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Old 2012-10-12, 05:02   Link #21
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I think, if you take this too far the other way, it's just as bad, because then you're just saying that a capable female action hero can't have her femininity emphasized when she's in combat.
Well, a physically attractive character is going to be physically attractive almost regardless of the scenes that he or she is in. But the thing is that true sex appeal doesn't need a close-up zoom shot of a character's breasts, or a lingering shot on a character's butt, or a panty shot. I'm not saying that such shots should be avoided like the plague throughout the entire anime, but if a particularly scene is meant to be an intense action scene where we're supposed to be emotionally invested in this combat and to be held in suspense as to how it'll play out, it might not be a good idea to break all of that with a random panty shot.

Femininity can (and probably should) still be there, of course, but that can be achieved through character design as much as anything.

Part of the reason why I love magical girl anime is that the magical girl costumes are extremely feminine, and also carry a certain elegance to them. Madoka Magica is a perfect example of this - All of the Puella Magi costumes for the main cast in that show just exudes femininity, but none of them rely on blatant fanservice to achieve it.

I don't think there was a single panty shot in all of Madoka Magica, but the sort of passive, automatic sex appeal of its cast is still there and clear as day. Mami Tomoe is clearly a buxom blonde bombshell, and that's as obvious in action scenes as it is anywhere else. They didn't hide her breasts (which would be going too far the other way, yes), but they didn't need "~Boing!~" sounds or impossible jiggling either.


Now, I recognize in more lighthearted works that this more boing-y style of fanservice may in fact be fine here and there. For example, there was no scene in Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate that I felt was too fanservicey - The fanservice that was in that show felt well-placed and helpful to showcasing the character's strengths (including, yes, their beauty).
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Old 2012-10-12, 05:39   Link #22
DonQuigleone
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Whether an anime with action girl characters is sexist or not is a tricky thing. For the record, I think Anime does on the whole ten to be a more sexist medium then not (however, it's similar to Hollywood, if different in how it's sexist).

For me, the primary thing you really need to look out for is whether the female characters have agency; are they capable of independent action from male characters, and do they drive the plot? That's what really makes the difference. The sin of many anime using "Action Girls" is that while the female character may be strong, it's the main character (invariably male) driving everything forward. The female character may start stronger, but she doesn't evolve at all, while usually the hero trains up and ends out exceeding the female. The Action Girl ends out just helping the hero, and not doing anything independently herself.

I would actually say it's a lot worse in the Romance Genre then in action. In Shoujo "Smut" manga you get cases where the heroine falls in love with a guy who almost rapes her, and in shonen you get harems, where the guy gets legions of women to serve his every need without doing anything.

As for the examples the op gave, the ones I've seen are Madoka Magika, and Binbougami-ga, and neither of them would strike me as sexist. The female characters there are perfectly capable of acting independently, and have complex personalities.


As for Sexuality in action scenes, I don't think there's anything wrong with female characters being attractive while in an action scene, the human form is an attractive thing anyway. Do we begrudge male characters being attractive in an action scene? I doubt it. Though my perspective is that it's more tasteful if the sexuality being shown is more like a ballet dancer rather then being like a stripper. But I would view that as more of a matter of obscenity, rather then one of sexism.

Blatant fanservice is not in itself sexist, but it's often symptomatic of it. If the plot treats women like objects, then the visuals tend to follow. So a show filled with panty-shots don't usually tend to be models for portraying women in a constructive manner. But that doesn't mean it's impossible for a show to have good female characters and panty shots co-existing. People will criticize something if the women are nothing more then eye-candy for the male audience (say Transformers...).

Basically, for me there are two sexism litmus tests:
1. Are the women just objects?
2. What are the gender power dynamics, and how are they presented?
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Old 2012-10-12, 07:14   Link #23
Marcus H.
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I don't see how those traits are opposed in any way. Independent, strong, married, loves her mate? That all easily works together.
Gin Tachibana from Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon comes to mind. Can fend threats decently, married to a strong guy, and wishes that her husband would give her rowdy nights in bed (her husband is too gentlemanly for that tho ).
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Old 2012-10-12, 07:31   Link #24
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Mine Fujiko in the recent Lupin III spinoff poses an interesting issue for this thread. It's hard to see a character who spends a good portion of the anime in the nude as not designed for fanservice. Yet Fujiko's use of her sexuality is cunning and instrumental and designed to get what she needs out of the men around her. In answer to DonQ's two questions, I would say Fujiko is objectified by the men around her, but not necessarily by Okada's script or the show's direction. As for question two, since Fujiko is at least as strong as any of the male characters, she's not simply presented in relation to any man but as a self-reliant woman in her own right.

