This is somewhat inspired by Lita Kino’s post.
I’ve given more than enough lip service to my many, many husbandos, but great female characters are a rarity in comparison. So let’s discuss a few I think are “great” and compare/contrast the reasoning…
Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury, Sailor Moon
Let’s start with my favourite female character. Much like how Lita sees herself in Jupiter, I saw myself in Mercury way back in the ’90s dub days – intelligence was really the only thing I had going for me back then, and even though in the past I mostly liked to be singled out for it, there is one singular moment I remember was more isolating than anything, and you can feel that when Ami is introduced.
However, I first witnessed Sailor Moon‘s 90s dub through DVDs from the local library, and for the episodes they had there was only had Sailors Moon, Mars and Mercury (although the opening also had Jupiter and Venus, natch), so I only had 3 choices for the years where I didn’t fill in the gaps in my knowledge. This is probably why I never related to them or the Outer Senshi in the end.
I also attribute my severe inexperience with romance series to that incompleteness of my Sailor Moon knowledge, by the way – when I read more books than manga, I remember most of the books I’d set aside without reading were the ones advertised as romance, which is unfortunately a huge chunk of books in the YA and adult sections…It also retroactively makes a nice parallel to how Ami is allergic to love letters, though.
Konatsu and Miyokichi, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
I’ve already gone over how Konatsu fits here, but not Miyokichi. She’s not relatable like I find Ami to be – after all, Miyokichi tries to commit murder and she’s emotionally abusive, both things which I don’t condone – but she isn’t meant to be. Kikuhiko doesn’t seem to understand her and rejects her based on this, and that’s how she becomes an extremely complex character worthy of this post. As a geisha, she was already doing pretty badly, but after she gets rejected she takes the next best thing – Sukeroku. This ends up haunting Kikuhiko well into the rest of the show, even after Miyokichi’s and Sukeroku’s deaths (and possibly even his own).
Chidori and Kichou, Nobunaga no Shinobi
Chidori may have Sukezou crushing on her, and may serve Nobunaga, but neither are her main motivation for existing (although Nobunaga is her justification for fighting). Her motivation is to fight for the sake of peaceful times, which in her time period is undoubtedly the purest thing she can do and yet the most difficult thing. Not to mention she’s ridiculously OP, which really helps with the short episode runtime.
I noted in this first impressions post the focus could be entirely on the men, something I’ve noticed in every other show with “Nobunaga” in the title. However, instead of having women be the ones chasing after men, it’s almost always the reverse when it comes to Oichi, Nobunaga’s sister, or Kichou (and Chidori isn’t even held to their standards since she’s a shinobi). Sure, most women in this show stay well within ryousai kenbo boundaries most of the time, but they aren’t entirely flat and Kichou, Nobunaga’s wife, has even shown willingness to fight should her husband need her.
Sure, Nobunaga no Shinobi is a short-episode show so it isn’t the best characterisation-wise, but gotta do the best with what we have, okay?
There’s an interesting double standard between the characters I’ve listed here and the boys from the challenge – I’m okay with male characters being underdeveloped, but female characters have to be complex…
So, what are some of your criteria for a great female character, and what separates your “favourite” from your “great” characters?