This is it! I am wrapping up a three-month feature of anime reviews under a larger scope of feminism! And in case you missed some of them or never knew about it, read my synopsis on my project here.
I took a look at what women writers and artists of anime today convey in The Girl’s Perspective. I critiqued how feminine traits are portrayed in recent anime in Cuteness. Then I critiqued some examples where girls and women strive to be free in Liberation. As a proverbial capstone of these themed anime reviews, I hope to send us off with something not so much with critical analysis, but with something inspiring, as I find it appropriate for us to do when coming to a close on something positive. And unlike my analytical formats for the past three months, this one will be more like a collage of scenes.
This final review of the series will touch upon a little bit of everything I have talked about, under the theme: Becoming the Subject.
I Love Yona. She’s beautiful, she’s funny, and most of all, she can think for herself. If she weren’t a hand-drawn character, I would totally… be her servant! (What did you think I was going to say?)
Kidding aside, Yona’s tale is one worth remembering among so many of the new anime series. And since I’ve been talking about Liberation for this month, I have to say: this is my favorite of the four that I have featured.
Before I get to this review, allow me to list a few limitations. First, there are plenty of things I would like to say about this series, but I will be focusing mainly on the main theme at hand. So if you want me to comment on the Korean influence or the characters or the funnies, I am saying it now! Second, this is a feminist anime (no argument there), and I will be critiquing it in that perspective. Third, I will be focusing primarily on the latter half of the series, so there will be SPOILERS! But you should already know that.
And fourth, if you came here for some Hak fan service, here you go!
Let’s move on!
No archetype in any storytelling is given as much attention as the Hero. The Hero embodies all the ideals of our society, and everything that he does or happens to him (stylistically gendered) is a reflection of our sense of morality. The Hero is often an independent being as well as a mentor to the audience. But can this Hero interplay with other ideologies that aren’t traditionally as active or triumphant? Yes, she can (intentionally gendered). Our very existence isn’t so defined by just a few values that others are posited against it so easily. And for a series like this one, the Hero isn’t just the independent individual. The Hero is a cute girl that values the power of those immediately around her, in that they can all be freed from the essences that bind them.
Before I get into this review, please know that there are a few limitations. First, I previously commented (as did many others) that this series is very similar to another anime. There are useful comparisons, but I will NOT be talking about them! Second, again, I will not be arguing whether or not the series as a whole is in alignment with feminism, but I will be critiquing it in a feminist perspective. Third, I will be discussing the ambiguous concept of moé: an idea that is used commonly in anime and manga today, but still in development. For purposes of this review, I will be defining moé as the general comparison of girls to flowers, and the most ideal form of beauty for a flower is moé (from the Japanese term for a flower just before it blooms).
And fourth, if you’re familiar with my style of reviews, there will be SPOILERS.
Also note: Yuki Yuna is A hero (de Aru), not THE hero (desu)!
When I talk about Liberation, I usually mean freedom that comes from a collective process. In order to be free, a group of people must rise together under a unifying cause. However, there are instances in liberalism and liberal feminism where individuality is more emphasized: an individual’s liberation, sort of speak. That seems to be the kind of liberation Karen goes through in this CG animated short series.
I don’t particularly agree with individualism as a means for liberation, but I did enjoy this series for how they executed the post-apocalyptic premise along with very obvious inspirations from other great minds (I’ll get to those later). And if there’s one thing that Crunchyroll’s Sailor Bee and I have in common, it’s that we both adore Karen!
Let’s get one thing straight: I didn’t like this series. The animation style is very flat, the execution of the story is practically committing itself to insanity, and the excessive use of blood disturbs me. However, I am also committed to talking about Liberation this month; and while I was coming up with my plethora of things to talk about under that scope, this anime original was the one of the first things that came to mind.
Before I get into this review, I would like to express a few limitations. First, this is not a “typical” anime review, in that I will be focusing more on themes and critical analysis rather than character and content. Second, I will not argue whether or not Kill La Kill is a feminist work, but will critique it under a feminist perspective. And third, the main discussion here begins from the latter part of the series, so there will be SPOILERS! So if you’re following along, go back to Kill La Kill episode 16, watch the 1:30 recap, and continue from there.