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Honestly? I think, even with the low bars, Bleach is still near at the bottom. For all Naruto's faults, I think it handled its female characters better than Bleach did. The only female Arrancar? One shot by her boss with no dignity and turned into a slave decoration by the final baddie. Rukia's big moment? Her only big moment at the end? Byakuya waltzes in to save her, makes it clear he can do it with no effort but he'll let her have a shot at it. Unohana? One of the single worst examples of a female character's fate in any of the big three. Absolutely abhorrent writing. Yoruichi? Lets have her sexually harassed and turned into a nigh-on literal animal before a guy saves her.
Bleach failed hard even with those low bars. And Saiga is absolutely right about One Piece, too. Oda's weird paternalism holds the series back on that front...I mean, who remembers when Rebecca has a chance to fight the man who murdered her mother and the 'fight' consists of her father handling Diamante solo while screaming he'll never let her pick up a sword again?
I'm not defending Naruto particularly here, but it wasn't Bleach.
Edited by Lightysnake on Aug 4th 2019 at 8:55:16 AM
I mean, Bleach is heavily flawed when it comes to writing women, but I think it is grossly hyperbolic to say it is that bad.
Edit: Also, Harribel was holding off three separate opponents, and she didn't exactly get one shorter either. Yeah, one can still see problems, but I don't think it is helpful to disregard all context
Edited by Kakuzan on Aug 4th 2019 at 1:10:13 PM
Going by the novels, Kubo also had intended her to become a Quincy and play a larger role regarding the remaining days and Yhwach's new world.
Also, it's not like the male characters have that much better showings either, especially in the final arc. I think the only characters with definitive victories were Renji and Koamura, and the later paid a deep price for that.
Edited by bandersnitch on Aug 4th 2019 at 11:07:24 AM
Byakuya offscreened several Stern Ritter by himself.
He offscreaned three Sternritter. One who was already severely weakened, another who couldn't activate his Schrift and Robert, for whom I have no excuse, because we know so little about him. Liltotto and Meninas were also nowhere near finished, because they were much stronger than the other three. And directly afterwards Byakuya would have been killed by Pepe if it weren't for Mayuri's arrival.
Harribel's fight has no focus to it, she's beaten by Hitsugaya and needs to be saved by Wonderweiss and then is casually dismissed as a failure and knocked out by her boss.
Byakuya, don't forget, waltzes in to save Rukia, no-sell As Nodt's fear and just goes "Ehhhh, I guess you can finish it now, Rukia, even though I could kill him with absolute ease, you can show you're not totally worthless next to me"
Use any excuses, but he still offscreen'd multiple Sternritter.
There are also only 5 stern ritter women (out of over twenty), and one's transgender status (I presume) is the butt of a joke, and Bambi? Uh, yeah, let's not even get into the black widow stereotype.
Byakuya's presence in the final arc was terrible, yeah. He really should have died to As Nodt. I get why Kubo wanted Byakuya to actually acknowledge that Rukia was strong after spending so much time being an ass, but she would have looked stronger if he never showed up.
Anyway, Hitsugaya 'beat' Harribel but wasn't even able to damage her, because she was much stronger than most Captains. Her being cut down by Aizen was pretty dumb though. I think it's more a result of Kubo having too many fights going on to juggle them as it affected a lot of the other FKT fights (like Tosen).
I also really didn't like Urahara's behaviour toward Yoruichi in the Askin fight, that was uncomfortable. I think it's worth noting that even if Yoruichi is being saved by Urahara, Urahara ultimately needs to be saved himself - he needed to call in Grimmjow, and then Neliel had to save everyone from the poison ball. Also, Yoruichi had to save Yushiro before that.
I don't think Bleach has a trend of females always being saved by males, there is a big mix of males saving males, females saving males etc.
As for Naruto being better... I can't see that. We've got Sakura's obsession with Sasuke, with Kishimoto saying she's be a terrible person to like someone else, hell, several characters whose main driver is being in love with Sasuke!
