A few days ago, I watched the preview to a new fanservicey show titled Walkure Romanze. It must be admitted that seeing bevies of knightly beauties performing martial exercises and stretching afforded pleasure to my eyes. Actually, the fact that they were knights was not apparent until I saw the women jousting in full plate later in the preview. Until two other thoughts intruded themselves upon me, I contemplated adding this show to my watch list. But, these two thoughts killed any desire for me to watch this show: 1) Could they not have animated Tactics Ogre, Vinland Saga, Gunka no Baltzar, or any other good war or medieval manga instead? Or remade Ivanhoe, Le Morte D’Arthur, Parzival, The Mabinogeoon, any other medieval romance, or a viking saga into an anime? And 2) Why do Japanese shows increasingly or even the greater proportion of the time place girls in roles meant originally for men?
My first complaint is more common: Why do animation studios lack the guts to do something original or unique nowadays? (See this article for another blogger who piped up on this issue.) Why rely on fanservice to carry a show when real women are always superior to anime girls? The most popular anime have always been the ones which were original and unique–those which asked interesting questions and led our minds through undiscovered tracts of fantasy and science fiction. Of course, the probability of failure is greater when one wishes to create something sublime rather than merely sensual–as reading Longinus’ amusing critiques of ancient poets and orators in his work On the Sublime easily shows. But, I think that failing at creating a unique high story, as Geneshaft and perhaps Kurenai may have failed, is more respectable than achieving moderate success by way of the bosom.
Concerning my second point, certain people may claim that a sizable market exists for ecchi. These people need new scenarios, such as seeing girls dressed up as knights, in order to achieve new highs. ‘Tis a sad day when the ordinary sight of an attractive women no longer incites interest! And if one needs to see an attractive woman on screen, why not feed the mind or soul at the same time? After all, Bleach, Fairy Tail, and others provide plenty of attractive women, but not at the loss of an exciting story. And often these female characters, like Narvi of Broken Blade, Faye of Cowboy Bebop, and Erza Scarlet of Fairy Tale, are rendered more attractive by their actions, because great deeds and good character render their possessors as attractive as those with beauty. The combination of these traits proves irresistible.
But, placing large female casts in bellicose roles has become cliche. There are several old shows like Bubblegum Crisis and Dirty Pair, where the inclusion of largely female casts was exciting and original. The constant overuse of this trope has rendered it simply eccentric. I opine that seeing John “Sleepy” Estes of Mad Bull 34 or Dante of Devil May Cry displaying their machismo in defeating hordes of enemies delights my soul much more than even Erza Scarlet wiping the floor with her foes. (But, I will confess, in Erza’s case, not too much more.)
So, send shows like Walkure Romanze to the trash heap. Produce more works like Vision of Escaflowne, Blue Submarine No. 6, and Samurai Champloo. Of course, works with mostly female casts can be quite good: Solty Rei, Dirty Pair, Soukou no Strain, Freezing, and Bubblegum Crisis are some of my favorites. However, the present trend causes shows with large female casts to be fanservice fiestas rather than attempts at making magnificent stories–so much so that the mere presence of this trope is enough to give me pause. Enough of the ecchi!
I remember writing a similar rant earlier in my blogging career. So, do my complaints go too far or do my dear readers notice similar trends?