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Old 2011-11-16, 09:42   Link #1
Fevvers
a regular van veen
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
A different type of female characters

I'm a huge fan of three-dimensional characters (from one end of the spectrum to the extreme other), what I'm looking for right now (which, admittedly, I am having such a hard time on, as opposed to finding them in novels) are female characters who are confident about their sexuality (without the show trying to "correct" them or put them in a villainous light) and fiercely driven (without the show trying to soften them through romance). Characters like Michiko from Michiko to Hatchin, Hiroko from Hataraki Man, Doc from Texhnolyze, Inari from Kuragehime, and for manga their's Ririko from the fantastic Helter Skelter.

Please take note that I am not looking for tomboys, I'm looking for women with a mind of their own and real human flaws who do not exemplify otaku's need for virgins, submissiveness and a clear-cut character trope (i.e. tsundere, yandere, blah blah).

They don't necessarily have to be the lead character but I would prefer if they at least have some importance to the plot.

Granted I've watched and read tons of anime and manga, but I refuse to believe there's nothing more out there. I'll take movies and books too should you guys think it fits my criteria.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 2011-11-16, 11:31   Link #2
Haak
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Er...would Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari count?

Rin from Mnemosyne would probably be the best one. The only other one I can think of is Ohana from Hanasaku Iroha.
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Old 2011-11-16, 11:58   Link #3
4Tran
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You're looking for Ryoko's Case File. Ryoko meets all your criteria in every way, and perhaps fits better than even your examples do.

It's also a good idea to check out Black Lagoon. There are a number of strong female characters in there and Balalaika in particular seems to fit with your requirements.
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Old 2011-11-16, 12:17   Link #4
SeijiSensei
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I think Senjougahara is a walking mass of insecurities myself.

From your request, I can't tell how important it is that the character's sexuality be on display the way it is in the cases of Hiroko or Inari. (I haven't seen the others you list.) Many of the mature women I've seen in anime don't visibly display their sexuality but are still impressive characters. Balsa from Moribito is probably the best example of this. She's certainly old enough and experienced enough to have had sexual partners in her life, but the subject never comes up in the story. Regardless she's still quite a well-rounded character and not simply someone who fits a stereotype. I'd classify Nina Fortner of Monster in this category as well.

Someone for whom sexuality is much more of an issue would be Tamaki of Kure-nai. The scenes where she watches soap operas with Murasaki-chan and comments on the mens' behavior are priceless. It's pretty clear Tamaki has slept with at least a couple of the guys at her college as well. Her neighbor Yamie is likely also experienced and portrays herself in a somewhat vampish manner, but it's always difficult to tell whether what she says about herself has any relationship to reality. Kurenai's employer, Benika, has probably also used her sexuality at times, but she seems more comfortable using a gun to get what she wants.

Speaking of Murasaki, you'll find a number of the characters you're seeking in Genji Monogatari Sennenki where erotic adventures with wives and courtesans is a major theme as it was in the Lady Murasaki's novel. (It's hard to find this show because Aoi's tracker has disappeared, but the whole series is on a certain "baka" site.) I'll also recommend the currently-airing Hyouge Mono though the characters in question, Sasuke's wife Osen and a certain female warrior, appear only briefly in the episodes subbed so far.

Saiunkoku Monogatari presents an obvious and rather pristine love object for the main character, Shurrei, but we witness her first experiences with lust when she meets Sa Sakujun. Shurrei is almost certainly still a virgin, but she has to confront her own sexuality in this part of the story. At the other end of the spectrum we have Kochou who is the mistress of a brothel and one of the most sought-after courtesans in the capital. To say she is "confident" about her sexuality would be an understatement.

Other possible candidates:
Rin and Mimi from Mnemosyne
Yakushiji Ryoko from Yakushiji Ryoko no Kaiki Jikenbo
Kuromitsu from Kurozuka
Otake from House of Five Leaves
O-Ise from Oh! Edo Rocket (And Sora? Who knows?)
Shibasaki from Toshokan Sensō

Other shows with women who might qualify:
Baccano!
Bartender
Level E
Mononoke
Mouryou no Hako
Moyashimon
Nijuu Mensou no Musume
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Last edited by SeijiSensei; 2011-11-16 at 14:22. Reason: Added Moyashimon, Toshokan Sensou, and some image links
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Old 2011-11-16, 12:57   Link #5
Kleo Scanti
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Yakushiji Ryoko should be number one on your list. Then Miss Deep from Read or Die.

I'd also say Urd from Ah! My Goddess! but she's a sidekick of her domesticated half-sister and doesn't get all the attention she deserves.

