[personal profile] snarp
I'm all caught up in Bleach! Also, I kind of hate myself.

At the beginning of the Arrancar arc I started keeping score on the female fight scenes. This is how my scoring works:

+1 for female hero winning
-1 for female hero losing
+1/2 for female villain winning
-1/2 for female villain losing

So, a neutral score would be zero; Claymore's score would be fairly close to zero, because the Claymores mostly fight women; and Battle Angel Alita's score would be, like, 7.63 * 10^9, because Alita almost always fights men.

Note that it doesn't matter who the woman fights here. If Yoruichi were to defeat a moderately-sized talking sea snail entirely offscreen, while onscreen we had, like, Hanatarou, Kon, and Don Kanonji fighting big terrifying things with lots of trash-talking? Yoruichi would still get a full point for her dead sea snail.

What I'm trying to say is, I feel I was being fairly generous.

Obviously, lots of spoilers under the cut.


Further technicalities:

- Mutual destruction is a zero.

- I didn't count group fights of the sort where a whole bunch of characters on one side attack at once while one of them talks about friendship and/or victory.

- I did count group fights of the sort where two or three characters team up and have discussions about their opponents' weapons and talk trash and such.

- Any fight in which a woman teams up with one or more guys from the beginning counts as a zero, whether it ends in a win or a loss.

- However, any fight in a which a guy rescues a woman gets a minus.

- I'm leaving out the two "bullying" scenes wherein the two jealous Arrancar women torment Orihime and are driven off by Arrancar men, because I found them too irritating to read closely and I don't remember the outcomes.

- I'm pretty sure I'm missing something with Yoruichi early on, but I'm not going back to check because Urahara was with her and thus it doesn't count.


Battles involving female characters, from the beginning of the Arrancar arc on:

0: Orihime - With Chad, defeated by Yammy.
+1: Rukia - Defeats non-recurring disposable guy dramatically in one hit.
-1: Rukia - And then immediately needs Ichigo to rescue her from Grimmjow.
+1: Matsumoto - Defeats non-recurring disposable guys off-screen. (All the male shinigami had on-screen battles.)
-1/2: Cirucci - Loses to Ishida.
0: Rukia - Mutual destruction with non-recurring disposable guy. Rescued by Byakuya.
-1: Nell - Defeated by Nnoitra. She powers up twice trying to do it, is built up as being totally awesome, and then powers down spontaneously, is beaten, and vanishes forever. The flashbacks blame her for Nnoitra's emotional problems, because she used to be stronger than he was and that made him sad. Kenpachi defeats Nnoitra.
+1: Soi Fong - Defeats non-recurring disposable person of indeterminate gender. (The scans used male pronouns for her opponent, so I won't take any off.)
-2: Matsumoto and Hinamori - Seem to be doing okay against Harribel's three female subordinates, but are defeated immediately when said subordinates summon a male monster they can't control. Rescued by Kira and Hisagi; Yamamoto defeats the monster by waving his hand around some.
-1 1/2: Harribel's Subordinates - Yamamoto defeats them with more gestures.
-1/2: Harribel - Defeated by Hitsugaya.
-1/2: Lilynette - Defeated by Ukitake with hand gestures, then turns out not actually to exist independent of Stark.
-1: Soi Fong - Losing to Baraggan, is rescued by Hacchi. Also: She has her vice-captain helping her from the beginning, loses an arm, and spends most of fight looking terrified. The other captains, also fighting Espada, do not need help, are not mutilated, and never look afraid. Soi Fong even looks scared when she first summons her Bankai, something none of the male characters has ever done.
-1/2: Harribel - Murdered by Aizen. She gets four words of dialog. For comparison, Stark, introduced much more recently, had a half-chapter long death scene full of dialog-heavy flashback.
-1: Mashiro - Losing to Wonderweiss, is rescued by the blond Vaizard guy whose name I forget.
-1: Hiyori - Defeated by Aizen.

