Before you slaughter me, that up there is a word for word line from Haruka and, no, it’s not in good form in the slightest. I nearly choked on a cookie when it appeared on the screen and I instantly wished the character ill. And such a reaction would have been rather expected if this character had been a villain. He wasn’t. He was supposed to be one of the heroes. One of the heartthrobs. The one who was wearing glass (let us speak not of where he obtained them given the anime’s time setting. I’m still bitter) and a protector of justice and junk. Maybe that’s why I noticed when the villains never seemed to follow through and how many missed opportunities they had to win. Cause I was rooting more for them.
Regardless, the line up top is a very fancy way of saying: If you’re a woman, keep your head down, looking into a man’s eyes is forward and deceitful. Now that’s quite odd as, in actuality, most of Japan isn’t overly fond of eye contact period. It’s considered rude. So it’s interesting how the saying above implies that for this norm to be broken by a man it means absolute truth, where as a woman breaking it implies a lie.
In any case, this character was infuriating for more reasons than spouting off an old saying full of prejudice. He also judged others’ actions based on his own moral code (this is different from a general moral code, which would include, say, don’t murder). His code of: Men do this and women do that, was applied more than once to others as well as to himself. And I certainly had an issue with that.
This is not to say one can’t have a personal moral code. By no means! Let’s look at another male hero character who had strong ideas for how a man treats a woman (try not to be too shocked):
Kenichi. Now, I realize you might be eying that ecchi tag this show seems to get (despite the fact that this show’s fanservice isn’t anything the Teen section hasn’t already seen in most shows). But honestly this is a good example for contrast. See, Kenichi can be slammed for doing the usual chest staring and such, but he did have one very solid life rule: I don’t fight women.
The wording there is very important and also how he handled this little moral code of his. First off, notice how the emphasis is on his own personal actions. I just don’t do this. There’s nothing about other people. In fact, he never mentions whether or not girls can/should fight. In fact, when he first meets Miu, he has no problem at all with the idea of her learning martial arts or being good at it. He’s awed by her skill, but not the fact that a woman is good at it. It is only other people that remark how a girl can beat him up. The idea never really connects in his brain between her skill and gender because it’s not something he thinks about.
Secondly, he does not push this code of his onto others. This is Kenichi’s personal code and he doesn’t expect others to agree with it. When he comes face to face with female enemies, he refuses to fight. They, naturally, get upset, thinking he’s judging them for fighting. But he stands his ground. He doesn’t fight any women, not because he’s judging them, but because he doesn’t think it’s right for him to fight them. For Kenichi, he judges people who are strong and pick on those who are weak. Gender, it seems, has little to with strengths and weakness to him. Women are not instantly weak in his mind, nor men instantly strong.
So while the glasses wearing dude in Haruka made my eye twitch, Kenichi never did. In fact, I actually respected him as a character and rooted for him. It’s not that you can’t be chivalrous towards women or do special things for them. It’s that you should not hold others to your own personal standard. If you have a personal standard, make sure you personally stand up to it. It’s not other people’s jobs to fit into your vision of what makes a man and what makes a woman.