Within this past month we’ve seen the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe trailer of Captain Marvel. The title character is written in the frame of the more feminist variant of recent comics if the trailer is any indication. This is one in a long line of feminist protagonists that no one can find likable. The current trend seems to have started with Ghostbusters in 2016, but it can be more traced towards the beginning of this decade at the very least, if not earlier. This estimation comes from calculations of typical sleeper infiltration time. That’s right, I’m pointing out what we are mostly thinking here – feminists and social justice warriors use sleeper agent tactics. It’s the only way they could have snuck so many into geek communities without alerting the rest of these communities earlier. They get themselves settled into positions of influence, then activate and impose feminist dogma onto the rest. This is what makes sense for the change of female characters between the 80’s- early 2000’s and the past 10 years of content. The Writer’s Guild Strike definitely didn’t help things either.
There is only one problem with undermining this tactic: They can’t write any sort of believable hero, so it becomes glaringly obvious that failure is prone to follow. But as I said before success is not their endgame. The endgame is to give us no choice but to imbibe their propaganda, the Alternative Influence Network ‘study’ is proof enough of that. So why do they push for very unbelievable and unlikable heroines? Because that’s how they view male characters to be. Here is the thing though – most male heroes are believable because they each have a flaw to them on some level. Even Superman has his flaws. How? Well for starters he always has to restrain himself lest he give himself away and put those who can’t protect themselves in danger, and he has to keep his own ego in check lest he becomes a tyrant. Games like Injustice study this aspect of the character never realized before. So how do you write a believable superheroine? Why don’t we see how anime did it? Let’s Hammer This In!
To start off let’s go over how feminists want their superpowered heroines to be displayed. Captain Marvel will be our archetype for this, as she is what is being promoted currently. Now to be fair here, we are just going by a short trailer that shows what seems to be the effective origins of the character so she will likely come off differently in the final release. The archetype is a strong, independent and stern character surrounded by bumbling male support characters and other strong women who are typically annoyed by said support, and have to blame everyone but themselves when something goes wrong. In other words, Rita Repulsa from the Power Rangers in the 1990’s. That’s right. I compared most feminist superheroes to the villainess from a campy reworked Japanese superhero show, down to the purposely sub par writing.
Now how about an anime superheroine? For this I’m going to choose a character from a comedy anime I’ve loved since I was young, a dungeons and dragons parody series called Slayers. Why not something more serious? Because this will give off the type of feel that a female Ghostbuster should have had. In short I’m rubbing salt into a wound that feminists keep picking open so it doesn’t heal. The character in question is one Lina Inverse. She is the main character of the show, a powerful and highly intelligent sorceress who is a genius at a young age and is extremely egotistical. “But Alex I thought you said she is going to be a believable character! This sounds like a Mary Sue!” With just a stripped down description yes, that seems to be the case but once you actually watch the show you find that there is a lot more to this. Oh, small warning, if you want to watch this yourself and keep your ears intact I recommend the subtitled. Spare yourself the high-pitched and purposely squeaky and annoying voice acting.
Opening with the first series of the show we are introduced to our character within one minute similar to how Captain Marvel was introduced. We find ourselves at a bandit hideout celebrating a large haul of treasure due to their use of a young black dragon to terrorize the local villages. Then, out of nowhere, without even being asked, comes in 16-year-old-Lina Inverse, casting a fireball and starting the typical chaos, then casting a spell called flare arrow to counter a few other attacks as she…greedily robs the bandits blind. Because its ok to steal from thieves in her dubious ethics. Already we see three major flaws in her character that will bite her in the ass throughout this show – she is very impulsive, she wouldn’t know discretion to save her life and she has no honor.
