Generally speaking, Summer ’18 has been a fairly good season of anime, so far. We’ve had several highly anticipated sequels that have, in my opinion, proven themselves to be worth the wait as well as several enjoyable standalone shows, such as Banana Fish, Hanebado!, and Cells at Work. But, more than being both solid and entertaining, Summer ’18 has been a cracking season in terms of its portrayal of women…
Women as Athletes
Hanebado!, whilst enjoyable enough, probably won’t be remembered years down the line. Nevertheless, I’ve still been massively encouraged by it. Women are overwhelmingly underrepresented in sports anime. I’d actually put money on there being at least three times as many male-led sports anime than female (would somebody please go away and do the math?)! And when we are treated to a female-led sports anime, there’s usually a strong emphasis on fanservice, e.g. Harukana Receive, Softenni, and Keijo!!!!!!!! (in which the show’s fictional sport involves women knocking each other off of platforms using just their boobs and butts. Seriously). Otherwise, they are saccharine sweet, with their chosen sport taking a backseat to the theme of friendship, e.g. Encouragement of Climb, Hanayamata, and Chihayafuru. That’s not to say that these shows are bad (though you are free to speculate on some of these examples), they just perpetuate the idea that women in sports aren’t to be taken seriously. So it’s so refreshing to watch a female-led sports anime that doesn’t do this. There is sparse fanservice to be had, the women take their sport, badminton, just as seriously as their male counterparts, and they treat their competitors as competitors and not as potential bosom buddies.
Women as Firm Friends
Something that I’ve expressed dissatisfaction with in the past is the depiction of female friendship in anime. Female friends in anime are often lovely and polite to each other to the point where it borders on being insipid. Kimi ni Todoke springs to mind here. There’s none of the banter that you’d expect between firm friends, which can leave interactions feeling a touch forced, awkward, or robotic. Chio and Manana, from Chio’s School Road, however, are the antithesis of these things. Not only is there banter between the two, they actually rib each other to the point where other people aren’t even sure that they’re friends! In my opinion, this is a much more convincing (and fun!) depiction of friendship between two women. I’ve always felt that the closer I am to another woman, the more I’m able to laugh, not just with them, but at them too! I’d love to see more female friendships like this in anime.
Women as Heroes
Finally, there have been several instances this season where women have totally flipped the bird at the damsel in distress trope and saved the day. During episode 17 of My Hero Academia Season 3 Yaoyorozu’s quick thinking saved both herself and several of her friends from elimination during the provisional hero license exam, during episode 4 of Attack on Titan Season 3 Zoe single handedly saved Flegel Reeves, the son of a prominent merchant, from peril and, with his cooperation, was able to bring to light the corruption of the interior police, and during episode 17 of Steins;Gate 0 Suzuha, despite being greatly outnumbered, bravely took a stand against numerous assailants in order to protect Mayuri and her time machine. This trio of wonderful women prove that women can have it all: beauty, brains, and brawn! And FLCL Progressive, living up to its name, featured more role reversal still. Whilst its villain and hero roles were occupied by two women, Haruko and Hidomi, its damsel in distress role was actually reserved for its sole male protagonist, Ide.
I don’t mean to imply that previous seasons have portrayed women badly, per se. This is the first time in about five years that I’ve picked up more than two or three shows per season, so I’m really not qualified to make sweeping statements like that! But, all the same, it’s been so nice to see such an overwhelmingly positive portrayal of women, as athletes, as firm friends, and as heroes. I hope that this becomes a trend that persists for seasons to come. So, tell me, what about Summer ‘18 have you enjoyed so far?
I know it’s not on here, but I enjoyed Keijo xDD.
Good, dumb fun can be enjoyable in small doses, but something like that does seem a bit degrading towards women… Although, saying that, I haven’t actually watched the show myself…
TI think both genders had their fair share of fan service when ya..yuri on ice was airing along side keijo XDD.
They aired simultaneously? Now that I did not know! Ha, ha, ha! So long as fan service is dished out equally, I’m happy! Like, it’s always bugged me how, in video games, you can often unlock alternate costumes for the women (like swimsuits), but not for the men. Where’s the fairness in that!? Stick the men in bikinis too, I say!
I’ve seriously got to catch up with summer 18′ anime; it sounds like I’ve seriously missed a lot!
I find the easiest way to not get behind is to just pick a handful of shows that I know I’ll really love (as opposed to casting my net wide)!
That what I try to do, so I just end up watching a load of fantasy and comedy!
I’m enjoying Phantom in the Twilight. It started fairly weakly and I wasn’t sure I liked Ton as a main character, but she’s grown so much and was a fantastic hero during the last episode.
I couldn’t remember which show that was, so I looked it up on MAL… It looks as though it hasn’t been well received so far! Mind if I ask what else, aside from Ton, you like about it? I’m always on the lookout for new shows to watch!
I started it because of the supernatural element but the first couple of episodes were a bit rough in how they just kind of dumped us into the world and the characters all seemed like they were just going to be one note. Since around episode 3, the show has really done a lot to flesh out both the characters and the world so that it is starting to feel fairly solid. The weakest part is still probably the plot as a lot of stuff happens because it seems to need to rather than because of logic, but it is really fun to watch.
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