Sci-fi and Sparkles: Shoujo and Scott Design an Anime (pt 1)

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“In the year 2675, intergalactic exploration has reached new heights. Alien species commingle between solar systems in matters of science, trade, military, and socialization. Higashi Yumi has grown up within this world and is pursuing a degree in interstellar archaeological sciences when the discovery is made: an abandoned solar system on the outskirts of explored space. A series of unfortunate events sees Yumi and two of her closest friends settled aboard the Argo, an exploratory vessel manned by various species all working to uncover the same truth; what exactly happened in this lonesome system? The Argo brings opportunity to meet many new faces, both unendingly kind and standoffish. Can a ragtag group of newcomers handle the pressure of galactic exploration into what is basically uncharted space? And when disaster strikes, can they come together, or will the secrets they seek to uncover tear them apart?”

-Synopsis, Argo 2675

Scott over at Mechanical Anime Reviews and I have had our fair share of anime discussions (both recorded and unrecorded), but it became clear early on that, while there is a good deal of overlap (FMA/B and BNHA, anyone?), he and I generally have quite different tastes in anime. Having known this since ages before Innominate became a thing (and guys, it’s such a fun thing!) and having overcome my shock that he doesn’t love Fruits Basket (the horror!!), I started wondering if there stood the possibility for a show which would exemplify both of our favorite genres. Okay, that was wordy, so what do I mean?

I’m a sparkly shoujo (hence the alias), and Scott is all about that sci-fi (and the Batman-Superman Adventures, but we align on this as well). We both enjoy shows that fall outside of those genres, too, but can there exist a title that remains stereotypically faithful to our favorite genres yet which BOTH of us could love?

Well, hold onto your hats, folks, because we’re about to create one! That’s right; behold below a Sci-fi and Sparkles collaboration as we take some time to create an anime from the ground up with the potential to be a favorite to us both. 🙂  This is part one!


Shoujo: Okay, so if we’re going to create an anime, it’s probably important to lay some groundwork. Setting might accrue some tension between the genres. I’ve never exactly seen a “shoujo in space.” (Just wait, some reader will know of a reverse harem in space and I’ll suddenly fall in love with science fiction. :P) Where shall we center our characters?

Why does it say you’re “anonymous duck?” That’s hilarious. (Sorry. I’ll get rid of this later lol)

Scott: (I think that is because I’m on my phone at the moment. That is pretty funny though.)

I’ve never seen a shoujo in space, but the Macross franchise is built out of romances in space. Haven’t heard of a space reverse harem before either, but that sounds like a pretty fun idea. I feel like I am going to ask a lot of specific questions, so that might be annoying. (Sorry in advance.) Do you think we should have this centered around the Earth’s solar system or should we just make up planets and stuff?

I can’t say for sure what would be best, but I think I’d feel more able to relate if it involved Earth’s solar system and/or focused on Earth in general. I’ve never seen Macross, but I adored Planetes for its well-developed characters and romance that, while focal, didn’t distract from the show’s other aspects.

(I love Planetes too! Oh man, are the characters great, and I love how everything is close to being scientifically accurate. But anyway…)

I’m probably going to ask a lot of questions too, but that’s okay! We’re gonna have to learn from each other, after all. Speaking of, I’m unsure as to the usual tone of a sci-fi anime. Shoujo can be funny or serious (it feels like I’m talking in 3rd person?? lol), but I think the ones that concentrate on being dramatic with just enough comic releaf… why can’t I spell? RELIEF… are the usually the best. That’s just my opinion, though.  

A science fiction series’ tone can be all over the place as well. Most seem to be pretty hard and dramatic, but there are plenty of strange things that happen in a science fiction which could push everything in the funny and weird direction. Meshing the two together should be a pretty easy idea.

OH! I know where we can start! What if we both make a short list of potential sci-fi/shoujo must-haves? Then we can go through the lists and kind of mold our anime to their specifications before we get into the details? (O.O)

(Oh, my gosh, Scott. Now you’re anonymous–I can’t spell–JACKAL)

(:D)

That sounds like a great idea. Definitely a good starting of point.

You wanna kick this off, or shall I?

Would going back and forth be ok, or would that make this a little too jumbled? Maybe that’s a bad idea. How about you go first?

I’m good however you want to do it. Okay, I have something.

WAIT. OKAY, so we might end up having to edit this for clarity, but WHAT IF we just ask each other genre-specific questions. Like Scott, my first question for you is this: most shoujo either features deep friendships between boys OR is a romance/reverse harem, but not both. What would you rather our anime have?