Now how about her interactions with men and the way male characters are written in the show? Well to start there are two male characters that are constants for the series throughout its entire run, Gourry Gabriev and Zelgadis Graywords. The first is a blonde idiot-savant, kept dumb enough to be a proxy to explain the world through while still very capable and competent as a swordsman and mercenary. The other is a tragic soul, a man turned into a part demon/part golem chimera with immense magical power. He is shown to be aloof and taciturn, yet well meaning and highly intelligent. In other words he’s a good protagonist for a show about an antihero. So what does she do when either of these men make her mad? She blows them up! As this is a comedy they have supernatural endurance and strength, so they can withstand almost any magic attack she can throw at them quickly.
Also most of the male villains are surprisingly competent and can hold up against a fair share of her attacks, making it to where she has to be extremely tactical with how she fights, especially when considering the wellbeing of her usual comrades. There are even cases within the series where she is almost killed, even one case where she actually dies for a moment before having the magical equivalent of a defibrillator bringing her back to life. So she isn’t immortal, nor is she immune from damage. This already bodes better for her believability compared to Mary Sue type characters. I’m not going into the specifics of how or when she gets near death in the series as I’m not giving full spoilers. If you want to see this watch the show for yourself. Funimation is the current distributor and has recently released remasters of the original 90’s series if memory serves.
So we covered interactions with men and her strengths and overall weaknesses. What about her female counterparts in this series then? Well, there are two major female characters that she tends to play off of. While it has been confirmed in extra material and jokes in certain specials that these two characters she interacts with are sisters, they are never all three in the same place at the same time. That’s because of how different the two characters are and how they each make Lina feel ‘inadequate.’ These characters are Amelia Wil Tesla and Gracia Ul Naga Seyruun, younger and elder sisters respectively. Naga the White Serpent, as she has taken to being, called is an immodest and traumatized sorceress who thinks very highly of herself, and as Lina’s rival when she interacts with Lina for the two years before the main series.
She shows her much more mature body in a very skimpy battle bikini inherited from her mother, who was murdered in front of her eyes. This led her to perfect her own original spell called Chaos String to enact revenge upon the assassin. Her father, Phillionel El Di Seyruun, as the crown prince is a staunch pacifist. She decides to leave the kingdom and find herself and get over her trauma, leaving the crown princess position to her younger sister, hiding her royal status in the process. Also, having become an alcoholic and having a traumatic fear of blood makes her unable to use the sword she carries to fight.
As for her sister Amelia, at the beginning of the series she is 14 years old and annoys Lina in one way that’s the same between her and her sister. She is extremely busty for her age. The reason this annoys Lina is, comparatively she is flat. This denotes another flaw in Lina – an inferiority complex that stacks with a narcissistic vanity that is complicated even further if you even make mention of her elder sister Luna to her. Lina faces off against various demon lords and high level world-killing beasts with little fear, but the moment you make mention of her sister she hides in complete cowardice huddled in a corner. She has a legitimate fear of someone.
So what do we see here in how you make a believable character? They aren’t ‘perfect.’ They have personal traumas and problems even if they may seem silly to us. They also have conflicts at times with even their close friends, though we aren’t done yet. We have one more thing to go over when it comes to Lina that we didn’t fully cover. What are her powers and abilities? We know Captain Marvel has the powers inherited from her alien counterpart Marvelle. But what about Lina Inverse’s powers in this world of hers?
What we know is she is a sorceress and bandit hunter by trade, meaning as her primary job, she takes out bandit gangs and takes bonuses out of what they had stolen and pay from whoever hires her. As such, she has a keen eye for identifying relics and their costs as an expert merchant, even having the ability to create mystical amulets through a form of alchemy. So she has a very high level of intelligence as a natural skill. In addition to this she has a mastery of black magic sourced from individual demons, various forms of shamanistic elemental magic that make up weaker attacks and physical augmentations. She also has some mastery of lower level white healing magic. In addition to this, she has a moderate bucket capacity – this is what this universe calls magic energy. She is, however, outclassed in this area by Naga, though Naga doesn’t know the level of spells Lina does.
