Posts Tagged ‘shounen sunday’


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!]


Goodbye, Blade

June 23, 2009

You were a good and kinda gender-neutral geek-oriented magazine, and then most of the comics I liked moved into the new, more female-audience-oriented Comics Blade Avarus. I kept buying you because you had that old-timey fox demon comic, and Mother Keeper (which is about cyborgs; Mother is the name of a computer), and someday I am totally going to catch up on Elemental – I’m sorry, Eremental Gerad. But then you kept introducing annoying comics about spunky heroines getting humiliated by nasty men, or else playing sports, which strike me as designed for a male demographic, and more importantly, which I find annoying. And then Mother Keeper got onto this plotline where Female Lead is enslaved and forced to fight to the death all the time, which is much more creepy and less cool than when she was doing things like impaling Male Lead with bladed weapons, and speaking of that, whatever happened to Male Lead anyway? Seeing as how he is the protagonist and all. I think I will try some tachiyomi, and maybe I will buy you again if you have a nice color page for one of those comics.

Other comics I am disappointed in lately: Jump. It has a lot of comics I find disgusting (the one that is entirely about oozing dripping meat; the one about the preschooler who wears neither pants nor underpants; the usual boob-and-crotch one; and I still hate Bakuman for its early spiel about how girls should not get good grades because their purpose in life is to be cute, whereas boys should because they might need to actually do something with their lives), and D. Gray-man is on vacation again. I’m still going to read it for Bleach and Naruto though, because my girl comics do not have enough ninja and shinigami fighting action. Meanwhile Sunday has new comics by renowned artists Takahashi Rumiko and Watase Yuu, and their bishoujo harem comics are the relatively inoffensive and visually cute Kami nomi zo shiru sekai and Hayate the Combat Butler – and maybe Zettai Karen Children, which I don’t read, but at least it’s not saturated with fan service. Now if only they would stop putting photos of models on the cover, because they have nothing to do with comics.

While I am being negative (it’s easier to find flaws in things than demonstrate that they are good), here are two plots I am feeling totally sick of right now: 1. The one where the protagonist undertakes a completely impossible goal but is rashly, illogically convinced they will succeed; at first they fail and everyone makes fun of them, but then they discover their miraculous hidden one-in-a-million power/talent that they just happen to have and then eventually succeed beyond anyone’s expectations, thus justifying their initial completely unjustifiable optimism. 2. The one where the protagonist tells an outrageous lie and then wacky hijinks ensue as they try not to get caught, but finally they get caught just as they were about to come clean anyway and eventually everyone forgives them and they realize that there was no need for the outrageous lie in the first place. We get it! Honesty preferable to outrageous lie requiring untenable and elaborate deception!