Personally, I am leaning towards the romance/reverse harem route myself because it feels like there are more elements to play with when it comes to this. Fun space backgrounds for members of the supposed reverse harem and other sorts of things would make it interesting.

Ok, my question for you is about different alien races. Some science fiction are just standard human only, others have alien races that are just generally human with different colored skin tone like blue and green, while some others have that weird alien forehead thing. Is there one that you would prefer?

Truth time, aliens terrify me. 😛 I wouldn’t mind some very… VERY humanoid aliens, though. Even better if the…oh, wait. Okay. First we should decide on this: if we go the reverse harem route, it can be mostly rom-com OR a romantic drama with comedic dashes. Also, do we want the anime to have a “true route” wherein the main timeline leaves room for viewers to have their favorites, but ultimately the obligatory female MC ends up with the true-pairing? I propose the latter of both between a human and an alien, maybe? Of course, I’m down for other options, too!

(I’m dying. This has the potential for SO MUCH ANGST GJHSPOUHD:GOIS)

(Sorry, better now.)

OOOOOOOOOH. I had no idea. Ok, definitely leaning heavily towards very human aliens with just different skin colors then.

Ok, maybe we can lean towards a romantic drama with comedy stuff? Also, I feel like we should do something cool like having our romantic heroine be an awesome ace pilot when it comes to a space fighter and then give the reverse harem different roles on a ship or something. Might lean towards one true route with other routes open. I think I might be pushing too far with that. What kind of role do you think our heroine could be; like an engineer, captain, nurse, pilot, or something else I am not thinking of?

I love love LOVE the idea of them all having different roles on a ship!! It creates so much possible interaction!! And I’m down with her having almost any position on the crew, but I think we should keep her kind of Cardia-eqsue (Code Realize) wherein she’s capable and fully fleshed out, but also has weaknesses that she has to face with the help of her love interests. (Like, she can save them too, but I’m a sucker for the prince on a white horse thing. So many heart-tingles.) Snow White with the Red Hair struck a nice balance, too, yeah? But it was a little light on the heart tingles. Hiiro no Kakera was too, but I digress. Anyway, what should their bishounen-level be? If we’re sticking to comedy as a very important aside, then I’d image we’d use level 3 and up? Usually anything below that falls into “so bad it’s good” territory.

Also, if I’m trying to shoujo-fy this too much, just let me know! We should make something we both would love, after all! (^^)b

(This is a bishounen level.)

Oh no, that isn’t shoujo-fying this too much for me at all. From what I read from your link, I think bishonen level three and up would be what we should aim for. And here is my crazy idea for all of this that just came into my head based on the Snow White with the Red Hair idea. Maybe this ship could be a treasure hunting ship, and we could have our heroine be the one of a few archaeologists on its voyage, and the plot could be that they get into more and more trouble with space pirates or something as our ship goes into heavier territory that adds some drama going on. I don’t know, that just jumped into my head.

YAS! I LOVE IT!

I am about to totally ruin this because I have no self-control. I keep typing things and then deleting them! Okay, so I love that idea. Okay, okay. Okay.

No, no you are not Shoujo. I think this is turning out pretty good!

This reminds me of Firefly. So, our heroine (Age what? Can they be young adults, please?) is an archaeologist aboard an expeditionary ship searching for ___________ on various planets. Oh! What if they’re exploring a small adjacent-to-the-“true route” love interest’s solar system that archaeological finds indicate was once fully inhabited but has since gone dead? They’re looking for clues as to what went on and why no one lives on these planets anymore! What could cause a mass-exodus or extinction like that? That’s what they try to discover! Then, as they move further away from society, they begin to have encounters with mysterious “pirate” ships seemingly bent on thwarting their harmless plans! As this goes on, the MC (human?) struggles with the help of the crew (mostly men, but with a close girl side character, too!) to figure out what’s behind all this and if the mysterious figures have anything to do with the empty system, deals with homesickness, and comes to terms with growing feelings? DRAMA-MYSTERY-SCIFI-SUSPENSE-ROMANCE?

Yes, I definitely would like these characters to be young adults? Maybe around 21 or something so they are legally able to drink? That could also provide some more interesting interactions as well.

Yes, the obligatory drinking episode is a must.

I love your plot. Are these ruins that are attached to the true route’s story in some way like he could be secretly from this location somehow or his parents were from it and he secretly has clues on what went down? And also yeah, maybe he knows about these pirates in some way. Oh, this could definitely be a mixed alien race sort of archaeological journey, but we could definitely have our heroine be a human. Maybe she is part of a journey that women rarely take part in, but she and one of her classmates from college and a couple others from who knows where made it onto the ship and formed some kind of bond. This is getting good, Shoujo!

