Can something be worse than an anime series that doesn’t have a storyline or a solid logic to the equation of the imaginative world, or even “plot”? Sadly yes. It’s the lack of a strong heroine.
Back in the late 20th century, heroines have always hold a strong voice and strong compassion, always fighting against the injustice and evil. Together with the heroes, they stand side-by-side, providing each other not only protection but also emotional comforts. But as of late, that role has been stripped, and it is rapidly replaced by incompetent feminine heroines, who are helpless and powerless, always needing their men to save them.
Somewhere along the early of 21st century, the female cast begins to experience what I would like to prefer to as “the damsel in distress”. Although their sense of justice and empathy to the world and its living things have not been replaced, these girls are generally weak and vulnerable to the physical forces that are pointed against them. This has become a huge trend, and they give ways to countless of generic heroines of the same archetype – worthless media works.
A notable example of a strong female cast would be Inuyasha’s Kagome. With her archery skills and spiritual powers, Kagome is an indispensable ally for the Inuyasha company. Although she is strong, she has kindness and compassion in her heart, able to see through the pain of others, yet still retains not just the feminine traits but also the courage and strong belief just as powerful as any can compare. What makes Kagome interesting is that the story allows her to grow, both physically and mentally; and we all fell in love with her.
Now, to the new 21th century. Asuna from SAO can be a valid example of “the damsel in distress”. Said to be the second-in-command of the Blood Knights, Asuna holds tremendous fighting skills and combat experience, rivaled to even those of the beta testers. Yet, somehow, miraculously, after the SAO arc, she is reduced to nothing but a former shell of her strong figure. Weak and unable to cope with the change of the world, Asuna depends completely on the MC to protect and to act as her guide. Yet, SAO is recorded to be one of the biggest hits in the year of its release.
Now, to make things clear, it is not that weak and fragile-looking characters don’t have their own charms, and of course not every female lead can be physically strong. The fact many stories attempt to create a strong heroines, but in the end leaving them completely powerless unless the MC is there frustrated me. For example, if the story depicts the heroine to be “one of the strongest _ _ _ _ “, yet when facing an imminent threat, she is defeated so easily and pathetically. Though recent years, a lot has been improving, and we are seeing the reappearance of these strong heroines once more (in big hits):
Shingeki no Kyojin, Psycho-pass, Kara no Kyokai, Railgun, Akatsuki no Yona, Hanasaku Iroha, Jormungand, Owari no Seraph, Iron Fortress, Saber ❤ or even Shirayukihime.
And, as I pray, Unlimited Blade Works.
Courtesy to しらび for the artworks: http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=216403