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Old 2012-12-27, 07:46   Link #21
4Tran
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Originally Posted by Eragon View Post
So, I just finished watching Shiki(whose thread, btw, is filled to the brim with hypocrisy) and this thought kept nagging me - I'm sure people who have watched the show know which character I'm talking about.
Why are girls - irrespective of age - used to portray tragedy. For example, take Lucy from Elfen Lied or Ei from Jigoku Shoujo or the the characters from Saya & Diva from Blood+.

Is it because its easier to make a women's life miserable? Or is it because you can tug at the audiences heart strings more effectively with a female tragic figure?

If you think my views are skewed and that guys, too, are used as much as girls for portraying tragic figures then do correct me.
I'm a little confused as to what you're trying to get at here. Are you referring to to tragic characters in the dramatic sense (as in Shakespeare), or in the sense of characters who are in tragic circumstances, or characters whose suffering/death is used to evoke a reaction from other characters or the audience?

Tragic characters in the dramatic sense are almost non-existent in anime, so that doesn't seem likely. Characters in tragic circumstances are about as common for male characters as it is for female ones so that doesn't seem right either. The last type does use a lot more female characters than male ones, and your questions seem to be asking about them, but your examples don't fit that type.
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Old 2012-12-27, 07:54   Link #22
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Girls can emote despair and sadness more easily and frequently without spurring backlash for it. This is a gender double-standard, of course, but it can be a hard one for people to mentally overcome.

Imagine Shinji Ikari as a female. I think the "emo" and "whiny" criticisms disappear almost entirely.

Imagine Kaname Madoka as a male. I think the "emo" and "whiny" criticisms arise like a volcano erupting.
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Old 2012-12-27, 08:24   Link #23
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Er it isn't just women. I think there are plenty of male characters with tragic past. I do think the demographic has something to do with it though. If it is aimed at a female audience you are more likely to see male characters with sad pasts & vice versa.
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Old 2012-12-27, 08:27   Link #24
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Pretty much most of the shoujo hero or anti-hero have tragic past for the target demographic can shed their tears for and also where the heroine were fooled into loving "bad guys". At least sympathetic "bad guy".
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Old 2012-12-27, 09:04   Link #25
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You can have a tragic male character in a story aimed at guys. Guts was already named. I'll point to Jonathan Joestar in the Phantom Blood arc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (seriously, check the nine first episodes if you are not convinced), Oskar Von Reuenthal from Legend of Galactic Heroes and even Jagi, yes the guy who got disfigured by Kenshiro, in the spin-off manga Gokuaku no Hana. Their tragedies are either the result of their own qualities or fatal flaws. And the circumstances are what pushes their life down to the road to tragedy.
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Old 2012-12-27, 09:19   Link #26
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Originally Posted by Sheba View Post
Oskar Von Reuenthal from Legend of Galactic Heroes
I am not familiar with the other characters but I disagree with this example. A tragic character and a character that is meant to pull at the heart strings are two very different things.

And I never said there was a rule that you can't have male characters with tragic pasts aimed at male audiences or female characters with tragic pasts aimed at female audiences but the opposite tends to be more common.
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Old 2012-12-27, 09:19   Link #27
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The tragic backstory is the standard condition for most of the characters in something as prototypical as Naruto, so I don't think this topic is about that kind of situation. If it was, then the obvious answer is that "guys are tragic just as often, if not more so".
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Old 2012-12-27, 09:43   Link #28
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Hard fact of anime within Japan - who buys it more? Teen-adult males. Guys will crave girls. Girls sell. Particularly in this era. So there's one fairly obvious reason.

It has been noted by some people within the industry that The Diary of Anne Frank was considered an example people in the early days of anime should follow. Now there's a tragic girl for sure. Innocent, in a scenario no person should be, yet she handled it with grace and maturity compared to a good number of the adults stuck in the same situation. A simple reasoning to this supposed trend is that if Anne's fate befell an adult, they would be considered to have lived a fairly long life and have had chances to do things most people would want to do in their life. Whereas Anne had much less time, didn't reach adulthood and missed out on so much. Hence it hurt more and those that survived felt so very guilty that she, the most innocent and the most underserving person, met a bitter end. When tragedy strikes, it is human nature to try and rationalise why something happened. It's generally easier with an adult. When it happens to someone younger, it's harder to because you generally don't expect it and wonder why worse people in this world live on instead.

