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Old 2013-05-11, 00:40   Link #21
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
This is something that I've never seen anime do. I haven't seen an action or sci-fi or fantasy anime or manga with a lead who just happened to be gay. Granted, I obviously haven't watched every anime or read every manga, but I have not seen this at all.
Though they were not the lead characters, Yayoi Kunizuka and Shion Kanamori of last season's Psycho-Pass happened to be lesbian and bisexual, respectively. Their sexuality was presented as a matter of fact and their relationship was never directly relevant to the plot, despite squeals from some groups of viewers who obviously looked forward to fan-service that, thankfully, never materialised.

So, I won't say there's not been any "progress". It's a baby step, at least, in the right direction.
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Old 2013-05-11, 01:34   Link #22
4Tran
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Even portrayals such as Wandering Son and Aoi Hana aren't what I'd call particularly positive. They're basing their entire plot on a person's sexuality or gender identity. I'd like to see more stories with more characters that are not wholly focused on their "gayness" or whatever.
I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for, but shows like this seem to exist - for example, Maria-sama ga Miteru doesn't tell us a whole lot about the protagonist's sexual orientation, and it really doesn't matter all that much in the show. And then there are shows like Card Captor Sakura: it has tons of homosexual (and pseudo-homosexual) characters, but that element does not play a central role in the story.


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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
Ah, good point there Syn.

Though I wasn't explicitly looking for "positive". I think that is too strong of a word anyways, because by whose standards are we going by? No matter how we delve into it; when people are analyzing it from a mainstream heteronormative fashion it causes problems. It's sorta like what irks me about sexual preference or identity being a choice or not. That should have never been called into question in the first place. In other words, there should be no need to really prove that one is worthy anyways.
Outside of Class S relationships, homosexuality is very much looked down upon in Japan. As a result, most homosexual relationships are going to be about overcoming societal obstacles. There are some exceptions, but they're never going to be particularly numerous.

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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Though they were not the lead characters, Yayoi Kunizuka and Shion Kanamori of last season's Psycho-Pass happened to be lesbian and bisexual, respectively. Their sexuality was presented as a matter of fact and their relationship was never directly relevant to the plot, despite squeals from some groups of viewers who obviously looked forward to fan-service that, thankfully, never materialised.

So, I won't say there's not been any "progress". It's a baby step, at least, in the right direction.
I think that their relationship compares unfavorably to Haruka and Michiru from Sailor Moon. Yayoi and Shion had no real interaction before the ending, and what showed up on screen can certainly be considered fanservice. In comparison, the voice actress for the Sailor Moon characters were outright instructed to act as a married couple for all their scenes. And we saw them flirting with each other all the time.
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Old 2013-05-11, 01:59   Link #23
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Even portrayals such as Wandering Son and Aoi Hana aren't what I'd call particularly positive. They're basing their entire plot on a person's sexuality or gender identity. I'd like to see more stories with more characters that are not wholly focused on their "gayness" or whatever.
You didn't actually watch the show did you?
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Old 2013-05-11, 02:16   Link #24
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No, I read the manga. The plot is a slice-of-life, a character drama, but the driving force of the plot is that the two main characters are transgendered.

Don't get me wrong, I like Wandering Son. I think the author did a good job with pretty much everything except that the kids act a bit too genre savvy, rational and mature. The two leads don't really suffer realistically for their gender identity like actual trans people do--it's all treated very delicately and lightly.

Still, the point remains--Wandering Son is a special-interest story. It's "sold" on the premise that the two leads are transgendered. It is firmly in the "LGBT Media" category.

What I'm talking about--and what I actually write myself--is something rather different.
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Old 2013-05-11, 02:26   Link #25
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"Star Trek: Phase II" did a story that had homosexuality in it (kind of upfront) but in a manner were it was seen as normal. As if put a woman into either of the character's roles and it would have seemed the same in terms of a relationship in Starfleet. To the point were Captain Kirk is asked to perform their wedding. He has no probelm with that. His problem is that one is his nephew who happens to be in security (Red Shirt) about to go on a mission. Kirk is being a little over protective, but since Peter Kirk is one of the few surviving relatives he has, it is understandible. McCoy assures him that they don't paint targets on the backs of Security Guards anymore.

