I recently decided that every so often I would write a short post about a character who I really like, explaining why I think that they’re awesome. For me, more than anything else, more than a fantastic, gripping story, even, a brilliant cast of characters can make a show. Even if a show’s story is lacklustre I can still enjoy it if its characters and the way that they interact with each other are fun to watch. It reminds me of times spent with my own friends, not doing much of anything at all, just messing around playing endless games of Uno or watching parody videos on YouTube. So if I know that a show has an entertaining character or cast of characters I’m much more likely to check it out. I’m hoping that these posts will do the same for you.
For my first character spotlight I wanted to talk about my favourite Jump heroine, Gintama’s Kagura.
Whilst on the surface there appears to exist some variation between Jump heroines, e.g. the sweet and timid Hinata couldn’t be less like the brash and self-indulgent Nami, in my experience they usually fall into one of a few categories.
- The damsel in distress (whose job is to emphasise the heroism and strength of the lead male protagonist). Examples: Orihime and (more often than not) Sakura.
- The fan service provider. Examples: Nami and Robin.
- The love interest of the lead male protagonist. Examples: Hinata and Noelle.
Sometimes they may even fall into a couple of these categories simultaneously. But what’s awesome about Kagura is that she doesn’t fit into any of these tried and true molds. She subverts every expectation that a person could have of a Jump heroine, or even heroines in general. For starters, Kagura is just a child. Not only does this differentiate her from many other heroines, including those listed above, it means that she isn’t frequently reduced to being nothing but a piece of ass designed specifically to sell risque merchandise or a love interest for the lead male protagonist. In fact, Kagura being a child offers several other advantages. At times she contributes a childlike immaturity to many of the scenes that she’s in and appears to lack the inhibitions that many of us adults bring to a social situation. This makes already funny scenes even funnier. Whereas, at other times the filth that comes out of Kagura’s mouth would make even the most sinful of viewers blush. You can’t help but laugh in disbelief at the things being spouted by such a sweet looking kid. Sometimes that filth is even literal filth! To this day I think Kagura holds the record of being the only Jump heroine to vomit on-screen. An enviable accolade to be had!
The contrast between Kagura’s sweet, childlike appearance and her behaviour also extends to her fighting prowess. Because she belongs to a fearsome race of warrior aliens, Kagura is immensely strong. I love it when she faces off against another character, because you know that sh*t’s about to go dooown. Even 300 odd episodes into the show I’ve yet to see Kagura act as a helpless damsel in distress. Even as a child she is more than capable of holding her own against her adversaries and far outclasses many of the adults around her.
In spite of these things there are still frequent reminders that Kagura is still just a little girl. She enjoys munching on sweets, loves her giant pet dog, Sadaharu, and still calls her parents Mammy and Pappy. Oftentimes, when you have a powerful female character, there are barely any indicators, save their anatomy, that they’re female at all. Their interests, mannerisms, and speech are characteristically masculine. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes it is nice to see a strong female character who still possesses some typically female characteristics.
That’s it for today. I hope that you found this to be an interesting read. Let me know what you think of this awesome character yourself, if you get the chance.