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The experience of a feminist anime fan.
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My bf/life partner guy is a huge One Piece fan. Even though I don’t follow the series, I end up knowing about the Straw Hat’s high-seas hi-jinks through my guy friend, just as he knows about the antics of the Sanzo Party through me.
Luffy’s father was just introduced, and it came as a big surprise to readers. He and I both had theories, but were both wrong.
Being the obnoxiously persistent feminist I am, I asked, “So, who is Luffy’s mom?” To which he just looked blankly at me and shrugged.
This got me thinking; What’s with moms getting the shaft in shounen manga? What about other genres? So, I decided to make a list of moms. Moms are classified according to their status in the main character’s lives.
But I do all the time!
Plus, there’s the movie coming out in April, and the “rebroadcasting” of Gintama episodes.
THANK GOD! I was seriously worried for a minute.
You can find all the info on the above ANN news update. Basically, the first dvd set will be released on April 27th, and will be English subtitled only. (Thank god.)
I have two separate reactions to this.
Reaction 1: Yippee!!! Gintama is licensed! I can pay for a legit dvd of Gintama! I can support the makers of Gintama and send a message to anime distributors in the US that Gintama is popular with my cold, hard cash!
Reaction 2: Sentai?!! WTF?! WHY?!
Ok, so it’s obvious that Funimation had no interest in Gintama, or it would’ve gobbled it up long ago. Viz published the manga version, but apparently doesn’t have the cash or the interest to license any more anime and is instead focusing on manga.
But … but … but … Sentai?! ADV’s defunct, “this is how we are going to try and come out of bankruptcy with some of our licenses intact” company?! ADV’s front company that probably doesn’t have any money or resources with which to put out a quality product?! No! Crap!
I’m glad for the sub-only release, because it would be too difficult for Sentai, let alone a mega-company like Funimation, to find a quality script and cast for a dub of this show. Let’s be honest, here. So much of Gintama’s humor is in the Japanese puns and wordplay, and much of it just won’t translate into a decent sounding dub that matches lip-flaps. It just won’t.
But I’m afraid that they won’t put the time or resources into the subtitles of this show, either. Crunchyroll has a legitimate excuse for its crappy subs, because they are simulcasting the show and have very limited deadlines. So, the way I see it, Sentai will either dumb down the language to make it more accessible and localized, or provide translation notes that will make it less accessible to the mainstream fan, but will satisfy the hardcore fan. Either way, you alienate part of the fanbase (or potential fanbase).
I’m also afraid that Sentai won’t have the resources to market the show. If Viz would’ve gotten it, they could’ve done Shounen Jump magazine tie-ins and ads up the wazoo. If Funimation would’ve gotten it, they could’ve touted all of the Dragon Ball Z parody episodes and done tie-ins that way.
But what does Sentai have to market with? Can they market this product and make it sell? I’m doubtful. Grateful, but doubtful.
I still haven’t finished my main post about Kagura due to the holidays, and ongoing insomnia (yes, I’m still not sleeping well and it sucks).
BUT. I re-watched one of the pivotal episodes of the Yoshiwara arc the other day and wanted to post about a very specific scene that exemplifies the way in which Kagura subverts common shonen anime/manga trope.
Many shonen anime feature protagonists with an unstoppable power inside themselves, just bursting to get out. They struggle to control this power/demon/hollow/fox, and their personal journey towards acceptance and restraint is a dominant theme.
The one with this power is almost always male, in the big shonen series that I’m referencing. (Shows like Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball, One Piece, Rurouni Kenshin, etc.) The idea of a man being unable to control his power is part of a narrative in which men are imbued with power and women are composed with restraint.
Men being unable to control themselves is a cultural theme which still exists, and is played out in media (in this case, shonen anime). (Why do you think we wonder if Tiger Woods is “addicted” to sex/groping waitresses as opposed to simply behaving badly? Granted, there are a lot of other cultural forces at play in that case.)
In this scenario, men are equated with power and women are expected to hold them back from it to protect them from losing themselves to the forces at work; in the two anime scenes I’ve selected, one of these powers is supernatural in nature and one is psychological.
Women are not associated with power in this type of narrative, as women are not largely associated with power in most (patriarchal) cultures (though that has obviously changed a lot in this century – thank god!). Women are associated with emotions, and so the female characters in these shows appeal to the male character in a (usually tearful) display of feeling.
These three scenes were so similar in composition that I immediately thought of their resemblance while watching Gintama – but the Gintama scene takes the other two and turns them on their heads, as Gintama is wont to do with shonen anime tropes. This is why I love Gintama so much!
Hit the jump for the scenes and explanations – they are from Rurouni Kenshin, Naruto (the first series, not Shippuden) and Gintama. Yup, we’re kickin’ it old school!