I’m back again, lovies! I know I just made a post. However, that was just a brief slayage post just to keep y’all hooked. Now I’m back with an interesting topic that I haven’t really seen discussed. I don’t know if I’ve spoken about this before, but I am a HUGE lover of anime and Japanese culture. Ever since I was a tyke I was watching Studio Ghibli movies and singing along to the Sailor Moon theme song. On the subject of Sailor Moon, as a child I looked up to the Sailor Scouts because they were strong, they kicked ass and they were women who had cute outfits and lead somewhat normal lives outside of their heroic lives. Now, as an adult, I see that Sailor Moon, and many other anime, were deeper than what I saw before.
1. Sailor Moon
Since we’re currently on the subject, I decided to just stick with it as a starting point. Sailor Moon is a very important anime. Like I said before, the leads are all female, and they get to be superheroines and also still lead regular lives like everyday people. In addition to this, at the end of every episode, Usagi, or Serena in English dub, would always explain the central theme and also the lesson to go along with it. For example, I recently rewatched the first season of the anime, and the episode that stuck out to me in both childhood and adulthood is the one about exercise. Just to give a brief synopsis of this episode, Serena’s human friend, Molly, felt like she was fat, so she excessively went to the gym (and of course, this gym was created by the Negaverse which is the group most villains in the show in order to take the life energy of humans and use it for their personal gain) in order to lose weight. At the end of it all, the Sailor Scouts defeated the Negaverse and got rid of the toxic gym. However, the more important part was that Usagi-chan spit some real shit about body positivity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sailor Moon taught me about self-love, friendship, health and so much more, and I think it’s so so important from a feministic standpoint, and what’s even better is that this show was good for EVERYONE regardless of gender so that people in general could get good lessons about life.
2. Michiko and Hatchin
I’m just gonna start out by saying this anime is VERY underrated. It not only features female characters as leads; it also features an almost completely POC cast. Now, my thoughts on diversity in anime are another topic that I’m going to discuss later on, but I will say that Michiko and Hatchin is a step in the right direction. It takes place in a country that is inspired by Brazil, and there are even times during the course of the anime where they speak Brazilian Portuguese. It’s about a girl named Hatchin who travels with an ex-convict Michiko in search of her estranged/long-lost boyfriend who apparently is Hatchin’s father. This story is all about love, friendship, tough times and feminine power while being sucked into a melting pot of culture, style, and artistry. This anime has all the afro-latinx girl magic one could ever wish for. Curly hair, popping fashion, and melanin, you got it, they have it, hunny! I honestly advise y’all to check it out.
3. Haku- Naruto
I know some of y’all Naruto fans may be like “Why the hell is she talking about Haku?”, and I’m just going to put out there that I am discussing them for the simple fact that they are part of the representation of gender diversity in the show. Amongst a handful of others, Haku is what I consider to be a non-binary character, meaning that they are a gender that does not fit under the category of male or female. I think that it’s great to include characters like this because it not only diversifies the world of the anime/manga itself, it also gives more representation for readers/ watchers to recognize and identify with as well.
4. Sophie- Howl’s Moving Castle (and pretty much ANY Studio Ghibli movie for that matter)
I’m going to tell y’all right now. Between Laputa, Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service (which tbqh I LOVE these too), Howl’s Moving Castle has got to be one of my favourite anime movies of all time. For those of y’all who haven’t seen it yet but need to get ya life and watch it, it’s based off of a novel with the same name (which I highly recommend that as well), and it’s about a young girl who is cursed by a witch to become an old woman, and she falls in love with a strikingly handsome wizard who lives in a moving castle. I think that Sophie is an important character from a feministic standpoint because she isn’t a stereotypical character of what a female should look like, she wears several “hats” in the film (mind you, this could come off as kinda punny because she does work at her mother’s hat shop) as a sister, a daughter, a mother-figure and a heroine. Most importantly, Sophie represents a character that is strong and can maneuver her way through a patriarchal society. What I admire about Studio Ghibli is that most of their movies feature strong female leads who aren’t your stereotypical characters, and all of these female leads live in highly patriarchal/corrupt environments, yet they conquer it to get the job done.
5. Yuri!!! on Ice
I will be honest, I haven’t seen this anime yet. However, my friend’s cousin recommended it to me, and I’m quite intrigued. From what I’ve been told it’s basically a story about a figure skater who teams up with his idol to win the big skating prix, but the story is over the backdrop of their relationship. I chose this one because it is a yaoi, which means it has themes of homosexual love. I appreciate yaoi and yuri (lesbian love) because they’re inclusive for the LGBQT community, and like the Haku example, it diversifies the world of the anime/manga and the category as a whole.
In closing, I just wanted to point out that it’s important that our cartoons/anime/manga feature people of all backgrounds, sexual orientations, etc. In order to not perpetuate patriarchal norms we must have representation in all forms of media, representation that isn’t skewed or stereotypical so that everyone can feel included, and these spaces can showcase realistic viewpoints of the world.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, comments, please feel free to post them. I always love to hear what you all have to say. Until next time! Happy Holidays everyone!