I WOULD WATCH THIS! Okay, so our true-route main love interest! Can he be a deep-voiced, mysterious, bi-species (think Spock, but of course not Spock), tsundere angst ball conflicted because he knows more than he lets on but who would do ANYTHING for our heroine even if she doesn’t know it and is all around terrible at communicating (his feelings and otherwise)? 😀 I’m a sucker for a good kuudere/tsun-tsun! Plus, this can feed into the whole “he secretly has clues as to what went down” rational. Like, maybe he’s half human/some other alien species and half-pirate species or whatever type of alien that lived in the now abandoned system. Also, the college idea is brilliant because it allows for a functionally large crew but a small character focus for the anime (as our main cast would all be these college kids, except maybe main love interest because he knows too much for that). I truly wish I could watch this!

I would watch it too, and I like how everything is connecting so well. Especially with the main love interest being who he is because that makes complete sense to me. Plus the sense of ship life is solid as well. This is all fantastic stuff that we should get paid for for coming up with. What do you think the other routes should be? I can picture one of the routes of the more dramatic kind being one of the fighter pilots, because a ship going out on its own would need some security if it’s getting more heavily involved in the conflict of fighting the pirates. That’s pretty classic. Not much else is clicking together in my head at this moment. What are some others that you can think of?

OOOH!! I got it!! What about this for our reverse-harem cast:

  • fighter pilot– energetic, loud, boyish and enthusiastic with a good heart who tends to be a little short sighted, messy hair, alien
  • ship security guard– dandere, shy, built like a wall, hard eyes that grow soft when he looks at the herione, wears a lot of tank tops and cargo pant/boot combos, human
  • ship electrical mechanic– dirty coveralls! the med bay kuudere looks down on him because he’s had less formal education, but he’s super smart and capable! nondescript looks, but still handsome, likes basketball, bi-species
  • med bay nurse– female alien whose species LITERALLY sparkles. A comedic character for the most part who still pulls her plot weight! Her skin is probably pink and she’s the MC’s best friend. short curly hair and big eyes! When the non-main cast male ship crew hit on her, she knocks them out because she’s super strong!
  • med bay doctor– kuudere, megane, loves to collect and apply information, doesn’t always get along with everyone else, but fighter pilot tends to play peacekeeper and for some reason really likes him, human
  • Mechanical engineer– MAIN LOVE INTEREST (I like this because he can disappear from the rest of our main cast for periods of time under the guise of working on various mechanical portions of the ship.)
  • military police officer with the nearest inhabited galaxy– constantly throwing a wrench into the group’s plans; the outlier love interest for those viewers who like things unexpected, alien

I feel like I just created children?? Did Wataru (Cheer Boys) just get siblings? Maybe!


That’s going to be all for part 1! Please take a look at Scott’s blog for part 2 and more world creation! Please let us know what you think of our new anime!

Love, Peace, Geese,

~Shoujo

(Glorious image saved by leila.ismail on Pinterest, but I didn’t see artist credit. I’ll keep looking.)idk2

Innominate Anime Dragon Ball Collab: Part 2 <3

The Dragon Ball collab post of the century has finally arrived!

☆*:.。.o(≧▽≦)o.。.:*☆

After much ta-do and ta-da, bloggers Scott, Leth, and I have finally completed this collaboration post in honor of the “podcast-that-wasn’t.” (What podcast, you ask? Check it out!) Before you jump in here, I’ll direct you to Scott’s posting of part one wherein my fellow bloggers and I discuss Dragon Ball proper, our experiences with the franchize, and DBZ’s Frieza Saga! (Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you’re done…) (^ω~)

If you’ve already read part one, it’s time to pick up on part two below! For easy reading, we’ve color-coded our contributions thusly:

Scott (S) (Mechanical Anime Reviews): orange

Shoujo (SJ) (Shoujo Thoughts: Otaku Ramblings): pink — That’s me!

Leth (L) (Lethargic Ramblings): blue

Now, let’s jump back into the waters of Dragon Ball with our discussion of Z’s…


Namek Saga

S: This saga was incredibly long. Oh man,  especially when it came to an entire season of our characters versus Freiza, but it was all powerful and fun stuff. There are so many fun dynamics here. Seeing Vegeta team up with Gohan and Krillin to do that alliance of convenience thing against the larger threat of Freiza and his forces is just stuff of greatness. Especially when they are fighting with each other up front and then betraying each other when it came to the dragon balls later on. All this combined with the unique personalities of the Ginyu force and you have the stuff of legends.

L: The Ginyu Force were fantastic. Poses and all!