We get a score of -7.5. If we eliminate the two Aizen incidents, given that Ichigo's got to be the one to beat him, it's -6.

If I were a good scientist, I'd have been doing a similar survey of the male characters, but just as an estimate, I'd guess a score up in at least the positive teens.

On the racism and ableism fronts:

Chad Status:

(Yeah, I know he's not ethnically Latino, but he's obviously meant to be read that way, given that he considers himself culturally Mexican and his magic powers all have Spanish names.)

As in the Soul Society arc, Chad gets creamed. This time he never wins any fights at all, and gets creamed three times instead of one: he's torn to shreds twice and rescued by Ichigo once. He's the only male hero this happens to.

Tousen Status:

Tousen, apparently not othered enough already, transforms into a huge black fly with a human mouth, and screams, "I can see, I CAN SEEEEEE!" Because it was totally inappropriate that Tousen's blindness wasn't a big point of angst for him earlier on?

I don't even know what to say about the damn fly thing.

Date: 2010-03-19 02:08 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] nijibug

What if it were a female sea snail .___.

Date: 2010-03-19 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] yeloson
It might also be useful to consider what ratio of fights even have women compared to the fights over all. (This occurred to me while thinking about how poorly Naruto would score on this...)

Date: 2010-03-19 06:34 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] bewize
Sad. With so many wonderful female characters, this should be very different.

Also, I'm not up to the black fly thing... and I shall brace myself. *braces*

Date: 2010-03-19 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
I pretty much recommend that anyone reading Bleach just stop reading at the end of Soul Society arc. Really.

Date: 2010-03-20 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] eisen
If I were capable of being rational about it, I'd tell people the same thing, but I am the world's one-stop shop for Vizard fangirling and aside from a major early bird cameo by Shinji in the first chapter splash page, they don't show up until the SS arc is over, and so I can't tell people these things because then I'd be telling them to deliberately avoid my favorite characters. ;o;

But from a non-soul-destroying standpoint, stopping after the end of the SS arc is probably for the best.

Date: 2010-03-19 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] pseudo_tsuga

Via Network

Date: 2010-03-19 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] la_vie_noire
That was a lot of fail from Bleach, but I'm still looking with something between amazement and fear and what the hell is this atrocity at the Tousen... fly thing. Arg. I just... arg.

Re: Via Network

Date: 2010-03-19 10:03 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
It's bad, Noir. It's really, really bad. I read that chapter and I swear to god, my brain shorted and didn't want to process what it was seeing.

Date: 2010-03-19 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] la_vie_noire
Well, I just googled it when I came home, and... well. (And the fandom isn't a lot better, also.)

Let just say that Kubo send his plot to hell, the man doesn't know what he is doing anymore. Tousen was a character with a build up that came from the end of soul society and was to pair with whathisname, the one who had a thing with Matsumoto. To end him like this, like a random non-recurrent villain who just appeared? Tell you, he doesn't have idea of what he is doing. (But to be fair, I don't know what happened to the rest of the characters, or if that goddamed arc already ended)

Date: 2010-03-19 10:54 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
Speaking of which, I'm not sure what happened to Gin. He's probably okay though since he's a guy and able-bodied.

And sadly, that arc hasn't ended. Last I heard, Bleach was still in the middle of that arc. I know. I know.

Date: 2010-03-19 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] la_vie_noire
And not-black you know. He was also immensely popular last thing I knew so he will have a more noble death is he DIES at all. Chances are that he stays and is redeemed, he did it all for Matsumoto/Whoever/Betrays Aizen because he is that cool and isn't the black, blind guy who just was misguided. If I had Tite in front of me...

Date: 2010-03-20 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] la_vie_noire
THAT! I mean, he exploded, died, and then it was just overshadowed by the most important event on the chapter: Ichigo appearing. I just... seriously.

looking ambiguously sad about it.

Oh. so "he is doing it all because is the only way to defeat him!!" option.

I just read Shonen Jump to rage, apparently.

