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2nd Jun, 2019 02:21:39 PM

That's a case of "you looking too much into it".

2nd Jun, 2019 03:16:22 PM

This is getting into an author intent problem.

3rd Jun, 2019 12:48:26 PM

Uhh... I don’t quite understand what you mean by “author intent”? Please explain.

And as for reading too much into it; why then, are series in which a male hero or team of heroes fight a female Big Bad much rarer than the inverse? Can you give me some examples of series with male hero vs female villain?

Edited by MasterN
3rd Jun, 2019 12:54:29 PM

Girl Powered / Feminist Fantasy ? I would have to agree this might fall into something about YMMV.

3rd Jun, 2019 01:07:21 PM

What I mean is, to have a trope like this, where it hinges on, in your own words, " there are no female villains, just female heroes and male villains, because it never crossed the mind of the author that women can be evil?", we need to assume that the only reason the villains are male is because the author thinks only men are capable of evil. It's assuming the intention of the author.

3rd Jun, 2019 02:42:07 PM

^ And assuming author intentions is, shall we say, a tricky thing to do...

3rd Jun, 2019 02:46:04 PM

"Can you give me some examples of male hero vs. female villain?"

Since you asked: Kid Icarus is a good start. The kid angel, Pit, is the series's protagonist who fights against Medusa and her Underworld army, on behalf of Palutena (the Goddess of Light).

ElfQuest pit Cutter (the protagonist and leader of the Wolf Rider Clan of elves) against an evil female high-elf named Winnowill, throughout volumes 2-4.

Avatar: Aang and his friends were relentlessly pursued by Princess Azula, who antagonized them throughout Book 2: Earth and for a significant portion of Book 3: Fire.

And, in Tangled, the male hero (Flynn Rider) had to rescue Rapunzel from the evil witch, Gothel.

3rd Jun, 2019 03:02:24 PM

I think what OP is looking for ("no female villains") falls under the spirit of Females Are More Innocent anyway. Also seconding Feminist Fantasy.

Edited by Synchronicity
3rd Jun, 2019 03:22:13 PM

I'm sensing a situation like Merlin and Nimue (A mentor and protector to a novice becomes love interest as their ward gradually grows to match or even outclass them.) here, where people see a lot of what they want to see in it regarding gender dynamics and such. Its still the same trope whether its male novice/female guide (Neo and Trinity) or female novice/male guide (Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask).

In this case, what you're seeing is a simple Classic Villain, one of the oldest types of Foil: the villain is the opposite of the hero in numerous ways to exaggerate the contrast between them. If the hero's an Incompletely Trained Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak who relies on The Power of Friendship and always wears bright colors, the villain might be a hyper-masculine lone wolf who had centuries of experience as the previous guardian before betraying the order of protectors, and he wears nothing but black.

Edited by Scorpion451
13th Aug, 2019 12:44:06 PM

But there are also examples on the Feminist Fantasy page of works that DO have female villains, such as Sailor Moon (one reason why I personally prefer it to Pretty Cure). Yes, the Sailor Senshi fight many male enemies as well, but they do not fight men exclusively, nor are the female villains treated as less of a threat or as inherently more innocent. (In fact, the first movie inverts the trend, with the initial male villain Fiore turning out to be a pawn of the female Xenian Flower/Kisenian Blossom.)

Now I understand what you mean by authorial intent, and I suppose we can never truly know, but it still smacks of The Unfair Sex when the female heroes are opposed entirely by male adversaries. As the analysis page of Men Are the Expendable Gender states (under Death, Violence, and Characterization), it is far more common for female heroes to fight male villains than the inverse, because good guys typically Wouldn't Hit a Girl.

As for the examples provided, except for ElfQuest, I have issues with them. Medusa is the villain of the original Kid Icarus, and is depicted as a standard villain. But in Kid Icarus: Uprising, she turns out to be a pawn of the male villain Hades (not to say that he isn't entertaining, but still). Azula is the villain of Book 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but she is still under the thumb of her father Ozai, and he is the one who serves as the greater overarching threat. And in Tangled, Flynn outright says in the intro that the story isn't really about him, but about Rapunzel.