Oh, and you may like Claymore. The cast is mostly female, they are all different, but none is stereotypical.
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Old 2011-11-16, 13:56   Link #6
SeijiSensei
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Ryoko herself is an interesting character, but I found the stories themselves pretty weak. Luckily the script is witty and well-acted.
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Old 2011-11-16, 15:55   Link #7
TinyRedLeaf
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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You're looking for an archetypical Ghibli heroine in the mould of Madame Gina or Lady Eboshi, but I presume you know them all. More recent additions to the pantheon include Arrietty and Umi "Meru" Komatsuzaki.

Hiroko had her fair share of feminine insecurities, which was what made her compelling character for me, truth be told. Her colleague, Maiko Kaji, is actually the better fit for what you're ostensibly looking for — an elegant woman who's exceptional at using sexuality to her advantage.

In the meantime, enjoy a cuppa, courtesy of barista Nagi. If frontline action is what your prefer, pick up a camera and join photojournalist Saeko Shirasu on the battlefield. Ai Tanabe can be a bit preachy at times, but her naivety belies a steely resolve to excel at a dirty job.

There is no accounting for taste, as fallen angels Panty and Stocking are wont to tell you, but for more straightforward reverse psychology, turn to wise wolf Horo, who proves that no matter how old you are, it never hurts to be girlish.

In the end though, the most complex females are usually the ones with the deepest issues, as Shuichi Nitori would probably agree.

Last edited by TinyRedLeaf; 2011-11-16 at 16:06.
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Old 2011-11-16, 16:14   Link #8
Reckoner
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Real Mayer from Ergo Proxy.

Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop.

Though not expressively sexual in nature, Balsa from Serei no Moribito would fit, as well as pretty much any Satoshi Kon work involving a female character like Milennium Actress or Paraonia Agent (Depending on the arc). His work Perfect Blue actually would probably fit your bill perfectly.
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Old 2011-11-17, 08:59   Link #9
Fevvers
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Thank you for the prompt responses!

@Haak
I did watch Bakemonogatari back in its day; I liked it enough (still hate Shinbo though, heh), though I did like Senjougahara. She's not really what I'm looking for right now.

@4Tran/SejiSensei/Kleo
I remember watching the first few episodes of Ryouko some time ago and was left a little bit cold by it. I did mildly like what I saw of Ryouko herself but the writing seemed a bit cluttered and, like SejiSensei mentioned, the mystery weak and dull.

Isn't Black Lagoon teeming with cliched character tropes (gotten from hearsay admittedly)?

I'll continue House of Five Leaves soon though I've lost some interest in Natsume Ono since she can't seem to keep a long-running story interesting. I love Saiunkoku though and will forever wish that Shurrei don't end up with Ryuuki *snickers*

@TinyRedLeaf
It's no secret that I adore Ghibli! And I finally read Nausicaa and, lo and behold, it is pretty damn boss. It felt like I was reading a french comic which was great but I digress. Now that you mention it, Kushana (whom I love to bits) from Nausicaa is right next to those ladies. Haven't watched Arrietty and Poppy Hill, will do so soon.

I'll look into Flag which seems interesting, the rest I've watched and read (I prefer the manga of Planetes for one). Never really got into Spice and Wolf despite countless reccs (call me picky but I could never get pass the voice acting).

@Reckoner
I'm a huge fan of Seirei no Moribito and Balsa is no exception. =)

I liked Real Mayer but Ergo Proxy itself I have mixed reactions about.
And thanks for the remind that I should finish Paranoia Agent. After a hundred more episodes to go...

Fyi, I'm not merely looking for women who are openly sexual, I mean some of the characters I mentioned above like Doc and Hiroko for instance are far from that (heck, some would even call Doc a cold fish) but they certainly do not shy away from it. More than those though what I love about them is their fierce personalities, insecurities and flaws (Doc with her megalomania and desire for human warmth and Hiroko with her self-doubts in her place in society and passion for her career). Ririko for one was an absolute creep (unlikable for some even though I love her to bits) to everyone. Eh, I guess I'm just itching for compelling female characters (it would help if they were adults) but I'm not really interested in heroes and villains and would rather read and watch about female characters portrayed in an unconscious and unpatronizing way.

