Sexualized Saturdays: Powerful Women and the Men Who Love Them

Power comes in many different forms, and there’s no one right way to be a strong female character. That said, however, there’s a clear dearth of female characters whose strength is, well, strength. We’re moving forward in media in terms of representing women in STEM professions and many other male-dominated fields, but one spot that remains lacking is the sort of woman who can bench-press a truck.

The superhuman guy + regular-human girl = love trope is a tale as old as time, and it’s one that’s getting kind of boring to me, to be honest. How many pairings of this nature can you name off the top of your head? Thor and Jane Foster; Bruce Banner and Betty Ross, Superman and Lois Lane—hell, might as well mention Belle and the Beast since I made that tale as old as time reference. And it’s not even limited to Western media—add Abel and Esther of Trinity Blood, and Tsuna and Kyoko from Reborn, among others.

Off topic, they are super cute together.

Off topic, they are super cute together.

Even in cases where the guy is not powered, per se, like Carol Danvers and James Rhodes, the guy is still a superhero of similar caliber. He isn’t, like, a brilliant scientist, or a librarian—he’s a fighter just like her. When both are equal, whether powered or not, our best bet is that they’ll have equivalent combat skills as well (think Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, or Hawkeye and Mockingbird/Spider-Woman/Black Widow/whoever he’s dating these days).

Meanwhile, there are very few pairings in which the woman is the super-strong punchy one, and the man is just a regular dude with non-combat skills that’s occasionally in awe of his lady’s powers. This is a representational problem on two levels: one, it perpetuates the idea that it’s weird for women to be physically stronger than men, and two, that men who aren’t their girlfriend’s equal in strength are somehow lesser than men who are.

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Manga Mondays: Durarara!!

Durarara!!_Manga_v01_coverDurarara!! is one of those tricky series—I first saw it as an anime and it’s based on a light novel series. The anime also has a manga adaptation, which is a little backwards. I quite enjoyed the anime, I haven’t encountered a translation of the light novels yet, and I recently discovered and read what exists of the manga.

Durarara!!‘s anime is a complete, plot-threads-wrapped-up twenty-five episode series which I at first thought was an original series with no manga/light novel source material. I was surprised to discover that the light novel series is in fact still ongoing, including several plot arcs and characters that just aren’t in the anime. The manga adaptation is also still ongoing, although it’s much farther behind—the chapters that have been released so far (about fifteen or two bound tankobons’ worth) don’t cover even half of the relatively short anime. The art is cute and very like the animation, though, and I’m enjoying reading it so far, even if the release schedule is awfully slow.

No matter what, I definitely recommend you check out Durarara!!—it’s a smart, action-y, mystery series with friendship, the supernatural, horror, high school romance, grown-up romance, and lots of interesting characters so there’s someone everyone will love. If I had to compare it to a movie, I’d say it was similar to The Princess Bride in that it has something for anyone and everyone and it’s very tightly written. There are epic plot twists, tons of Crouching Moron Hidden Badass folks (one of my absolute favorite tropes), and, unlike a lot of anime, you don’t have to be a dude to be awesome—in fact, the arguably most powerful character in the series is female. This anime is the first one I recommend to anyone, anime fan or not, when they ask me for series recommendations.

Durarara!!That said, I don’t think it’s worth it to read the manga if you haven’t seen the anime first. The manga is so slow-going that you could watch the whole series several times over before the manga gets to the real meat of the plot. I usually never recommend this, because most series that end before their manga does (for example, FMA, DNAngel, the first Hellsing series) end a little wonkily since they just have to run with what they have instead of following the mangaka’s original story to its proper conclusion. But, since the manga is less the source material and more the novelization of the anime, there’s no reason not to check out the anime first.

Celebrating the “brotp”: Ten Awesome Platonic Friendships

Pretty much everyone who has read fanfiction has an OTP—a One True Pairing that they ship harder than anything else. But what about the couples that are just awesome buds, and who you like together as friends but not romantically? Well the recently coined term ‘brotp’ is there for you. And since Valentine’s Day puts and unnecessary emphasis on being in a romantic relationship, I figured I’d take this post to give a shout-out to some of the awesomest platonic friendships out there.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Gospel of Deception by thereisafire

Durarara!!’s Orihara Izaya is a multifaceted figure full of mystery and trickery. I’ve even heard a fan theory that he’s actually Loki, the Norse god of chaos, michief, and trickery, in human guise.

This fic sadly does not explore that facet of fanon. (Although if someone wants to write me that DRRR/Avengers crossover I didn’t know I wanted until just now, PLEASE DO IT.)