And what I am looking for is not “no female villains”, but no female villains in a series that primarily stars female heroes. For another example, in the recent- I mean 2019 anime, The Magnificent Kotobuki, all of the main heroic characters are girls, and the benevolent authority figures are women; meanwhile, the main villain, Mister Isao, and his minions are all male. Since the series already stars plenty of heroines doing badass things with planes, there is no good reason that Mister politician guy Isao couldn't have been Miss politician gal Isao. It even happens in the Yuri Genre: logically, you’d think stories centered around women and the love between them would have female villains, but- for a few examples- Akai Ito, Aoi Shiro, Starlight Vega, Gamma, Megami No Hanabira, and the famous Revolutionary Girl Utena all have male main villains despite focusing on female heroes. Aside from Utena, which does this as feminist social commentary, there is no reason for this other than a pro-female anti-male Double Standard, and in the case of Yuri it comes across as political lesbianism. Indeed, as I stated in my original post, the reason that this convention is so widespread is that men are viewed as inherently more capable of evil, and thus men are taken more seriously as villains.

Actually, now that I think about it, Women Are Wiser is a closer fit, since that trope includes women being depicted as morally superior to men, which is pretty much the spirit of what I am describing.

Edited by MasterN
13th Aug, 2019 02:38:19 PM

^That's oddly restrictive, since male heroes fight male and female villains, so why can't the same be true for female heroes?

But since you asked (again): Not only did Korra fight villains of both genders, the series finale was a 1-on-1 brawl between her and Kuvira (the main antagonist of Book 4).

Clover, Sam, and Alex regularly faced off against enemy female agents and supervillains, as well as male ones.

So did Kim Possible, who had Bonnie Rottwiler as her Sitcom Archnemesis at highschool and regularly fought against Shego. Draken was the boss, but it was repeatedly shown that Shego was the brain and the brawn. Without her, Draken was hapless.

Maken-ki! is another example. Takeru is the male lead, but his role is secondary to Himegami's, the series' actual hero. As with the preceding examples, she also fights villains of both genders.

And none of the examples mentioned above portray any of the women as being morally superior to any of the guys. The closest you'll get is Maken-ki! since Takeru and his friend, Usui, repeatedly get punished for trying to perv on the female students at Tenbi.

13th Aug, 2019 09:30:11 PM

In the first paragraph, I specifically stated that the problem is not that female heroes should not be allowed to fight male villains- again, Sailor Moon and her allies do fight many male villains, such as Prince Demande, Wiseman, and Professor Tomoe, and I have no problem with that. However, the Senshi also fight plenty of female villains and female Big Bad characters.

Contrast this with Pretty Cure, where the only season out of the current 16 to have a truly evil female, let alone as the main villain, is Go! Princess Pretty Cure, and the only movie to have one is the first one. (And no, Despairiah of Yes Precure doesn’t count, because she barely did anything before turning good, and the real villain was her male henchman Kawarino). In every other season and movie, the Big Bad is a male, and almost all his henchmen are male- the one exception usually joins the girls eventually. So Pretty Cure’s Double Standard, and the one present in many other shows, the one I am attacking, lies in the writers showcasing how women can be cool heroes but almost always refusing to showcase how they can be villains too. In other words, my issue is not with stories where female heroes fight male villains, but ones where female heroes fight male villains exclusively.

For that matter, Maken-ki! does perpetuate this Double Standard. As detailed on the Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female page, the two instances of guys trying to rape girls are treated seriously, but Love Espada doing the same thing is treated as Fanservice. Both she and the other female Agents are antagonists but shown to be victims of brainwashing. And the manga main villain is the male Yamato. The only real exception is Otohime, who is shown to be cruel, but even she could be said to have an excuse since she is Takeru's clone, and she has a redeeming quality in her love for her brother Gouken, whereas Yamato is completely devoid of redeeming qualities.

