shounen Tag

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  • Moriarty the Patriot’s class war is far from history in the UK

    In the anime, Moriarty’s seamless assimilation into British high society makes an inadvertent mockery of the idea that you can simply be born “better” than others. The reality is anyone could get into Moriarty’s position with the right opportunities, but not everyone would choose to share the resources they gained to support those they left behind. It’s no exaggeration to say that to many, classism still feels so deeply ingrained in the UK it seems like the country would collapse without it.
    This begs the question: how effective is Moriarty’s plan to burn everything to the ground, and what does the UK (both in fiction and reality) need to do in order to destroy class inequality for good?

  • “I Can’t Wait Around Anymore”: Civilian women’s agency in My Hero Academia versus Fullmetal Alchemist

    The emotional strain a woman experiences in a relationship with someone who’s so often in danger yet doesn’t communicate is rarely treated as a real issue. A woman’s opinion apparently doesn’t count if she’s not involved in combat. In fact, it’s almost implied that she doesn’t count.

  • I Like Your Style: How The Prince of Tennis helped me shape my butch fashion sense

    I studied storefront displays too, the Aeropostale mannequin sporting the same dress as my lab partner. What did my peers see in these clothes that I couldn’t? I didn’t know, but I hated it: clothes, fashion, school, my classmates, all of it. I was better than the other girls. Fashion was shallow. I’d stick to tennis and The Prince of Tennis instead.
    Toxic thinking? Absolutely. But in 2006 I didn’t know better.

  • Choosing to “Remain Strong” Against Female Criticism: The vindictive storytelling of Oda Eiichiro

    While One Piece looms large in the present and past, conversations about how Oda treats women have often taken place on a surface level. Oda started his career by including women in prominent and active roles in his stories. But as time went on, he began responding to criticism by taking it out on his female characters and fans alike, undoing the good work he had done in the series’ early days.

  • Gearing Up or Dressing Up? On female fighter equipment

    When it comes to a particular category of battle-related gripes, I think I’m less the annoyingly fastidious critic nobody wants to watch a show with, and am actually harping about something genuinely important: female fighter equipment, which too often sacrifices realism and practicality in favor of sex appeal. In anime, this issue manifests in three major forms: “boob armor,” high heels, and “chainmail bikinis,” all which hurt the dignity of not only the characters who must wear them but also the female viewers who must endure the real-world effects of such normalized sexualization of womens’ bodies.

  • The Dead Mothers of Shounen

    To be a mother in a shounen series, especially of a male protagonist, is often a guaranteed death sentence. It also means a lack of characterization outside of her role as a caretaker. Even otherwise highly acclaimed series are guilty of these tropes, and I can’t help but wonder why they continue to persist.

  • Jujutsu Kaisen star Anne Yatco on the fight for casting equity and what shounen can learn from Nobara

    Anne Yatco is a longtime actor with a varied and fascinating career. She entered the world of acting after spending four years as a full-time forensic scientist, worked with the all-WOC sketch group BAE*GENCY, and co-starred on the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Station 19. She’s recently pivoted primarily to working in voiceover, where she’s best known for playing Nobara in the English Jujutsu Kaisen dub.

  • When the Most Precious Diamond is Not a Piece of Jewelry: MAJOR 2ND and female baseball players’ struggles in a male-dominated sport

    Although Daigo’s teammates and rivals are mainly male in the beginning of the series, as time goes on, the female cast becomes increasingly robust, to the point that Daigo’s middle school team is majoritively formed by girls. This is big for the sport anime genre as a whole, as it represents an important step towards gender equality and the media visibility of women in sports.

  • My Fave is Problematic: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

    From 2007 to 2011 or so, Kyoto Animation’s multimedia juggernaut dominated most aspects of Western anime fandom. Whether getting stormed by a “Hare Hare Yukai” flash mob at a con or debating the “correct” viewing order online, you couldn’t escape the series’ sizable cult of personality. When watched today, it’s still easy to see why the small show left such a big impact. Yet for all of its still-endearing charms, Haruhi is plagued by foundational cracks that consistently threaten to undermine its core strengths.

