Chainsaw Man, a Shonen Jump series by Fujimoto Tatsuki, has its main character, Denji, realize the value in having a strictly platonic relationship with the leading female protagonist, Power. How Denji reaches this conclusion is incredibly messy and more than a little frustrating in places; which is to say that it epitomizes the uncomfortable struggle of navigating platonic relationships with someone you have the potential to be attracted to, a common aspect of growing up for many, and it’s both heartwarming and validating to see a character experience this part of life in a shounen manga.
Swan, which ran in Margaret from 1976 until 1981, follows Hijiri Masumi, an average high school girl from rural Hokkaido, who through the course of the series becomes famous as a modern ballet dancer. One of her key relationships is her friendship and rivalry with Lillianna Maksimova, a Russian classical ballet prodigy. This relationship uplifts them both, as the series uses Lillianna as an avenue to explore just how harmful and restrictive gender roles and expectations can be.
AniFem's Biweekly Podcast
Check out our latest episode