Subject: Re: [LMB] Anime?? (Re: SP: TSK is a Big Fat Greek Wedding)

Azalais Aranxta tiamat at
Fri Dec 8 00:08:24 GMT 2006

I don't know how to reply to this and make it make sense without
leaving blocks of quote in.  So I'm going to do it, and I'll be
quite cross if someone emails me offlist about it.  Fair warning.

On Thu, 7 Dec 2006, Elizabeth McCoy wrote:

> At 1:47 PM -0800 12/7/06, Azalais Aranxta wrote:
> [...]
> >I guess what I wonder is why people love Ranma, because they
> >surely do, but I just don't GET it.
> To actually tie that back into something that's approaching topic...
> I think that the core of the Ranma story -- highly obscured by
> all the silly martial arts -- is actually tied into the post that
> Bujold-sama just made. In particular,
> At 1:50 PM -0600 12/7/06, Lois McMaster Bujold wrote:
> > The individual ejects or suppresses
> >aspects of him/her/self perceived as belonging to the other gender, and
> >the resultant cripples are called "young men" or "young women".
> >Maturity, to an interesting extent, consists of people reclaiming a lot
> >of these lost aspects to become more complete persons again.
> The gender-swapping is a vehicle of this, exaggerated and laid out
> in the open -- Ranma's mother wanted a Manly Son, and Ranma and
> his father are terrified that mom's going to carry through on dad's
> vow to do so or be subject to seppeku. (Or however that's spelled.)
> Ranma, who turns into a girl when the cold water hits (as it always
> does, according to the laws of comedy), is actually having to deal
> with all this "what is it to be a girl, what is it to be a guy"
> baggage _as well as_ the expectations that his father and father's
> friend have about who he's going to marry: this tomboy who got
> volunteered by her older sisters. (And who is not a girly-girl to
> complement his manly-man image.)

Well, I suppose so.  But you know, I sort of don't feel that this
is a manga that is *about* those issues, because 90% of it is
boob jokes, butt jokes and other

I'm 12 a lot, but not enough to appreciate this show.

Also, most of the characters who don't fall in with the cultural
gender values (except Akane) get treated as laughingstocks a lot.
(Of course so does everyone else, and we won't even go into how
racist the depictions of other cultures are.)

> So aside from the comedy of Everyone Getting In The Way Of
> Destined Love (including the destined lovers themselves), the plot is
> basically a couple of kids trying to find maturity, respect for other
> people, and come to terms with this expectation of adulthood that's
> hanging over Ranma and Akane's heads (i.e., marriage, and all
> that implies).
> While handicapped by the whole boy-turns-into-girl thing.

Yeah, but I'm not seeing a lot of emotional development here.
I'm seeing a lot of bouncing boobs and sniggering.

> There aren't a lot of role models. It's definitely pandering
> to physical comedy and Akane is only rarely allowed to shine
> the way she really should because of the cultural mores that are
> messing _her_ up. (She's a tomboy who has rejected the "wrong"
> attributes, the feminine ones; unfortunately, her coming to
> terms with her "sensitive feelings" is very hard to show without
> making her seem to be sacrificing self or otherwise becoming
> less than she should be. I don't know if Takahashi has done the
> best job possible there.)

Takahashi writes for Japanese *boys*.  She writes specifically
for nerdy boys who are insecure about their masculinity and
ability to attract women.  So much of this is male fantasy
fulfilment, which is what a harem manga is.  It's easy to think
that because Takahashi's female she's writing for women, but she
publishes in Shonen Jump (Boys' Jump), not Nakayoshi (Best
Friends) or Hanatoyume (Flowers and Dreams).

> (I note that this "oh, and here's a drabble of the underlying
> plot, since you've stuck with us for the last five episodes" is
> apparently some kind of Japanese tradition. It crops up in
> Tyler, it crops up in the fansub I've been watching recently,
> it's in Daphne and the Brilliant Blue (which is total
> fanservice for about 5-6 episodes till it mentions, oh, by the
> way, the heroine's amnesiac)... It's like Japanese
> television/anime assumes you're going to come for the funny or
> the fanservice and once they've hooked you on that, _then_ you
> get rewarded by plot...)

That's really typical of boys' shows.  (Sorry, but comics and
animation in Japan are really marketed toward one gender or the
other.)  In girls' shows the plot is much denser, although Sailor
Moon which tried to be all things to all people had a problem
with Really Stupid Monsters of The Week.  (The manga did not have
this problem, only the TV show.)

> [...]
> >2. dumb jerks like Ranma, Tenchi and Ataru Moroboshi who are
> I'm not sure _Tenchi_ qualifies, at least in the OAVs. He seemed
> to me to be a very polite young man who is dealing with crazy
> females. (He even apologized to Ryoko for cutting off her hand!)

I liked Tenchi in the OAVs, but the series doesn't continue them,
it retcons them and adds more women who are hot for Tenchi's bod.

> (Now, Ryoko and Ayaka... Talk about a pair of jerks.)

The character in Tenchi I like best is Sasami.  She got her own
show, good for her.

> PS: I love Nabiki best as well. >_>

Did she ever get Kuno?  They were the only couple in Ranma I ever
rooted for.

~malfoy, who lost interest in Ranma oh, about 10 years ago.

Azalais Aranxta (~malfoy)
ataniell93 on LiveJournal and Vox

"I know the true world, and you know I do. But we needn't let it
think we all bow down." --Christopher Morley

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