Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Animating Women's Month Part 2

5.) Doris Lang – Vampire Hunter D

Revisiting vampires again on the list is Doris Lang. Although she made only one film appearance in the 80’s anime owed to graphic horror in Vampire Hunter D, she has remained in the pulse of my heart ever since.  I have to say that a lot of the props go to the English dub voice actress Barbara Goodson. There is something about the pitch and the flux of her voice that is like a talking melody. She also did the voice of another great anime lady, Alcyone from Magic Knight Rayearth. Back to Doris, she was given a very mainstream anime look for the film. Her short pleaded skirt, and blond pigtails were a far cry from the black hair and jeans that she was said to sport in the novel. Other differences vary in the amount of affection that she shows and is shown by D; evidentially the book gave more room for expression. Still, when Doris Lang first meets D and introduces herself by ensnaring him in a mystical nine-tail whip, while trying to lay claim to his sword, let the audience know that she wasn’t going to be just some damsel in distress. Like many of the heroines in Hideyuki Kikuchi original D novels, he did an excellent job at making them just as compelling as D. With a strong spirit, noble heart, pouty eyes, and killer legs, Doris Lang has ensnared herself into the number 5 spot.

A closer look to the novel

4.) Yuko- xxxHolic

The Space Time Witch from the series xxxHolic casts a spell in the number four spot. With her long wiry limbs and dark eyes, it would be easy to think of her as a ripe evil character that would follow in the same vein as many evil Disney queens/witches. However, Yuko shows her playful side in much of the series. Whether playing baseball or lounging around her magic shop while inebriated and posing as if she is in a Tommy Hilfiger ad, Yuko’s appeal can’t be denied. Her involvement in the lives of different high profile Clamp characters leads her to be a major player in not one, but two of Clamps biggest titles: Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle and xxxHolic. Card Capture Sakura fans probably already know that she was Clow Reed’s girlfriend. Her many childish antics and high price wishes (payment for her help always has to be equal to the service desired) didn’t underscore the large sacrifice that she gave to allow the clones of Syaoran and Sakura to be reborn as regular people. One of her stand out moments is when she invites most of the cast over to a temple to tell ghost stories. The effect is chilling and thought provoking like most of the series.

 3.) Katsumi Liqueur – Silent Mobius

Kia Asamiya's take on a sci-fi futuristic distopia get major props on several levels. He manages to create an original story with compelling characters. Think of it as Sailor Moon meets a serious case of ass-kicking. These ladies don’t waste time challenging their feelings over the minor men in the series, but instead use large portions of the episodes challenging the horrific, but beautiful character designs, known as Lucifer Hawks. The strange beasts that have come to inhabit earth have caused the resident Tokyoites to create the Attacked Mystification Police Force or A.M.P. for short. Complete with archetypal characters such as the cybernetic muscle girl, the sweet psychic girl, the computer girl, and the magic priestess girl, their team still left room for the main character in Katsumi Liqueur. She, much like Harry Potter, in a dysfunctional future holds the key to saving the city. Katsumi and her fellow sorceresses have been tasked to clean up the city. We find out that Katsumi, much like Harry, is the descendant of powerful magic users. Her father tried to create a partnership between those roach-like Lucifer Hawks that would prove to be a no-go. Finding out that she herself has the blood of the Lucifer Hawk, doesn’t seem to slow down the hunt. Harry may have gotten the Elder wand, but Katsumi got Grospoliner. It is the skull shaped head object that morphs into an elongated sword that racks up the cool factor. I remember seeing the trailer for the first movie, the last fifteen minutes being an anime gem of a battle sequence. It was instant love at first sight when I saw her conjure Grospoliner into sword form as she hacked down on a bad guy. The tough as nails, orphan with the four horsemen inside her hacks and slashes her way into the number 3 spot.  

with Grospoliner

 2.) Sailor Pluto- Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon made Japanese animation a more solidified industry here in America. She, aside from Dragon Ball Z, may be most responsible for molding the term anime into the mainstream cultural fray, which was quite an accomplishment for a girl who entered more battle zones with tear drops than guts. Pure hearts and the power of love aside, it was her teammates that formed the backbone of the series. They couldn’t have been more inclusive as there was a Sailor Soldier for every girl, or the girl in all of us. I remember the “cool” going through the roof when they introduced the outer soldiers in the third season. I didn’t find Sailor Pluto until the Super movie (the rest of the second season hadn’t been translated yet in American TV).  There I saw her enraptured in a dark mist as she whispered a “Deadly Scream” as I watched her age her opponents into dust. It was a tie really between Sailor Saturn and Sailor Pluto here. The unfortunate part was that Sailor Saturn always got the short end of the Silence Glave in the series. I wanted to see a stock transformation sequence and attack scene that never really materialized. Interesting facts about Sailor Pluto is that she is the actual descendant of the time god, is a Scorpio, and hates eggplant. The key shaped weapon she uses makes the many wands held by Sailor Moon look like broken joy sticks. Her human name: Setsuna Meioh sounds like poetry. I liked the fact that she was older than all the rest. She felt more warrior-like. Although I don’t remember it every being an issue in the series, in the manga she had unrequited love for Tuxedo Mask. I found this interesting as almost all the other sailor scouts had some form of love interest. They always shacked poor Pluto as the baby sitter of Sailor Saturn and Chibi-Usa, no wonder she froze time in the third season to catch a break. The mistress of time with her dead-sexy brawn and no bull bravery clocks in at number 2.  

1.) Urd – Ah! My Goddess

It was a tuff pick for my number one spot, but I figured amongst all the hybrids, knights, martial artists, and gatekeepers that only a goddess could top the list. As the System Administrator and Goddess Second Class to Yggdrasil, or the tree where all life stems from, Urd has demonstrated her staying power with audiences. Appearing in Ah! My Goddess chapter 14, she has been with the series ever since. An avid potions mixer and drunk, she is a knockout in just about anything and can blow up the world if need be. She has a slight penchant towards lying, which is what places her as a Goddess Second Class, but with quite possibly the most perfect hair to every be drawn on a woman…ever, who cares if she is second class. The half-demon, half- angel sister to Belldandy and Skuld can be impulsive and headstrong, but if nothing it helps to advance the plot, which can be minimal, depending on what volume you pick up. At times the series can waver on too much flower picking, but I guess that’s all you can do sometimes when you are reading about beings that could destroy the earth. The series has a certain light charm, but I find it more fun when they delve into the darker parts of the universe. Contradicting that last sentence is volume 30 of the manga, which is my favorite.  Urd causes a rainstorm in the hopes of bringing her sister and her love interest closer together in a cute adventure. We also see her turn down her chance to be a Goddess First Class. She was the goddess with problems, and not just the metaphysical type. The half goddess/ half demon often try to find a place in the world. I liked the character so much I named a plant in my cubicle in her honor. It is outstanding art work for an outstanding character. I wish she’d get her own series.

 They may not have made the list, but here are some honorable mention

Anthy- Revolutionary Girl Utena

Miko Mido- La Blue Girl

Sailor Venus – Sailor Moon

Ako- Project Ako

Sailor Tin Nyanko – Sailor Moon

Emma Frost – X-Men (anime version)

Yomi- Gai Rei Zero

Morgan Le Fay  – Ah! My Goddess the movie

Kanoe – X/1999
Yuki and Lum Cheng- Silent Mobius
Kan-u Unchou - Ikkitousen

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