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littlegreenwolf



Joined: 10 Aug 2002
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:00 am Reply with quote
I was looking forward to the topic when I read the headline, and then disappointed when it ended up more like a one-sided interview with someone working in American Comics. No one really tried to go into anything about girls in comics, no real mentions of anything out of the CMX thing, etc, and you couldn't get off of American Superhero fare when you did get off of CMX. No mention of greats such as Ghost World, early chick romance comics that popped up especially around the 60s, or even a nod to Betty & Veronica, a chick comic that pulls girls in at a young age, with basic, non-hero themes and romance.


In comics, the sides are separate. He's a Hero and he's a Dork, separately. Never at the same time.


Spider-Man. Spider-Man geeks out quite a bit in costume.

Either way, I'll still kiss the feet of anyone who works in Vertigo. Lucifer rocked.
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4nBlue





PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:42 am Reply with quote
Rednal wrote:

@Princess_Irene: I agree with you, actually. What comes to mind immediately is Nanoha; definitely has the naked transformation scenes (at least for a few episodes), but there's more than a little character development in both the original series and A's. Not to mention interesting moral choices. It's almost like... or exactly like... the female version of your typical shounen story. Magical Girl is probably what you'd have if you reversed all the genders in Naruto. Or Bleach. Or Fullmetal Alchemist. I prefer the series that have the heroines grow up, not simply run around collecting the Forty-five Shiny Objects of Power or whatever.

Nanoha Takamachi is probably one of the strongest woman in anime. The usual reaction to her character design is something along the lines of, "moe...bleh", but by the age of 19 she's the strongest human in the universe, combat intructor (only because she enjoys her work and refuses promotions), spoiler[single mother for a human weapon and her body is falling apart from the combination of using experimental weapon systems and doing the impossible few times too many]. All that without seeming overhelmingly superhuman, because of the uncertainties she holds about her choices ( spoiler[like blasting a trainee with enough power to knock her unconcious for half a day to teach her a lesson or if adopting Vivio was the right choice while continuing in a dangerous job]). Most of what I said about Nanoha also apply to Fate and Hayate, who also have both careers and families.
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Rednal



Joined: 07 Jul 2008
Posts: 120
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:43 am Reply with quote
Princess_Irene wrote:

Right! A lot of magical girls have moral choices that they have to deal with - again, look at Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne. spoiler[When she finds out she's really been working for the devil and transforming with his power, she has to decide if she can or wants to continue her career as a magical girl. Ultimately she finds the power within herself to transform, without God or the Devil's help.] (That's also a good example of a series where the heroine grows up, as is Sailor Moon. ) On the flip side, you have Yuu Watase's Ayashi no Ceres, where Aya spoiler[ultimately fails to make a choice or to accept her powers. Because she can't cope or believe in herself the way other magical girls can, the rest of her team dies and she winds up, if you'll pardon the expression, barefoot and pregnant, doomed to repeat the cycle over again. She grows up physically, but not emotionally.]


As another example, we have Magic Knight Rayearth, and its pretty hard to deny the fact that Rayearth is a Magical Girl series. Granted, it has a little of everything else, too, but it does have naked transformation scenes, magical powers, and the cute animal sidekick. For me, Rayearth seems even deeper than Jeanne, because of the choice that they're forced to make. spoiler[That is, kill the Princess because she just wants to be happy.] Not exactly little-kid material. Which didn't stop me from buying the box set of the manga when I was younger, mind you...

Magical x Miracle is an interesting take on the whole idea, if you've read that. I'll just leave it as a suggestion and try not to influence your opinion if you haven't read it. ^^

@littlegreenwolf: If I understand it right, Spider-Man was where they first started using a lot of thought bubbles. But he really does seem to be the exception, rather than the rule. I mean, seriously, Superman doesn't seem to have very much character depth at all. Batman... well, never really stops being the Bat. Marvel is a little better, in my view. I mean, we have Beast from X-men, who's pretty much always furry and seems to be more of a scientist than a warrior.

@Maidenoftheredhand: I agree; I will also read nearly anything, so long as I enjoy reading it. This is probably why my collection has just about everything except shounen-ai/yaoi and excessive blood and gore... ^^[/spoiler]
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SongstressCela



Joined: 26 Sep 2008
Posts: 615
Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:00 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Bamboo: I was thinking of that earlier—many lead female roles in comics tend to be the super sexy vixen.


Reading this reminds me of the current situation surrounding Barbara Gordon, i.e. Oracle at this point in time. She's far and wide my favorite comic character ever (not that I'm a comic fan in general), and I love that she can be capable without being some spandex-clad airhead.