SJ: Oh, my gosh. The Ginyu Force! How could I forget them! And now I’m thinking about DBZ Abridged… I’m sorry, Scott. Please continue. ^_−

S: And then there is Goku. Man, Goku goes through some stuff too. He does his Goku hero thing which involves him saving the three mentioned above when they are up against the Ginyu force. Fantastic stuff there too, but seeing the body switch ability was something that messed around with Goku’s fighting expectations. Even when Ginyu couldn’t find the the way to unlock Goku’s abilities, it was still something we haven’t seen in this show before.

Last but not least, Freiza. Do we really need to say anything about him? Everyone knows who he is. Freiza is only the most popular villain that has come out of the Dragon Ball franchise for a lot of good reasons. His many transformations, his personality, his lack of understanding of time. Love Freiza to death. You can see why he came back in Super. I guess the super saiyan thing is here too with the build up to it throughout this season. Really impactful during this arc because it’s something special and came through emotional impacts, but ruined when everyone else was able to do it. Still a memorable moment though. On to you guys now.

SJ: I too want to reflect on Goku’s Super Saiyan transformation. That is WAS built up to for the whole series, that it WAS intended to be the highest achievable power form, that it WAS prompted by Krillin’s death, that it WAS only the pure-of-heart Goku that could do it… honestly, those things made it the best transformation for me in BDZ, period. Goku became the Legendary Saiyan in his enormous sorrow and rage over Krillin’s death, and that was an incredible moment, but it’s been undermined so many times in the series since then. (Like, why wasn’t ChiChi killed stupidly by Buu enough to drive Goten into a new level of power, and while we’re at it, WHEN DID GOING SS1 BECOME SO SIMPLE A CHILD COULD DO IT?? Yes, I know that Gohan could as an *older* child, but he’s also supposed to be this literal prodigy intended to surpass even Goku—before Toei had it’s way, thanks guys.) The increasing transformations really watered down the enormous impact of that first SS moment.*

*Just as a note, the power increases during the Cell Saga didn’t bother me; they were merely unnamed increases in power and ability, but not significant enough to warrant a separate transformation. I also enjoyed how a specific type of increase had consequences on Future Trunks as a fighter, but this isn’t the arc wherein to discuss that. ☆〜(ゝ。

(Still SJ, sorry it’s blue): And yeah, Scott, you’re correct about the emotion! One of my favorite scenes in all of DBZ happens within this arc: Vegeta, in the throes of death, mourning his losses and what he had become.

SJ: Check out this video, guys. 

I cry very real tears over this scene. It breaks my heart, and drives home the depths of Vegeta’s character, his suffering. No one should ever go through what Vegeta went through even as a little child, but it happened, and his Saiyan nature In combination with psychological trauma and how he was raised molded him into the multi-faceted villain—and ultimately even family man—he would become.

Listening to Chris Sabat flawlessly deliver that highly emotional monologue is also a testimony to the man’s overwhelming acting ability. Truly, I wish I could capture how very much the moment means to me, but I fear for once that words are lacking. ❤ THIS SCENE GIVES VEGETA MEANING, and it’s deeper meaning than one expects within this Shounen fighter, and I… I just love it.

Well, I gotta go re-watch that clip and bawl my eyes out. Leth, do you have anything to add?

L: I most certainly do, Shoujo!

So I’ll get straight to the point with this one, the Namek Saga, or Frieza Saga which is how I’ve always referred to it, is my favourite arc in the series and also one of my favourite arcs in any fighting Shounen series.

It was a lengthy arc for sure, but not unnecessarily so, and it managed to top the already dire and chaotic stakes of the Saiyan Saga to insanely new heights. To start with, Goku isn’t even present for a large portion of the arc and is lagging behind, recovering and training, while Gohan and Krillin are sent to Namek on their own to find the Namekian Dragon Balls and combat any threats that get in their way.

The bad news? The threat they encounter is not only far more powerful than Vegeta and Nappa, but he’s also far more psychotic and terrifying and has an entire gauntlet of powerful henchmen for our heroes to deal with. Like Scott, I really appreciated that Toriyama made Vegeta into a reluctant hero original Dragon Ball style. Seeing a powerful, old nemesis team up with our heroes to take down a common enemy was some amazing stuff, as Vegeta was far more evil, self-serving and less goofy than the villains that came before him which made his dynamic with our heroes even more interesting and entertaining.

The Ginyu Force were incredibly silly villains, but every one of them was also unique and brought something new to the table. One of my favourite moments was when Captain Ginyu swapped bodies with Goku and we had to watch Gohan and Krillin struggle against the techniques and power of Goku which was a whole new kind of ordeal. Naturally they manage to overcome it because Ginyu is a little daft, but it remains one of my favourite parts of the series because again, it presented a situation that seemed impossible for our heroes to overcome.

