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BOOK DISCUSSIONS > Feminist manga list

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message 1: by Moni (last edited Aug 20, 2015 03:25PM) (new)

Moni (macaroon-dream) | 32 comments Ok, I don't know how many members of the group read manga/manwha or watch anime. If you do, you realize very quickly how terrible Japan is at depicting women (as almost every other country's media is)and overly sexualized their female characters (especially underaged ones) are. Manga such as Sword Art online introduce female characters (like Asuna)as potentially complex and badass...then shatter that hope by reducing them to a archetype (typically tsudere-aka bitchy at first but soft hearted underneath) and have them dependent on the male lead. They do the same with LGBTQ+ characters and stick with stereotypes. I wanted to highlight manga that do good jobs at depicting women as complex characters so I made an open list for people to discuss a feminist perspective on manga and I hope you guys will give it a look and some votes or add your own options and add the reason in the comments. Thanks!

message 2: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) Great idea!

message 3: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) Would it be appropriate to put graphic novels on this list as well, or do you want it restricted to just manga? And what about comic books?

message 4: by Moni (new)

Moni (macaroon-dream) | 32 comments Well I included one comic in it just because how awesomely it characterized the boys and girls. Comics are definitely encourages but the main focus is manga/manwha since feminism is hush-hush thing in the manga/anime "otaku" circles and their portrayals of women even in manga marketed to women and girls are limited typically and the romantic relationships are really toxic.

message 5: by Moni (new)

Moni (macaroon-dream) | 32 comments Personally I think comics and graphic novels are well discussed in feminism circles and mangas are left out of the critique.

message 6: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) Makes perfect sense!

message 7: by Paula (new)

Paula (lunaontherun) | 30 comments I used to be really big on anime and manga and still enjoy them from time to time, so I'm really interested in this!

message 8: by Moni (new)

Moni (macaroon-dream) | 32 comments Well Paula I hope you pop over to the list in the link and check out the titles there and add your manga to the list. I'm really curious how other people look at manga with a feminist lens. One of my favorite manga that has complex and relatable characters is Nana. Both of the Nana's are sort of two sides of the coin of femininity with Hachi's ideal to be a housewife but later realizing the repercussions of her ideal(in spite of her near dependence on her boyfriends). While Nana O. wants to chase her own fame but deals with how her pride inhibits her relationships.

message 9: by Hellen (new)

Hellen (hellena) | 11 comments I'm not much into manga, more into anime. But I know some titles here. Most of them are really good. But I'll list some that aren't good, in my opinion.

Durarara? No way. Female characters are fanservicey, and the author is highly objectifying. He outright states (through the voice of his characters and through their thoughts) that girls with big boobs are much better than others and should be picked for girlfriends. And the novel art is horrible, with unrealistic boobs the size of melons on all women and little 14y.o. girls showing panzu-shots.

Fullmetal Alchemist? I remember two women, one was a mechanic, and another had a high military rank. But other women were awful, just awful. Lust, seriously? Why is Lust a woman again, because the nature of a woman is to be laid or something? Etc. I wouldn't call FA feminist. The mechanic was treated horribly at the end, I just don't want to spoil it, but let's say she got abandoned at home while her boyfriend travelled to see the world. Sure, because girls are for sitting at home, don't want to see the world, and can wait for boyfriends for years.

message 10: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) How about Attack on Titan? I've only seen 2 or 3 episodes, but the older sister seems smart, tough-as-nails, and not overly-sexualized.

message 11: by Hellen (new)

Hellen (hellena) | 11 comments I can't comment on that, as I haven't watched it. But if it's another obligatory tough female character, then I wouldn't exactly call it feminist. *shrug* Most of those don't have any depth or real significance to the story.

message 12: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) I'll have to watch more of the series before I can make any worthwhile assessment.

message 13: by Hellen (new)

Hellen (hellena) | 11 comments If you continue watching, inform us about your opinion here later. I'm interested in the anime, and I imagine there are others like me :)

It's a bit hard to find really good anime.

message 14: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) Will do. My son (age 13) is the anime/manga expert in the house. I've read a fair amount of comics and graphic novels, but not as much manga. He mentioned A Certain Scientific Railgun, Vol. 1 as another anime that has female characters who are smart, strong, and not illustrated in a hyper-sexualized way.

message 15: by Hellen (last edited Mar 25, 2016 10:09AM) (new)

Hellen (hellena) | 11 comments I know some good anime myself, but it's anime, not manga...

Slayers is possibly one of the best. It's old, and you can tell by its graphics that it is, but it's definitely feminist. It's a take on fantasy genre and was originally a series of light novels.