My idea of a compelling "action girl" character would be Balsa in Moribito, though at thirty she has moved beyond being called a "girl." Not a hint of fanservice about her, nor is she portrayed in any sort of sexist role. Maybe it has something to do with stories written by women.
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Old 2012-10-12, 07:44   Link #25
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Mine Fujiko in the recent Lupin III spinoff poses an interesting issue for this thread. It's hard to see a character who spends a good portion of the anime in the nude as not designed for fanservice. Yet Fujiko's use of her sexuality is cunning and instrumental and designed to get what she needs out of the men around her. In answer to DonQ's two questions, I would say Fujiko is objectified by the men around her, but not necessarily by Okada's script or the show's direction. As for question two, since Fujiko is at least as strong as any of the male characters, she's not simply presented in relation to any man but as a self-reliant woman in her own right.

My idea of a compelling "action girl" character would be Balsa in Moribito, though at thirty she has moved beyond being called a "girl." Not a hint of fanservice about her, nor is she portrayed in any sort of sexist role. Maybe it has something to do with stories written by women.
Men can use their sexuality in something without anyone thinking anything of it. I see nothing wrong with female characters doing the same.

Ultimately, it's a lot more about how they the work uses their sexuality, then whether or not it does. If the sexuality is purely to titillate a male audience, it's probably sexist. However, from what you say, the example you gave doesn't seem sexist to me. She has agency.
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Old 2012-10-12, 12:07   Link #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
My idea of a compelling "action girl" character would be Balsa in Moribito, though at thirty she has moved beyond being called a "girl." Not a hint of fanservice about her, nor is she portrayed in any sort of sexist role. Maybe it has something to do with stories written by women.
Balsa almost comes across as being a one of a kind character in that regard or at least an exceedingly rare one as far as TV anime are concerned. It'd be interesting for sure to see more characters like her, but I'm not sure we're going to all that much as to use a character like that raises the question of how you are going to sell merchandise surrounding it.
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Old 2012-10-12, 12:13   Link #27
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Main Characters in Anime over the age of 20? This is Heresy!
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Old 2012-10-12, 13:44   Link #28
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Maybe it has something to do with stories written by women.
It isn't a pure rule ... but I have found I *tend* to get better results with material written by women that have primary female characters in them. Its a trend though, not a hard line. Men *can* write good portrayals of women (heh, start by thinking of them as people I suppose).
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Old 2012-10-12, 14:13   Link #29
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There is a quote I once read (I am sorry I forgot the source) that explains my feelings on this quite well:

When we said we wanted strong female characters we didn't mean "the kick butt type" we meant "strongly written female characters".

Now do I think female action girls are inherently bad or sexist? Absolutely not! But when their character is only defined by the fact that they are an "action character" then yeah this to me is a poorly written stereotype. It's not what I want to see from my female characters.

A strong female character can be a character who kicks butt but it can also be one that isn't the fighter of the group. I want a female character who has hopes & dreams, and flaws. Who has just as much of a character arc as the male character. It's perfectly fine if the male & female character falls in love, but the female character should not only be defined by this relationship, let her have her own story.
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Old 2012-10-12, 15:33   Link #30
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It seems like I'm a bit late

1. Character designs and characters are completely different things. I like my "sexist" character designs a lot. Saying that girls in stories can't be attractive is like saying guys in stories can't be attractive. It's just retarded.
2. Strong female characters should be able to be to stand on their own. They are strong characters that happen to be female. They should be able to do something other than follow their love interest around and aren't defined by their love interest.
3. To build on that:
a. They should have goals, to have sex with the mc doesn't count (most of the time).
b. They should have flaws, being in love with a shitty mc doesn't count (no exceptions unless you can convince me otherwise).
c. They should try to achieve their goals and overcome their flaws. The mc can help, and probably should if they are in a relationship, but it shouldn't be "mc solves all problems so we can get to part that has the two of them having sex asap".
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Old 2012-10-12, 18:53   Link #31
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This article sums up pretty nicely what I think is a problem with some "action girls". They basically start off strong but become putty for the sake of male empowerment.
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Old 2012-10-13, 00:40   Link #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
There is a quote I once read (I am sorry I forgot the source) that explains my feelings on this quite well:

When we said we wanted strong female characters we didn't mean "the kick butt type" we meant "strongly written female characters".
No I do mean girls that whoops asses. Give me.


