View Full Version : What is the typical role for female characters on animes & mangas?

March 2nd, 2011, 4:50 PM
I asked because I'm making a female character & I thought that if I understood the role that women usually plays in anime/mangas, I could do a better job of making a interesting character.

I've only seen a VERY few esipodes of pokemon, a couple of movies about Mewtwo & the 1 I like best, the Cowboy Bebop movie & I only have Mega man mangas...
No where near enough to see the role of women in anime & mangas as a whole....

March 2nd, 2011, 5:35 PM
General roles of females in anime:
Male character's love interest/Has love interest in male character
Looking cute
Looking pretty
Looking sexy

I've just covered 99.9% of every anime ever made.

Now, why exactly are you basing a female character on anime and manga if you haven't even seen that much of it, OP?

March 2nd, 2011, 5:44 PM
General roles of females in anime:
Male character's love interest/Has love interest in male character
Looking cute
Looking pretty
Looking sexy

I've just covered 99.9% of every anime ever made.

Now, why exactly are you basing a female character on anime and manga if you haven't even seen that much of it, OP?

My cousin, whom is going to draw the character, draws in the anime style.
I guess my character is only half a mold breaker... she's going to look pretty, but she has no love interest.
& she's going to be the main character of something I'm creating.

The Noob Hacker
March 2nd, 2011, 6:30 PM
Depends. There are some women who do the above in anime, and they are normally entirely useless and annoying. From what I have seen, women also sometimes sort of have minor roles that assist the main character and other such things. But luckily for us, we can do something called stereotyping so that people like you have easier times doing stuff. Others like to call this delightful practice "racism" or "sexism", but I don't see the relevance. (By the way part of that paragraph was sarcasm, can you find the hidden sarcasm? *Dora the Explorer mouse comes and clicks on words* Good jog, you found the sarcasm!)

Anyways, these are some roles I have seen:

Love interest- Already stated

Completely useless- There are just some female characters whose only purpose is to stand around and say things that don't matter or contribute to anything at all, normally these characters also serve as love interest.... and only as the love interest. Some people like to call this "one-dimensional characters" or "bad writing".

Tough girl- There's always that one girl who is always the super strong and tough girl who takes care of herself and whatnot. There are two ways to write these types of character: the cliche way or the non cliche way. The cliche way is where the character has a niche and is required only to fill it. This is something that you must NEVER DO! When you have a character that only has one role and no depth they are just boring and stupid. A relevant example would be a tough girl character who is only a tough girl, has no reason for doing so, and who's feminine side is non-existent. But in most cases, tough girl characters normally are only hard on the outside, having soft and usually tragic inner cores and origins.

Girly girl- The type of girl that young boys impersonate when they are trying to mock girls. The type that is concerned only about appearance, clothes, ect.

That's just to name a few, mainly things that you should not do unless you know what you're doing. But then again, I have no right to speak, as I am by no means an anime expert, this was pure speculation.

March 2nd, 2011, 6:40 PM
Strong female lead who grows throughout the series and isn't a stereotype. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakura_Kinomoto)

The Noob Hacker
March 2nd, 2011, 6:52 PM
Yes it is. Why? Because I said so. There are many females who share traits through many anime, strong females not being exempt from this. So once you group all of these strong females together and discuss the general traits that most all of them share, you have a stereotype.

OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire
March 2nd, 2011, 6:54 PM
There are so many types...some rude and closed, others who are kind and have a crush on a guy, others who fight using magic powers and wear cute magical robes...

March 2nd, 2011, 6:59 PM
General roles of females in anime:
Male character's love interest/Has love interest in male character
Looking cute
Looking pretty
Looking sexy

I've just covered 99.9% of every anime ever made.

Now, why exactly are you basing a female character on anime and manga if you haven't even seen that much of it, OP?

99.9% is pretty much the space within the circles of the Venn Diagram though XD

There's also technically the "girls with guns" scenarios which show up every so often where there are two females that take up the lead roles of. From what I remember, usually it consists of the one that shoots everything, and the girl she has to protect for whatever reason.

"The Princess" - This is most common in Shounen works. The role of the princess is, as fairy tales state, to get captured by the enemy, and get rescued by the protagonist. Bleach is probably the best way to show that. The other way this role works is the protection route where the protagonist meets/receives the girl, and has to travel around and protect her.

Though usually, females are used for emotional support/love interest. They basically stay in the overall useless area, until the protagonist breaks down. At that point, the role usually goes down the path of the protagonist's upgrade where the character is used as a sacrifice, or a torture victim. Protagonist powers up, beats antagonist, happy ending.