Rather, it boasts the fascinating pairing of Izaya/Trolling, and gets you inside Izaya’s head with backstory on how he becake the horribly manipulative person he is today, going all the way up to him getting Shizuo arrested. It’s terribly clever and well-written, and the author’s Izaya!voice is really spot-on.

Check it out here at AO3!

Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon)

Those of us here at LGG&F worked tirelessly to compile and vote on the Top 10 canon and Top 10 fanon pairings in Geekdom. You have no idea how hard it was to come to a consensus on what was actually canon or not!

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All the Single …Folks: An Anime Top Ten

So. It’s apparently Valentine’s Day or something. The lead up to this manufactured pink holiday has the unfortunate cultural side effect of shaming all the people who lack a significant other into feeling alone and miserable. Well, being single ain’t all bad. Here are ten of the most kick-ass folks in anime who don’t need no romantic interest to be awesome.

1. Mirajane Strauss Mirajane is the most badass single lady in Fairy Tail.  She’s too concerned with keeping her family together and kicking ass in the name of the guild (either with or without her magical abilities) to worry about the long line of dudes (and ladies) that want to get with her.

2. Nathan Seymour a.k.a. Fire Emblem Fire Emblem is easily the most flirtatious of the Heroes of Sternbild’s Hero TV.  But that doesn’t mean he’s pinned down.  And don’t let his looks and playful personality fool you – he’s also the CEO of his own company and a powerful NEXT in his own right.

3. Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing Integra has a lot on her hands. Stopping the invasion of London by thousands upon thousands of neo-Nazi vampires is one of those things. Keeping a leash on her bff/trump card/vampire servant Alucard is another, and keeping track of the silly human girl he turned is yet another. Add in the superviolent secret Iscariot branch of the Catholic Church trying to take out her organization under the guise of stopping the invasion, and really, she does not have time to deal with suitors.

4. Kurosaki Ichigo You would think that with all the girls Ichigo’s always rushing to save (no one’s saying Bleach is a paragon of feminist awesomeness) that he’d end up with one of them. But he seems to have other things on his mind (defeating Aizen, gaining, losing, and regaining powers left and right, etc.), so he remains happily single.

5. Olivier Armstrong Olivier (pronounced Olivia) Armstrong is more awesome than you can ever hope to be. She is a General, so she outranks you. She has kept the invading forces of Drachma at bay for how many years now in that brutally cold fortress in the bitter north? And if she can simply adapt and win when the world is literally breaking into its component parts around her, I’m pretty sure a little thing like being single on Valentine’s Day is none of her concern.

6. Heiwajima Shizuo Shizuo is a sweet guy with a bit of an anger problem.  He definitely has his heart in the right place – he’s a great friend, a loyal brother, and a fierce defender of his turf.  He’s just too busy throwing vending machines at Izaya to worry about hooking up.

7. Fujioka Haruhi Our first Haruhi could care less about gender labels, let alone societally-imposed celebrations of heteronormativity.  She spends the entirety of her free time being surrounded (and often courted) by the most attractive boys at Ouran Academy, but all she really wants to do is get through high school so she can become a lawyer like her mom.

8. Hatake Kakashi He’s powerful and mysterious. He’s a sweet and loyal guy with a metric shitton of baggage.  He was even Hokage for all of ten minutes (once, I think). And right now (at least manga-wise) he’s fighting the biggest baddie of the Narutoverse head-on.  So maybe his singleness is a symptom of his inability to open up to others since Obito’s death. I think he may just have bigger concerns.

9. Suzumiya Haruhi  This Haruhi is only interested in non-normal things. And we’re not talking like underwater basket-weaving or hot sauce on ice cream – she wants to meet and befriend aliens, telepaths, and time travelers. No normal people need apply.  And when you’re basically God in the body of a wacky high-school girl, you don’t bother wasting time with significant others who can’t keep up with you.

10. Byakuran  Depending on where you are in the series, Byakuran can be awfully loyal to Yuni, but she has no hold over his actual heart – he’s free for the taking (ladies and gentlefolks, wink wink).  Just make sure to provide lots of candy. He loooves him some candy. But don’t be sad if he turns you down. Byakuran is the man who was almost king – of a thousand parallel dimensions.  He arguably has standards higher that Haruhi Suzumiya’s.

I hope you enjoyed this walk through the awesome single folks of anime, and it’s helped you feel a little less forever alone on this day celebrating relationships.  Happy Singles Awareness to all my fellow readers without a special somepony. ^_~