Subtitle: I wonder about Daichi and other women posing as men
I am going to work through some random thoughts I had about Ladies Versus Butlers and women who pose as men in anime. I may make some transphobic statements by accident (that is not my intent), please let me know where I’ve made mistakes since this is more a learning exercise for me than me trying to develop dogma. There will be spoilers for Mai-HiME and Ladies Versus Butlers
No matter how feminist I get I HOPE I still have some affection for good Xebec, ecchi shows (not, for example Hen Zemi, which was really flat and boring even though it had no right to be). As long as I’m allowed to like problematic things, I’d like mine rosy-cheeked and without noses. ^^;
True, LvB has its share of issues, but I wonder a bit about Daichi, for most of the show he fills the role of aloof-but-flawless butler calmly showing the other dudes of the service class how it’s done. And then we come to his episode. And learn that biologically, he’s a girl. Now, part of the problem with this little twist is that it comes during an episode where he’s forced (as part of the school’s strange Sadie Hawkins dance) to dress up as a girl (all the guys cross-dress, except the MC, because OF COURSE) and then finds himself falling for the MC.
What’s nice is that the episode manages end without forcing Daichi to revise his gender presentation. He returns to being a butler with little fanfare. Sure, his biological sex allows him to be a “romantic option” in an otherwise straight harem (which is worth a disapproving look) but unlike, say Akira who gets shoehorned into “coming out” has a woman by the rules of the HiME contest the show doesn’t make a big deal of enforcing Daichi’s gender beyond this episode.
Since I am unsure how these characters are positioned, I can’t decide how I feel about him.
Mini Mendacious Moments: Feminism According to Flame of Recca -
“Mini Mendacious Moments” is a feature about small moments (a page, an opening sequence, a character design, or something a character said) in manga, anime, or games that simply makes me pause and …
SoaringWings writes about the misuse of the word “feminist” in Flame of Recca and how the misconceptions damage the cause.
All women are Anthy and Utena, prince and princess rescued and rescuer, having the power to give meaning to themselves and take their own future by their hands.
Men? If they’re lucky, they can aspire to be Miki.
Watched VVV 10 and 11. Not quite sure what I want to say about them just yet.
After the success of Sailor Moon, Toei Animation Studio realized magical girl shows were a great way to keep the cash coming and attract a market of young girls. And so, in 2004, the first Precure series came out. Back then it was still spelled “Pretty Cure” but at least by the time Fresh Precure rolled around, it had been shortened to “Precure”.
Precure has not stopped producing since the first 49-episode series in 2004. As soon as one series ends, the next series starts airing. So the franchise has been ongoing since 2004 right up until the present.
Currently there are ten Precure series: Futari Wa Pretty Cure, Futari’s direct sequel Futari wa Pretty Cure: Max Heart, Pretty Cure Splash Star, Yes! Precure 5, Yes’s direct sequel Yes! Precure 5 GoGo, Fresh Precure!, Heartcatch Precure!, Suite Precure, Smile Precure! and Dokidoki! Precure which is currently airing.
With exceptions of the two direct sequels, each Precure Series/Season is set in a seperate universe with different characters. So one can pretty much start with any season without watching any seasons before it- excepting the two sequels- and it will be a self-contained series. There are five AllStars movies where all the series cross over for a self contained adventure, but that’s about it for inter-continuity. Each separate season ranges from 47-50 episodes generally.
All the seasons follow the basic magical girl plotline- An ordinary girl or duo of girls encounters a cute fairy who informs them the world is in danger and that they are the chosen warriors. They are granted powers to fight the otherworldly threat, defeating monsters and collecting magical objects throughout the episodes. Often, a team of girls will be formed by the end of the season, with about four or five magical girls working together.
The magical girl genre is my favorite anime genre because it’s honestly one of the most feminist genres that exists. It’s about young women growing up and being heroes, drawing power from their bonds with other women and instead of being ashamed of femininity, they wield it as power. And the magical girl genre at its roots is supposed to be for an audience of young girls, to empower and entertain THEM. I don’t really approve of the trend of magical girl shows “for men”. There’s already everything else in the word for men, they don’t need to co-opt this genre.
Precure is fortunately still here to uphold all of those themes 100%. This is a show for young girls about girls being heroes. That doesn’t mean anything bad. It’s action packed, full of awesome punch-heavy fight scenes, loveable characters and the power of friendship. It can get dark and the stakes can be high, but it always keeps up the themes of optimism and overcoming pain to be stronger, and the girls aren’t punished for being powerful. It’s unashamedly girly and unashamedly cute, but you don’t mess with these girls.