Let's see. There's also the Mahou Shoujo genre, where the female is thrown into a role to protect the world/school/city from whatever evil's trying to take it over. Usually a kid's genre. In most fantasy anime, the female tends to take the mage slot of the party (wisdom > strength) or something along those lines.

and then there are a quite a few others that don't really fall in a role. Specifically the single female protagonist role. That one varies a lot from anime to anime.

The Noob Hacker
March 2nd, 2011, 7:40 PM
Ah, I see. It was just that yours was directly below mine, and I did make a point that strong females are stereotypes. And since I have an ego roughly one eight the size of Seto Kiaba's (And that's actually really big) I thought you were referring to me. And since I enjoy debate I felt the need to defend my standpoint, my apologies.

March 2nd, 2011, 7:42 PM
Ah, I see. It was just that yours was directly below mine, and I did make a point that strong females are stereotypes. And since I have an ego roughly one eight the size of Seto Kiaba's (And that's actually really big) I thought you were referring to me. And since I enjoy debate I felt the need to defend my standpoint, my apologies.
If you're responding to something in particular, you should try and quote it.

Stereotype generally has a negative connotation. Plus, there really aren't that many strong lead females in anime.

March 2nd, 2011, 9:22 PM
That's one of the reasons why I can't get into most anime. Without a strong female character, I don't tend to connect to what I'm watching. This isn't just limited to manga though. If I'm correct in my assumption, most people who write manga/anime (actually, I think this too applies to all forms of entertainment) are male and they usually have a difficult time writing female characters. My favorite animes (Cowboy Bebop, Cardcaptor Sakura, Yu Yu Hakusho) featured badass women who could handle themselves.

Damsels in distress are boring and their schtick gets old after a while.

March 2nd, 2011, 10:17 PM
To be fair, a lot of it probably stems from Japan itself which still hasn't quite latched onto the "equal rights for women" movement that even the rest of the developed world is struggling with. :( So all these weak characters for the sake of filling a stereotyped role is... well, normal-ish for them, I think?

But regardless, I wouldn't base any character on what characters are like in all anime/manga. Try to cover all sorts of media and figure out what makes a strong character in any regard, and that's what counts imo. :/ The world doesn't need more moe. (inb4 a bunch of people saying it does ffff.)

I think you should make characters that fit the roles you NEED and work from there. If a female has to be shoehorned into the story for the sake of being there, chances are she won't be a good character. If the female is only there for the sake of being a love interest, well, often that alone doesn't make her a good character. But if she's there because she plays a role in the plot just as strongly as the other main characters, then she'll fit right in. Think Hermione in the Harry Potter series. Could juuust as easily have been a nerdy smart guy but being female neither gave her a weird advantage over a lot of people nor a disadvantage. :P

But since you say she's gonna be the main character... just make her whatever you need your main character to be. D: Gender isn't really important, imo. If anything it'd be more interesting if you took the typical "male" lead role and fashioned it to fit a female.

March 3rd, 2011, 2:11 PM
Keep in mind also that there are many manga authors who are women and whose work includes strong female characters who do not fit into any of the already mentioned stereotypes of love-interest or tough/cute/girly/etc.-girl. I would refer you to authors like Ikeda Riyoko (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riyoko_Ikeda) (in particular The Rose of Versailles), Yazawa Ai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yazawa_Ai) (in particular Nana), and Miuchi Suzue (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzue_Miuchi) (Glass Mask). Strong and realistic female leads in each of these series and in the artists' work in general. Plenty of character development and all the things you expect from other media... but in manga. These series do have romantic aspects, tough girls, and so on, but they are not the sole focus of each main character since they are more rounded than that.

Of course if you're looking for something that's more "typical" of manga/anime then you probably do well just to go with the cute girl type or something like that. :|

March 6th, 2011, 10:58 AM
Thanks for the info, everyone!

Here's what my character is like so far... I'd like to know what you all think of her...

Luana's pro-file will be up-dated in a later post.

March 6th, 2011, 7:45 PM
Sounds like a typical Mary Sue self-insert fanfic OC to me.

March 6th, 2011, 8:46 PM
I kinda agree. Also the typical role for a female is "eyes, a butt, and breasts" basically.. or "moe/ jailbait"

If you're going to have her ethnicity being african, then why give her blue eyes? Sometimes the best characters don't come from being "different" but rather something that people can associate with.

You also said she'd brutally punish people.. but how? She has a light frame- no muscles. Magic? Come on.. now you have to set up an entire world for us.
A good character is a character with flaws. It's why people love characters like (giving a western example, I realize) Mulan. She has ambition, she's weak but she tries.

Why would you want to make something that's been recycled a million times? Chances are people are just going to skim over it unless they find it good (sorry to be rude but you're 20 so chances are you can handle it) "fap material."

That's my two cents.

