Konnichiwa (Ohayou? Konbanwa?)! I suppose it all depends on when you’re reading this. Anyway, I’ve decided to continue with my hero chat. You can see the previous installment here if you missed it. This week, I’ll be focusing more on my anime and manga heroes and heroines. Like I said before, most of my favorite female role models came from anime and manga, so I suppose this should be called “My Heroines” instead. Ah well. Too late now.
First up (of course) is Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon. Now, my first experience with this show was the horrible dub where they tried change all the things they thought our little brains couldn’t handle (remember when Neptune and Uranus were “cousins?”), but I still fell in love with it. Imagine my delight a few years later when I was first exposed to its pure awesomeness in fansubs, when everything actually started making sense!
Much like with X-Men, I never really had a reason for liking the show beyond the fact that I adored all of the characters and had a huge crush on Prince Demando (Diamond if you prefer). My favorite Scouts were Mercury (super smart and kind of a loner) and Saturn (a sickly girl with the power to destroy the world). Nowadays, I could argue that it was my first experience where an eclectic group of girls kicked monster ass (yeah, Tuxedo Kamen helped, but the girls did the hard part) while working through personal issues and differences. It’s something that I quickly found out wasn’t an unusual thing in the magical girl genre.
Just look at Cardcaptor Sakura. I admit my love for this show wasn’t solidified until after I read the manga and saw a fansub. The dub tried to give Li a bigger role to appeal to a male audience, plus they tried (and failed miserably) to gloss over the shounen-ai (boy love) aspects of the story. Aside from that, I always liked that Sakura was a major klutz who tried her best at everything she did. Yeah, she got discouraged, but she worked through it. That’s what the whole magical girl thing always seemed to be about and it was something I needed to be exposed to when I was a kid.
As I grew older, I moved away from things like Sailor Moon and Digimon and the like to things like Fullmetal Alchemist (still my favorite dub to this day!) and Neon Genesis Evangelion and Trigun. All of which are favorites in some way or another, but I think my last mention will be Angel Sanctuary. That manga is all kinds of screwed up, which is why I love it. Some of my favorite characters are Alexiel (an angel who is punished for taking actions against the other angels who are slaughtering demons for the fun of it), Kira Sakuya (I can’t tell you much about him unless you like spoilers, but he is greatness), and Kurai (one of the demons Alexiel saved). It’s all about angels who are worse than devils and demons who just want to survive and a bunch of other deeply disturbing things.
I suppose my real attraction to the heroes and heroines of Angel Sanctuary (you can decide which characters you consider heroic for yourself) is because of the fact that they’re all deeply flawed. Whether they’re humans or angels or demons, they are seriously screwed up and they all (even the bad ones) believe what they’re doing is in the best interest of some group of beings.
I mean, yeah, I love a lot of the obvious “heroes,” but sometimes it’s good to see a hero who falls on a spectrum of good to evil, rather than fitting into a specific mold. What about you? Do you like your heroes clear cut or more of a mix?