I’ve talked about the typical timid girl type in anime before, even about the disturbing trends that play off guys as chivalrous when they think girls must always “look down” to be acceptable. But I have yet to look at the “bad” ladies of anime. So, let’s lake a bit of a leer – look! – at two of the most, well, common and cringe-worthy. At the moment.
This is by far the most common female villain type, and as we’re talking about Japan here we can’t blame comic books (they do have some serious issues in this area though). Big boobs, tight outfits and sultry voices are a staple here. They also tend to make leading comments to fluster the heroes and fight scenes waver between putting them and their foe in compromising situations and being hyper violent. Which is hilarious as any girl with a large chest will tell you that them things need serious binding before one can do any jumping around with a sword or gun. Seriously, that’s a lot of weight to deal with there. I mean, just look at poor Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist. Dang.
There are some very painful points to this type. Mainly in the fact that if a woman in anime is hyper sexy, and not in that kid innocent loli with boobs type of way but one who knows she’s hot and uses it for her own purposes, she must be a villain. This implies that women who are well aware of themselves and their sexuality are dangerous to society and cannot be trusted. This is more sharply driven into our brains as many anime heroines are pure and completely idiotic when it comes to sexy time, often looking down every other sentence, blushing constantly and getting flustered whenever a male looks at them for more than a second. Society’s little propaganda magic: innocence is good, sexuality is bad. Or, at the very least, earns you that coveted (enter sarcasm here) heroine’s overstrung and painfully single for good reason best friend role.
A more recent trend, these characters are pushed as male, but heaven knows if they are. Often they either identify as neither or may even be inhuman and thus don’t have a gender at all. Creatures like Envy, from Fullmetal Alchemist (revealed as originally male in the original run, but left a question mark in Brotherhood), and the main villain from Gatchaman Crowds (pictured above). I decided to go ahead and include this one as it posses another painful twist: that anything we can’t put into its proper box must, therefore, be bad. Which makes it really suck to be an alien who doesn’t even understand the concept of gender. Seriously now.
You can also dump the crazies into this category as many girls with extreme quirks and ticks end up in this weird, villain and not-sure-if-love-you-not-sure-if-kill-you ambiguous state.
Like most things in media, there’s a strong pull to conform to general society standards. In the case of anime, to conform to what Japan thinks is “normal.” Which means you unique ladies with extremes? Sorry, but you got two choices: crazy friend for comic relief or villain. Heaven forbid we have a heroine who is complex enough to be aware of her sexual appeal and be conflicted about it, knowing that using it to her advantage might be easier, but also being sickened by the thought that her chest is all anyone sees when all she really wants is just to run after her dreams, gender be damned. That’s a bit much for the populace to take in, it seems.