Which brings me to Frieza, the big bad of this arc and the reason why I love this part of Dragon Ball Z so much. Frieza is terrifying. Not just by Dragon Ball standards, but by Anime standards. While most main villains tend to have some funny personality quirk or sad backstory to justify their actions, Frieza does not. He is simply pure evil. He has no reason for being a bad guy other than he just likes to do bad things and is a power hungry monster who will stop at nothing to prove that he is the most powerful, most threatening, most tyrannical being in the entire universe. And he’s awesome.

While there are other villains who show up later on in Dragon Ball Z who dwarf Frieza in terms of power level, he’s always felt like the scariest and most terrifying villain in the series in spite of that. The characters were scared of this guy and seemed far less confident in taking him down than they ever did with the likes of Cell and Majin Buu despite them being far more powerful. And every time they managed to overcome him, he just kept coming back in a new transformation, even more powerful and threatening than before.

It’s become a bit of a meme that the fight between Goku and Frieza lasted far too long for its own good, but I honestly loved every second of it and have rewatched more times than I can count. It showcases everything that’s amazing about Dragon Ball Z and its fights and keeps getting more exciting with every phase and is full of unforgettable moments. One of my favourites being the part where Goku spends ages charging that insanely large Spirit Bomb and Frieza has no idea what he’s up to the entire time. When he noticed that insanely large ball of energy in the sky and looked genuinely terrified for the first time in his life as it was hurled towards him, I screamed so darn loud with excitement because it was so hype! Even today that moment still gives me chills!

And of course, there’s the Super Saiyan transformation where Goku finally fulfils the legend we’ve been hearing so much about and ascends to a new form in a scene that is so iconic that I’d dare say it’s become one of the most iconic moments in Anime history.

The Frieza Saga is, in my opinion, the best arc in Dragon Ball Z and even after all these years, it remains one of the best arcs across all fighting Shounen series. My only real complaint with this arc, which may be a tad controversial, is that I feel it could have served as a perfect ending for the series. Goku overcomes “the most powerful being in the universe”, brings his friends back to life and fulfils the legend of the Super Saiyan which was implied to be some sort of “end game” for the series. Apparently, Toriyama originally intended this arc to be the ending of the Manga until Shonen Jump said no and he was forced to make more arcs. I don’t know how true that is though, but it would have worked perfectly as an ending to the series in my opinion.

That all being said though, I do really like the later story arcs in spite of that and I wouldn’t change them for the world. More on those later!

Android/Cell Saga

SJ: This saga is the most nostalgic one for me, and as such I’m sure I’m willing to overlook just about anything wrong with it; I love the plot, I love the characters that are introduced, and I love the (wait for it) character development. (Surprise?)

It’s the arc from which SO MUCH evidence that Goku, bumbling as he may be, loves his family, loves ChiChi. Here are a few of my favorite clips, for good measure.

While this characters did have to become stronger in ways that might have devalued the initial Super Saiyan transformation, I can say confidently that, of all the times this ascendance occurs, this is the least problematic. I don’t think it did so at all, really. The characters may be stronger than they were as Super Saiyans originally, but their transformation hasn’t modified their form. Really, it’s more of our characters getting used to exercising their current power to its utmost. Goku and Gohan learn how to maintain the ascended state, Trunks learns the drawbacks that come with channeling too much power without accounting for loss of speed…

S: I feel like the series was more focused and at its best when Freiza was the main bad guy. It really tied everything together and gave Dragon Ball Z it’s own focus.. That being said, I love almost everything about the Android/Cell sagas too. I like how Future Trunks set the tone of the series in the beginning by appearing out of nowhere and beating a new and refurbished Freiza. It was a huge note that Freiza is now the end all, be all in this world. Especially since he brought the doom of the Androids.

Speaking of Androids, the whole affair felt a little unfocused. I mean, we got two sets of androids and then Cell. Where do all these villains come from? That being said, the transition between each set of androids and Cell made everything worth it. I don’t know how, but Toriyama made the mess of multiple sagas work together somehow. It’s just great stuff and works amazing.

L: Like Shoujo, the Android and Cell Sagas are also the most nostalgic for me, mostly because they aired at the time where I started to get really into Dragon Ball Z and it became a huge part of my life.

I guess I’ll start with the complaints though. I was never a fan of how they kind of devalued the Super Saiyan transformation. Trunks having it was fine, because he was from the future which made it feel more justified, but Vegeta? And then Gohan? Suddenly we have four “legends” all at once despite the fact it was only meant to happen every 1000 years or whatever.