Spoiler for examples from Code Geass, Fullmetal Alchemist:


It's not like this aspect is unique to anime or movies, though. Take the sudden conscience prick within the last decade about sexual or general abuse crimes against children by the Catholic Church. This is an issue that quickly generates a majority feeling of sympathy for the children that were victims and wondering 'how could we let this happen?!' Now...does this happen to the same degree when adults are the victim of such crimes? Not even close. Society shows some degree of care but it's almost as if there's an attitude of 'so glad it happened to you and not me or someone close to me' or 'you're an adult now, life is cruel, deal with it.' And the sad fact is the majority of young men don't think it is a crime. Recurring surveys done for years within universities find that if a young adult male was allowed to commit a rape against an adult woman and get away with it, about 70% of them would. If that was a girl, that number would drop right down because people consider that far worse. That and plenty of other factors show that society considers crimes and tragedy against younger people to be far worse than those against adults. So wouldn't creators work upon that feeling that is common throughout society?

As for who is the criminal and the victim, the majority of murders, sexual crimes, assualts, etc. are committed by men. So there is a perception of males being the perpetrators of evil most of the time and either girls or weaker males being the victims.

Now to the issue of gender. What is different about it happening to male teens compared to female teens? Well, it could be considered that females are generally capable of a wider variety of emotions than males. In most cultures, to show sympathy or emotional vulnerability as a male is one of the biggest signs of weakness and considered unmanly. To 'take it like a man', 'harden up', 'get over it'. And if you don't, the emo label gets tagged on pretty quickly. Whereas for girls, it's considered more plausible and that to not show such emotions or qualities would be cold or inhuman. Being overly emotional would get the crybaby tag, but that wouldn't be considered as bad as being emo. And yeah, let's remember than paying anime fans in Japan are suckers for emotional vulnerability since it's something that pitches at their level and they feel capable enough to go up against that and visualise themselves as being able to fill that girl's void. Whereas for males, they're expected to internalise it, move on and be the man/leader, or handle it in a more manly outburst that wouldn't be considered weak.

Spoiler for examples from Elfen Lied:


Another simple point could be what qualities do you associate with teen males and teen females? For the males, you could expect them to be somewhat wild/hormonal, daring/reckless, somewhat lusting, physical, breaking the rules. Females could definitely have those qualities applied to them as well, but not in the same proportions. Or at least it isn't expected. Cute is a quality you would see prevalent in females and rarely in males - one that would be condemned by other males if a male was seen that way. To be called handsome, dashing, FABulous, GAR - those are the terms males are more likely to have or strive for. They don't want to be seen as cute. Whereas cute is a quality females generally are expected to have and somewhat crave. So what would evoke more sympathy - the wilder one or the cuter, supposedly more innocent one? I'd think the latter would get the majority.

Another point would be what contexts are aimed for with tragedies/demises of each gender. Male deaths tend to evoke warrior-like endings sometimes, being portrayed as a glorious way to go out and that their life burned brightest at the end, signifying a burning, passionate spirit that was defiant and thriving until the very end - that perhaps a young death was maybe the best way for them to go. Or, that they were such bastards that nothing could possibly ever save them or redeem that - that their demise was tragic only in the sense they weren't always like that and the reflection on what could have been is painful, but seeing their tragic demise is actually fulfilling and justified. For the more commonly seen types of females, such a tragic end would play more upon lost oppourtunities, innocence, something they didn't deserve. There can be cases generated to get a sense of satisfaction from seeing the demise of a female, but it isn't as common as seeing a male get that fate. Male tragedies or demises can invoke sympathy but not as commonly as what females do.

A theme that seems to come across in a good number of manga and anime is that the time in teen years can be considered to be the peak of your life in some ways. That the time there is the freest/sweeter and give the memories to cherish the most. It is a sentiment that high school and/or moe titles play on, for sure. It is considered that when you become an adult and gain certain freedoms, you trade away certain innocences/naivetes and freedoms in return. So in the respect of adults being more tainted by the world, that could be another reason younger characters get the tragic treatment more.

There's always the case the director or whatever is just fulfilling their own reasons. Tomino sending the female cast of Gundam Victory to absolute hell with no inhibition after being turned down by the seiyuu he wanted to be with is a classic example. Anno's portrayl/treatment of females in Evangelion is somewhat explained by being dumped by his terminally ill girlfriend on her deathbed and being in a fragile mental state for years after. Yazawa's treatment of female characters in NANA is a reflection of her own experiences of abuse, despair and pain via men. Some directors (forget which ones) say they find it easier to inflict ills upon teen characters to get the desired effect. So the perspective of the director/scriptwriter/author has something to do with it.

They're not qualities or reasons confined to anime, I feel. They seem to apply to various walks of life. But I do feel anime and what sells does play upon them for profit, particularly with females.
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Old 2012-12-27, 14:07   Link #29
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I knew I didn't make myself clear in the opening post.
I'm not talking about characters that have a tragic past - and the nothing later. I'm talking about the show heaping on the misery on the said character in the present - irrespective of his/her past.
And I would also like to ask(although it feels redundant after LastSinners post) if those characters you mention pull your heartstrings just as well were it a female character?

