August 17, 2010
My mom: Your older sister is Alice. Your younger sister is Snow White. You're Mulan.
Me: Mom, I am NOT Mulan!
My mother and I have exchanged these words on more than one occasion. I never related much to Disney princesses. The closest I come to is Belle because I enjoy reading, I always try to give people a chance, and "I want much more than this provincial life." Still, it never quite fit. It wasn't ME.
Tonight I was fortunate enough to attend Crispin Freeman's Anime Mythology lecture on priestesses, mystics, and warrior women. He made very solid comparisons between what it means to be a western princess versus an eastern magical girl. I couldn't possibly do his lecture justice by going into detail, but to sum it up: Western princesses achieve happiness through marrying a man. Eastern princesses achieve happiness through self-actualization.
The lecture got me thinking about my own life, why I relate better to female anime figures, and why I am more intrigued by Japanese male characters than western ones.
Female anime characters: I crave adventure. Life can be extremely repetitive and banal to me. So I find that the stories I enjoy the most involve females who must fight against an opposing force to save the world (whichever one it may be). Sadly, there is no such adventure in this day and age as we find in stories. Still, I don't want to be the damsel in the tower to be rescued by the prince. I want to be the warrior kicking ass and taking names!
I want to be special.
Male anime characters: I have been fortunate enough to not be pressured by my family to "find a man and get married." Quite frankly, I enjoy being single and find it sad how many people are placed under this pressure. Lately, I've been saying to myself, "I would rather have a common warrior who fights by my side, than a cowardly prince who hides in his castle" in relation to a recent romantic interest who did me wrong. In Crispin's lecture, he touched on the male protagonists involved with the females' journeys as being, not princes, but "devoted protectors" who serve as much as they love. Examples he used were Tamahome from Fushigi Yuugi, Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, Van (and I'd include Allen) from Escaflowne, Inuyasha from Inuyasha, and even Alucard from Hellsing.
And I realized that THAT is what I want from a man. I don't want castles and riches and pretty faces. What I truly desire is an equal. I want that "devoted protector" who will join me in the final battle for the world's fate. Whether we'll be on the same side...well that will be interesting to see.