Like Scott, I also wasn’t too keen on how unfocused things felt and while I liked the villains, they weren’t Frieza and it felt weird seeing the main villains constantly being swapped out in favour of another, more powerful one. Part of the reason for his lack of focus and the constantly changing villains was again due to meddling from Shonen Jump though, so it’s not something I’m too annoyed by. It ain’t Toriyama’s fault and he did a great job pulling it all together in the end.

Future Trunks was awesome, and watching him take down a revived Frieza with little to no effort was incredible. It was something else to see this completely new character wipe the floor with the tyrant who just spent the entire last arc tormenting our heroes with his near unstoppable power. And the news that an even worse threat was on the way? Damn. Intense stuff.

Cell was also a really cool final villain for this arc and while he wasn’t as menacing or charismatic as Frieza, he was still pretty awesome in his own right. I especially liked how he had the abilities of all of the Z-fighters, and even Frieza, for his own personal usage. It made his battles more interesting and unpredictable.

SJ: Oh, my gosh, yes. Future Trunks is to this day one of my favorite characters. It might sound silly since it wasn’t explicitly stated, but Trunks wants so badly for this father he has never known to love him, to want him. And he’s shocked when he encounters this Vegeta who is seemingly much “worse” than his mother ever conveyed. He takes it upon himself to save her life and his own from the hovercraft explosion when his dad is literally RIGHT THERE and could not be bothered. He sees how imperfect and selfish his father is and has to come to terms with that, but this arc is actually one of the largest for Vegeta’s development as well. He sees and interacts with his son as a man. And then it happens; Cell shoots him, and everything falls apart in his mind, and it’s the first time his world has been rocked. There are so many versions of that scene, and while I prefer Vegeta’s monologue in the original, the pacing of Kai seems much more organic.

A while ago I found a “theatrical” version (read: fan-edited) of that scene. The context isn’t changed, but elements from the original and Kai are combined and music is added in. My favorite part is the internal dialogue when Vegeta goes berserk (all from the original material ABOUT HIM elsewhere in the arc).

When I watched it, it hit me so hard. It takes everything going on internally (and you know how much I love that!!) and brings it to audience attention. I truly believe when watching the original that THIS THEATRICAL shows what is going on in Vegeta’s heart behind the scenes, and it’s amazing. (Plus, everything that flashes through his mind is LITERALLY what he monologues about in the original, but they showed it in scene form rather than just stating it or worse, implying it!! His self-loathing and recrimination is ALL originally him.) Here’s the trailer if you want to cry:

S: Finally, can we talk about Gohan? I want to talk about Gohan. I know that Shoujo talked about all of those power ups better than I probably could, but let’s talk about the pay off called Super Saiyan 2. This was something that was built up during the entire series starting with Raditz. Gohan always had a hidden potential that came out of nowhere and it has either gotten Gohan and friends out of a lot of jams or it made each situation worse. Either way, Super Saiyan 2 was the pay off the show needed. I sometimes that Dragon Ball Z could have ended with the Cell stuff, but unfortunately….

SJ: You mean you weren’t impressed with the Pepto Bismol pink monster and totally out of character and canonically inaccurate material, Scott? 😛

S: I thought I was being subtle…

L: You’re not alone, Scott (kinda).

SJ: On the Gohan stuff, it’s such a shame what they did to him after a while. The Cell Saga was FANTASTIC for his character!! All that about him being the next generation of protector—-the beautiful combination of humanity and Saiyan heritage born of love between two races (much like Goku’s initial transformation, when you think about it!) resulting in incredible power—-only to later let it fall by the wayside… 😦 He didn’t want to fight, and I get that. Piccolo got it. Goku (eventually) got it. But still, Gohan fights not out of Saiyan vice/pride, but out of love for those he wishes to protect. Nothing about that equates with letting his skills fall by the wayside in Super. It isn’t in his character! The only time he did cave to that more vicious Saiyan side of himself (read: didn’t finish Cell when he had the chance), Goku died. Big deterrent there not to fall to that side of himself again, I should imagine. I think it scared him. What am I babbling about now? I don’t know. There’s just so much about Gohan that was left unexplored. (ALSO GT is a FanFiction. FIGHT ME.)

Now, if someone wants to talk about Mystic Gohan our discussion of the next saga, that probably wouldn’t go awry…

L: On the subject of Gohan, I really liked what they did with his character arc here. His hidden potential is something that had been hinted at since the very beginning of Z and seeing it finally come out in the form of a second Super Saiyan transformation was awesome! It made for an incredible final battle against Cell and allowed Goku to finally pass the torch to his son after sacrificing himself, which was super feelsy and had my bawling my eyes out as a kid. I was so sad!