13th Aug, 2019 10:49:50 PM

^That's cherry picking. The double standard rape example, while valid, doesn't mean Maken-ki! presents the girls as being superior to the guys.

Yamato being the main villain doesn't change the fact that Otohime does most of the heavy lifting for roughly half the manga, and continued to be a threat even after her grandfather's death.

Also, Yamato isn't the only male villain, you overlooked Gouken, Tesshin, and Idaten who all have redeeming qualities. Gouken had no ill-will towards the students at Tenbi, he was simply looking after his sister, Otohime. Tesshin was an abusive parent, yet the manga repeatedly shows that he cared deeply for his daughter, Inaho. He also served Yamato against his will, which is why he eventually turned on him in order to protect Inaho and her friends. So does Idaten.

By contrast, female villains such as Miyabi are shown to have no redeeming qualities. She's unrepentantly evil and willing to slaughter anyone, the injured and elderly included, in order to see Yamato's ambition realized. Otohime is noted as being the first girl to make Takeru question his belief that girls need protecting by repeatedly proving that women can be just as cruel as men.

Love Espada, good Lord. A quick read through her character section makes it clear that she's still a villain regardless. All the brainwashing did was remove what little restraint she had. Haruko and Takaki both point out that Espada hasn't changed, she's still doing what she's always done: seducing other girls into becoming her sex slaves, and she's still a serial rapist.

The same can be said of Usui but, unlike Espada, he at least has the excuse of only dreaming about molesting the female students and Ms. Aki. Espada actually does it.

Maken-ki! presents both genders equally. Both have their heroes, but even the heroes have their faults. Likewise, some villains are irredeemable (male and female), while others are sympathetic.

15th Aug, 2019 10:55:58 AM

First off, I did not claim that Yamato was the only male villain- just that he was presented as more evil than the female villains. Also, other male villains being portrayed sympathetically does not necessarily mean that women are not being portrayed as more innocent. In addition, I am pretty sure that Otohime is given the quality of truly loving her brother to an extent, whereas I do not remember Yamato (Ouken AND Takeru) being given a single redeeming quality. If there is, please inform me.

Also, Love Espada being presented as evil clashes with the fact that, as pointed out above, her assaults are played for Fanservice. If she is supposed to be taken seriously as a Serial Rapist, then her raping should not have been fanservicey at all- it should have been portrayed as the vile crime it is, with all attention given to the victim’s reaction. For an example, this is precisely what the Devilman Lady anime did- the rape near the end was treated as a horrible thing, with full focus being given to the victim’s reaction, rather than the actual rape itself- this helps clearly divorce it of any fanservice context.

I do appreciate your feedback, and you do make some good points. Thanks.

15th Aug, 2019 10:59:39 AM

This seems less like a potential double-standard and more like standard complaints about a show someone doesn't like. I'm not seeing anything tropeworthy so far.

15th Aug, 2019 11:07:33 AM

^ Same.

Anything valid is covered by Females Are More Innocent.

15th Aug, 2019 12:01:21 PM

^^^@MasterN: Takeru Yamato has no redeeming qualities. True. For anyone who hasn't read Maken-ki!, the following contains major spoilers so be advised.

Spoiler Warning

Ouken was a different matter, his backstory reveals he wasn't always evil, he was actually magnanimous and well-respected by the people who knew him. That changed once he found the soul jar at an excuvation site, not realizing (at the time) that it contained Takeru Yamato's spirit. According to Akaya, it was soon after Ouken made contact with it that his closest allies noticed he began to change. Takeru Yamato had taken possession of Ouken's body, but Ouken's will was strong enough to keep him in check for centuries, until Ouken's life force finally began to wane from old age and all the years spent resisting Takeru's influence.

In Ouken's final moments, he summoned Akaya and explained what was about to happen: Takeru Yamato would have complete control over his body and would soon unleash havoc on the world again. Akaya was the only one Ouken felt he could trust with that information because Akaya was the only one (at that time) who could potentially do anything to oppose Takeru Yamato.

