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.
[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 some examples?
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?)
Tohru Honda. She can do no wrong, and whoever doesn’t like her… well, obviously, they are a piece of shit wrapped in human flesh. She’s too beautiful, too kind, too perfect. Hello, Mary Sue.
Sei from Burst Angel. Don’t worry, she can kick all your guys’ asses, and… and… yeah. I am Wymyn! Go Team Strong Female Character Lacking Any Depth What-So-Ever!
I can’t be too hard on these characters because I do like them, despite failing as complex and flawed characters. But, come on! 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?