And is was an episode that was written for Star Trek: The Next Generation originally. The title was "Blood and Fire". Written by David Gerrold.
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Old 2013-05-11, 02:29   Link #26
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Torchwood did it pretty well, too, and remains one of the few sci-fi stories I can point to that has an openly gay (and everything else, I mean, it is Jack after all) protagonist in a story that isn't centered around the whole being gay thing.
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Old 2013-05-11, 02:44   Link #27
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See, the thing I liked about Wandering Son is that it doesn't come off as having an agenda. It's neither an impassioned call to awareness, nor a trivialization of the issue. All it does is present the lives of a group of middle school kids, and it just so happens that two of them have transgender issues. There are no judgement beings called for, and really all it portrayed was a couple of kids who in the end are just like other teenagers experiencing the same hopes and fears of growing up. To me that's a very progressive mindset.

A show that kind of did what you're asking for is No.6. That was a sci fi and its two leads just happened to be gay, but their homosexuality wasn't a focus of the show at all (The show itself isn't very good though, but the LN's are probably better).
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Old 2013-05-11, 03:41   Link #28
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I'm a novice on the topic at hand, but isn't it also happens elsewhere, especially places where male still the main targets. Like video games? I think on "extra credit" did mentions about how game nowadays don't have a " true female character" and the female characters in general are sexualised/stereotyped into societal traits that (male) audiences expected from them.

Similar issues can be found on lesbian character i guess (since we talked about Utena, and Aoi Hana, and my gaydar is tingling). It really hard to find a lesbian character where their sexualities are not their major traits, that dictate their personalities and on-screen activities. Off my head now is Rally from Gunsmith Cats, which her sexuality (which is unclear, but likely homo or bi !!) are very minor comparing to any other traits, or Utena, who mostly in the struggles against social gender pressures


In the end it's hard to design a good female characters for non-female audiences, or a good gay character for non-gay communities. So of course the industry will call on "screw it, let's go with sexualised stereotypes"
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Old 2013-05-11, 04:27   Link #29
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Usagi Drop comes to mind. The biological mother prioritizes her work/career over her child while the adoptive father makes career sacrifices for her. Not to mention the portrayal of single parenting.

Fairly unusual gender role reversal in anime.
It beautifully portrais people as child factories, so that women should function as such, and only ever serve the family.
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Old 2013-05-11, 04:40   Link #30
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Yeah, screw that noise. The whole baby-factory bullshit is part of why Japan is so screwed up about adult homosexuality.
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Old 2013-05-11, 05:42   Link #31
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Progressive Portrayal of Gender and Sexuality in Anime
Huh? LOls.. I say the opposite.. They're making it more confusing. Anyone can be homo or straight depending on the mood or situation... specially females.... Females are made to look like they can be either bi, straight or homo at the same time....

I might be wrong but I'm just saying based on what I SEE....
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Old 2013-05-11, 06:13   Link #32
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There were two male homosexual characters in Texhnolyze and one in Shigurui. None of them were leads, though, but their portrayal didn't feel "gimmicky" at all.

Certainly I haven't seen a homosexual lead like Omar Little from the Wire portrayed in anime.
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Old 2013-05-11, 08:41   Link #33
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
A show that kind of did what you're asking for is No.6. That was a sci fi and its two leads just happened to be gay, but their homosexuality wasn't a focus of the show at all (The show itself isn't very good though, but the LN's are probably better).
And that is the sad thing about No. 6. The show was a huge disappointment but the relationship itself was well portrayed. Although I didn't like the ending in that regard either.
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Old 2013-05-11, 08:53   Link #34
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There is an older woman in Space Brothers who is an astronomer and a mentor to the two main characters when they were young boys. She appeared to be living with another woman, and many of us watching at the time were impressed that what appeared to be a normal relationship with lesbian partners was presented in such a matter-of-fact way.

Flash forward some months into the story, and we are told that the woman was once married and is now a widow, and that the two women who appeared to be a couple are merely good friends. I wondered at the time whether this was some backtracking on the manga-ka's part because of sub rosa objections to the earlier scenes, or whether he intended that to be Sharon's characterization from the outset.

