Anime Vice News

OKAMISAN #5 -- Watch & Learn

What do these cats think about sexism?

Ha! Older superiors show a little unhealthy interest in some members of our mostly underage cast, and how does Ringo describe it? She calls it “tricky.” As much I’d like to believe that the dub team was inspired by my coinage, I’m just going to have to assume there must have just been something powerfully tricky floating around in the meme zeitgeist lately. That, or maybe they just watched that ridiculous Yellow Dyno video too.

Maybe it’s because I encountered Capcom’s RIVAL SCHOOL JUSTICE at an early age, but the notion of scholastic rivalries taking on the qualities of gang warfare has always captured my imagination. There’s just something fundamentally fun about pushing such grudges off the game field and through lens of fantasy superheroics. So you can imagine the kick I got out of how the plot of this episode basically breaks down to Ryoko rounding up a posse to send Onigashima high school a message of “BACK OFF!” that’s punctuated with a kitty-clad punch or two.

There’s also the eyebrow-raising sexual tension with that most buxom Momoko gal, which brings up another far-reaching anime issue that I’ve always been rather amused about. That is, for as long as manga and anime have been a larger part of American pop culture, they’ve very often been held up as an example of more gender-inclusive power fantasy to shame the institutional chauvinism of American comics. (Lord knows how many blogs have been written about how degrading Power Girl’s boobs and Black Canary’s fishnets are.)

Yet, you watch a show like this and some of the girl’s breasts may as well have names for the amount of screen time they get. Somehow, by opting for the doublespeak of “fan service” over the more accurate “T&A,” what would be demeaning when produced stateside is now accepted as fun or empowering because it’s coming from overseas.

Surely, there’s a larger discussion to be had here, but I’d rather toss the ball to you, the Anime Vice community, and see where it hops to. I’m not really offended by any of this so much as amused, but I’d still be curious to hear some possible explanation.

Look up this episode, "Ōkami-san Goes Demon-Exorcising with Momo-chan-senpai" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

metalsnakezeroon April 9, 2012 at 2:29 p.m.

Usually fan service is used to ploy audience in to watching a what would be a crummy show. Here, fan service is just part of the silliness that this show brings, which is why you are amused by it.

FoxxFireArt moderator on April 9, 2012 at 3:13 p.m.

Momoko Kibitsu is unsurprisingly the series interpretation of Momotaro."taro" is a popular suffix added to boys names in Japan. "ko" is equally added to the end of a girls names. Peaches are called "Momo". Her name Kibitsu comes from the shrine that the tale of Momotaro is from.

As I've mentioned previously. Onigashima is also the name of the island of demons that was from the tale of Momotaro. In that, Momotaro goes to Onigashima to defeats the demons. Even Momoko's little team are modeled after the animals that joined Momotaro. Monkey, dog, and rooster (pheasant). It's also in their names.

When I watched this. I saw the whole focus on Momoko's breasts being used as an example of how large bust can make a lot of guys into idiots. The Narrator even goes as far to say as much in this episode at one point. I've only seen FUNimation's subtitled version, but I remember Ringo describing Momoko as bi-sexual.

Speaking of the comics, I find it kind of funny how so many people hated the Powergirl cleavage window on her costume, but I've still haven't heard any positive word on her new costume since the reboot.

zaldaron April 9, 2012 at 10:47 p.m.

Ok I'll tackle the sexism in american fantasy and comics compared with Japanese. It is odd because Japan is WAAAAY behind is in real women's empowerment but their manga and shows are actually ahead in many ways. For example I know you didn't like Utena but the show does have a VERY strong female protagonist that we still have some issues with in America. I mean part of the appeal of Hunger Games and part of the discussion was the strong female protagonist because you don't have that often in America. Even shows for "children" in Japan often have stronger female protagonists...as much as I dislike Sailor Moon (some spoilers here but really if you haven't seen this show by now..) the female protagonists grow and become strong throughout the series. The protagonist goes from having to be saved by a man to becoming a goddess and saving the planet (and having to raise her young child when she is a teenager though she had the child much later in time and learns not to be the annoying child she is by watching her child from the future be an annoying child...yeah don't ask). I honestly can't think of a comparable thing in American popular culture except recently with the hunger games and the retellings of Snow White. In japan it is pretty common. A conference/convention I went to called schoolgirls and mobile suits (http://schoolgirlsandmobilesuits.com/ I can't seem to get the codes to work correctly) Bosh actually had a presentation comparing women in American fairy tales and modern movies to the ones in Japan. I actually have a real journal paper done by an actual college professor on the same subject I can send you. The conference by the way you might like it is an odd mix of a convention (it has cosplayers) and a conference. However, a lot of Japanese anime is wish fulfillment. Right now Japanese women are actually gaining rights and respect so the wish for a lot of young males is for the kind of submissive wife of the past. Thus you get moe and the T and A (with which I have the same issues you do) I am working on an article looking at how P4 treats women which is an odd middle ground I think that I will link to here when finished though that may be awhile. Let me know if you want me to send you the article. Besides Utena and Sailor Moon, Lain, are good examples Ai Ori Oshi is a good example of the wish fulfillment that won't make you gag (my favorite of the harem/romance gena actually and the only one I own)

Marshal Victoryon April 10, 2012 at 7:23 p.m.
@FoxxFireArt
you would have to go to  
http://www.bleedingcool.com/forums/comic-book-forum/57293-someone-really-wants-power-girls-boob-window-back.html
to find any that like the new costume.An even then ... well..
 
To the larger question it could be theirs anime that um goes on about how smaller breasts are better? The Familiar of Zero would be a example of this. /shrug Duno never gave much thought to others hang ups on looks etc or even what they think i should be watching.Or even what they watch. 
 
Should not be to much of a surprise tho . After all hypocrisy is more common in people than sense .

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Okami-san and her Seven Companions is the fairy-tale themed series by Masashi Okita. Ryoko Okami and her friends from the Otogi Bank take on the requests of any student for the price of a favor at a later date.

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