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REVIEW: Who Says Warriors Can't Be Babes? GN 1


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octopodpie
ANN Managing Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 1987
Location: Washington State
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:30 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, I do got to delete them all because this isn't your personal recommendation thread. The recommendations themselves aren't even related to the book (similar type). You derailed a whole thread, man. Please don't do it again.
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fuuma_monou



Joined: 26 Dec 2005
Posts: 1638
Location: Quezon City, Philippines
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:33 pm Reply with quote
Alan45 wrote:
helln00 wrote:
The thing that I learned from this review is that Johji Manabe is published in the west


We got Outlanders, Caravan Kidd and part of Drakuun, all from Dark Horse. I understand that Manabe moved from fan service to straight up hentai which is probably why we have not gotten any of his works in several years.


It's "soft" hentai with the genitalia completely whited-out in otherwise very explicit sex scenes and more story-driven than hard-core hentai. Project H had been publishing them physically in English, but I think they switched to digital-only for Manabe's work. For some reason, though, they spelled his first name "Joji" breaking with Dark Horse's use of "Johji".

EDIT: fixed the "Johji"/"joji" usage.


Last edited by fuuma_monou on Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alan45
Village ElderVillage Elder


Joined: 25 Aug 2010
Posts: 8768
Location: Virginia
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:52 am Reply with quote
@fuuma_monou

That is a shame. Manabe's Warrior women were also babes. They were well endowed but didn't suffer from the balloon boobs that are currently so popular.
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yeehaw



Joined: 09 Sep 2018
Posts: 91
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:46 am Reply with quote
She's not even that beefy. Like if she looked like a body builder then maybe, maybeeee I could have understood, but she looks... normal. Normal sized arms and thighs, she doesn't even have a six-pack!
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neverthere



Joined: 13 Sep 2020
Posts: 5
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:58 am Reply with quote
Start with
Quote:
"I'm not opposed to parody or screwball comedies, but the humor is entirely predicated on cruel gender-based jokes that often dip into essentialism"
and move on to the whole
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In the immortal words of Spike Spiegel
and
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I desperately wanted to pull Warrior Woman out of this and instead introduce her to Dorohedoro's Noi, who would actually give her the appreciation she deserves.


There are a couple of real issues here. The first is the presumption that Hero (clearly modeled after the same from the Dragon Quest video game, of which this is one of the many parodies) would like her more if she was feminine. This is ... something that is entirely in the protagonist's head. It would be one thing were Hero chasing every - or any! - 50s era Disney princess damsel in distress with wine, roses, jewelry and silk gowns. But instead Hero is more concerned with his career - you know, the trivial work of saving innocent people from dying horribly - than romance right now. Which is totally fine, his choice, his prerogative and would be praised were Hero female and the protagonist trying to woo her male. (Doesn't this same site - if not necessarily this specific reviewer - regularly trash Subaru of Re:Zero for pining over Emilia while she is supposed to be focusing on the royal election and working through her own personal issues?)

What should be praised? The fact that Hero values this extremely curvy woman for her warrior skills and views her as an equal instead of either wanting her body or only seeing her as a woman to romance. This makes Hero a stand up guy - a feminist in fact - and yet the reviewer dedicates a whole paragraph to trashing him? This is the thanks that he gets for not being an outdated character type like Arsene Lupin III chasing Fujiko Mine or City Hunter's Ryo Saeba chasing everything? If anything, her even trying to manipulate her clearly-uninterested coworker into taking a romantic interest in her would be considered sexual harassment were their places reversed! So if a decent equal opportunity guy like this is going to be blamed for the flaws that exist entirely on the part of the female character and trashed anyway, then why not just be a sexist pig anyway?

That is only the first issue. The second ... consider the target market and the nature of the work. Anyone familiar with swimsuit magazines? I don't know if they still exist but they were huge business in the 70s-90s. If you were to say "this objectifies women so take all the images of the women in swimsuits out" ... while absolutely true, there would still nonetheless be nothing left. No magazine at all. Do not mistake me, the reviewer's concerns would be very legitimate were they to be aimed at other works. Like if it were Ochaco in MHA thinking that Midoriya would take a romantic interest in her if she looked like Nejire or Momo. (It still wouldn't be true ... similar to this work's Hero, Midoriya is so single-minded with his career ambitions that romance isn't even on his mind. Also he sees Ochaco - as well as Nejire and Momo and the other females - as fellow heroes and equals, no different from how he views Iida and Fumikage. But still, at least given MHA's genre and target market it would make sense.) But considering the work that it is and its target market, there would be no way to address the reviewer's concerns without making it an entirely different work aimed at an entirely different market.