On the feminism questions, there are certainly series that I would characterize as having a feminist, or at least "female-empowering" subtext. Saiunkoku Monogatari is perhaps the premiere example, where the heroine eschews romance in favor of pursuing her career. Female editor Hiroko in Hataraki Man is very dedicated to her career, but the costs of pursuing it are clear. Her workaholic schedule, and that of her boyfriend, leaves them little time for their relationship, and workplace patriarchy is a day-to-day struggle. There's a reason why she is called a "man," and it's because she works as hard as the men and wants to progress in her career. Most of the adventure stories by female novelists, ones like Moribito or Twelve Kingdoms, also portray their heroines as strong-willed and independent. So while I would agree that most anime tends to present female characters in sexist ways, there are exceptions. One aspect of these portrayals is important -- none of the woman involved is especially interested in becoming a wife or mother. Another common feature is that the original stories were all written by women.

TL;DR…
Moribito
Sorry; dynamic content not loaded. Reload?

I have been watching Otona Joshi no Anime Time, an anthology of one-shots about women in their twenties and thirties. The three women whose stories have been shown so far (I've just downloaded episode four but have yet to watch it) offer a range of adult female role models. One of them adheres closely to the traditional role of woman as help-meet, but the other two not so much.
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Old 2013-05-11, 09:47   Link #35
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Reminds me I really have to watch Moribito. I own it, just need to find the time to watch it.
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Old 2013-05-11, 09:51   Link #36
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TL;DR…
Moribito
Sorry; dynamic content not loaded. Reload?
With regard to Seirei no Moribito, it's worth pointing out that the anime subtly subverted traditional gender roles. Balsa was effectively "father" to Chagum, even as the young prince struggled with his "pregnancy". And in the middle, we had Tanda, who played the good "wife" and "mother" to Balsa and Chagum.

Most of the anime was completely original, significantly padding out the first volume of the Moribito series of novels on which it was based. So, credit for the interesting take on the main characters' relationships must go to director Kenji Kamiyama, who scripted all 26 episodes of the anime.
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Old 2013-05-11, 11:00   Link #37
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Originally Posted by scineram View Post
It beautifully portrais people as child factories, so that women should function as such, and only ever serve the family.
I'll agree the show is far from perfect (and let's not get started on the manga). It idolizes parenthood but anime quite often idolizes particular stages in life (high school anyone) but at least it shows some non conventional families in a positive light.

Clannad AS is an example of an anime that really takes the idealization element to eleven.
Spoiler for plot spoiler, sort of:
Oh, and this is a happy ending
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Old 2013-05-11, 11:47   Link #38
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The horrible, misleading, and simplistic way that Usagi Drop and Clannad are being attacked on this thread goes a long way to explaining why I share Sumeragi's concern with the use of the term "progressive" (a term tied up with a wide range of meanings and implications, some of which I tend to agree with, but not all of which). Gender equality is definitely worth championing, but that doesn't mean we should frown on positive portrayals of parenting and people wanting to become parents.

There's nothing wrong with parenting being portrayed in a largely positive light (to argue that this is the same as saying that women should function as child factories is frankly the heights of ridiculousness, especially when the portrayal is rooted in a single man in his 30s raising a young girl... seriously...). There's nothing wrong with a female character who wants to be a mother some day. There's no reason for an anime and/or its characters to be crudely insulted in a very excessive way just because of these portrayals.


And Bri, while working on light poles and fixing electrical wires is certainly a dangerous job, it's not something I would consider a "dead end job". I don't know what it pays in Japan, but it pays good money where I live. In any event, I wouldn't look down on a person for working that job.

And calling Nagisa "mentally challenged"? Seriously? And I think that her being "chronically ill" should go some way to us excusing her occasionally being "emotionally dependent".
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Old 2013-05-11, 12:00   Link #39
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Considering the negative population growth in Japan these days, them having babies might be a real seerious matter.
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Old 2013-05-11, 12:41   Link #40
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Oh, lighten up. I just wrote a satirical representation of the plot that made fun of the unrealistically perfect characters and sentimental nature of this type of drama. I doubt the writers took these works so seriously themselves. It's not meant as criticism on a child wish or on families.

A lot of anime have a tendency to portray love interests to a main character (regardless of gender) as dependent beings who live to only gain the affection and approval of the MC, without much of a life of their own. Not really surprising with escapist works that try to create a perfect setting. Any attempts to play with or break out of that mold are certainly worth mentioning.
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