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Anime Needs More "Weak" Female Characters

18 SEP
2011

Anime is in desperate need of more “weak” female characters. But Erica, you say, anime is already plagued with useless, stupid women that have no business surviving an episode let alone an entire series.

Yes, my point exactly.

By “weak” characters, I mean female characters that are

-          not useless,

-          that do not cry in every other scene

-          or (Heaven forbid) complain in every other scene.

-          And certainly who are not a full-time Damsel in Distress.

By “weak” I mean girls and women who have their own lives and goals outside of the “main love interest” or “main plot line”. By “weak” I mean complex, flawed. And I mean real flaws like pride, greed or ambition. (Clumsy is not a character flaw. It’s just not.)

It’s so much more fun to watch characters overcome their flaws. Not to mention it’s basic storytelling.

I came across an interesting article on OverThinkingIt.com called “Why Strong Female Characters are Bad for Women” and thought it had several good points. It’s definitely worth a read.

Spring-boarding from the above said article, I do not want butch females that know only how to kick ass and take names in skimpy outfits with her boobs busting out. These are known as the “Strong Female Characters”. Not only is this kind of character objectifying women and criticizing femininity, it makes for a boring character.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for female characters that can take care of themselves or that can fight just as well (or even better) than her male counterparts. In fact, I would say anime could use a little more of these type of female characters since the majority of them are useless. But a female character doesn’t have to be physically strong to be a strong character.

Unless the ass-kicking heroine is layered with real flaws, she becomes the dreaded Mary Sue.

In summary:

[X] Useless female characters

[X] Ridiculously physically strong female characters

[O] Normal female characters that deal with and overcome problems and real character flaws

(aka “weak” characters)

Okay, so how about we look at the two worst offenders?

Sakura Haruno. She’s spent all of “Naruto” being helpless and most of “Shippuden” being useless. How many episodes have we spent with her now, like 400? And we’re still waiting for any sign of character development.

Orihime Inoue. Bleach’s Designated Damsel in Distress. But don’t worry. Her DDDDs will definitely make sure Ichigo comes for her. (Just how many times has Ichigo had to save her?)

Is it too much for me to ask for more “weak” female characters that can stand on their own two feet?

Over to You:

So what do you think? Agree, disagree? Does anime need more complex/flawed female characters or am I just full of myself? What do you look for in a female character? What female characters do you think are strongly characterized or have poor characterization?

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comments

penkaur avatar penkaur
Sep 9, 2013

hi,

I really do like this writing because it has a strong point it makes, although I do not necessarily agree with it.

Is it not a flaw if a girl can only be tough eg. Shurei in Saiunkoku? She is violent, ambitious and always carries out her will. But in the matter of the heart: she does not have a slightest clue who she loves and how. I think this is similar to the modern womens greatest universal problem: we do not have time to think about how we reallz feel.

Besides I would argue that Tohru Honda does have flaws, though she is a strong character. Eg. she cannot trust anyone (when in trouble she does not turn to her friends) and she overcomes this. She is easily discouraged and too much attached to a picture in a frame... But the only thing she excels is that she embraces the people around her, in a quiet way.

kitsune89 avatar kitsune89
Jul 17, 2012

Very interesting blog and a very interesting article. Seeing that list of female characters there had me finally approve of my intense hatred towards Orihime and Orihime-like characters. I personally loved all the female characters in Neon Genesis Evangelion, I thought, finally, some insanity!

I, too, agree that Nana is a great female character (oh she has issues alright) and absolutely loved Balsa from Seirei no Moribito.

Please drop me a line if you watch an anime with a good female character xD

kingshivan avatar kingshivan
Apr 3, 2012

True all of that.

I'm trying to think of some weak female characters... maybe the main character from Niea under 7? She's not especially popular or amazing, she struggles to deal with school and her annoying alien roommate, has some personality flaws I think? It's been a while since I watched it. It's a slightly ridiculous show, sure, but her character isn't too bad.

Perhaps Reki, an important side character in Haibane Renmei? Asuna from Negima? That's a bit of a stretch... how about Guu fom Hare+Guu lol haha no

Oh, Kare Kano. Like, every character. Course, their problems are blown all out of proportion, but as I recall, High School was like that in some respects.

How about Nana? Hachi is kind of not what you're talking about I think, but singer Nana is, perhaps too much so. Independent and strong-headed, prone to all kinds of pride and stubbornness. Of course, her character is also blown out of proportions what with the singing, punk getup, and whatnot.

puriful avatar puriful
Sep 24, 2011

AGREED. Thanks for posting! :D

Oh and I CAN'T STAND Sakura.... soooo annoying.... lol

MOJ avatar MOJ
Sep 18, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

Thank GOD someone else on this site has the same views as me. I don't think there is any part of your blog that i can't agree with. I just love it.

As i guy, i am just so sick and tired of those typical Damsel in Distress type of females or those over-powered killing machines. I can't relate to any of them. They don't seem "real" at all. The only anime which even begins to try showing "normal" females is Shiki. It might not have a lot to do with the power of females but it does portray both sexes in a more equal way. I won't say that it is perfect in this regard, but it does try, or so i felt.

As for garbage like Sakura and Orihime...please check out by "Another Naruto Shippuden Rant" and "Another Bleach Rant" respectively. In a condensed version, i find both of them absolutely useless. Sakura is the only character in the series who hasn't fought an enemy, and Orihime is dead weight with boobs.

Amazing blog. Hope you will keep this up. This site really lacks interesting blogs and there are limited few writers who make blogs worth reading anymore. This one was a much needed treat.

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