Now this does not mean that ALL of her criticisms are misplaced EVEN when considering the type of work that it is, with
Quote:
as she rolls around and drools on the floor within the first twenty pages
being a prime example. But really addressing the core of the reviewer's issues would mean works of this sort not existing at all and the market for it not having products aimed at it regardless of their quality. Is this the reviewer's goal or desire? I would be curious to know.

But the worst part was the reviewer's totally undeserved takedown of Hero because of Warrior Woman's own character flaws. It was entirely uncalled for and moreover would be rightfully called out as extremely sexist where the genders of Hero and the protagonist to be reversed.
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kotomikun



Joined: 06 May 2013
Posts: 903
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:48 pm Reply with quote
neverthere wrote:
This makes Hero a stand up guy - a feminist in fact - and yet the reviewer dedicates a whole paragraph to trashing him?

Choosing not to lust after one particular woman does not make someone a feminist. That's beside the point anyway, because the review isn't saying "this fictional dude is sexist," it's saying "the work as a whole is sexist." Him not being attracted to her is a fundamental part of its very un-feminist message--reread paragraph 3 (and 4... and 5) of the review for an explanation.

As for all the "you just want stuff like this and [popular thing] to not exist" and "but when you think about it it's really sexist against men actually," I've heard those arguments more times than I can count, and there's no good way to respond to them because they're really just attempts to change the subject and put your opponents on the defensive. All I can tell you is to maybe tone down the conspiratorial thinking. One reviewer not liking a relatively obscure manga (that's chock-full of outdated stereotypes) does not mean that My Hero Academia is getting cancelled. Don't panic.
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Northlander



Joined: 10 Feb 2009
Posts: 813
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:13 pm Reply with quote
The review synopsis (possibly the official description on the actual manga volume) says "...she ends up horribly wounding him." So, just to ask; how is she doing this? Is it a "she tries giving him a friendly slap on the back, but unintentionally sends him flying through five walls" thing? Something else? Could I ask for an example, please?
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Horsefellow



Joined: 01 Jan 2020
Posts: 112
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:22 pm Reply with quote
Northlander wrote:
The review synopsis (possibly the official description on the actual manga volume) says "...she ends up horribly wounding him." So, just to ask; how is she doing this? Is it a "she tries giving him a friendly slap on the back, but unintentionally sends him flying through five walls" thing? Something else? Could I ask for an example, please?


Pretty much. In the first chapter Hero saves Warrior from a Slime monster doing ecchi things to her but has to touch her panties in the process. After everything dies down she realizes Hero touched her there she freaks out and starts acting embarrassed and says that their relationship is moving way too fast to be at that stage so soon and slaps him. Since she's so strong she basically snaps his neck and sends him crumpling to the floor in a goofy, exaggerated pose. Monk runs in and casts raise on him to revive him and in the next scene he's fine again. Typical slapstick stuff.

nargun wrote:
I wonder, would I not care as much if I didn't have a job eating my time and I didn't pay for my comics? If people don't have jobs a nd bootleg everything, the value of a review is diminished for them, their choices less pressing)


I find previews more useful than reviews. Previews let me judge for myself. I'd rather read a few chapters of a manga, or watch a few episodes of a series than have someone explain to me why they liked or disliked it, especially if we have different tastes like me and this reviewer clearly do.
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all-tsun-and-no-dere



Joined: 06 Jul 2015
Posts: 201
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:23 am Reply with quote
neverthere wrote:
a bunch of words


Man I'm not sure what manga you read but it sure wasn't the one this review is about
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neverthere



Joined: 13 Sep 2020
Posts: 5
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:15 pm Reply with quote
kotomikun wrote:
neverthere wrote:
This makes Hero a stand up guy - a feminist in fact - and yet the reviewer dedicates a whole paragraph to trashing him?