Female characters win fights so incredibly rarely and usually not against male characters (Sasori being one of the only exceptions, who outright wanted to die), Kurenai being the least used of the Leaf Join and retiring to be a mother, Neji outright shit talking female kunochi in Sakura Vs Ino without any counterpoint, Tenten being off-screened by Temari while her male allies have two major roles in the arc (and are important going forward)
Hardly any female characters are important - Tsunade's one of the best, but she's entirely motivated by the men in her life and really really doesn't get to do enough in the series, Mei whose main personality trait is Christmas Cake jokes, and also doesn't get to do much, Konan in the Akatsuki gets one fight and loses to Obito just stabbing her with a rusty pipe, Sakura makes a speech about how she won't fall behind Naruto and Sasuke, then is saved by them, and then later in the same arc/day she realizes that she's still behind them, gets a power up, rushes Madara and immediately fails, needing to be saved again. Kashi gets a big moment in that fight but also Sakura gets is to be part of the team finish for symbolism.
Oh yeah and there's also Naruto's peeping which is one thing but then you have Jiraiya peeping and even knocking out Ebisu for doing the reasonable thing and trying to stop him. And then Jiraiya turns out to be a much better teacher than Ebisu because haha, fuck him for trying to stop a grown man from being a peeping tom.
The Ebisu joke is kind of moot since he was also interested, he was just fronting. But I agree for what its worth.
Bleach isn't too bad with females; at worst, they just unimportant but I can chalk that up to bot being many female main characters period.
Oh, you're right. I knew he fell for the Harem Justu but didn't know that he'd also be the type to peep.
I guess that's Kishimoto's commentary on guys who speak out against such acts.
Oh yeah and on the DB/YYH comparisons - having such a tiny portion of female characters is a pretty huge mark against them, I can't call them better, especially when Keiko is a pretty standard damsel and the rest of the female characters don't do anything.
I just thought of Rurouni Kenshin, too. This one always drives me up a wall because when I point out how much Kaoru sucks and there are no other notable female fighters apart from Misao, somebody inevitably bursts in with "well Meiji Japan was very sexist so it's realistic there are more male fighters than women." And that's true...except this highly realistic historical fiction features a 20 foot tall giant. I think "women can fight with swords too" is more realistic than Fuji.
I even point out the bullshit "men are generally stronger than women" argument doesn't apply here since Kenshin has a pretty "feminine" figure himself and this is a story fact that he lacks the bulky muscle of the usual Hiten Mitsurugi style master. There's also Sojiro, a literal child. You don't need muscle and raw strength to be the best, pure speed beats it so a woman warrior would fit in just fine.
It's really frustrating. All these great series like OP and MHA and RK and YYH have this one dramatic flaw. Worse series handle their female characters better.
Saiga: Let me preface by saying I agree with all of that. I simply think Bleach does a lot worse. Harribel was still trapped and going to die before being bailed out by Wonderweiss and of all the fights, hers is still the least important, while she gets absolutely zero expansion in the manga, only to be unceremoniously dispatched.
Naruto? Does have its one transwoman as a domestic abuser and sexual extortionist. IT doesn't have its most prominent female villain screw subordinates and then murder them to let off steam. And while one can argue Grimmjow and Urahara need to be saved....only Yoruichi has someone appear behind her, smack her ass and take away her agency to turn her into a near literal sex kitten.
But this also reminds me of the Pernida and Lille fights...both of those have female characters have their big moments, only to take it away from them, humiliate them, and have the guys finish things. And let's talk about Nemu....for all the (justified) complaints about Karin, a domestic abuse victim played for comedy....we have Nemu who begins and ends at "Mayuri" despite their first time interacting is Mayuri brutalizing her. And there's Nanao who has a disturbing romance with her creep of an uncle....I
And Unohana, as far as I'm concerned, is the nadir of sexist writing in shonen besides Rebecca. Hey, the motherly female character is actually a total badass, with an interesting backstory, a personal conflict, etc? But no, she only exists, her entire plot, her entire struggle, all of it is just to serve as a power up and stepping stone to Kenpachi, who is and remains a stupid, stupid animal who can't control himself, and is a fucking blight upon Bleach with his godawful excuse for fights and character. We get this disturbingly sexualized portrayal of their relationship all throughout...
and then there's Momo Hinamori, which I think speaks for itself.
