The Breakthrough Voice 5th November, 2019

Given Its Vast Popularity, Does Anime Have Feminist Potential?.

Like TV shows, anime also encompasses incredible storytelling coupled with compelling graphics and animation and a soundtrack that is out of this world. Anime is one of the most popular and loved forms of entertainment and it possesses the ability to influence one’s thinking to a great extent.

Anime teaches us many things, such as bravery, patience, kindness, determination, etc. But one of the things it teaches us that needs to be propagated is equality. There are many anime storylines with phenomenal female characters who are capable of anything and prove it time and again. Here, we are going to discuss a few of them.

1) Fairy Princess ‘Titania’ Erza Scarlet (Anime: Fairy Tail)

Image source: Yu Alexius Blog

She is the most powerful female wizard of the guild. She, from her very first appearance, proved her status and standing in the guild. Her tact coupled with her incredible magic, and tragic backstory makes for a strong, independent, yet real character that inspired people and intimidated enemies. Titania is a wizard loved by millions, with powerful magic and the right heart. 

Her origin story: as a young girl, she was kidnapped by a bunch of fanatics and was subject to slavery and torture. Therein too, she forged her own path by making friends and inspiring people. However, not even she could bend fate, as in an attempt to escape, she was captured and she took the blame for concocting the entire plan, in order to save her friend.

As a result, she lost her right eye. Later, she lost her guardian – the one person she looked up to in that wretched hell, a single ray of hope for her. She single-handedly defeated the entire band of her captors and escaped, only to be alone for quite a long time. That was till she found her family, a guild of people who burned as brightly as she did, yet all of whom had some sorrow pervading through their mind, just like her. Soon, she became one of them and was surrounded by people ready to die for her.

She created a purpose for herself  – never to let her friends get hurt, or disappoint them again. She was one of the fiercest characters of the show, her skills transcending even the main character’s, who is depicted to be capable of destroying cities. She is among the top three wizards of her guild, and even the master of the guild depends on her skills and tact.

Her magic, coupled with her experience and tact, allows her to overcome adversaries of powers far beyond her own. She has defeated wizards presumed to be one of strongest in the continent, she has saved her companions a thousand times and she has beaten a swarm of one hundred demons, each of a level surpassing the previous, in a single battle.

Thus, due to her strength and tender heart, she became the leader of her guild, even if for a short while. This is the testament of the strength she possesses – hence she was given the title of the strongest fairy: Titania.  

2) Priestess Kikyo (Anime: Inuyasha)

Image source: InuYasha Wiki Fandom

Kikyo the Priestess, is the strongest priestess in the feudal era. People from far and wide approach her for her skills in demon expulsion and knowledge of healing. Her mastery in archery, as well as her spiritual energy, renders her a force to be reckoned with. 

At the beginning of the story, in the very first scene, she loses her life trying to slay a demon, in order to protect a sacred jewel that amasses immeasurable power. Given her skills and power, it was deemed unlikely that one demon could cause her death. However, later it was revealed that it was an intricate plot by another demon, to manipulate her feelings and then kill her, by using less than honourable tactics.

She is, however, later in the series, resurrected by a witch hoping to use her as a weapon, given that she was the most powerful person there. This did not go as planned, as Kikyo overpowered the witch easily, to escape, only to live alone, using souls of the departed to continue getting by. This is the strength and mental fortitude she possessed. 

Unbeatable, even by the fiercest of demons, she remained anonymous, and tried to help people whenever and wherever she could. She wandered around, however not for long, as the most powerful and cunning demon decided to make her an enemy, and hence Kikyo became a participant in the war to save the world.

She possessed incredible power and became a target of the demon. Though given her skills, she was able to best him almost all the time. Her spiritual powers were always used by her to protect the innocent and aid her companions. Her gentle heart and righteous aura inspired everyone around her. She was an ideal being, but subject to a cruel fate. She was determined to end war and save humankind. But fate would not have it, as she was a clay puppet resurrected by a witch and living off human souls – she was not half as powerful as when she was alive, her body couldn’t hold the incredible spiritual pressure.

Nevertheless, she fought with incredible valour in the war and met her end therein. However, even in death, she was an aid to her companions, as her life energy was transferred to an innocent young boy. Even in death, she aided another – that was a testament to the almighty priestess who prevailed in the end.   

3) The Fifth Hokage Tsunade (Anime: Naruto)

Image source: Webstagram

A member of the ‘Legendary Sannin’ – who are considered to be the top three ninjas of the world – she is a force to be reckoned with. Her skill in combat and expertise in medicine make her a very significant character. She is the toughest fighter and the most skilled medic one can find in the entire world. 

She was introduced in order to lead the village due to the death of the earlier monarch. She was considered as an ideal candidate for the post of the most important ninja in the entire village, as she was acknowledged to be of a calibre surpassing all. With monstrous strength that could crumble rock with a pinky finger, and such intricate knowledge of a body as to save someone in a coma and someone who had his leg crushed – she is the prodigal medical ninja.

Although her life was full of hardship – losing her younger brother and the love of her life to war, seeing their bloodied corpses and being unable to help them affected her at a deep psychological level, hence she suffered from severe PTSD. However, she overcame it in order to save a young child. She led the village through various catastrophes and saved millions of lives.

During the attack of the villain Pain, she used her life force to sustain and protect each and every single one of the villagers – an act that left her in a vegetative state. But even that wasn’t enough to keep her subdued. She recuperated and joined the final world war, in order to save humanity. Even then she was stabbed, scourged, and almost killed, she survived and kept on fighting back.

She exists as an inspiration to all. She is complemented by her keen intellect and control over powers that allow her to possess a technique so formidable, it is acknowledged by the god of the ninjas themselves. 

The existence of such characters in the digital entertainment industry is crucial and appreciated, as it shows multiple sides of women wherein they are not only supportive but also central and valiant. These women have overcome impossible odds to achieve the level of greatness where they currently stand, even when life has been nothing but unfair and cruel to them, subjecting them to innumerable hardships and challenges. Nevertheless, they persevered and emerged as a symbol of hope, and inspiration to all who watch.

Also Read: Gender’s Tryst With Video Games And Unhealthy Stereotypes

Images used for representative purpose only.

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