I have long been an observer of the pop culture landscape. While I never directly engage with it to protect both sanity (and because I don’t have the time to waste on that bullshit) I have always enjoyed watching the “discourse” evolve around entertainment and the people involved in it. Is that weird? Kinda, but we all got our interests I suppose.
One thing that I’ve noticed in the last few years, is that in the west, there seems to be a real battle over the depiction of women in cartoons and media, and while I am absolutely not an expert in that field, I’ve been coming to the conclusion that, in terms of the west, female characters often seem hampered by the need to be about “something.” Too often I find that female characters are often held to impossible standards, and that they must spend more time constantly justifying their existence or fighting for a “cause” than just being actual characters. Female characters have to adhere to silly shallow ideas of “strong” and “independent” and aren’t allowed the vast creative freedoms offered to male characters. They can’t just be normal, they can’t be people full of flaws or virtues. They are always judged by how they contribute to “the cause,” whatever that cause may be.
Anime I’ve seen, doesn’t suffer from that problem. As the medium is almost neatly split down the middle, with a large, respected and well entrenched female fan-base. I’ve noticed that female characters are often given far more creative liberty and freedom to encompass a wide range of archetypes. Most of all though, they are allowed to be just be people, and the best example I’ve seen lately came from the most unexpected place. After the cut let’s take a character dive into the titular lead of Magical Sempai: Magical Sempai.
((For the sake of avoiding confusion, I will now refer to the lead character as just ‘Sempai’))