Keep the reccs coming! =)
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Old 2011-11-17, 09:55   Link #10
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fevvers View Post
Isn't Black Lagoon teeming with cliched character tropes (gotten from hearsay admittedly)?
Over-the-top tropes, yes, but done amazingly well, especially in the Second Barrage. The final arc of the second season, in particular, involved a yakuza heiress who was wise beyond her years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fevvers View Post
It's no secret that I adore Ghibli! And I finally read Nausicaa and, lo and behold, it is pretty damn boss. It felt like I was reading a french comic which was great but I digress.
The manga was indeed far, far better than the movie and it was, to me, the spiritual predecessor of Princess Mononoke (which grew out of an even earlier Miyazaki manga, The Journey of Shuna.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fevvers View Post
(heck, some would even call Doc a cold fish) but they certainly do not shy away from it. More than those though what I love about them is their fierce personalities, insecurities and flaws.
Well then, perhaps you'd want to fly with Suito Kusanagi, the oldest of her kind, and all the more morose because of it.
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Old 2011-11-17, 10:20   Link #11
totoum
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Well you didn't mention cowboy bebop in your answer to Reckoner so I'll second it.Faye Valentine is a great character,though you only learn all about her in the second half of the show.

No idea if you've read it but there's a manga by the same author of victorian romance emma out there called A Bride's Story the lead female I think definatly fits your description.

I'd recomend black lagoon too,I guess the part of it that might not suit you is you've got female killers in nun and maid outfits etc just for the "cool" factor but I still think that if you look past that you'll find what you're looking for.There's plenty of usual tropes in black lagoon but one them definatly isn't "holy pure virgin female", none of the females are otaku favorites.
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Old 2011-11-17, 11:04   Link #12
TinyRedLeaf
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This is turning interesting, as it increasingly dawns on me that anime objectifies women more often than it treats them as people with human flaws and strengths. There was a thread about the topic not too long ago, but I paid little heed to it at the time. If one takes off one's rose-tinted glasses, one would see that anime is really no better than other kinds of mass entertainment when it comes to misogyny (some would say it's worse).

Out of the (admittedly few) TV anime I've watched, there's only a bare handful with women who truly fascinate or inspire. So, scraping the bottom of the barrel, there's just one independent feminist left I can think of that others haven't mentioned: Akashi.

What does it say about anime, I wonder, when I can think of more examples of damaged goods or bland nadeshiko than of women with womanly needs and desires?
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Old 2011-11-17, 14:46   Link #13
kitten320
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I don't fully understand what you are looking for but I'll try to come up with something:

From ongoing series Chihaya from Chihayafuru comes to mind. She doesn't give a dam on what everyone thinks and is on her own wave lengh. However, she is very likeble.

I think Yuri from Angel Beats was like that, like she did change over the series but no drastic changes. She went over it with analyses.

Tsuruko from AnoHana series was a tough one who did change a bit but she still kept her firm facade most of the time.

Casca from Berserk was a strong female who followed her believes and was very dedicated.

A lot of characters in Claymore.

Amasawa Yuuko from Denou Coil didn't give a damn on what everyone thinks and did what she wanted and the way she wanted. Probably the best character in the series. Though she didn't appear much in the middle part but is a main point of attention towards the end.

Namie from Durarara lived by her own believes even if they were twisted.

I'll stop here for now. Want to confirm if I'm going in the right direction.
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Old 2011-11-19, 01:51   Link #14
Fevvers
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@TinyRedLeaf
Eh, that's why I haven't been expecting much from anime nowadays. The current anime line-up for one leaves me a bit cold. I find myself getting more out of European comics, films and books to be honest.

I love Akashi and believe Yuasa is godly. I wish he churns out more anime.

@Kitty320
I didn't really like Durarara (Baccano for me is loads better) and Ano Hana. Dennou Coil on the other hand is one of my top favorites however I'm not really looking for kid characters right now. Not to say that children cannot be portrayed in a multi-layered sort of way, but I do think that there is a certain maturity and gravitas that only an adult (like the ones I mentioned above) can believably carry.

Berserk I've been meaning to read, granted I'm not really expecting much from the female characters but I do hope to be proven wrong.

@Totoum
Cowboy Bebop too is a favorite, along with Faye and Julia. And you're talking to a Kaoru Mori fangirl! I'm just waiting though for A Bride's Story to pick up its momentum just like it did with Emma.

I will definitely check out Black Lagoon, Flag and finish Monster (and maybe Oh! Edo Rocket). The rest, like Skycrawlers, Mouryo no Hako, Mononoke, I've watched and loved. I wish there were more anime like those.
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Old 2011-11-19, 01:55   Link #15
fertygo
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How about Nakiami from Xam'd or Reiko from Natsume Yuujinchou?
Both not striking into particular stereotypes/archetypes I think, n they are very fascinating character.
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Old 2011-11-21, 10:05   Link #16
upiro
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Lots of good reccs have already been made but I thought I’d add a couple of mangas that have interesting female characters that are depicted in an “unconscious and unpatronizing way”, as you put it. I like reading about those types of female characters and agree that there are too few of them in manga and anime.

