This is one that has gotten me thinking a bit. Looking at Hollywood there’s a definite attempt to have more and more female characters in lead roles.
It’s something that has also hit animation, you only need to take a look at Frozen and Moana to see what we’re talking about and both are hugely popular.
Then there’s comics, There’s a Female Thor and a Female Iron man. Basically what we see here is more and more women taking strong positions. So how about anime?
Anime is weird in that it is classified differently. The most popular shows are usually Shonen which traditionally is geared towards young boys between the ages of 12 and 18. Therefore, it is unsurprising to see a large number of male protagonists in the genre. On the flip side, girls have Shojo which is geared towards young girls around the same age. But the themes are different and this might be where the problem lies.
Should Shonen continue to be geared towards just boys? With the way the world is moving that would be a No for me. Shonen anime have some bad ass characters like Ezra in Fairy Tail, Tokine from Kekkaishi, Olivia Armstrong from Full Metal Alchemist and a couple of others, there are too few leads. The only one i can think of off the top of my head is Maka from Soul Eater.
There are more females in Seinen which is anime for Men from their 20s to 50s. You think Revi from Black Lagoon, Clare from Claymore and the Blood C vampire hunter, but these are anime with mature content, ergo, young girls are not expected to watch it.
So this leaves Shonen. Seeing as there’s a push for more women to be represented especially as a role model for younger girls, anime should take a cue from this.
Take into consideration that Shojo has a LOT of guys because for some reason, girls love watching fine boys and seeing a strong guy in a series they love transplant to real life and they have this view of guys. The same could be done to shonen. If there are more protagonists (not oversexualized ones) it could help the overall way that women are viewed by guys and also women have more female role models to look up to.
If you can look at a character like Maka from Soul Eater who is the major character, she isn’t sexualized (she has a flat chest) and she’s as powerful as they come. It’s great for girls to see someone like that in the same pool as Black Star and Death the Kid.
Long and short, i think there should be more of a representation. Anime doesn’t face the same problems that comics face with perpetual characters who constantly need changing. You have an Iron Man who needs replacing, Thor etc. Anime doesn’t face that, there’s no need for a female Samurai X, no need for a Female Full Metal Alchemist, therefore, new characters can be created that girls can like and aspire towards.
I wonder if this change will indeed come, but if/when it does, it would be welcome.