Female friendships in anime/manga

Anime News Network has started a nice discussion on female friendships in anime and manga. A lot of the points they raise harken back to my discussion good shoujo- the fact that so many anime/manga plots are male driven and even the female-aimed series the girl is usually a wishy-washy husk of a person who is nothing without a man defending her, fighting for her, etc.

However, I can think of a few good examples that they don’t touch on in their discussion. Feel free to throw some more out there!

Yoruichi/Soi Fon- Bleach– okay, I know you have that Sailor Moon!whole lesbian love thing going on here, but these two are tight and no man is coming between them. Yoruichi’s “betrayal” of soul society put Soi Fon off, but in the end it did little to change her feelings. They have romance and camraderie holding them together like super glue.

Konoka/Setsuna- Negima!– wow, is there a lesbian undertone theme here? Yeah, it’s not intentional. Yes, Setsuna serves as Konoka’s protector and definitely feel some responisiblity from a childhood accident to be close to her. But it’s clear that these girls would be together anyway, duty or not, and nothing is going to change that.

Usagi/Rei/Ami/Makoto/Minako- Sailor Moon– finally, no undertones! (well so long as I don’t get into Haruka/Michiru) Again, we do have the “duty” element since Usagi is their princess. But that duty doesn’t have too much to do with their present day activities, and after the initial Rei/Usagi fight over Mamoru the five of them are extremely close (especially for teenagers) with that sexual tension that Haruka and Michiru have.

In creating this list, I have come to realize that I primarily thrive on male-centered shonen. I mean c’mon- only three examples? I’m pathetic! I need to broaden my horizons.

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Hmm. I don’t think they mentioned Fruits Basket – that’s got the whole friendship between Tohru, Uo, and Hana. The series has a good amount of romance, but I think these three characters rarely talk about that together. Mostly, they watch out for each other, stick up for each other, and take care of each other. It’s really nice, although Uo and Hana don’t get nearly as big a slice of the story as the Sohma family (understandable, considering that the story revolves around the Sohmas).

    I tend to be more into shojo than shonen, but, even so, it’s hard to think of more than the one title (I agree with you on your Bleach and Negima! examples – I don’t really know more than the basics about Sailor Moon, however). Azumanga Daioh was one of the first titles that popped into my head when I read your post, but they mentioned that on ANN (I’ve never thought of Azumanga Daioh as being something intended for guys, though, so that comment threw me off). In any other title I can think of, the girls are too centered on the guy characters, or the girls’ friends are so minimized it’s hard to even remember they actually have friends.

  2. 2

    madameotaku said,

    What about Tomoyo and Sakura from CCS? (Or their Tsubasa/Piffle World selves, for that matter…)

  3. 3

    badzphoto said,

    Coming via Mangablog.
    How about the friendships between Sora, Mia, and Anna in Kaleido Star anime,
    Akari, Akira, and Alice in Aria manga, Ayu and Nina in Ultra Maniac, Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki, Fuu Hououji in Magic Knight Rayearth, Nana O. and Nana K. in Nana.

  4. 4

    Nana O. and Nana K. in Nana.

    That’s the first one that leapt to my mind, too.

  5. 5

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