March 6th, 2011, 10:05 PM
Ya...I'm gonna have to agree with Jiggly on this one...Offense intended cuz that's not exactly a good character design.

Let's see. Excuse sexism as you see fit, though usually it's due to the usual roles of women (whether in older society or in anime in general).
Her name is Luana, which means "Warrior maiden", of which fits her quite well. If you try to mess with her, she'll take you OUT. (Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...)
Her powers are of plants, so she specializes in healing, also effectily uses her great strength. (she's also pretty agile.)
Ok, so right off the bat, I'm seeing "specializes in Front-Line AND Support." This in itself is a big mistake. You're basically saying this girl can do anything she wants because she has max stats in everything. Perfection is almost never desired in a good character. At first, when I was seeing "Warrior Maiden", I was thinking something closer to a Shield Maiden, but....ya.....

Anyways, this is telling me that this is a fantasy world, which I'll get to in a bit.

She's 5'08" tall, won't say what her weight is (actually, I was too lazy to determine her wieght...) but she's of a light frame (yeah, she's a LOT stronger than she looks...) & 21 years old, has black skin...actually, brown, it just what people call black... just making sure we're all on the same page...
With all these weird characters around, (a rubbery pirate, girls with cat ears, etc...) I just thought you guy may think her skin is TRULY black...
Anyways, she also has very deep blue eyes.
With a plant-based character, you'd think eyes would be green, but whatev ^^;;
So basically here, you're specifying her ethnicity, and saying that she's really good looking and is old enough to drink (according to modern rules)? From the drinking thing, I'm guessing that she's generally seen as a member of the male society at this point (by males).

She's polite, never tries to act like a guy, dresses modestly (opposite of Ivy from Soul Calibur...) & will not hestiate to stand up for herself & others, should they not be brave enough to do so themselves.

Her likes:
Gardening, Heavy work, (moving stuff around, etc. for this reason, her gardens always have big stones to decorate it.) Bathing, (in water, mud & hot springs) Fruits.

Her dislikes:
preverts, male chavinists, bullies, (all of which she will BRUTALLY punish...) girly girls, (not only are they annoying,of which she's too polite to outright say, they also give women a bad rep.) tomboys, (a lady should NEVER behave like a man.) junkfood.

I think you're mistaking the term "girly girl" for say, "valley girl"?
Aaanyways, Gardening is a check. Heavy work........not so much. Unless it's specifically for decorating and helping people, on that point. Besides that, heavy work is traditionally a male's job in the medieval society, saying that she enjoys it makes it seem that she's closer to a tomboy than was intended. Besides that, she's also a Warrior class over a Support with her healing magic, which just screams tomboy. I ASSUME she wears one-pieces or something close to that nature. Also is an ally of justice, which is all fine and dandy in in it's own right as far as tomboyism goes.

Besides this, you haven't talked anything about her personality. You've only mentioned physical traits and likes/dislikes, which isn't near acceptable for a character concept. There's no backstory (why is she this way?), no personality traits outside "justice!", nothing about her role on the battlefield, etc. I'm just seeing a bunch of contradictions between what's there and that tomboy dislike.

Ya, I'm seeing a typical Mary Sue self-idealized-insert here.

March 6th, 2011, 10:23 PM
There are plenty of examples in anime of strong female leads if you actually look for it. Generally, shounen and slice of life are where you find eye-candy female roles, and these are popular genres (I'm not really a fan of either). If you look into other genres, you'll find a lot more strong females.

March 7th, 2011, 9:49 AM
Ok, this is something I need to work on...
I'll post again later, with a up-dated profile on her...
So just forget what I got for her now.

March 28th, 2011, 12:28 PM
The Good:
Tsunderes - Act tough, but inside they're nice people and turn out to be really cute and adorable. Usually the protagonists' sidekick or something like that, such as Rin from Fate/Stay Night.

Total bad*ss - Such as Revy from Black Lagoon or Shiki from Kara no Kyoukai. They just pretty much own anything. (Also Saeko from High School of the Dead!!! <3)

The Cute - Mio from K-On! Nuff said! XD

The bad:
Airheads - They fall, trip, bump, and cry. Usually with revealing pantsu and stuff. I dunno if it's meant to be funny or fan service, but it's annoying as I see it in a lot of animes.

Brother/Sister accident tragedy omg - Basically, something like the female being either a childhood friend or a sister to the protagonist. They live alone and she does the housework because either: Parents divorced, are on a business trip or died in an accident. They are overly jelous, annoying and have a squeaky annoying voice and moan like they're being r***d.

Well, hope that helped. ;)
Of course there's a lot more but this is the general majority which I've seen during my whole anime life.

March 28th, 2011, 10:53 PM
Um, seeing as how the OP has let this one die, i'm gonna close this since the purpose is no longer relevant and the same thing is being posted