Goku passing the torch to Gohan would have made for a perfect ending for the series in my opinion, as it not only symbolised the end of Goku’s journey as a hero, but it came at a time where every loose end in the series had been tied up in the neatest way possible. Gohan’s hidden potential was finally realised, Cell was defeated, Goku had passed on his legacy and even Vegeta had finally grown to abandon his pride and become a family man and generally happy resident of Earth.

But unfortunately, this was not meant to be. Because Shonen Jump! The Buu Saga was next and… Oh boy… I heard this is Scott’s favourite arc.

S: (Hiss)


And, with Scott’s beautiful snek imitation, we close on this installment of the collaboration post! I now direct you to Leth for discussion of the Buu Arc, Dragon Ball Super, and more!

Contribute to our discussion in the comments below, and feel the HYPE!

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Credit to DBZA :p

Love,

Shoujo

“Include *ALL* the MC types!” (Or, “Shoujo and Irina Talk About Problematic Anime Tropes Pt. 2”)

The first part of this post can be found over at “I Drink and Watch Anime.” Irina kindly invited me to participate in a collaboration post wherein we discuss—as you can surmise based on this post’s title—problematic anime/otome tropes! Because the put-together and humorous Irina was thoughtful enough to include me on a topic that I actually feel comfortable writing on, how on earth could I turn her down? I’m so~ excited!!


Last time on “Shoujo and Irina Talk About Problematic Anime Tropes…”:

Shoujo: I personally see no problem with embracing the appeal of protective men, but the problem arises when otome companies and anime studios fail to recognize that there *IS* a difference between protective and possessive, and in the interest of manipulation of emotion and bringing things to the next level so to speak, they have potentially thinned that line to a frightening degree.


Shoujo: I will also mention that women are often made to seem weaker to enhance this trope, but otome MCs can still be capable, independent, and intelligent without ruining the protective bachelor/otome MC relationship. Even the strongest of us need protection sometimes. I think that otome could find balance in using multiple types of MCs; I would hate to have them eliminate mild, fairly dependent women entirely and I’d hate to see them besmirched as incapable, but I think that women who ID as more independent have a place too! Just like any media, we need heroines of all types!!

ALL the MCs.jpg

In addition, I agree that sexual harassment is NOT a compliment and that it needs to stop being used as a tool for plot advancement. I took issue with this in Code: Realize as I played through Impy Barbicane’s route; ultimately harmless, perhaps, but his advances were laid on so thick that, in my reckoning, they didn’t just skim harassment but landed there outright. No matter how the heroine felt, he kept up his advances. I was feeling particularly uncomfortable with that after a specific real life situation unfolded outside my local pizzeria, but I am confident that I would have been disgruntled with this behavior at any time.

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You’ll notice the concern comes second…

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There is like no love here for like 85% of the route, but you just won’t back off, Impey…

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Oh, please don’t cry! I’ll leave you alone now…

There is a way to do lovable, childlike, and obstinately love-struck, but that way is far more reminiscent of Mineo from Collar x Malice than anything Code: Realize produced, and it bothered me.

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See? That’s how you do this character type, Otomate.

Even in Hakuouki (my beloved, beloved Hakuouki), we have verbal examples of men putting the responsibility for their arousal on women (read: You better not say such cute things, or I won’t be able to control myself.); it isn’t enough to ruin the game, and I understand that–rather than allude to a real possibility of assault–their intent that Chizuru feel appealing, but this wording is generally unacceptable in most situations, is it not? And it seems more and more prevalent all the time. Let the man tell her she’s appealing; don’t normalize this type of problematic beating around the bush.

And, um… about being cornered, Irina? If *Husband* wanted to corner me, that would be okay because he is Husband and very not scary and we’d probably just end up laughing in each other’s faces, but anyone else I would be very scared. Because that happened to me once before and I just wanted to cry… It was very Not Good™.

Irina: Look, there’s nothing wrong with being shy or reserved. There’s nothing wrong with being accommodating even to extremes as long as you realize it will probably never be appreciated. But there’s no excuse to stop thinking. These types of portrayals are why to this day some people have a natural subconscious bias that women aren’t smart, or at least *as* smart. It’s why when we picture a mad scientist it’s almost always a man even though labs are becoming real hen houses.

I mean, we’re probably all just picturing this guy…

C’mon main characters, we can do better. I regularly bemoan the sad reality that brains and ingenuity don’t seem to be regarded as desirable traits. This is not a very reasonable approach for our gene pool. And that sorry state of affairs is made triple obvious in our dating sims. Even characters that are supposed to be “smart,” act like complete idiots and are amazed by the simplest things. Childlike wonderment is charming but at a certain point it becomes a developmental damage.