What about her strongest spells? She has three last resort techniques that can be augmented by talismans she gets later on in the series. The first is called Dragon Slave which draws its power from the first major enemy of the series, the Demon King Shabranigidu. (Don’t worry, very few actually pronounce this name right) These demons are inspired by equivalents from the Ars Goetia. The Dragon Slave is effectively a handheld nuclear blast. The weakness of this technique is the same as most black magic; it doesn’t work on demons as they have the same power source. Effectively, if she casts it on Shabranigidu it fizzles out because it’s literally saying “Hey there, can you commit suicide for me?” Not the best strategy.
Next is a spell that Lina was the first to perform effectively by using an artifact known as the Sword of Light to cast – The Giga Slave. What this is was originally thought to be a form of the Dragon Slave that instead drew power from the Golden Demon Lord – Lord of Nightmares of the Four Realms. The Mother of the Sea of Chaos, it is later figured out, is actually a summoning spell for said demon lord. The weakness of this spell is the cost, which is potentially giving one’s body and soul completely to this effective demonic god whose whole approach is being extremely fickle and changes her mind about everything. There were even theories that the only reason Lina can cast this spell in its imperfect state is that she is an incarnation of said demon god.
Finally we have the Ragna Blade, a spell that Lina learns when she gains the full understanding of the Giga Slave through exposure to the pure Clair Bible which is a record of the gods and demons of this world and their eternal battle. This just calls upon a shard of the power of the Lord of Nightmares to summon a powerful dimension-cutting blade that can harm most demons effectively without risking the dangers of the Giga Slave. The Giga slave could envelop the entire world in chaos and death if miscast, since it is a summoning of the Lord of Nightmares outright.
So we see that while Lina has some extremely powerful magic most of her higher level spells are extremely dangerous double-edged swords. They are just as likely to take her out as they are taking out her enemies. So that’s weakness one. Her second weakness is that her bucket capacity, however high, is limited. If she overcasts she can become defenseless. The third is her nature as a woman, since this IS a comedy series, and while it only plays with this joke once… during her period she can’t cast anything beyond a light spell. This is hilarious because it means it keeps her from getting so mad and bitchy during ‘that time of the month,’ and leveling every village in the immediate vicinity, since she kind of does that regularly anyway. This leads to her greatest weakness of all because it usually gets used against her regularly – her temper that’s as short as she is.
So how does this get used against her? Well her mental image of herself is this impossibly beautiful young maiden whose stature belies her appeal. However, most see her to be the immature and underdeveloped whelp she is deep down. Still, despite her antagonistic and destructive personality, she ends up making lifelong allies and friends that have her back no matter what. Despite his idiocy Gourry genuinely cares for her, despite his self-loathing and coldness Zelgadis respects and defers to her command in a pinch, and despite their clashing personalities of the goody two shoes princess Amelia looks up to Lina as a positive role model regardless of her obvious flaws. That’s because at her core, Lina is a good person who means the best, even though she is an unethical and selfish bitch. She is vulgar, she is flawed, she is human.
Can we say the same about the current depiction of most of contemporary Western heroines? Not so much, because not only do they deny the innate human nature of these characters, they deny genuine femininity and how it is to react to genuine masculinity. In this a short, flat chested brute who will eat you out of house and home in a heartbeat is a better woman than what feminists want us to believe a ‘true woman’ to be. This also reinforces the reasoning which most feminists hate a lot of Japanese Anime. It tears their narratives asunder.
This was fun and I encourage all of you who also watch anime to list your favorite female leads in the comments section. Talk about Ryoko, Fujiko Mine, or Faye Valentine… Also Please Remember to Game Freely!
- Breaking the Narrative Episode 124: Nice Try Kotaku! This Won’t Work Though! - July 8, 2019
- Breaking the Narrative Episode 123: We Shouldn’t Go Straight to Mars! How Anime Got Space Right! - July 1, 2019
- Breaking the Narrative Episode 122: You’re Reviewing What Now? The Dissenter Web Browser! - June 10, 2019