Unfortunately, with recent rumors going on about her being "cured", I'm not so sure how much longer it's going to last. -_-
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kadian1364



Joined: 06 Oct 2006
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Location: Indiana
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:12 pm Reply with quote
Maidenoftheredhand wrote:
I was thinking of the topic of "cute". It seems we associate "cute" with something a female audience will like but in Japan there are plenty of these "cute" series that are aimed at a male audience even an older male audience.

There are a lot of comics/series that are seinen but if I showed them to my friends who are not used to manga/anime I doubt they would believe me. I am thinking of things like Air, Azumanga Daioh, Yotsuba&, Chi's Sweet Home, etc. I even know some anime fans who assume these series are shoujo based on their content.


I think typical specifications of shoujo, shounen, seinen, etc best apply to a Japanese audience. Western sensibilities about such things often don't match up. Things like "target Japanese demograph" are meaningless to the tastes and preferences of those in the US or Europe. Air, Azumanga Daioh and the like have to be marketed differently than in their country of origin.
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Gilaskan



Joined: 26 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:33 pm Reply with quote
SongstressCela wrote:
Quote:
Bamboo: I was thinking of that earlier—many lead female roles in comics tend to be the super sexy vixen.


Reading this reminds me of the current situation surrounding Barbara Gordon, i.e. Oracle at this point in time. She's far and wide my favorite comic character ever (not that I'm a comic fan in general), and I love that she can be capable without being some spandex-clad airhead.

Unfortunately, with recent rumors going on about her being "cured", I'm not so sure how much longer it's going to last. -_-


I find it both pleasant and vaguely ironic that you have such an view on Barbara Gordon.

I myself have always liked Barbara a lot, and she really stands out to me as one of the best and most progressive female comic characters in the history of superheros. As Batgirl, she never wore a sexualized costume, and was presented as being just as capable as any other superhero. She was strong and smart, and she was good looking, but she was never boiled down to being "sexy". After her paralysis, she became even more of an icon of intellectuality, and also became a very progressive icon of a physically disabled person who enabled themselves to do good.

The reason I find your opinion vaguely ironic (and mine too, for that matter) is in the context of feminism in comics. I've always perceived Barbara as being very progressive in helping the image of women in comics, however, there's a reasonably vocal number of comic fans who consider Barbara's paralysis to be misogynist at it's core. I disagree with them, but the discussion of women in comics and Barbara Gordon reminded me of the sentiment.
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Princess_Irene
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:34 pm Reply with quote
Rednal wrote:

As another example, we have Magic Knight Rayearth, and its pretty hard to deny the fact that Rayearth is a Magical Girl series. Granted, it has a little of everything else, too, but it does have naked transformation scenes, magical powers, and the cute animal sidekick. For me, Rayearth seems even deeper than Jeanne, because of the choice that they're forced to make. spoiler[That is, kill the Princess because she just wants to be happy.] Not exactly little-kid material. Which didn't stop me from buying the box set of the manga when I was younger, mind you...


Rayearth is especially interesting because of that choice. Trust Clamp to tweak the traditional magical girl moral dilemma so that it reflects on how the magical girl interacts with the outside world. (It's also trademark Clamp betray-the-protagonist. Smile ) In this context it's definitely deeper than Jeanne, and it really stands out among magical girls.

Ahiru/Duck makes similar (though perhaps less devastating) choices in "Princess Tutu" when she has to spoiler[stand against the world Drosselmeyer has created for her] at the end of the series. It goes beyond bucking the story - it becomes a question of whether or not she is even able to exist.

I haven't read Magical x Miracle yet - I'll check it out!

littlegreenwolf wrote:
or even a nod to Betty & Veronica, a chick comic that pulls girls in at a young age, with basic, non-hero themes and romance.

They were my introduction to comics, followed closely by ElfQuest, which also didn't get a mention. The scope of the discussion was a bit limited - it would have been nice to have this be a two-parter.
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Zac
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Joined: 05 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:45 pm Reply with quote
Julia-the-Great wrote:
Just a question, does anybody proofread the articles on ANN? Because I've been noticing a lot of typos lately, especially in this column.


I do, but thanks for catching that - things have been extremely hectic lately and I must be missing stuff.
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liannesentar



Joined: 21 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:12 pm Reply with quote
littlegreenwolf wrote:
I was looking forward to the topic when I read the headline, and then disappointed when it ended up more like a one-sided interview with someone working in American Comics. No one really tried to go into anything about girls in comics, no real mentions of anything out of the CMX thing, etc, and you couldn't get off of American Superhero fare when you did get off of CMX. No mention of greats such as Ghost World, early chick romance comics that popped up especially around the 60s, or even a nod to Betty & Veronica, a chick comic that pulls girls in at a young age, with basic, non-hero themes and romance.


