Amidst the hulking bodies of twelve year-old boys who look like men, and grown men whose bodies rival those of only the greatest bodybuilders, it’s easy to overlook the development of Erina Joestar neé Pendleton, the love interest of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure‘s first protagonist, Jonathan Joestar. After all, what viewer would pay attention to an unremarkable supporting character when there are bombastic fights to be had, powers to be gained, and fabulous musical fade-ins with Yes’s “Roundabout?”
The answer is a large number of people, when said unremarkable supporting character has become a powerful and formidable matron. More surprising is how easily her new role simply fit. Characterization, and character progression, are shadowy demons who often escape the grasp of even the most competent. For Erina’s transition to be so widely-accepted, the groundwork had to be laid early.
“Did you only just notice? We’ve known each other since middle school.”
This post is meant to be read in tandem with A Day Without Me’s post over at her blog, GAR GAR Stegosaurus. If you haven’t given it a look I strongly suggest you do. Stemming from this post, an immediate reaction to Episode 12 of Hyouka, and the off-handed suggestion that Satoshi Fukube, the self-titled database of Hyouka‘s high school detective team, is in fact gay.
Thus, the two of us set out in search of just how much evidence existed to support our theory and returned with some surprisingly sound results culminating in these parallel posts. Hers was to focus on what she calls “signposts:” signifying common characteristics that are meant to be seen and recognized by the audience as homosexual, regardless of whether they are true to life or not. Mine, as you are about to discover, was to focus on the development and nuances within Satoshi’s interactions with others as framed by the series itself.
Or: Better Understanding Through Looking at Gender
A brown-haired girl sits in seiza, looking into the camera wearing a blue and pink kimono
I got into a conversation in another part of the anisphere about female main characters. The blog post was here and it compared Tohru of Fruits Basket to Sawako Kuronuma of Kimi ni Todoke (the inferior Sawako, if you ask me… Sawa-chan <3). At the culmination of the comments dialog I came to some interesting realizations about gender performance in our animated heroines and heroes. See, we talk a lot about the need for “strong, female characters”, but as Kate Beaton noted, they don’t always serve. I would like to take this time, instead, to proffer up an examination of how a close look at gender helps flesh out both simple, straightforward characters and more complex ones.
“Endymion the shepherd,
as his flock he guarded,
She, the Moon, Selene,
saw him, loved him, sought him,
coming down from Heaven
to the glade on Latmus,
kissed him, lay beside him.
Blessed is his fortune.
Evermore he slumbers,
tossing not nor turning,
Endymion the shepherd.”
The Comtesse, scheming her way up the social ladder.
The story of Rose of Versailles is a well-known one (as is its influence in other successful series like Revolutionary Girl Utena), partially ripped from the scandalous and eventually bloody headlines of the French Revolution. It follows the Lady Oscar de Jarjayes, who has been raised as a boy her entire life and rises to a prominent position as head of the French royal guard, becoming a retainer of sorts for Marie Antoinette. The story primarily focuses on Oscar and Marie; however, ten episodes into the series, my attention was captured by another fairly prominent historical figure and character: The Comtesse duBarry.