Mob Psycho 100: Where a Kid Can Be a Kid

I can’t deny that Sailor Moon was my heart growing up. In the wider scope of cartoons/anime aiming for a younger demographic American audiences weren’t so readily exposed to these shoujo magical girls and doki doki gakuen series as they were shonen series like DBZ and its ilk. So, while I often liked to fight in the name of the moon, I ended up much more well acquainted with the hand motions to perform a proper spirit gun technique or trying very hard to ignore that Goku had been on the same battle for four days in a row.

These days, however, audiences have grown restless in their consumption of the same old tropes. We want more. When an anime comes out that attempts to deconstruct the genre, audiences flock to it hoping to gain some great knowledge from it, or some sense of satisfaction. When I started watching Mob Psycho 100, I wasn’t expecting anything mindblowing (despite claims from my friend otherwise), and it wasn’t. Don’t take that as a negative thing, because it’s certainly not. Shonen series are all about the capacity for audience’s minds to be blown, so much so that every arc tends to follow the pattern of the hero needing to get a ridiculous new power to defeat the new powerful enemy. Mob’s deconstruction of the genre comes from its refusal to bend to the shonen tropes that define its world, and the result is something purely human; nothing more, nothing less.

Mob Psycho 100 Mob

I’d like to introduce you all to my new son. (via kawaii-mtbi @ Tumblr)

Spoilers below the cut!

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How Good Are these Female Characters? On a Numerical Scale, OVER 9,000!!

For a couple weeks, I’ve been watching my brother play Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 for the Xbox 360. Like most kids that grew up in the 90’s, my first exposure to anime was through DBZ and Sailor Moon, so when I say that I like DBZ it’s mainly because it holds a lot of nostalgia for me and I’m exceptionally pervious to the nostalgia goggles. The characters are likable enough and the scenery, while repetitive, is colorful. However, it does fall into the trap of taking way to many episodes to get one thing done. As my brother said, “I remember it taking like, six episodes to get past one battle.” Not a soul will debate this—in fact, one of the premises of the newer release of this beloved series is to shorten the unnecessary monologuing and powering up in the middle of battle. No one needs to hear Goku think to himself ‘wow, I don’t know if I can actually beat this guy. His power level is off the charts!’ more than three times per big bad.

dragonball+z+familyI always knew that there had to be some other reason that I liked this series: Bleach could arguably be said to have the same exact qualities, yet I can’t stand that show. In watching my brother play, I think I was finally able to figure it out. It was the representation of female characters the whole time.

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Manga Mondays: The Portrayal of Masculinity and Femininity in Manga and Anime

From an historical viewpoint, just about every culture on the planet has idealized males as dominate figures, while dismissing females as the lesser sex. Japan is certainly no exception to this way of thinking. Though in recent years, while the gap between both genders has slimmed, it is still there, and the Japanese reflect this ideology in their manga and anime. Manga has been around for quite some time, and anime first appeared in the last century to represent manga on the television screen. While manga has an incredibly wide fan base that continues to grow each year, it normally targets either boys or girls. Manga for boys is called shounen, and for girls it’s shoujo.

Both may display similar characteristics regarding gender roles, but they are quite dissimilar in their portrayal, and normally cater to different genres. Shoujo, for instance, tends to center more on romance and finding true love, while shounen, even though it may also have romance, focuses more on action and adventure. This is not to say that shoujo has neither action nor adventure; those are just not the main focus in a typical shoujo.

So what I’m going to talk about today are two different shounen, Kisimoto Masasi’s Naruto and Takahasi Rumiko’s InuYasha. I also hope to explain why they are both shounen and not shoujo. Obviously, Naruto is a shounen, but there are some discrepancies about what category InuYasha falls under. And you’re going to have to brace yourselves, but I’m also going to be discussing gender roles.

Okay, let’s get to it.

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