Quote:
Choosing not to lust after one particular woman does not make someone a feminist.


I agree. That is why I stated that his valuing her for her work and treating her as an equal was what made him so. If not a third wave one, definitely second wave.

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That's beside the point anyway, because the review isn't saying


It is not besides the point because it was an issue that I myself raised with the review. Even if the whole work is sexist, that does not justify trashing a decidedly unsexist character and blaming him for the female character's flaws. I have read tons of blogs, columns, articles etc. that assert that blaming women for male shortcomings is sexist and the same applies in reverse.

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Him not being attracted to her is a fundamental part of its very un-feminist message--reread paragraph 3 (and 4... and 5) of the review for an explanation.


Yeah, that is wrong because Hero is not romantically interested in anybody. The idea that he would be interested in her is something that Warrior Woman came up with on her own as the result of her own insecurities. Also, "vanilla video game hero who is too preoccupied with his duty to pursue romance" is a well known thing. Like, I don't know, Link from The Legend of Zelda? Ike from Fire Emblem? Ryu from Street Fighter? (And that is just 3 playable characters from Smash Bros off the top of my head.) As the writer is clearly aware of such a very cliched character type in media directly parodied by this title, the most plausible explanation is the reviewer taking out frustrations with Warrior Woman on Hero. In my opinion that is wrong.

Quote:
As for all the "you just want stuff like this and [popular thing] to not exist" and "but when you think about it it's really sexist against men actually," I've heard those arguments more times than I can count, and there's no good way to respond to them because they're really just attempts to change the subject and put your opponents on the defensive. All I can tell you is to maybe tone down the conspiratorial thinking.


I believe you when you state that you have encountered these arguments in the past. However, those were not the ones that I was making. Instead, I seriously wished to know - although I likely made my post to late for the reviewer to read and respond, or far more likely the reviewer has much better and more important things to do than respond to the overlong whining of some random fellow on a message board - whether the reviewer believes that titles centered primarily around males looking at female bodies should exist at all. And of course the reviewer's trashing the male character for ... not being worth Warrior Woman's sexual harassment? That IS the real deal here. Instead of calling out Warrior Woman's behavior A) the reviewer claims that he isn't worth sexually harassing anyway and B) you yourself trash Hero for not returning her affections?!?! Again, reverse Hero and Warrior Woman and see how that sounds!

Quote:
One reviewer not liking a relatively obscure manga


Understood. But it did merit a review, and I was merely responding to the reviewer.
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all-tsun-and-no-dere



Joined: 06 Jul 2015
Posts: 201
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:22 pm Reply with quote
neverthere wrote:


It is not besides the point because it was an issue that I myself raised with the review. Even if the whole work is sexist, that does not justify trashing a decidedly unsexist character and blaming him for the female character's flaws. I have read tons of blogs, columns, articles etc. that assert that blaming women for male shortcomings is sexist and the same applies in reverse.


I didn't? I said he was boring, but in more colorful language.

neverthere wrote:
However, those were not the ones that I was making. Instead, I seriously wished to know - although I likely made my post to late for the reviewer to read and respond, or far more likely the reviewer has much better and more important things to do than respond to the overlong whining of some random fellow on a message board - whether the reviewer believes that titles centered primarily around males looking at female bodies should exist at all.


I'll answer in good faith here, since you seem genuinely curious, and the answer is - it's complicated.

Speaking as a woman who is attracted to women, I have no problem with sexy female bodies. What I take issue with is when those bodies are presented in certain ways, including a lack of consent from them, and/or embarrassment or shame. I like it when boobs act like boobs, so bad boob physics or ridiculous proportions turn me off. I don't like nonsexual situations being turned sexual by out-of-place fan service. Basically, I like sexual content when it is a real reflection of human bodies and human sexuality. If titles centered around males looking at female bodies can't treat the people existing in those bodies like humans worthy of respect, then yeah, maybe they shouldn't exist.

My friend once said you can often tell when erotica is made by a woman because it looks like the female subject has some kind of inner life, instead of just being a boobs attached to a body.

