Posts Tagged ‘arata kangatari’

Miscellany

March 20, 2010

What’s been going on lately?

Well, a while ago there was some kind of weird fail chapter in Shounen Sunday’s manga by Watase Yuu, Arata Kangatari. One of the guys Arata had to fight had this underling who was a big, infantilized fat guy, who for some reason never moved. I guess this was supposed to be funny. Fortunately he largely disappeared after the one chapter in which he figured prominently. (Can I just say that this whole kudashi thing kind of freaks me out? His sword basically eats all his opponents. I hope they all get restored at the end because Arata’s magic sword is all special like that.)

In that Gakuen Tengoku manga in Wings, the fat character lost a lot of weight over a completely unrealistic time period. Like, a couple of days. That doesn’t even happen on The Biggest Loser. How did this happen? I don’t really know, but I think it was through vampire magic, and possibly vampire sex. (Sex burns calories, ha ha joke.) Now that he is thin, his vampire girlfriend treats him with kindness, but she wants him to be fat again because she realized she liked his body that way and that was why they initially got together. (If he does, will she resume treating him like dirt as she did before?) I thought there might be more explanation of this, but they have gone off to other plotlines instead. My theory is that they realized they had a fat character who was not entirely relegated to being the butt of jokes and they had to do something to stop that regardless of whether it made sense or contributed to the story in any way, possibly because readers wrote in to complain about having to look at a fat character without mockery. But they could come back to it later. I won’t get my hopes up.

Sakura can't do anything except believe!In Shounen Jump, I have been peeved by the casual killing off of female Naruto characters, but they never stayed dead so I guess it doesn’t count. Plus, there have been other huge death cheats lately as well. Last week, Sakura tried to do something I won’t go into because of plot spoilers, but didn’t have the guts and required rescuing. This week, she goes on for a page about how useless she is and how she can’t do anything about the current situation the characters find themselves in, except for believing in Naruto and another important character. This is because she has a terrible genetic condition where her Y chromosome has an extra leg, making her unusually prone to inaction and fervent believing in people. Also, it was revealed that she accidentally poisoned someone while she was screwing up last weak. Fail, Sakura. You are the female lead and you are not anything remotely resembling on a level with the male lead. You are several tiers down from the characters who actually influence the plot. And it really annoys me that you spent a page pointing this out to the readers. (This is not Sakura’s fault; it is the author and editors’.)

On a superficial level, the Naruto world is pretty gender equal. There are a lot of female ninjas. But aside from the one who gets to be Hokage for a while (who uses ninja magic to make herself comply with the giant-boobed young-looking beauty ideal, and whose gambling addiction arguably makes her honorarily one-of-the-boys*) they are all fairly unimportant to the overall story (mostly supporting other characters and for the duration of a plot arc and then dropping off the radar). Sakura is part of the original trio of classmates, and she has accomplished nothing compared to Naruto and Sasuke. So I think there is a message here (not saying it’s intentional, but that it is possible to get this impression) that girls can have all the opportunities that guys can, but they just don’t have the same potential to actually achieve anything. Maybe the setting is less gender-equal than it seems on the surface, but we haven’t seen this because we don’t see any stories from a female viewpoint?

*There is a trope of the sexy girl who likes all the things guys stereotypically like as one ideal of the most desirable sex object, because you get the sexy sexy body without being expected to tolerate “girly” interests (although she probably does have an interest in makeup/beauty products because she has to look super hot at all times, but she doesn’t bore you by ever talking about it–or she doesn’t need those because she just naturally looks like a photoshopped supermodel with no effort). Of course I am not opposed to female characters having interests traditionally associated with masculinity (like being a ninja), but we really don’t have a shortage of sexy eye-candy girls who like robots or guns or stuff. (Not that girls who like robots or guns can’t be great characters — see Fullmetal Alchemist.)

By all rights there should be pictures to illustrate these comments, but I hate my scanner and it hates me back. [Oh, but I found the Naruto page on the internet!]

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State of the Sunday

April 8, 2009

Comics currently running in Shounen Sunday and what I thought of them in general and this week.  Romanizations may vary.

Artist Acro: A world where people called “artists” have special magical abilities to manipulate matter.  Most of them have gone over to the dark side where they have no qualms about practicing their craft on people.  The bizarre fantasy powers come off rather kiddy, but it’s not bad if you don’t mind that.  This week, Acro is fighting an evil dude–pretty standard.

Arata Kangatari: By the author of Fushigi Yuugi, Yuu Watase.  She is a great story teller.  Since this is shounen manga, the guys get to do all the cool stuff and the girls are all cute and supporty, but I expect there will be a certain level of not-gratuitous-male-fan-service maintained.  This week, doubts are cast on the circumstances behind the assassination of that priestess girl.  Maybe what’s-his-name (Kannagi?) is not pure evil after all.

Itsuwaribito Utsuho: Utsuho makes it his business to help people using the medium of lying.  Cute tanuki mascot.  So far so good; this week’s wrapping up of one plot line and setting up a new one seemed a little abrupt.  Is that guy already recovered from falling in a pit full of spikes last week?

Ocha Nigosu: Scary-looking guy in the tea ceremony club -> comedy.  A while back there was a scene with a corn dog that I found immensely hilarious.  Occasionally the sheer stupidity of the characters becomes tiresome but overall it is entertaining.  This week Kaho (I think) defeats bad guys, although by running away rather than by fighting.

Kami nomi zo shiru sekai (The World God Only Knows): A romantic comedy about a boy who is a master of romance games, who must get various girls to fall in love with him in order to evict demon things from the empty spaces in their hearts.  Interesting from a geek perspective, cute visual style, sometimes prone to annoyingly stupid philosophy/psychology and general messed-up-ness, traditional gender roles–one girl does martial arts but her problem in the story is that her feminine side is repressed.  I can’t think of an example of a story about a similarly geeky female character, which is too bad (although I can think of one or two shoujo stories about geeky guys; what the heck).  This week… I think it was taking a week off.

Defense Devil: New this week.  And lots of color pages, I was impressed–they’re only obligated to make two or three and there were, like, five.  A demon who lost his power as punishment for being too nice has a scheme to get it back by proving the innocence of humans who are being wrongly sent to Hell.  Not bad so far.

Traumeister: This comic was kind of messed up and then it got more and more messed up, with the monster-birth symbolism and this Da Vinci guy molesting his pre-school Mona Lisa Artman (think Artman = patronus).  Bleah.  Fail.

Maou Juvenile Remix: I am still peeved at the one scene some time ago where Protagonist Boy and his brother remarked how EWW they didn’t want to be like that gross old guy who bought a soda in a fast food restaurant because his being alive was totally meaningless.  What do they know about this guy?  Where do they get off judging him by his appearance like that?  This week, I found cute-assassin-girl’s twice-repeated crotch-grabbing attack to be gratuitous, especially since she had her fingers in her mouth two panels later.  Overall, it’s an engaging suspense story.  But sometimes it suffers from enough fail that I don’t think I’d pick it off the 105 yen shelf.

Others: I don’t read them because they are about sports*/I tried them but I got bored after one or two chapters/I flipped through them and they looked boring.  Except Kekkaishi, which looks interesting so I want to read it from the beginning.

*If people are going to take competitions that seriously, I want them to be life or death.  So I read fighting manga but not sports manga.