It was first touched upon in a brief flashback (chapter 34, iirc), before it was confirmed and explained in greater detail during chapters 53-55.

tl;dr - Ouken used to be a good guy, until he found that jar.

As for Espada, she's still thought of as a villain despite the fanservice aspect. That's why Takaki was still shown to be traumatized (chapter 69) when she and Haruko told Takeru Oyama what Espada had done to them at the previous Himekaura Festival. Takeru and Usui were the only ones getting off on it, Takaki and Haruko weren't. Later during chapters 87-93, Haruko is forced to team up with Espada against Idaten, and Haruko is shown to be apprehensive around her. She pointedly tells Espada that their partnership is temporary and there'll be NO hanky-panky this time.

Takeru Oyama also tells Espada that he doesn't fully trust her, even though he finally accepts her as an ally. Whereas Takaki views Espada as only being "technically" on the side of good.

Edited by MiinU
17th Aug, 2019 06:18:13 PM

To those who wish to respond, I would really like it if you would address my points paragraph-by-paragraph, if you have the time. Thanks.

I don’t dislike Maken-ki. It is very fun and enjoyable. I am just giving what I feel is constructive criticism. If it came across like I disliked the series, that was not my intention. For instance, the fanservice aspect and the “Espada’s still a villain” thing clash with each other, as I have mentioned. You cannot portray something as “sexy” and also say that it is bad and should not be enjoyed- that goes into Logic Bomb territory.

Also, I am not complaining about one specific show- I am complaining about a pattern I have repeatedly seen. I could give all sorts of examples, but then we would be here all day. And, as I stated earlier, I am fairly certain that Females Are More Innocent requires a female villain (just one who is less evil than the men).

What I am describing is a work with no female villains even though the heroes are female and the villains are male, when the inverse is rarer. The Kotobuki example is but one example of many. And the Girls' Love examples are particularly egregious- the majority of Yuri works that have actual villains have male villains. Most Yaoi, or Boys' Love, works also have male main villains. I cannot think of even a single Yaoi work where the opposite gender was essentially demoted to villain status- so why does it happen frequently in Yuri? The answer is a societal Double Standard that sees men as more capable of evil than women.

There are all kinds of series featuring predominantly female heroes against all-male villains, but I cannot think of a series with predominantly male heroes, Yaoi or otherwise, fighting all-female villains, or even mostly female villains. Imagine if The Magnificent Kotobuki was about boys piloting planes and shooting down female Mooks and a female mastermind. Imagine if Bubblegum Crisis starred a team of brave, heroic men fighting against an evil female-dominated Evil Corporation. Imagine a new Pretty Cure series about magical boys fighting an evil queen and her female subjects. Imagine if Jessica Jones (2015) was Jesse Jones, and the evil Kilgrave/Kevin Thompson was Kelly Thompson- a male hero with a female Arch-Enemy. Such a series would likely be accused of misogyny!

If such a series does exist, please tell me about it.

Edited by MasterN
17th Aug, 2019 07:21:24 PM

You cannot portray something as "sexy" and also say that it is bad and should not be enjoyed.

Espada being portrayed as 'sex on legs' makes sense for the same reason people smoke to get their nicotine fix, despite knowing it's bad for them. It's an addiction that makes them feel good for however long it lasts. But it's still wrong.

Also, not all of her conquests are unwilling. Many, like Komine, voluntarily become Espada's sex slaves because she makes them horny and, canonically, she's a Sex Goddess. Which also explains why even the ones who aren't willing have few complaints after she's done with them.

I cannot think of a series with predominantly male heroes fighting mostly or all female villains.

The only ones I can think of offhand are Armitage III, which has Ross (and the people of Mars, by proxy) opposing Earth's angry feminist government.

There's also Lupin III: Angel Tactics which pits Lupin and his gang against an all female group of assassins.

Edited by MiinU
17th Aug, 2019 10:25:03 PM

^ Please, you two, move it to PM or Trope Talk.

18th Aug, 2019 10:03:09 AM

You’re right. This has gone on long enough. Sorry.


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