See, this is what I'm talking about. Two people debating which sexist shonen is slightly more sexist can't offer anything except personal reasons for defending one and not the other. It's not even entertaining to read because there's nothing to fight over.
Yea, ya'll basically arguing over your favorite series at this point
And we all know that Black Clover has the best female cast anyway.
(the worst is that I'm only half-joking…)
I mean it is a source of praise for the series from everybody I've talked to.
At present only Fairy Tail and Inuyasha pass my personal test for shounen with a good, respectable female cast. I need to look into BC.
Fairy Tail having a respectable female cast? Of all your opinions Nick, I cannot see why you'd think this.
I mean, if you ask me about battle shonen I think Radiant is the most remarkably balanced I've seen gender-wise, but it's not well known outside of France…
BC is a mixed bag is that it has a lot of badass and likeable girls but almost every single one of them is in love with a male one − even the goddamn fairy.
…Err, come to think of it the Sexism in Anime thread might be a better place to discuss series that aren't Bleach.
Hard disagree on Fairy Tail
Fairy Tale having at all a good female cast is a pretty laughable take.
Huh, I was wondering why Sol and Mereoleona were my favorite BC characters. Turns out they're also the only two female characters with no interest in men.
Edited by Rynnec on Aug 4th 2019 at 8:21:47 AM
One thing I give BC credit for? Noelle has a character and arc aside from her crush on Asta. Yes, she has her tsundere thing for him, but her arc is about growing stronger for reasons independent of him, IE: that her family isolated her as a failure and she wants to prove to herself she's not.
She goes through a lot of character development to obtain a genuine sense of noblesse oblige after for its own sake. It's pretty refreshing there.
FT has a good female cast on paper. Less so in execution.
Edited by Lightysnake on Aug 4th 2019 at 6:26:26 AM
Because they're the best characters in the show. Lucy has been my favorite for as long as I've been a fan. She's every bit the main character that Natsu is as the two more or less share roles as lead protagonists She has the most relatable personality and most effective drama. Powers are interesting, too. Wendy is another favorite of mine and she and Lucy both have two of the greatest moments in the series in the Tartaros Arc.
The main cast is Natsu and Lucy as Co-Leads and then there's Gray and Erza and Gajeel and Juvia so we've already got a nice, even distribution in terms of female representation. Hell, we can throw Wendy in there and say there are more female main characters. They're also all very capable fighters with the exception of Wendy who is more of a support/healer. (and yes I know that's a sexist trope. FT isn't perfect and the fact all three of its healers are women isn't great.)
But the fact the women all have diverse personalities and backstories and have many a great and important battle is a rare thing in battle shounen. Many of the strongest characters are female and as sad as it is, that is a fact lacking in almost every other shounen I've seen.
So we have lots of female representation + the women having mor edimensions to them than many of the men + being given prominence in every single arc in terms of action and drama. I'm satisfied.
The fanservice is what turns many off but I don't really care about fanservice as long as the women don't just exist for that reason. Lucy has big tits sure but she's also the most nuanced and well-written character in the series so I don't view it as acon.
I should have figured.
Edited by VeryMelon on Aug 4th 2019 at 7:16:20 AM
Yeah, this really bugs me. It's also something of a cult classic of shonen series, and one of those that people describe as 'the ideal shonen'. The defences for its sexism are ridiculous and fall apart when the author throws realism out of the window to allow (male) children to fight.
RK has a lot of things I like but the same is true for One Piece. It's why I'm endlessly frustrated with this topic. Oda is a very smart man and as far as I'm concerned he's crafted the best-written shounen series I've ever seen. So how is this guy who utterly destroys me in terms of vision and talent so bad with something so easy? Have female characters in your series. Have them fight and win. This is the barest minimum you should have but a lot of them fail at even this.
Blows my goddam mind.
I didn't think about any of this back when I was a Bleach or Naruto fan, though. The innocence and ignorance of youth I guess.
Did Orihime ever regain her original quirky personality? And Tatsuki was cool! Nobody here mentioned her and I know why. You're right to ignore an insignificant character in this type of analysis but she was one of the best parts about the 5% of the time our heroes spent on Earth.
Orihime's always had her quirky personality. And I will never forgive Kubo for not adding a short-haired punch girl to the main cast.
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