This is probably the main attraction to yaoi dating sims. Main boys often have a bit more going on upstairs. To be honest with you guys, the only traditional otome heroine I could think of that I wouldn’t be too nervous letting her handle sharp objects is Lulu from Wand of Fortune. She was the best and I genuinely enjoyed embodying her. (From the anime, Yui of Kamigami no Asobi generally seems like she has her stuff together as well). On the other extreme we have Fuka from Oz Mafia who is such a complete moron that it’s become one of the best, most hilarious features of the game. Not for a single second did I see myself in her, but man do I love laughing at her.

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I also like the nameless MC from Ikemen Sengoku; she has spunk AND 21st century sensibilities… And now I need to go play the game again. Well, first factory restore my phone… (also, I look this pick from Otome Obsessed)

Just once, I would really love to see an MC clap back when being patiently told she can no longer choose for herself who she can socialize with. Just kindly let the guy know his input is noted and considered irrelevant but we can still go to the park or whatever… Do people really go to dates in parks you guys? I mean I get it when your date is a magical animal boy but seems a little…old fashioned maybe. As I was typing the sentence I imagined it in my head and actually, if it’s not -20C outside, it could be pretty nice. I take it back.

Just once, I would love for an MC to not be an actor in one of those old as seen on TV infomercial and be capable of doing one thing by herself. Tying her shoes, making her dinner, taking a decision.

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Again, Irina, I highly suggest Ikemen Sengoku for your needs…

I understand why main characters are so often meek. Cultural differences mixed with the desire of creating a character that is unassuming enough to be used as a simple vessel for the player, is going to create invariably pleasantly bland heroines but why oh why do they have to be that stupid?

Ok that’s not seduction, it’s lying….

Yeah yeah, we all know that a lot of otomes are essentially a game of guess what your virtual crush wants to hear. Obviously, telling the young players that the way to get love is to change everything about yourself isn’t exactly the most empowering message but there’s another reality here that doesn’t get discussed quite as much. Why are all my romantic suitor options all so intellectually fragile and limited as to be unable to accept anything other than a super specific point of view?

Whether you’re supposed to be blindly agreeing with everything or endlessly berating them or just playing the martyr saint, most otomes will allow for one right answer. Sometimes only one right and everything else wrong, sometimes several neutral but generally, you have one right option. This makes sense on a game design level, but you do end up with a bunch of characters that seem like moody little children with some impressive mental limitation more than anything else. And I’ve noticed that some people do approach their potential partners with exactly that frame of mind.

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I feel like Shall We Date? uses this one-right-answer formula a lot; that’s not to say you shouldn’t play them because I’ve played, like, all of them…

They feel the need to placate them and humour them not because that’s how they’ll win their favour but simply because they’re not entirely sure the poor darlings could handle anything resembling and actual conversation. They might get a headache…

I can’t count the number of people (both genders) I have seen feint interest in a particular subject or hobby just to artificially create common ground. Once in a while you do end up developing a genuine interest – great! Most of the time it becomes unsustainable and one person eventually admits they don’t actually care about the thing. You just end up with a lot of wasted time, boring evenings and someone feeling bad because they made the other endure something unpleasant without meaning to.

I will however, attest that I see no harm in the usual “pick a bachelor and figure out what he needs to hear” formula of otome games because, when I play them, I consider this part and parcel. For me, it’s exploring worlds in which the MC genuinely feels the way I’m portraying her rather than simply conforming for the sake a man; however, I do see where it could become a problematic midnest if someone applied to real life the theory that the goal of wooing someone is worth sacrifice of personal beliefs and interests. I would hope that no one would seriously consider this tactic under the influence of otome, but I do, like you, know people in real life (who have never played otoge, mind) who have faked their personalities for men… it has never ended well.

On a related note, one of my favorite things to do is sail into an otome blind and pick only answers true to me during the first playthrough that I might see, in a fictional universe, the timeline and relationships in which I’d end up. 🙂

To be fair, there are some otomes out there that manage to avoid these tropes. There are also some games that have all of them but are still super fun. Dating sims tap into a fantasy element that is pleasant and healthy to explore. If you haven’t tried at least one, I urge you to do so, you may be surprised by just how engaging they can be. Let’s just all remember our grains of salt.


I would like again to thank Irina for inviting me to participate in this collaboration post! Let us know in the comments below (or over on Irina’s blog!) what you think about these (and other?) problematic otome/anime tropes! ❤

~Shoujo