• Enter search term(s):

Ranma Isn't What I Consider a Feminist/Genderqueer Manga

it may have been ahead of its time, but the Japanese society has moved on

Forum: WMST-L
Date: 11/08/2009

On Nov 7, 2009, at 6:57 PM, Carey Mcdougall wrote:

can anyone recommend any female positive anime that she could offer as an alternative source to what they are engaging with now? Thanks,

On Nov 8, 2009, at 1:20 AM, Hannah Miyamoto wrote:

Check everything by Rumiko Takahashi, especially the very popular "Ranma 1/2" series, both manga and anime. Takahasi loves satirizing the many cliches of anime, like bubbles appearing in a girl's eyes when she falls in love. Oh, and the title character changes from one gender to the author whenever he/she is doused with water. He (he originally was he) hates gettng soaked all the time, plus girls go so crazy for his looks that they sometimes charge him like a cornerback. Fortunately for the humor, I don't think a bisexual girl has never appeared in the series. :-D

Ranma was groundbreaking back in the 1980s, but it is hardly an example of female-positive comic/anime under any definition. Sure, the main character changes between male and female bodies, but the comedy derives from the disconnect between his clear and consistent male/straight gender identity and sexual orientation and the expectation of everyone surrounding Ranma for him (or her, as far as they can ascertain) to behave in gender-appropriate manner.

There are several other characters in the course of the long series, both male and female, whose gender and sexuality become the focus of an episodic arc because how they are dressed as they are introduced. But in the end all of them including Ranma turn out to be completely straight and madly in love with the "opposite" sex (relative to their biological/assigned sex).

In short, the comic/anime does not challenge any heteronormative assumptions about gender roles or sexuality whatsoever, and its paleoconservative assumptions about gender are quite outdated even within the context of contemporary (21st century) Japan. If that was supposed to be a "satire," I don't know how to tell the difference.

emi koyama