There is generally zero fanservice too. The transformation sequences don’t show any nudity or sexualization-in fact, the girls often get to wear pretty gowns as they transform, the girls generally either have shorts under their skirts or incomprehensibly solid ruffles (I guess they’d be ruffled bloomers?) so no panty shots and there’s no male gaze. Most of the time the girls actually look 14.
What’s more, with the exception of Yes! (I believe), there’s not much in the way of romance. A lot of the girls have crushes on boys, but they’re generally not very important to the plot and only mentioned a couple of time- often times there’s no love interest in the picture at all. Guys are generally there to be flawlessly saved and protected by the girls. Either that or they’re blobby mascots. The bonds between the girls are the main focus and the show is usually too concerned with power of girl friendship to seriously work any heterosexual romance in as a theme.
The girls are often very dedicated to their jobs as heroes, and get a lot stronger and learn more as they go on. Often, they have their own individual dreams and goals they pursue with driven passion, and that develops too.
Precure also often touches on the theme of redemption. The heroes save other women with the power of love and convince them to find a better path and discover their own identities. I love a good redemption arc, especially when it’s all about women helping each other escape from despair and escape from being shackled to dominating forces, and some of the arcs in Precure are very moving and well done (well, mostly one. We’ll get to that).
Not everything is flawless though. There are no canon queer characters, all the girls are thin and there’s not much disability representation besides some sickly side characters and only one series I know of has a recurring darker-skinned character.
Despite that, the strength of Precure is its loveable, often well-done characters and relationships, the awesome ladies kicking ass and good showcasing of female friendship and teamwork- not to mention colorful designs and cool fights. It’s a very positive kids show. It may not be “edgy” and don’t expect the plot to blow you away with complexity- but if you like fun stuff, humor, action, sparkly girly power and good characters who often grow quite a bit, this series is for you.
However, some series are better than others, and all of them have their strength and weaknesses. So I’m going to outline them for you! However, fair warning, I haven’t watched all of them. I don’t really have a desire to watch them either, so instead for those I’ll just give a brief description and/or direct you to liveblogs.
Now, your Precure guide! Spoiler alert: Fresh is the best, Heartcatch and Smile are really good, Suite is pretty good and seriously, you should start with Fresh if you want to be hooked. Heartcatch is also a good choice to reel you in. Anything produced before Fresh is likely not as good, except for maybe Splash Star, I don’t know because I haven’t see it.
This is an INTENSE BASIC REVIEW of every Precure that exists right now! Dang. I really need to watch Fresh! It looks so wonderful! <3<3
Anyone looking for an awesome feminist anime list to watch? This lady right up there gives her reviews on really great anime.
Thanks <3! Reblog since this was buried under the argument. Also check out other reviews here
Ask John: Are There Any Anime in Which Violence Against Women is Use for Comedy? -
Pretty good explanation as to why we see certain types of violence without going deeply into the issues surrounding it.
Every time I have to talk about trans* issues I take stock of my personal feelings about my gender and come back with, “meh”. I think this is what ‘cis privilege’ is—in part.
I don’t wish I could wear more dresses, I don’t have curiosity about makeup (well, that’s not strictly true. Makeup is a skill and I love learning skills. But if I knew how to apply eye shadow, would I wear it daily? No.). In addition every time the subject of crossplay comes up, I balk because while I like putting on an act as much as the next egotist, I would miss my beard.
So I am pretty sure that I have no interest in performing what we consider “femme”. But at the same time, I don’t consider the stuff I do want to perform “manly” so much as I just want to be my dad.
The rules? Be comfortable in the back country. Know how to use tools. Drinks are clear, brown, or yellow. Coffee after dinner. Cook for your family. Wear an apron. Be a gracious host. Love your wife/girlfriend/son/daughter. Engage in bad wordplay.
At the same time my dad was an architect. So he has an eye for art. So also: notice color, be able to pick shoes and jewellery, have an eye for furniture and paintings.
So, manly right? But when I look back at the list, I also see my best friend from high school (a lovely woman, strong climber, killer cook, and first-class drinker of whiskey). I learned more about leadership and management from my mother than my father. And she has been the primary breadwinner in my house for as long as I can remember.
And so this is why I don’t think a lot about my gender. I look to people how they would imagine me and I let my actions define the specifics of my identity. That is a privilege, and I am only starting to unpack it.
Cross-posted from my personal tumblr. Mildly relevant to here.
Kickstarting a manual for sexual assault -
Pick-up artists aren’t just skeevy anymore, they’re actively dangerous.
Since I identify as feminist, can I give myself “feminist cookies” and by that I mean can I buy a box of Oreos and eat them while reading gender theory?