I've been wanting to write this one for a couple of days. One of my favourite anime and manga storylines is CLAYMORE. The main characters in the story are all blonde. Every last one of them. It's part of a trait that makes them what they are.
And no, I'm not about to go off on a rant about blonde white girls taking over everything or blondeness as a special power.
I like CLAYMORE. It's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Xena. I find it kickass. I'm more excited than I know what to do with to realize that the manga is still ongoing and that it differs from the anime. As I've no idea when/if series 2 of the anime is coming out. And the manga is currently giving me all new story!
But I repeat, it's a black and white world in the manga where all the major female characters are BLONDE.
And none of them look alike!
That, ladies and ladies and one or two gentlemen, is my point.
Insert the obligatory kick to Greg Land's worthless nutsack here. [ kick! ]
But I was absolutely enthralled when I realized how much the artist for Claymore was kicking the ass of Land and several of his contemporaries.
How often do I find myself trying to identify female characters by their costumes when I read super hero comics? All the fricking time, is how often. Ok, maybe 90% of the time. But here is a comic, sequential art, where all the main characters, and there are several, are blonde and wearing the same damn uniform! And yet the artist has them with different noses, lips, shape and size of mouth, eyes, hair styles, breast sizes, heights, reaches.
It made me think of the phrase I've seen a lot since I started blogging and reading blogs about comics; "What mysterious power does manga hold?"
And I think being able to tell characters apart is one of them. A big one.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that for me manga goes weird in the other direction. I can tell the girls apart, but the men? They often look the same - pretty, with either short or long hair; spiky short hair, long swishy long hair. And male body types seem to fall into; broad shouldered, long legged male, young lanky twinky male, muscular patow! bulging! male and the rounded face barely into their teens proto-child.
I'm going to wait and see if it's because I'm more aware of the female body and there are subtleties I've yet to read in the male form in manga. It's also possible that most of the manga that catches my eye has female protaganists (I leave you to wonder why - ahem - not so subtle) and so I just haven't been paying attention to the boys in the same way.
Because as I think about it now, I do note that male costuming is somewhat elaborate. In their street clothes/ school clothes I tell Ichigo and Ishida apart by their hair mostly. But not in street clothes, their costumes are distinct and elaborate, Ishi and Ichi both having the long, lanky, twinky body type. Naruto had the round face until Shippoden.
Hmm, more thinky thoughts for later. Still though, a manga of all blondes, each with different body types, hair, eyes, mouth, nose, sneers, smiles, and body language? Yeah, I can see why manga could be winning a younger generation. I'm not even in that generation and I'm all HELL YEAH!
Sunday, April 6, 2008