This is from my old blog. It was popular so I thought it was worth re-posting and should support a controversial series of posts I shall inflict upon the cyber world in the near future.
The Girl Always Conforms
There is an issue a friend of mine in the animation industry has noticed: in boys stories the protagonist gets to stay his dumpy self and realize potential, a girl however, is always coerced out of her geeky exterior and transformed into a something that is easier on the eyes. Her concern goes as follows:
“I just want to see a movie about how computer engineer Barbie can’t fit in with the other girl computer engineers and has to have a Nerd Makeover to win friends.”
Personally, I always liked the transformation and wished the same for male characters. However, it does raise the important issue of how historically it is believed that a woman’s beauty is her greatest asset. Yet, shouldn’t enlightened society look beyond beauty and seek the soul? It worked for Cleopatra and Elizabeth I, why not our cartoon heroines?
I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite girl transformations from two cartoons.
A guy friend of commented that he could not relate to this cartoon because who’s ever seen such a cute girl nerd? He’s used to boy stories where the underdog slob saves the day and never undergoes a makeover. Galaxy High is a “different” kind of cartoon. It’s very Japanese in story. I’ve noticed in contrast to Westerners, they have no problem giving their studly yet whining protagonist a kick in the butt as Doyle deserved.This redemption theme is pulled off more successfully in Spirited Away and Cowboy bebop.
Ouran Host Club
What can I say. This is my favorite current anime. It really solidified the now popular
“reverse harem” genre. Haruhi wasn’t really transformed. She was just in a transition stage in her style because some kid in her neighborhood got gum in her hair, she lost her contact lenses her first day at Ouron Academy and the new school uniforms were way too expensive at $3500 a piece!
In Superficial, Soleil Smile will go through such a transformation, but only on a special occasion. Tommy Turquiose will attempt to transform Soleil into something she is not at the party and Sakura will come to Soleil’s rescue. Nami provides the incentive: there are guys actually worth dressing up for at this party. That has always been a pet peeve of mine; dumpy looking guys expecting glamorous girlfriends just because they have money. It’s about time a writer reversed that trend started by the Seinfeld series. It might as well be me.