My Heroes (Part Two)

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.

Who’s your favorite Sailor Scout?

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.

Sakura is another favorite.

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.

So much awesome.

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?

My Heroes (Part One)

Hello there!  I’ve been thinking a lot about Stonecoast and all of the awesome people I’m missing right now (it’s summer residency and I’m not there *sadness*), plus all of the conversations I’ve had with these people.  One topic that never seemed to lose its attractiveness was superheroes.  A hazard of specializing in popular fiction, I guess.  These talks ranged from debates about who would beat who to the lack of females (as strong primary characters) and POC (persons of color) characters when we were growing up.

The Sailor Scouts!

Personally, I grew up with the Bishoujo Senshi and a ton of other magical girl anime (a topic for another time), so I never really noticed a lack of strong female role models in my superheroes.  I suppose I should thank my obsession with anime and manga for that.  Honestly, I never really paid attention to any of the lacking qualities of the genre until I got to grad school.  Even when the flaws were pointed out, they didn’t really bother me much.  I was always the kind of person who could find some character to relate to regardless of how dissimilar our outer appearances were.  I mean, come on.  Do you know how hard it is to find a wheelchair bound superhero?  Let alone someone who started out that way (meaning their disabilities weren’t caused by accidents and injuries).  Yeah… Charles Xavier and Barbara Gordon as Oracle are the two who spring to mind most readily (both of whom were injured, not born that way).

Professor X

Actually, Oracle never really interested me that much anyway, so I’m not entirely sure she even counts as one of my heroes.  Yeah, Batman will always hold a special place in my list of favorites because he was one of the superheroes my dad and I always followed together.  Bats, Gargoyles (does anyone else even remember that show?), some Superman stuff.  It was all daddy-daughter time, thus it was all special.  I still love all of those heroes, but they were never my favorites.  The X-Men held the number one spot in my ranking from the very beginning.

Now, I could go into some deep philosophical debate as to why they were my favorite, but it’d be a load of crap.  I could tell you that I fell in love with the idea that a random genetic screw up could lead to superpowers instead of crippleness and the like.  I could tell you it gave me role models who were similar to me in the fact that nature had messed with us and turned us into freaks.  Today, yeah, that might be part of why they continue to hold the number one place for me.  When I was a kid, though?  No way!  Rogue and Storm were kickass, I was utterly in love with Gambit, and I totally adored so many of the “villains.”  There was no deeper meaning.  I was simply enamored by the X-Men.

How can you not love them?

So, who were/are your (super)heroes?  Are they all from western comic books?  I have way too many from both comic books and manga (hence the “part one”).  I’ll talk more about my anime and manga heroes later.  Now, I kind of want to binge watch all the X-Men things.

Until next time!