True, but I think they still did a decent overall look at women in the "better-selling" Western superhero comics vs. women in fantasy/hero manga from the last 10-20 years. Not much was touched outside of those genres (sadly, considering the guest doesn't even work in those). I wish the discussion had been 10x longer--then they probably would've brought up some of the things you've mentioned and we could've had a broader discussion.

littlegreenwolf wrote:
Either way, I'll still kiss the feet of anyone who works in Vertigo.


Seconded! So much good comes out of Vertigo, seriously.

One of the last lines of this discussion really floored me:

So, in other words, men want to be recognized and rewarded for being powerful, and women just don't want to be punished for being powerful.

Whoa...that blew my mind. It would certainly explain a lot of the girls-dressed-as-boys action/fantasy titles, though.
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Showsni



Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:43 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Some magical girls actually age when they power up. I'm thinking Fullmoon wo Sagashite. But I seem to remember that one of the classic magical girl anime had something similar...


The series I immediately thought of was W.I.T.C.H., though that's a European comic...

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Dorcas_Aurelia



Joined: 23 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:58 pm Reply with quote
Rednal wrote:
Honestly, there are times when I think it's hilarious when the female takes the dominant role in a relationship. Kanokon, for example, has one of the least agressive male leads I've ever seen, and it's fun watching him run away.

The thing is, Chizuru's not the main character, Kouta is. Plus, her only personality trait is trying to screw him. Turning females into the same type of horndog as a stereotypical male isn't really progress. It's also got a power-of-love type power up situation, but I can't remember which one tends to be in control when that happens.
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Princess_Irene
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:00 pm Reply with quote
Showsni wrote:
Quote:
Some magical girls actually age when they power up. I'm thinking Fullmoon wo Sagashite. But I seem to remember that one of the classic magical girl anime had something similar...


The series I immediately thought of was W.I.T.C.H., though that's a European comic...


There are a lot who do that, primarily in the "idol singer" transformation. There's of course Mitsuki from Fullmoon and the classic Miho/Lala from Fancy Lala, but then there's also Natsumi from Instant Teen, where the whole premise of the series is that she grows up. Aimi/Shadow Lady doesn't age, but she does physically, ah, augment, rather like in Witchblade, or at least as I understand happens in Witchblade.

Another really interesting variety of magical girl that I wanted to mention is the type that simple changes her appearance without intending to fight, sing, or steal. Characters like Ponta in Guru Guru Pon-Chan and Nana/Yaya in Othello are just out to make themselves more comfortable/happy. Technically Natsumi could also fit into this category. There's something a bit sad about this type of magical girl, I think, but at the same time she's easier to relate to - who hasn't thought that if they just looked different life would be better?


(Aside: Then there's that weird one about the pig girl - Tonde Buurin, was it? I'm not sure I want to touch that one...)


Last edited by Princess_Irene on Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ArthurFrDent



Joined: 05 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:04 pm Reply with quote
"So, in other words, men want to be recognized and rewarded for being powerful, and women just don't want to be punished for being powerful."

These two ideas are both applicable to both genders...

the idea is that being recognized is good, and punished is bad. Punishment can take a lot of forms, natch. Why does Clark Kent even exist? Because Supe Baby would never be able to interact with regular humans without Clark. The same way a protagonist needs to have vulnerabilities to seem human. But, he still wants to be seen for what he IS. This works the same with any female hero or protagonist, she wants to be seen for everything she is...

There are divergences in how these things play out, sure. Naturally there are traits different between genders, so the question IMHO is does the character seem believeable based on their own character traits?
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Cloe
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:18 pm Reply with quote
liannesentar wrote:
I wish the discussion had been 10x longer--then they probably would've brought up some of the things you've mentioned and we could've had a broader discussion.

Sara here.

I feel the same way every week. ;p Unfortunately we only have so much time to spend with our guests every week, and it's impossible to cover the full scope of our topics--especially one as far-reaching as women in comics. Barbara is very knowledgeable about comic history and we undoubtedly would have gotten around to Betty & Veronica eventually, had we been able to talk for hours and hours.

Fortunately, we have forum feedback, so you guys all get to bring up the things we didn't get around to and supplement the column with your own insights. It's one of the things that, for me, makes participating in Chicks on Anime so interesting. Thanks for all the comments so far, everyone!
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Nights1stStar



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:28 pm Reply with quote
I'm not sure I agree with how comic heroines are more about the appearance while manga heroines have stories which focus more on their powers. That particular comment could've been clarified.

On the whole, I thought the topic was thought-provoking, but it definitely could've been discussed more thoroughly. I was hoping for plot and personality comparisons, more than fashion comparisons. Because though character design is important, it's plot and character development which truly separate different genres.
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