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INTEREST: Sword Art Online Author Reki Kawahara Says Female Characters Should Not Be Treated as Trop


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AiddonValentine



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:46 pm Reply with quote
Okay, I wait to see how he follows through on this
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Arale Kurashiki



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:50 pm Reply with quote
Huh, I'm so used to the jokes about SAO's bad writing that I never would have imagined that the author was critical of his own work. Good for him.
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gacha



Joined: 03 Mar 2018
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:51 pm Reply with quote
And that's how his writing went from bad to worse.
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Nyren



Joined: 07 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:53 pm Reply with quote
Huh. That's an interesting way to view "Hero" and "Heroine". Technically they're the same thing, just referring to a different gender, but he took it as "Hero" is the male protagonist and "Heroine" is the female romantic interest that acts as motivation. Never really thought of it that way, and probably still won't going forward when I write my own stories.
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Ashen Phoenix



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:01 pm Reply with quote
I'm glad to at least hear Kawahara is aware of and hopes to develop more as a writer, particularly in regards to the female characters' roles in his stories.

Quote:
Kawahara insisted that when he first started writing Sword Art Online, he had not been keeping such issues in mind. Because of that, the girls around Kirito kept increasing without thought about what role they would play.

This in particular was and remains an issue for me with SAO, in that it introduced a bunch of female characters and some with interesting potential but few were given any semblance of personality, let alone agency within the plot (And no, hobbies to me do not constitute a personality).
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ChestPains



Joined: 05 Oct 2016
Posts: 54
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:06 pm Reply with quote
Nyren wrote:
Huh. That's an interesting way to view "Hero" and "Heroine". Technically they're the same thing, just referring to a different gender, but he took it as "Hero" is the male protagonist and "Heroine" is the female romantic interest that acts as motivation. Never really thought of it that way, and probably still won't going forward when I write my own stories.



Well, it's not that he took it that way, that's just how a lot of JP media treats those terms. The most obvious example being VN routes always refer to the girl being chased as the 'heroine' of that route, and whenever the term is brought up it really is usually referred to in that sense.
It doesn't necessarily mean 'heroine = damsel in distress' and most of them do in fact act as protagonists, but it's always leaning into the romantic partner side of things.
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RenimLS



Joined: 26 Mar 2014
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Location: VA, USA
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:10 pm Reply with quote
Nyren wrote:
Huh. That's an interesting way to view "Hero" and "Heroine". Technically they're the same thing, just referring to a different gender, but he took it as "Hero" is the male protagonist and "Heroine" is the female romantic interest that acts as motivation. Never really thought of it that way, and probably still won't going forward when I write my own stories.


Given what was written in the article and what I've seen in descriptions or from reading various web novels and light novels (got into reading a variety of fan translated series a few years ago), I think it is common in their writing to have the "heroine" refer to what is essentially a trophy character and a separate thing from the "hero" of the story. You can see it in a lot of their series that in the summary "heroes" tend to be described by things like their intelligence, strength, or skill, but a lot of the "heroine" characters are usually described simply by their position or their beauty.


Last edited by RenimLS on Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Gemnist



Joined: 10 Feb 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:15 pm Reply with quote
Considering how deep he is into SAO, what I think he should do is start an entirely new series with the things he learned from his previous writing (including the sexism).
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Jonny Mendes



Joined: 17 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:17 pm Reply with quote
Nothing new, really. The heroines of his stories usually very strong characters.

Asuna is pretty strong, as is Sinon and Alice is probably the most badass of them all.
As for the current animespoiler[ The Underworld War arc of the Sword Art Online: Alicization is dominated by the female characters.]


Last edited by Jonny Mendes on Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:36 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Hakase



Joined: 25 Oct 2018
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:19 pm Reply with quote
If Kawahara makes a cute yuri (harem) anime or reboots the whole SAO into Sword Art Online: Asuna and her Yuri Adventures, I will believe him.
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Chrono1000



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
Posts: 1058
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:20 pm Reply with quote
I think Reki Kawahara has done a good job with female characters in SAO and unless you make them the protagonist such as in SAO Alternative there is only so much that the author can do. I think the real issue is that some people simply dislike the traditional male hero who is admired for saving the day and as long as the story is about Kirito their opinion will remain the same. It is better to concentrate on making the fans happy since they are the ones that will be buying the future light novels.
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:27 pm Reply with quote
AiddonValentine wrote:
Okay, I wait to see how he follows through on this


Maybe I should pick up The Isolator sometime. I've read a volume or two of the Accel World manga, but none of Kawahara's other post-2008 work. My city library doesn't have The Isolator, but the county library does.

(Also, I suspect a lot of people who say things like "I think his critics just don't like having a traditional male hero" aren't really paying close attention to his critics' points.)

Re: "heroine", the way I've seen that loanword used is pretty consistent. Note that the original Japanese title of "How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend" is "Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata".


Last edited by Shay Guy on Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Super_M



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 43
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:28 pm Reply with quote
I'm few years back watched few episode of SAO but I dropped this show.

Well isekai have specific audience (male harem power fantasy). I hope he not alienated core audience by his choice.

I think good chunk popular shonen have bad written female character like MHA, Naruto but still main target are boys so most development go to male characters.

Shoujo/Josei target girls and thers plenty weak and unitresting female charactera too. In west popular female targeted media have also weak female characters like Twilight or 50SoG where female protagonist can't breathe without strong male lead.

Sorry for my bad english.
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Jonny Mendes



Joined: 17 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:30 pm Reply with quote
Hakase wrote:
If Kawahara makes a cute yuri (harem) anime or reboots the whole SAO into Sword Art Online: Asuna and her Yuri Adventures, I will believe him.

As a fan of yuri anime like Citrus and Simoun, a yuri LN/anime would be nice.
SAO is perfect as it is, so a new LN would be the best.
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Lord Oink



Joined: 06 Jul 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:37 pm Reply with quote
Super_M wrote:
I think good chunk popular shonen have bad written female character like MHA, Naruto but still main target are boys so most development go to male characters.

Shoujo/Josei target girls and thers plenty weak and unitresting female charactera too. In west popular female targeted media have also weak female characters like Twilight or 50SoG where female protagonist can't breathe without strong male lead.


It's pretty obvious the people with issues about those works are in the minority. After-all, they wouldn't be so popular with women if they had such big issues with them.
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