Date: 2010-03-20 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] la_vie_noire
Okay, seriously, there are still things I'm curious about. Like, how is Hisagi acting at this moment? or when was the last time Yoruichi appeared (boy, a reason I hate the fandom and Kubo is due to Urahara and how the ship hiim with her)? But I'm don't have the courage to go read the manga.

Date: 2010-03-20 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] starlady
Wait, and then Tousen died!?

AUGH WTF make it stop
Edited (italics ≠ strikethrough) Date: 2010-03-20 03:06 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-03-20 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
Not just died but exploded in a bloody mess dramatically splattering all over his former comrades!

Date: 2010-03-20 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] starlady
As a direct consequences of these posts and facts I took all my Bleach manga off my shelf/to-read pile and put it in a bag to take to New York and sell back at Book-Off. I feel much better now.

Date: 2010-03-19 11:42 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chomiji

Ichigo himself gets to look worried and terrified, but of course he also gets to kick ass.

Bleach's failings with women are pretty well splashed all about the Intarwebs - almost as much as Naruto's. My usual antidote for this is Black Lagoon. I tried Claymore and may give it another shot sometime, but it was too earnestly grim for me. I like snark and banter.

Date: 2010-03-19 02:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com
My usual antidote for this is Black Lagoon.

Yes, yes, I was just saying...


Date: 2010-03-20 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com

Date: 2010-03-20 01:14 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
Did you ever make it past Teresa's arc. Because that's where you start getting the interactions.

Date: 2010-03-19 12:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meganbmoore.livejournal.com
I feel "male interrupts before deciding blow can be struck" should earn negative points. Especially if it isn't clear who would have one.

I'm trying to remember that erly Yoruichi fight. I seem to recall that Urahara mostly stood on the sidelines and clapped.

never has this icon seemed more appropriate

Date: 2010-03-20 02:23 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] starlady

Okay, fine, I did remember my equivalent awesome crappy paper, which was surveying female characters' pronoun usage in this manga up through, mm, volume 24? and examining it for women's language, essentially. The survey was fine, I guess, I don't remember my conclusion, but it probably had something to do with the manga purportedly being "nouveau shonen". And there is all that hype about Bleach being "nouveau shonen" or whatever (aka oh crap we have market shrink we have to get girls to read shonen!), and particularly in the beginning, the inclusion of characters like Chad and the prominence of the female characters seemed so novel and promising, and now…it's just the same old fracking thing. Fuck you, KT.

Re: never has this icon seemed more appropriate

Date: 2010-03-20 03:02 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] starlady
OMG he has a Twitter!? …I'm torn between saying "DO IT" and saying "No, don't!"

Um...fairly girly, actually. If you're interested in the more technical answer, this is the second half of my presentation text:

"To collect my data, I read approximately two-thirds of the entire manga, which currently numbers 255 chapters. Each time a female character used a first-person pronoun, I noted that character’s identity and the pronoun she used. I did not count the number of times a certain character used a given pronoun because some female characters appear for only a few panels in one chapter, while others appear nearly every week. Tallying every occurrence would have skewed my results.

I found a total of twenty-three female speakers in Bleach who used a wide variety of first-person pronouns. The two most common pronouns were watashi and atashi; atashi was actually the pronoun of choice for more than half (twelve) of the female characters. Eight speakers habitually used watashi, and one speaker each used uchi, washi, and ore.

Most characters, to my surprise, used only one set first-person pronoun. Only two displayed a variation in their pronoun usage based on the formality of their situation, which is considered an important aspect of politeness and propriety in spoken Japanese. In both cases these speakers habitually used atashi and “upgraded” to watashi when circumstances, such as directly disobeying a superior officer or reciting a ritual phrase, required.

Leaving these two instances of situational variation aside, I found that the choice of first-person pronoun was strongly indexed to age or to apparent maturity. Younger speakers overwhelmingly used atashi, while a majority of older speakers used watashi, including one apparently college-age speaker who was probably trying to mark herself as “mature” by using watashi. Watashi was also strongly indicative of authority: of the eight female characters of all ages placed in positions of responsibility, five used watashi.

