Note: This is referring to the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and its direct adaptation, which is called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in the States and Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Fullmetal Alchemist in Japan. I am not referring to the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist anime adaptation, which I don’t consider feminist due mostly to less central female characters, more problematic handling of race and most prominently its bad treatment of Rose and to a lesser extent, Winry. It’s okay if you consider it feminist, but this is my review. I detail my problems with the anime on feminist and other grounds in the top posts here: http://adventuresofcomicbookgirl.tumblr.com/tagged/fma-2003-anime-liveblog-action. Beware spoilers for both series.
I will forever find it pretty fantastic that it’s a woman who wrote what I consider to be the best shonen manga ever. Hiromu Arakawa’s masterpiece should be an example to other artists of how it’s done. It’s tightly plotted, well drawn, has a huge cast of complex characters and it never lags, but comes together to be a beautiful and inspirational tale. Forget one of the best stories in manga, the Fullmetal Alchemist series is one of the best stories out there, period. Not only did Hiromu Arakawa continue the legacy (started by artists such as Rumiko Takahashi) of proving women can dominate in action-oriented manga, she also showed that you can do a story in a genre typically targeted to young boys with male main characters and still have a diverse, prominent and fantastic cast of lady characters. You can also explore serious themes like war, genocide, prejudice, faith, hubris and the nature of humanity and how to move on after committing great sins.
Fullmetal Alchemist is the story of brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric (usually called Ed and Al) who live in Western-fantasy world where alchemy is a highly touted science based on the principles of equivalent exchange. The two of them tried to bring their mother back to life using alchemy when Ed was eleven, but Ed ended up losing an arm and leg, and his brother would have disappeared entirely if it weren’t for Ed binding his soul to a suit of armor. Now, with Ed aided by a mechanical arm and leg made by his childhood friend Winry, Ed and Al are on a journey to restore what they’ve lost, but find out about a deep conspiracy within their country and secrets about their own family on the way.
Fullmetal Alchemist is a story that’s really about people, and Ed and Al’s journey is really about the people they gather around them on the way, and the state of humanity in general. Though it has a very intense and well paced plot, it’s a really character-driven series. And a lot of those characters are important and well-developed women, who have a variety of different strengths and roles and all have their own goals and character arcs. Boys’ manga in particular can fall into the trap of not developing female characters as well, only including one decently prominent female character and calling it a day, shunting girls to the sideline or, even if they have more than one female character, adhereing to the idea that women can only be important if they imitate the male characters and act hyperviolent. Female characters can be there just to be put in hostage situations, or have their lives only revolve around the male main character.
Fullmetal Alchemist subverts all of that spectacularly. The best mechanics in the series are women, and while Winry Rockbell is the main character’s love interest and a non-combatant, Ed depends on her to support him at all times because he wouldn’t be able to walk or do alchemy without the limbs she made him and her constant repairs and he points this out. She loves the Elric brothers dearly, but her life and goals are not dependent on them. She is dedicated to helping people as the best healer and mechanic she can be, and tons of customers depend on her and adore her. She’s also an incredibly driven and courageous person in her own right without busting villain heads. She has her own rich character arc where she struggles with abandonment issues, her anger over the death of her parents and tries to figure out her purpose in life and philosophy.
Haha wooooooooow I really couldn’t limit myself could I. SORRY. This is basically like my essay on the manga only with a wider scope you’ll see similar points made SORRY COULDN’T STOP TOO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT I LOVE IT TOO MUCH. Part three’s coming.
Women and Gender:
Sailor Moon is a series that is unquestionably focused on the growth and power of young women and strength of the bonds between them.
The very premise of it is that women shape the fate of the universe. They are what holds the universe together and are its last and first line of defense. Every single planet and star and satellite has a woman who represents it (A Sailor Senshi/Soldier), who rules it and protects and fights for it, who controls its very fate. You’re going to be hard pressed to find any other story that says women are important, women are essential; women are powerful on such a complete and cosmic scale. What’s more, the mythology of Sailor Moon is that things are pretty fantastic when women are in power- women can be the best rulers and protectors if they put their mind to it. The Queen of the Moon used to protect us all and it was pretty sweet. In the future, women will be in power again and it will also be pretty awesome. Sailor Moon verges on feminist utopian fantasy, unflinchingly saying that girls are good enough to run the world.