  • She’s Fighting for Him: Black Clover and battle shounen’s male-centrism

    Women in shounen battle anime and manga have traditionally been sidelined, even as it became more and more common to include women as fellow fighters. When the guys go in to fight the final boss, the girls stay behind to help with some B-plot battle no matter how competent they may seem. In a new era of shounen, we’ve seen some of these tired tropes be turned on their heads. However, even when series like Black Clover make some strides, they still end up repeating tired cliches.

  • My Fave is Problematic: Yu Yu Hakusho

    The lovable characters have kept me hooked on Yu Yu Hakusho for the past 18 years, in addition to the “fight your enemies head on and defeat them through raw power and sheer force of will” storyline that will always be a guilty pleasure of mine. Although these elements make it worth the rewatch even now, my love for this anime hasn’t completely blinded me to its flaws. Yu Yu Hakusho, unfortunately, overtly and subtly fails its female characters time and again.

  • Non-Binary Orochimaru and the homophobic legacy of queer-coded villainy

    From their first appearance disguised as a young woman to their dangly earrings and lilting English dub performance, Orochimaru carries many of the unfortunate hallmarks of a queer-coded antagonist, one whose most terrifying power includes the ability to inhabit the bodies of others in a bid for eternal life. Their portrayal, already mired in queerphobia, is complicated by the franchise’s later decision to portray Orochimaru as a character with a non-binary gender identity, the first canonically LGBTQ+ character in the franchise.

  • Chainsaw Man’s beautiful depiction of platonic relationships

    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.

  • Anime’s Glass Ceiling: what keeps women out of the director’s chair?

    The popularity of women authors like Itagaki, Takeuchi, Takahashi, and Arakawa led to their work being adapted into similarly successful anime. But most of these anime, if not all of them, were directed by men.

  • Chatty AF 130: Return of Shonen Jump (WITH TRANSCRIPT)

    Peter, Chiaki, and Faye check in on all the new additions to the Shonen Jump app since April 2020

  • From Tsunade to Mereoleona: Looking for Shonen Jump’s Lady Mentors

    Although marketed toward boys, at least one third of Weekly Shonen Jump’s readers are now female. Despite this, Shonen Jump’s female characters remain over-sexualized, helpless, or useless beyond serving a role as the main character’s love interest. The manga and anime world has not yet caught up with the times by creating female characters that are both realistic and sympathetic to their real-world counterparts, and as prominent and important as their male costars. If one in three readers are female, why are female characters still relegated to the sidelines?

  • Your Lie in April: An Oedipus Complex and a Manic Pixie Dream Girl have a meetcute

    Your Lie in April has high ratings on almost all of the major anime databases. Unfortunately, I, the Feminist Killjoy, am here to say that Arima has an Oedipus complex and Kaori is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

  • Tower of God’s Rachel Problem: Fandom, female antagonists, and the risks of overly vague writing

    While Rachel did do many things wrong, and this is definitely not a defense of that (especially as she is coded as a blonde white woman in the art), her character’s depiction can open a larger discussion about portrayals of female antagonists, and patterns of online fandom misogyny.

  • My Fave is Problematic: Attack on Titan

    As it stands, no matter how Attack on Titan ends, its legacy will be a divisive one: a lauded masterpiece to some and despised propaganda piece to others. However, there is a strong argument to be made that Attack on Titan is a far more nuanced tale than its most vehement critics accuse it of being.

  • “Who the Hell Do You Think We Are?” Gurren Lagann’s blunted message of liberation

    A distinct antiauthoritarian spirit runs through Imaishi’s works. Yet nowhere is the director’s call for collective action more realized, but most glaringly compromised, than in the show that made him a household name: Gurren Lagann.