What watashi did not index, however, was combat ability, which is not something traditionally associated with the ideology of femininity and of proper feminine behavior that accompanies ideas of “women’s language.” Because watashi is more gender-neutral than atashi (men will use it in formal contexts), I would have expected characters such as the runner-up national girls’ karate champion to use watashi. However, this was not the case. Of the seventeen female speakers with some sort of combat ability, ten used atashi, four watashi, and three some other pronoun.

The three speakers who did not use atashi or watashi bear some further explanation. None of the three are “human” speakers in the strictest sense of the word; in Bleach one is either a member of the human world or of some alternate spiritual dimension, although almost all characters in the manga appear completely human. The speaker who used uchi spoke Kansai-ben exclusively; thus her use of uchi, which was originally a dialect form and is now gaining more currency throughout Japan, is unremarkable. The character who used washi spends more than half the manga in the form of a cat; thus when she reveals herself as a woman the audience is stunned, since washi has “old-man” connotations. The character who used ore is perhaps best described as a law unto herself—she smokes a pipe, is missing an arm due to her work as an firework-maker, and intimidates almost everyone, including her tough-guy younger brother and the punkish main character of the manga.

In conclusion, it seems clear that Bleach is at least nudging gently at the boundaries of the ideology of women’s language, not so much through actual language practice (since only three of twenty-three speakers do not use the ideologically permissible pronouns watashi and atashi) as through how speakers of ideologically acceptable pronouns are portrayed: they fight, hold positions of authority, and do not hesitate to punch the manga’s main character. None of these activities were formerly considered “feminine,” and to a large extent they are still not.

Further study would reveal whether these language/ideology developments are an idiosyncracy of Kubo Taito or whether popular culture in general is expanding the concepts of “proper” female behavior via language markers. A synchronic study of one issue of Shonen Jump, which features twenty-two manga series a week, would be one possible method. Another would be to examine a similarly popular shoujo (girls’) manga magazine using the same methodology. " (12/12/06)

Re: never has this icon seemed more appropriate

Date: 2010-03-20 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] starlady
Augh, what the crap, powerpoint, you suck. It looked fine before I exported it, I swear. Sorry.

Yes, she speaks Kansai-ben! It's one of the things I love about her. And fairly thick Kansai-ben at that, at least for non-native speaker me--though I always wonder how much dialects are being written according to the idea of how the dialect sounds rather than how speakers actually speak it.

Re: never has this icon seemed more appropriate

Date: 2010-03-26 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com
Is it worse than what the Gunlock dub did with Hazel?

Re: never has this icon seemed more appropriate

Date: 2010-03-27 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com
Hazel's inexplicable accent truly has to be heard to be believed. Even the worst faux-Southern or faux-Noo Joisey interpretations of Kansai-ben are things of beauty, cultural sensitivity and understated good taste compared to the sheer WTF??1?-ery every time he opens his mouth.

Date: 2010-03-22 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Interesting evaluation. Another very telling bit of evidence about the series' view on gender came with the "Turn Back the Pendulum" flashback arc, wherein it was revealed that every single male Vizard was originally an SS Captain and every single female was a Vice Captain.

Date: 2015-01-04 03:12 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lb_lee
I only read the first few volumes of Bleach, and never reached Tousen. Now I have looked up the fly and am deeply disturbed.

At least tell me Chad makes it out all right? :(

April 2017

234 5678

Style Credit

Page generated Oct. 17th, 2017 11:31 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Most Popular Tags

Creative Commons

The contents of this blog and all comments I make are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License. I hope that name is long enough. I could add some stuff. It could also be a Bring Me A Sandwich License.

If you desire to thank me for the pretend internet magnanimity I show by sharing my important and serious thoughts with you, I accept pretend internet dollars (Bitcoins): 19BqFnAHNpSq8N2A1pafEGSqLv4B6ScstB