Another obvious premise of Sailor Moon is female legacy and community. Sailor Moon’s power is never going to die, and it will be passed on from woman to woman from generation to generation. Sailor Moon inherited her power from a powerful woman in the past and the series makes it clear she’s going to pass it on to her daughter and the a new generation will also take on the roles of the Senshi. There will always be powerful women, and these women have the support and legacy of powerful women from the past to stand on and to carry on proudly. These girls don’t just save the world, they end up running it, and they change it in a real, positive and permanent way.
Another Halloween themed post.
GHOSTS AND SPIRITS
- Iron and Ghosts
- The Early Ghost
- Guide to Ghosts
- Gravestone Symbolism
- 10 Little Known Mysterious Ghost Types
- Ghost Types
- The Different Types of Ghosts
- Haunted Places
- Cemetery Folklore
- Writing a Ghost Story
- Tips for Writing Ghost Stories
- Ghost Cliches
- Horror Cliches
- The Science of Zombies
- Zombie Biology
- Zombie Sociology
- Zombie Myths
- Stage II and Stage III Zombies (pictures)
- Vampires vs Zombies
- Undead Creatures
- Guide on Zombies
SHAPE SHIFTERS AND HOMINIDS
- Werewolves and other were-beasts
- The Shape Shifting Process
- Shape Shifters
- Hominids of the World
- Werewolf Myths
- Science of Werewolves
- Werewolf Behavior
- Werewolves vs Vampires vs Zombies
- Werewolf Anatomy
- Wolf Body Language
- Werewolf Myths and Truths
- History of the Werewolf Legend
- The Mermaid
- Sea Creatures
- Books About Mermaids and Sea Folklore
- Sea Creatures: Books
- YA Mermaid Novels
- Best Mermaid Books
- Awesome Mermaid Books
- Mermaid Anatomy
- A Dissection of Mermaid Anatomy
- African Vampires
- Writing the A-Typical Vampire
- So You Want to Write a Vampire Novel
- Avoiding Vampire Cliches
- Vampire Cliches
- Vampire Burial
- Vampire Mythology
- Vampire Biology
- Vampire Virology
- Vampire Sociology
- Vampires in Folklore and Literature
FAIRIES AND FAE
- Types of Faeries A-Z
- A Guide to Fairies
- Other Names for Fairies
- Books About Faery
- Best YA Fairy Books
- Best YA Fantasy Series About the Fae
ANGELS AND DEMONS
- Creating Creepy Creatures
- Mythology Meme
- Master Post of World Mythology, Creatures, and Folklore
- Figures of Norse Mythology
- Those Who Haunt the Earth
- Writing Horror, Paranormal, and Supernatural
- Genre: YA Supernatural
- List of Mythical Creatures
- Mythological Creature Picture Spam
- How to Make Your Supernatural Characters Unique
- Supernatural Theme Story
- Myths and Urban Legends Masterpost
- Original Gods, Goddesses, and Myths
- World Building Basics: Myths and Legends
- Mythical Creatures and Beings
- Symbols by Word
- Mythology Meme
- Writing Paranormal Characters into the Real World
I’d like to cancel my subscription to Menstrual Cycle Monthly
I’m sorry, it appears you’ve taken out a fifty-sixty year subscription. However, we can pause it for nine months as long as you sign a contract that says you’ll take out a subscription to Baby Daily for at least eighteen years
Damn those Terms and Conditions.
i didn’t even read them i’ve made a terrible mistake
The Magic Grammar (c.1900). Jessie Marion King (Scottish, 1875-1949).
King was an illustrator mostly of children’s books. King was made Tutor in Book Decoration and Design at Glasgow School of Art in 1899. Her first published designs, and some people believe her finest, were for the covers of books published by Globus Verlag, Berlin between 1899 and 1902.