It’s Women’s History Month and since yesterday at the time of posting was International Women’s Day, I figured I’d write a little something for the occasion that’s been on my mind for a while.
I get the impression that there is an idea shared among some anime watchers. That feminism – and particularly being a feminist – clashes with being an anime fan. But why? Is it the boobs? It’s the boobs, isn’t it? I mean, it would make sense. After all, sexualization is one of the elements of anime that – for better or worse – comes to mind first when describing it as a medium. We all seem to get it.
So naturally, some people don’t like anime for those reasons. And just as naturally, there are defenders of anime who will draw a fine line between those pesky feminists and all the “real” anime watchers out there. The two groups seem contradictory to one another. How on earth can a feminist be a true anime fan?! Well, joking aside, I am here to reveal to you the truth of watching anime as a feminist.
And the truth is, it ain’t that different from watching anime normally…
International Women’s Day was this past Sunday and ever since my hiatus I have been excited to take the opportunity to praise some of my favorite female characters. Whether they be relatable, funny, awe-inspiring, or simply badass, anime has given us so many iconic female characters there’s bound to be a few gals in every anime fan’s list of favorites.
About three years ago, I ranked the five hottest anime dudes I’d seen, based solely on sexual reasons. As I am not straight, the same can’t be said for this list. I would have called it “anime women who almost turned me bi,” but that wasn’t necessarily accurate either. Regardless, the important thing about any ranking of characters be that the writing produces a character worth giving a shit about, regardless of attractiveness… still though these women are fucking gorgeous.
Anime is often accused of having way too much sexualization to truly take the medium seriously. So what do I think, having been invested in this medium for so long? Well, I take to this topic the same stance I have on most discussions about representation and content in media. Sexualization itself is not the problem. The problem, if you feel there is one, is in the execution and frequency of said sexualization.
I’m of the mind that sex appeal is a necessary part of media because sex and the wide array of emotions tied to it make it a great emotional appeal in a narrative. Of course, it has other, more obvious uses as well, but I don’t think we should be afraid of sex in media, we should be afraid of not having enough variety in our media to balance out that sex.
I have been overjoyed recently, seeing Anime become even more popular here in the west and I believe the main reason for this is the involvement of two companies. Firstly, Funimation, the Houston-based Distributer that licenses, dubs and distributes Anime while also providing a streaming service. Secondly, Crunchyroll, a primarily streaming platform giving people access to hundreds of Anime, Manga and Japanese drama. The unification of these two companies has made the power of these two companies even stronger. Just recently Crunchyroll got all 64 episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood onto their site as one of the benefits of this deal and there has been a promise that this partnership will help get more Blu-ray releases for even more anime.
But for some reason when I talk to a lot of friends about Crunchyroll and Funimation, there seems to be a lot of hate surrounding the two that I simply do not understand. So I figured I’d give my two cents on why I think the hate is a bit ridiculous and suggest what we SHOULD be complaining about instead.
Since I have posted reviews on Facebook and Myanimelist before I started this blog, I figured I’d reupload those reviews on Fridays for the next couple weeks. Enjoy!
Anyone who has studied film has probably heard of the French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague), a movement of French filmmakers breaking off from traditional Hollywood filmmaking to produce their own, low budget, artistic works. The Nouvelle Vague was highlighted by films that compensated for their low budgets with inventive camerawork that changed a story could be conveyed through jump cuts and excessive environmental imagery. Characters would foreshadow events, break the fourth wall, and display a sentient knowledge of their existence as fictional characters, accompanied with extensive knowledge of the genre they inhabit Continue reading