I was recently watching a Taiwan soap opera while munching down my dinner. It was an epic story about love, easily summarized into men who cheated on women, and stupid women who goes all emotional while hanging on to those jerks like they are pots of gold. There was this sudden surge of anger raising up my guts when these women continue to cling like leeches like no tomorrow. Suddenly, this idea provided a good reminder of the pet peeve I have about the portrayal of females in anime.
Those bloody damsels in distress (DID)! What is the purpose of their existence?
If there is something I really hate in anime, it’s the almost certain transformation of the strong and supposedly cool female lead becoming a total damsel in distress, or as I dubbed it “The useless piece of woman crap that deserves to die, NOW!” I mean, how many times have you found yourself going all yahoo at a very cool female lead, only for the writer/mangaka to make a complete 180 turnaround and make her an eternally useless lady that needs the main lead to rescue her all the time. I am looking at you, Rukia of Bleach and Sakura of Naruto! These two huge shounen series really turned me off so badly, that my stomach recoiled in complete anger over the continual stupidity churned out to make the male lead look like a hero.
This is particularly prevalent in shoujo series. People who knows my anime preferences would know that my favorite anime genre is shoujo. In fact, I will unmanly (don’t mind my butchering of the English language) go into squeals when I find the two leads in the series become so in love with each other. What I hate, is the extremely contagious stereotype where the female lead suddenly becomes emotional due to jealousy, due to rain and due to everything possible in the irrational mind of this DID. I seriously wonder if authors do that just to annoy the living lights out of the readers before bringing the good stuff.
I can understand that this “DID” characterization is done to pluck on your conscience or your sympathy or whatever emotional gland that it is meant to trigger. However, producers often forget that this DID is not meant to be a silver bullet. For the first time, there will be a strong effect because the female lead has a moment of weakness, and the big hero comes to save the day. Then, he saves the day the second time. By the fifth time he saves the hapless female who cannot seem to find herself out of trouble, you really could not be bothered whether she gets saved or not. In fact, you might be feeling the same way as I do, wishing that she would die to be finally taken out of her misery. Or perhaps, a better way is to get cut out from the anime/manga soon.
Honestly though, do anyone actually appreciate the damsel in distress? What are your reasons? Perhaps you can convince me of this seemingly stupid idea.