Rather than doing my old style end of season round up, where I gave my opinion on every show I had watched over the season, I thought I would talk about some of the shows that really struck a chord with me.
Or rather two shows that made a deep impression for the same reason.
And those two shows are:
A Place Further Than the Universe
I wanted to put the spotlight on these two shows because they focused on female characters, their relationships with other female characters and didn’t have a whiff of romance.
You don’t get many shows like that, and two in the same season? Unheard of.
It’s rare that we get anime – or books or shows – that focus on a female character who isn’t struggling with a romantic plot. Romance sells, and it’s relatively easy to write. It adds good conflict and keeps the reader hooked (how many plots have you kept following just to find out whether the couple gets together?).
Shojo is nearly always about romance. All the most famous shojos are set in high school with a female lead who struggles with her feelings about one or more boys. Publishers licence it because they know it will sell, and because they think that is what their female demographic want to read.
Well, yes, I guess we do, but we also want to follow female characters that do other things.
The plot for A Place Further Than the Universe revolves around Mari as she struggles to find her place in the world. She’s the personification of that teenage sense of misplacement – that teenage sense of loss when you don’t know what you want to do when you start getting pressured about your future. The plot is also about Shirase and her desire for closure after her mum’s death (the moment in the penultimate episode with the emails and the laptop killed me BTW). It’s about Hinata’s desire to do something out of the ordinary and for Yuzuki’s desire for real friendship.
There’s no boys (literally – most of the crew of the Antarctic expedition is made up of women, which is another reason to love this anime), no love triangles or boob grabbing (seriously, why do script writers still keep putting that shit in!). I can’t count how many times the characters pass the bechdel test.
Laid-Back Camp was a lot less dramatic than A Place Further Than the Universe. It was a nice cute anime about enjoying a common hobby (although I still don’t understand why you would want to go camping in the winter – camping in the summer is cold enough!)
I love how independent the girls are in both of the above anime. The girls in A Place Further Than the Universe make a decision to go to Antarctica, and go they do, without their parents, to a dangerous place very far away. The girls in Laid-Back Camp embody that same independence – Rin drives a moped and goes camping on her own, and Chiaki and Aoi get jobs in order to paid for their hobby.
Laid-Back Camp and A Place Further Than the Universe are such great examples of what anime with female leads can be – or, in fact, what female characters can be like in any media. They’re the sort of anime I’ve been waiting a long time to watch. And I hope there are many more of the sort in the future.
With that thought in mind, I’ve got high hopes for Spring 2018’s Comic Girls. I’ve a little in love with Tsubasa – I love her so much I want to be her.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE ANIME OF WINTER 2016?
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