Quote:
A strong female character can be a character who kicks butt but it can also be one that isn't the fighter of the group. I want a female character who has hopes & dreams, and flaws. Who has just as much of a character arc as the male character. It's perfectly fine if the male & female character falls in love, but the female character should not only be defined by this relationship, let her have her own story.
Drop what you're doing right now, and go watch Tweleve Kingdoms.
It will not dissapoint you. Especially the three girls arc.
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Old 2012-10-13, 00:58   Link #33
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Originally Posted by Marcus H. View Post
Gin Tachibana from Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon comes to mind. Can fend threats decently, married to a strong guy, and wishes that her husband would give her rowdy nights in bed (her husband is too gentlemanly for that tho ).
You are now making me interested in Horizon.
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Old 2012-10-13, 01:09   Link #34
Chaos2Frozen
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You are now making me interested in Horizon.
Sumeragi-san, please watch Horizon
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Old 2012-10-13, 03:32   Link #35
DonQuigleone
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Good female characters are not necessarily "strong". They can be weak, dysfunctional, idiotic and severely flawed.

The important thing is that they have agency. If they are in a relation with a man, it's okay for the man to be completely overpowering her, it only becomes a problem when the anime portrays this as a good thing.

Only having virtuous strong perfect women is just as bad as only having weak women always playing damsel in distress.

Just because a show has female characters that kick ass doesn't mean that the show is suddenly egalitarian.
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Old 2012-10-13, 08:24   Link #36
Kirarakim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aohige View Post
No I do mean girls that whoops asses. Give me.



Quote:
Drop what you're doing right now, and go watch Tweleve Kingdoms.
It will not dissapoint you. Especially the three girls arc.
I could in fact do this because I own the series, one of my absolute favorites.
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Old 2012-10-13, 08:43   Link #37
aohige
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Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post





I could in fact do this because I own the series, one of my absolute favorites.
Ah, so you're in the same boat I am.

Wishing for more anime like 12k.
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Old 2012-10-13, 13:47   Link #38
asaqe
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How about series with the only worthwhile fighters being women then? Isn't that technically empowerment? In fact they are as averse to men as possible with the setting design to eliminate Male Presence. You can't do that in Hollywood, in Hollywood there must be a male lead like Akatsuki from Hagure.
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Old 2012-10-13, 14:25   Link #39
Obelisk ze Tormentor
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How about series with the only worthwhile fighters being women then? Isn't that technically empowerment? In fact they are as averse to men as possible with the setting design to eliminate Male Presence. You can't do that in Hollywood, in Hollywood there must be a male lead like Akatsuki from Hagure.
It still depends on the female characters themselves, plus writing, execution and focus of the story. Imo shows about all-girl fighters like Strike Witches, Ikkitousen, Queen’s Blade, Freezing etc are not exactly good examples of woman-empowerment. First, most of the female characters are there mainly for the fanservice (nudity, panty-shots, boob-jigles, etc). Second, most of the female characters are poor and not complex enough to be considered as “strong characters” (mostly, they’re only some one-note archetype characters like the “shy” one, “easygoing” one, “strict” one, etc).

Note: Freezing manga is a different beast from the anime, but we're talking about anime here, right?
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Old 2012-10-13, 14:38   Link #40
NinjaRealist
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Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
There is a quote I once read (I am sorry I forgot the source) that explains my feelings on this quite well:

When we said we wanted strong female characters we didn't mean "the kick butt type" we meant "strongly written female characters".
This post pretty much sums up the entire the thread.

These are sure to rub someone the wrong way but here are some examples using this logic.

ex. #1

Madoka = Strong female character

Nanoha = Weak character with strong powers.

or ex. #2:

Caska = Strong female character.

Saber = Female character who has strong powers (but just talks about honor and fighting all the damn time, I'm sorry I loved Fate/Zero but I did not love Saber)

ex. #3 :

Boa Hancock = Strong female character

Miu (from Kenichi) = Female character who is strong.(A better comparison would be Miu and Moka from Buyuden but no one reads Buyuden. If you do you'll have no trouble guessing which one I think is truly a strong female character.)

Finally...

ex. #4:

Almost any Miyazaki protagonist = Obviously these are some of the strongest female characters in all cinema let alone anime

Almost any other anime = Pales in comparison.
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