One good shoujo manga is 7 Seeds, written by the author of Basra. Don’t let the female character introduced in the first few chapters turn you off. The main heroine, Hana, (who is also the main character) is introduced, I think, in chapter 6. She’s smart, independent and a great leader who inspires the respect and affection of her team-mates. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the last remaining humans must find a way to get together and survive while understanding what happened in the past and why they were chosen to live on. Great story, interesting characters and a realistic depiction of how harsh it will be to live in such a completely transformed world, make it a good read. The traditional shoujo art is not too painful in this case either and actually fits well.

Another potential manga is Shingkei No Kyojin which is also set in a future world where most of humanity has been wiped out. The remaining humans lie behind a city which is protected by high walls, walls that prevent the giants stalking the world from entering. The main female character is a childhood friend of the main character and so far, they’re just foster siblings with no hint of romance between them. She’s also the most physically gifted member amongst the new military recruits and while her personality is still a bit wooden and 2-dimensional, she’s depicted in an unpatronizing way. Also, all the female characters are as skilled and important to the war effort as the men. This manga is a mixture of shounen/seinen and while I’m eagerly following it, it’s too early to tell where it’s going.

I hardly watch anime anymore so I’ll just recommend "A Song of Ice and Fire" novel series by George R R Martin. It’s chock full of multi-dimensional male and female characters. One of my favourites is an 8 years old tomboyish girl who goes through the most horrific of experiences but who’s becoming a huge badass. Would not want to meet her in real life but she’s cool to read about. Also, with five novels of a 1000 pages each, it will hopefully entertain you for a long time if you decide to pick it up.

Oh, and if you could share the European comics and books that have these types of female characters, I (and the others who posted on this thread, I’m guessing) would be interested in checking them out. Thanks.
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Old 2011-11-22, 01:42   Link #17
TinyRedLeaf
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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I just remembered an obscure one-off manga I chanced upon earlier this year:

Memories of Emanon
Quote:
Set in 1967, a penniless but still idealistic college graduate takes a long-distance ferry to Kyushu. He meets an enigmatic girl around his age and, being a hopeless romantic, he soon finds himself attracted to her. To fend off the unwelcome advances of a boorish passenger, the girl pretends to be the graduate's wife and drags him to the canteen, where they spend the night trading tall tales. Having warmed up to him, the girl proceeds to share a story about her memories... all three billion years worth of them.
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Old 2011-11-27, 04:37   Link #18
Fevvers
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We really do have similar tastes, Upiro, lol. I've been reading both 7Seeds and Shingekin (Shingekin is awesome btw for sheer badassery and for being in a shounen magazine without following cliche female tropes) for a while now. Basara is good too for shoujo, though I'm looking for more compelling adult female characters.

I have been watching Game of Thrones (which I adore completely) and will try to look for their books. Really, really good stuff.

I'm not sure if the following are still in stock (I borrowed them from an aunt of mine actually, which makes them quite old) but I love La femme du magicien by François Boucq, Les Passagers Du Vent by Francois Bourgeon, Modesty Blaise series by Peter O'Donnel just to name a few.

As for books, I have toooons of backlogged ones but on top of my head, anything written by AS Byatt has a multi-layered female character in it, my favorite is her Frederica Potter series which begins with The Virgin in the Garden, Iris Murdoch's The Flight from the Enchanter and The Unicorn, Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca (till the end you'd be asking whether Rebecca is both the protagonist or antagonist). Vladimir Nabokov too writes intelligent and compelling female characters (only if you can get pass his love for words and language); I think he's great and behind his powerful and dense prose are ideas and concepts that are actually quite easy to grasp.

@TinyRedLeaf
That was actually recommended by Upiro some time ago and while I didn't fell in love with it, it certainly tackled an intriguing concept. I hear it has a sequel which I can't wait to read!
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Old 2011-12-01, 10:54   Link #19
upiro
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Thanks for all the reccs, Fevvers! I haven’t heard of any of these comics before but I’ll check them out if I can get hold of them. I’ve been wanting to read “Rebecca” for a very long time so hopefully, I’ll head to the library soon and get myself a copy. AS Byatt’s “Possession” and “Virgin in the Garden” sound interesting as well so I’ll start looking at them. I've read Nabakov's short stories before and I liked them. I really should graduate to his longer works one of these days.

Yay, more stuff to read! (Oh, and definitely read “A Song of Ice and Fire”. While the tv show is great, the book series is amazing.)
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