A character you’re stunned isn’t more famous.
“Stunned” is too strong, but Riza Hawkeye from Fullmetal Alchemist could use some more love. I don’t think Roy Mustang necessarily overshadows her – she’s his adjutant by duty and her performance is already above and beyond her role, which the anime shows well. You rarely hear people talk about her though; when it comes to FMA girls, it’s always about Winry, Olivier, or even Ed and Al’s dead mom. Riza is tough, has an awesome tattoo, and owns a wonderful dog (with a great name too). Her subtle, 99.5% romantic relationship with Mustang just kills me every time.
9. A character from a piece of fiction you’re amazed isn’t more famous.
Ilena/Irene of the Quicksword from Claymore. Claymore is full of badass sword-wielding ladies, and I shall choose an underrated one in accordance to the spirit of this post. Her so-quick-that-it’s-invisible sword-fighting technique works wonders with the animation style, where chopped-up enemies always utter a few final words before suddenly exploding into a firework of blood and flesh. Even with one arm (or zero arms, for that matter), she can fend for herself perfectly fine. In terms of personality, she is cool, analytical, and free-thinking – a rare trait for someone affiliated with the Syndicate. Also, I have no idea why she has elf ears and a hooked nose when everyone else looks like a porcelain doll, and I love it.
Do it only if you feel like it!
Thanks again to Angelica for tagging me and to Kate for creating the tag! (I shall hustle back to that blank essay document now…see you in a few days)