The main problem I have with this manga is the shame that Warrior Woman feels, which is reinforced from every angle. If it were just her being strong and cute, I'd probably really like it! She's adorable! But the embarrassment and shame she is constantly subjected to is a real deal-breaker for me.
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neverthere



Joined: 13 Sep 2020
Posts: 5
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:53 pm Reply with quote
all-tsun-and-no-dere wrote:
neverthere wrote:


...


Thank you for your reply. Generalizing here of course: an adult LGBT female is going to have different notions of attraction and entertainment than a 10-20 year old cishet male. Pokemon displayed a masterful grasp of the desires of its target preteen male audience: feisty tomboys their age (Misty) and emotionally immature adult tomboys with ridiculous proportions (Jessie and tons of one off or recurring characters like Professor Ivy). Realistic looking and behaving women and girls? Teachers. Mothers. And female classmates that they don't know how to relate to. To them females are a bewildering combination of attraction, fascination, comedy and abject existential terror all at the same time. So works like this exist to serve this paradoxical contradiction by providing fantasy that addresses their desire for females while facilitating their escape from them.

So for this group
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nonsexual situations being turned sexual
is precisely what they want. They want sexual content in some form but lack the emotional and intellectual maturity and life experience to navigate
Quote:
real reflection of human bodies and human sexuality
. So they want jiggle, slapstick, shy doormats, violent tsunderes and awkward blushing because that's all they can understand.

Code:
... is made by a woman because it looks like the female subject has some kind of inner life ...


While more women creating content for this demographic is necessary their challenge be the same: works that contains the sort of sensuality that this demographic will actually find entertaining. Works that try to dictate to them what they should like, shames them over what they do like (which makes them ashamed of their feelings and by extension themselves) and/or is some attempt to condition or mold them will invariably fail. Not an easy task, especially when you consider that a lot of the problematic things in shonen were first popularized by Rumiko Takahashi (i.e. Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku, Ranma 1/2). Or that attempts by even the likes of CLAMP to confront and challenge these issues didn't succeed (i.e. Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer). On the other hand note that CLAMP's character designs of buxom tomboys and demure girls for Code Geass were a huge success with this target audience.
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all-tsun-and-no-dere



Joined: 06 Jul 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:03 pm Reply with quote
neverthere wrote:
Pokemon displayed a masterful grasp of the desires of its target preteen male audience: feisty tomboys their age (Misty) and emotionally immature adult tomboys with ridiculous proportions (Jessie and tons of one off or recurring characters like Professor Ivy).


A) Pokemon is aimed at general audience.
B) Jessie has ridiculous proportions? What?
C) Misty et al aren't there just to add sex appeal for a male audience. They're characters in their own right, with motivations and skills. In fact, Pokemon having female characters personality traits other than "the girl" was a major reason it's popular with people of all genders.

Quote:
Realistic looking and behaving women and girls? Teachers. Mothers. And female classmates that they don't know how to relate to. To them females are a bewildering combination of attraction, fascination, comedy and abject existential terror all at the same time. So works like this exist to serve this paradoxical contradiction by providing fantasy that addresses their desire for females while facilitating their escape from them.


I would argue that the fact that boys don't know how to relate to girls is part of the problem here! They see girls as objects of desire and strange alien beings and not, you know, fellow human beings. Believe it or not, this is not just a natural part of development but the result of social conditioning to see themselves as separate.

Quote:

Code:
... is made by a woman because it looks like the female subject has some kind of inner life ...


While more women creating content for this demographic is necessary their challenge be the same: works that contains the sort of sensuality that this demographic will actually find entertaining. Works that try to dictate to them what they should like, shames them over what they do like (which makes them ashamed of their feelings and by extension themselves) and/or is some attempt to condition or mold them will invariably fail.


All media conditions people.

Quote:
Not an easy task, especially when you consider that a lot of the problematic things in shonen were first popularized by Rumiko Takahashi (i.e. Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku, Ranma 1/2).


Funny, Rumiko Takahashi is one of my go-to examples of exactly what I was talking about - Ranma 1/2 was my first anime other than Unico and Pokemon, and I wrote a glowing review of Maison Ikkoku for this very site!

