Like any mass media product, anime has
widespread cultural impact, and as such
needs to be evaluated critically for its
Most anime, percentage-wise, is
consumed by children, making negative
gender stereotypes especially damaging
Japanese women, more-so than in first
world countries, are marginalized in the
Most Japanese women are part-time
workers or stay-at-home mothers, despite
being highly educated
Having a salaryman husband is key
OL (Office Lady) culture is a good
example of how Japan treats its female
Patriarchal ideals are still strong in Japan,
specifically for child-care
Fanservice girl: no utility beyond partial
Examples: Queen's Blade, Kanokon, Kiss x Sis, harem shows in general
Shows objectification, relative worth of females
The mother: Nags the protagonist, then
makes him dinner.
Examples: Chi Chi from DBZ, Hiroko from Hajime no Ippo, many other shonen
Reflects Japanese values of housewives
The objective: Save her and complete
Examples: Yuria from Hokuto no Ken, Holly from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Nico Robin during
Enies Lobby in One Piece, Rukia during the Soul Society Arc in Bleach
Standard damsel in distress trope, but the key here is when formerly useful characters become
useless so they can be saved
Most of my examples are from Shonen,
because it's emblematic of the problems
in the genre as a whole, and by far the
biggest market in the anime industry
Shojo, Seinen and Josei have their own
problems, which I will detail on the next
While male role-models in Shonen may
want to rule the world, become the
strongest or become rich, girls just want
Senpai to notice them.
This gives a young, impressionable girls a warped perspective of what they should
be aiming for in their lives, for someone else to validate them.
While this is also not exclusive to anime/manga, it's particularly pernicious with series
meant for young girls
Seinen series rarely have any women at
all, especially in major roles.
This is reflective of the trend of increasing singleness among middle-aged
Japanese men; they don't have women in their lives and don't want them in
their fiction either.
Josei manga, intended for adult women,
does generally have gender-positive
characters and stories. However, owing
to its target audience, it sells far less than
all other types of manga.
Recommendations: Chihayafuru, Nodame Cantabile,
Male characters in anime are typically
either very weak-willed or stereotypical
manly men, reinforcing typical gender
These are less damaging, overall, than
the negative female stereotypes,
because the male characters are
generally successful heroes.
Madoka Magica has multitudes of strong
female characters, but the most
interesting in terms of gender dynamics is
Madoka’s stay-at-home father.
The Madoka universe is filled with unreal
buildings, magic, and somehow the most
unrealistic thing is Madoka’s dad.
For the first 5 parts, most of the story of
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is about men
Part 6 is about a woman saving herself.
This part was widely critically acclaimed,
but the author fought with editorial over
it and eventually moved magazines as a
result of the disputes.
A series about a young female tennis
player, this manga is all about feminine
While it’s hard to clarify without deep
spoilers, this is an example of a truly
realistic (flawed, but still good)
independent female character.
Because Japan is a male-centric society,
anime simply reflects what Japan is like.
Some media, like the works of Studio
Ghibli have decent feminist material, but
they're few and far between.
Japanese culture has to change for
anime to change, so it will take a long