Girls In Japanese Animation

By: Amuro Reyes


Since 1990s, girls in Japanese animation series and movies have been featured as main characters in both protagonist and antagonist roles.

To some certain extent, they have proven to be more capable, smarter and with the advantages of being perceived as weaker beings who should be given more privileges than men.

Especially when their beauty and charm serving as their extra weapon in defeating adversaries and overcoming barriers that men could not with just aggression and brutal force.

That was so much different from the early 50s to 80s when women are simply portrayed as one-dimensional supporting characters and damsels in distress.

These are apparent in Apple Seed Ex Machina by John Woo and Shinji Aramaki, Patlabor and Silent Mobius by Kia Asamiya. The latter is the most memorable series in my mind when the main character Katsumi Liqeur plays both the heroine and later the enchanted villianness on both the righteous side of AMP and dark side of Lucifer Hawks.

Besides her, Kia also focuses on development of other female supporting characters in an all-female police strikeforce against the mostly male demons and spirits. Leader Rally Cheyenne, second-in command Mana Isozaki, tomboyish Kiddy Penne, Yuki Saiko with psychic powers, socceress warrior Lum Cheng, computer expert and system specialist Lebia Maverick.

Despite their powers, they are still very much human. Especially in their personal and family relationships. But the way they looked at and manage problems is more admirable than men on certain occasions despite the support they received from men from time to time. They also made mistakes and have mood swings in certain situations.

It amazes me that the male creators - especially Kia Asamiya - have such great understanding of women.

The way they think, the way they communicate, the way they argue and eventually work together towards a common objective. Moreover, Silent Mobius is not the only show he features girls as major characters. There are others like Dark Angel, Compiler and Accelerator.

I also like Apple Seed Machina whereby Deunan pulls herself together from a trauma of losing her boyfriend Briareos from being human or robot as the only way for him to survive. The same goes from an inevitable love triangle when the rival enters her life and looks exactly like her boyfriend’s former self.

Overall, the contrasting personalities and traits of different girls are all there with one goal from author’s perspective. That is to make the story unique and interesting to audience rather than the conventional hero saves girl type show.

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