Compare Akane to a lot of post-Love Hina tsunderes. She has a lot of the similar hallmarks - a quick, violent temper, the tendency to leap to conclusions, but also a sweet side. However, the difference is that she has an inner life and motivations beyond adhering to a trope. Her anger is justifiable; her life is in complete chaos, largely due to the men in her life treating her like an object. She loses her temper at Ranma because he's a jackass, as opposed to modern tsunderes - mostly written by men - who get mad and act petulant seemingly arbitrarily.

(Not that all modern tsunderes are terrible - I have a lot of affection for Taiga from Toradora whose temper comes from her mix of being socially awkward and emotionally stunted.)

(Come to think of it, Toradora was also written by a woman. The pattern continues.)

Takahashi writes and draws her female characters with the same respect she affords her male characters. Which, you know, supports my point.

Quote:
Or that attempts by even the likes of CLAMP to confront and challenge these issues didn't succeed (i.e. Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer).


Didn't succeed by what metric? Most of their works have been super commercially successful. I don't think Angelic Layer was particularly successful because it was poorly written!

Quote:
On the other hand note that CLAMP's character designs of buxom tomboys and demure girls for Code Geass were a huge success with this target audience.


Man, it's bizarre to me that all your examples are known for their cross-gender appeal, Code Geass included, when there are so many more obvious titty anime right there. To me, it says more about how you perceive female characters than what is natural and "normal".
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nargun



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 858
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:31 am Reply with quote
I want to talk about this.

Quote:

What should be praised? The fact that Hero values this extremely curvy woman for her warrior skills and views her as an equal instead of either wanting her body or only seeing her as a woman to romance. This makes Hero a stand up guy - a feminist in fact - and yet the reviewer dedicates a whole paragraph to trashing him?


So, this puts into opposition "viewing as an equal" and "person to romance"; it's a framework that doesn't regard sex as something that can ever possibly happen between equals. If you regard someone as a potential sexual partner, then that means inescapably you can't see them as equals.

There's no conception of even the possibility of relationships based on mutual respect. To want to have sex with someone you must regard them as lesser.

[now, Kaguya-sama has power differential in relationships as a key plot driver, but -- and this is important! -- not only is Kaguya-sama a comedy, it portrays the people in-text as gods-damned idiots whose deranged -- but culturally rooted! -- ideas about relationships are keeping them apart and miserable.]

And you couple "relationships must be built on the basis of a power -- or at least respect -- differential" that neverhere brings to the picture with the "yay traditional gender presentation" that the text [apparently -- "sewer rat might taste like pumpkin pie"] brings to the party and you get, well, good-old madonna-and-whore misogyny, don't you.

"I don't want to think about having sex with you because by considering you as a sexual being it becomes impossible for me to treat you as a being equally deserving of respect" is... not very feminist. I think. Not by modern standards at least.

To put it lightly.
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OtherSideofSky



Joined: 19 May 2016
Posts: 96
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:23 am Reply with quote
To be honest, it looks like the debate in these comments has become almost totally divorced from the actual comic at this point, but I ended up wasting my time paging through and reading reviews for all three books of it in Japanese, so I'll throw in my two cents.

The reviewer set themselves up for disappointment at the outset by basing their expectations on things with characters, plots, and multiple jokes instead of on the original Dragon Quest. I can't blame them—the idea of leaving characterization at this level is baffling, even if a fair number of works still do it. It feels like these are tropes of fantasy parody more than they are tropes of fantasy games at this point. Either way, the review is mostly on point. I guess you could criticize it for failing to mention that the hero's total lack of personality is just the norm rather than an exception—someone might come away thinking that the other characters are actually characterized in some meaningful way.
You could charitably argue that the series as a whole has two jokes, but neither is ever going to give you a punchline you haven't seen before and didn't see coming a mile away.
The art is cute, but hardly outstanding. Parts of it are clearly fanservice, but it's far from the extreme of what's available in terms of quantity or explicitness. Beside which, these being riffs on old Dragon Quest designs means that anyone looking for that has more soft- and hardcore erotic art than they could look through in a lifetime to choose from.
This is the kind of entirely forgettable gag manga that could probably be generated by an algorithm, and from a potential reader's perspective, I'd argue that's worse than anything else going on with it.
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