Oh, and btw, good post Last Sinner.
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Old 2012-12-27, 18:35   Link #30
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I believe it is because people in general seems to be more protective towards girls and if guy was portrayed as tragic characters people will mostly likely go "He needs to man up/ stop being a wuss."
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Old 2012-12-27, 18:43   Link #31
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It'd be a series where, for example, the male character makes mistakes, loses friends, women leave him, many people he knows dies, etc. And I honestly have to say I'm having trouble coming up with an anime example of that. Usually, that's all in the past (or starts out the story) and the plot line is about what happens afterward.

You don't often see something like "All Quiet on the Western Front" or the Russian-made movie "Stalingrad" where it all just goes to shit in steady drizzle.
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Old 2012-12-27, 18:57   Link #32
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It'd be a series where, for example, the male character makes mistakes, loses friends, women leave him, many people he knows dies, etc. And I honestly have to say I'm having trouble coming up with an anime example of that. Usually, that's all in the past (or starts out the story) and the plot line is about what happens afterward.
The closest example I can think of is Oz from Pandora Hearts. Even then, you don't get the whole "heart-rending" thing you'd get from a female in the same position.
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Old 2012-12-27, 19:04   Link #33
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I've yet to see a sympathetically tragic shoujo heroine with tragic past. Instead 90% of them are unsympathetic at best and hate-able at worst.

Are shoujo heroines created to be loathed by readers at first place? I think so.
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Old 2012-12-27, 19:09   Link #34
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Girl + tragic scene = sympathy + moe

Boy + tragic scene = critism + "you can do it!"
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Old 2012-12-27, 19:27   Link #35
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Originally Posted by NK_500 View Post
I've yet to see a sympathetically tragic shoujo heroine with tragic past. Instead 90% of them are unsympathetic at best and hate-able at worst.

Are shoujo heroines created to be loathed by readers at first place? I think so.
Well, the teen girl demographic likes a certain archetype. Look at why Twilight is so popular. They like to dream that they can be rescued from their sucky lives by handsome boys. It's their form of wish-fulfillment.
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Old 2012-12-27, 20:01   Link #36
NK_500
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Originally Posted by Xion Valkyrie View Post
Well, the teen girl demographic likes a certain archetype. Look at why Twilight is so popular. They like to dream that they can be rescued from their sucky lives by handsome boys. It's their form of wish-fulfillment.
Also reminds me Paradise Kiss as well. The heroine felt her life is meaningless because of constant schooling, which is 90% of the shoujo readers. Sad but true, very true.
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Old 2012-12-27, 20:22   Link #37
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Can we stop stereotyping Shoujo & shoujo readers. I am beginning to find this anti female stance this thread has taken ridiculous.

There is badly written wish fulfillment series in Shoujo & Shounen just like there are well written series in these demographics.
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Old 2012-12-27, 20:54   Link #38
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Can we stop stereotyping Shoujo & shoujo readers. I am beginning to find this anti female stance this thread has taken ridiculous.

There is badly written wish fulfillment series in Shoujo & Shounen just like there are well written series in these demographics.
Well, the stereotype exists because it's true. There are many shounen and shoujo mangas that are written specifically to target a certain demographic based on market data in order to sell a certain number of copies. I'd say in general very few anime/mangas have well written strong characters with character growth. A lot of authors just take the easy route and use popular archetypes. It just so happens that the twilight archetype works well for girls and the kyon/overpowered archetypes work well for guys right now.
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Old 2012-12-27, 21:02   Link #39
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If people think shounen isn't wish fulfillment either...or moe...but call shoujo wish fulfillment...they are deluded...

Anime IS wish fulfillment full stop!

The females in anime don't exist in reality. And neither do the males.

Anime is escapism. So is manga, merchandise, gaming, etc.

Don't just call the section of it you don't like wish fulfillment then claim your own is better. Chasing the dream and being allowed to be the boy-man is as much wish fulfillment as being swept away by the FABulous man of your dreams. Or cute girls eating cake while contemplating playing music.

I think Kirakim's point is that while yes, examples exist of it across the multiple styles, shoujo is the one that is called out and slandered for doing so. Double standards indeed.
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Old 2012-12-27, 21:06   Link #40
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Originally Posted by Xion Valkyrie View Post
Well, the stereotype exists because it's true. There are many shounen and shoujo mangas that are written specifically to target a certain demographic based on market data in order to sell a certain number of copies. I'd say in general very few anime/mangas have well written strong characters with character growth. A lot of authors just take the easy route and use popular archetypes. It just so happens that the twilight archetype works well for girls and the kyon/overpowered archetypes work well for guys right now.
We aren't attacking both we are attacking female oriented series. This is what I was complaining about.

I am not sure why this thread degraded into this because it is not what this thread is about.
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