First of all, let me just say that in my personal experience, anime as a medium is fairly equal opportunity when it comes to gender roles. There are tons of amazing classic anime female characters.
I’m not trying to suggests that there is anything sexist about the fact that these archetypes seem to be mostly boys. I just thought it was a bit interesting since I can’t quite figure out the reason for it.
So these are 5 types of characters that I usually see as boys in anime, for no particular reason:
5) The Loser/ The Unlucky
I’m using the term in the most loving way possible. You know what I mean right? It’s those guys that are perfectly nice people but somehow it just doesn’t quite work out for them. They get picked on for no reason or just have the worst possible luck and end up being the butt of all the jokes. It’s like the show itself is picking on them.
In series with all-girl casts, you do occasionally see them but otherwise, they almost always seem to be some poor dude. Sometimes, they are even the main character so at least it works out in the end. Still, there’s no reason a girl couldn’t just have unfortunate random things happen to her all the time.
4) The Shonen Hero
There are some female shonen heroes. And my hero I do mean the main character. A good efficient main character. And I’m sure if I account for lesser-known series, there are probably a lot of female shonen leads. But for I long time I was baffled that there weren’t more. Aside from Maka up there, the only other one I can think of off the top of my head would be Emma from promised Neverland. I’m not even sure she actually qualifies but she does in my books.
You see, I was under the mistaken impression that there was a huge demographic overlap between shonen and CGDCT audiences. Therefore if the audience already enjoyed series full of only adorable girls, why not combine the two and make adorable girl action heroes. Yeah, yeah, magical girls…not the same thing OK! Turns out, the audiences are in fact quite different and few people regularly watch both genres in equal quantities. So it was a misunderstanding on my part for this one!
3) The Harem Protag
Now there are such things as reverse harems with a female central figure being the object of many hot guys’ attention. But those are completely different archetypes. Trust me, I’ve watched them all! Lok, there’s a sort of general bias when it comes to Harem protags. Anime fans immediately expect something. These are vanilla characters that are also generally overpowered and almost perfect. I like harems and I also know that for the most part, even if the protag is the most boring character in the show, they remain the driving force of the plot. Their actions and decisions move the events along.
Not so for reverse harem protags. Most of the time they are reduced to rarely seen ladies that offer support to the guys between their adventures and occasionally serve coffee or tea. I’m not kidding! Part of the issue is that these shows are so often adapted from otome were the MC is essentially a framing device and self insert-character for every single girl playing so they are completely devoid of personality on purpose. There’s not even enough substance to these characters to be called plot devices, let alone people. Their actions if they have any have little consequence and I don’t think they make decisions. Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club is an exception as she is a full-fledged and lovely character but most of the plot isn’t actually driven by her but by the drama of all the male leads. The only real exception I could think of is Yona.
2) The Mad Scientist
I have only seen a few lady mad scientists and I have loved them all… I think this character type should become a staple of CGDCT shows. It’s awesome and highly relatable.
You must all know at least one girl who is all about science books and experiments and the discovery channel. I know 13 of those at least. And they happen to be great in real life too so we should see them more in shows.
Actually, you know what, I think I just want to see more Mad Scientist archetypes regardless of gender. I just love the lunatics, what can I say?
1) The Crackpot Conspiracy Theorist
I think this might once again be a case of I would like to see more of these in anime. Conspiracy theorists are actually fairly common in Western media so it’s interesting n itself that we see so few in anime. However, whenever I have seen one, it’s always a boy.
The irony here is that all the paranoid folks I know in real life are pretty much all girls. Telling me how companies put stuff in chapstick to dry out your lips and make you buy more or how stores are changing the labels in their clothes and that’s why the same sizes don’t fit you. Ok, that one may be true… In any case, girls are complete crackpots and I bet they would be adorable in cute anime conspiracy theorist form!
Well there you have it, thee are 5 character types that I rarely see cast as female characters and I’m not sure why. In fact, I’m not entirely sure there is a reason at all. It might just be a mix of coincidence and force of habit.
More embarrassingly, it may just be a case of me not having watched the right anime and there are tons of female characters of these types… oops…