Blood+ is a take on a shounen with a female protagonist, with some small bits of romance tucked in.

Seirei no Moribito and Kemono no Souja Erin are both fantasy tales adapted from actual fantasy novels.

Saiunkoku Monogatari was adapted form the novels, too, and although originally a reverse harem, there's very little romance and it touches on issues of the heroine trying to make a political career in medieval Japan.

Claymore is another take on a shounen where female characters do the fighting.

Another good recent shounen with a girl as heroine and feminist undertones is Scrapped Princess.

Kino no Tabi... I'm not sure I should mention it, as it's a philosophical kind of anime, but it definitely has some feminist ideas. But the bulk of it is metaphors and philosophy.

Apart from that, there's Paradise Kiss, which is romance, but very true to life and more a coming of age story than romance. I wouldn't call it glarinly feminist, but just by having a true to life central female character with true to life issues, it passes my test.

I think this is all I can remember that has any overt feminist undertones, after looking through my list.

Well, there is Princess Jellyfish, too, but I have mixed feelings about it. It's supposed to ridicule the idea of obsessing over looks and fashion, but I'm afraid the anime isn't finished, so the message didn't quite get through. You might even think the opposite if you watch without much attention. The manga is still ongoing.

message 16: by Moni (new)

Moni (macaroon-dream) | 32 comments Well Hellen, with Princess Jellyfish what the mangaka seems to be doing to me is telling the reader that while they shouldn't obsess over looks that doesn't mean you should feel unconfident about what you wear. To make it short I think she's commenting on how fashion is becoming less about self expression and confidence boosting, but rather an exclusive club that tears down people that don't follow the norms of the day. Kuronoske realizes this himself, because at first he wanted to make the Amar girls acceptable by society so they could protect their home, but then changes his goal to help the girls realize that they can be confident in everyday society and not sacrifice their nerdy lifestyles, and personal fashion is a big part of that transformation.

message 17: by Hellen (last edited Mar 25, 2016 09:48PM) (new)

Hellen (hellena) | 11 comments I suspected that this was the message, but with how the anime ends, you can't really be sure. If anything, the ending reinforced the idea that beauty and fashion are great and you should adorn yourself to be a princess, but I didn't quite buy it because of those moments with Kuronosuke obsessing over the heroine in a way that made it clear he didn't care for her looks.

I must say this anime has one of the most misleading titles I've ever seen. If I wasn't told this was josei and a good one, I'd have never watched it, based on title alone. :)

message 18: by Moni (new)

Moni (macaroon-dream) | 32 comments I almost forgot to make a point about the anime, the anime never got another anime and the manga only started selling in America recently and the manga is presently unfinished. At the moment I'm stumped on where the mangaka is taking it but she hasn't disappointed me before so I'm hoping she doesn't fall into the tropes that I'm trying to avoid.

message 19: by Bana (new)

Bana Gupta | 1 comments If you're wanting some action ones, check out Yona of the Dawn and Michiko to Hatchin. It takes some development of the characters before you can really enjoy the female leads, but I absolutely adore watching their struggles to improve themselves. Yona of the Dawn definitly does have male characters coming in to steal the show for parts of the time, but they help the main develop into a stronger character emotionally and physically instead of furthering her inabilities. The relationships between all the characters are just amazing, especially the friendship ones. There's a couple moments of romance, mainly in the beginning, but after that it calms down into plot development. Michiko to Hatchin is entirely focused on the two main female leads, a young girl and the woman who breaks out of prison to save the young girl from an abusive family. There's rough points, of course, but over all it has a great message. I'm around 20 episodes in.

If you want some with heavier romance-like vibes, check out Skip Beat! and HoriMiya. Skip beat also starts out a bit rough with the main being absolutely in love with her childhood friend, but that changes within the first episode/two chapters after realizing he's a piece of shit. She gets on her feet and decides to beat him at his own game - show biz. As time continues she learns just how much she loves acting, then she meets friends and a new love interest (that takes a while to actually be a love interest, of course). HoriMiya is extremely relatable with how romances can form naturally. There's the two main characters who become close over a period of time before being romantically involved. The female is portrayed as 'dominate' though still acts like a normal person, which is amazing. There's also a lot of friends that we meet and see interacting, so you can look forward to that!

message 20: by Joyce (new)

Joyce | 1 comments Hi all, I'm looking to update my library's collection with a few new series. Thanks for the list, and got some good ideas from it. Would be curious if you have any suggestions for 2020 since the last post here was in 2019. Thanks!

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