I’m talking about those kinds of notions.
(Spoilers in this post)
After Boku no Hero Academia episode 22, Uraraka became a fan favorite for displaying great tenacity against Bakugou’s fierce attacks. However, there was a moment during the match that could be considered distasteful.
Some members within the crowd began booing Bakugou’s for seemingly bullying “the poor girl.” However, these hecklers were incorrect since Bakugoku was actually being cautious during their battle. Because he respected Uraraka’s strength as an opponent, he did not dismiss her and took care to not overexert his ability in an attempt to blow her out-of-bounds (note that his hands were shaking after he countered Uraraka’s surprise attack).
While these spectator’s comments were out of concern for Uraraka, the remarks came across as sounding sexist and dismissive towards her efforts. The audience also belittled Bakugou’s efforts as he was genuinely trying to win – it’s just that Uraraka was incredibly determined to withstand his attacks and aim for victory.
Eraserhead ends up stepping in and harshly rebukes the jeerers for their lackluster insight. Bakugou also compliments Uraraka’s courage and strength in his own way after their peers chimed in and implied that Uraraka is a “frail girl.” All’s well that ends well, right?
Some would say no.
Although the sentiments expressed by the audience were proved to have no basis, the inclusion of said remarks could be considered unnecessary. Why are such sexist remarks included other than to strike an emotional chord with the audience?
The only sort of defense I can muster for its inclusion is realism. Despite the fact that the series features supernatural powers in the form of Quirks, the series has always been relatable due to how characters and events are depicted. Some people are bullied and pushed around like how Deku/Izuku was at the beginning of Boku no Hero Academia. And in Japan, such bullying is often not thwarted by the teacher, who may pretend to not notice. Koe no Katachi would be another, more depressing example of this sort of situation.
Realistically portraying uneducated, prejudiced reactions or comments also show up in yuri anime, as shown by Aoi Hana. For instance, Yasuko, one of the show’s main female characters, causes someone to fall into silent shock after revealing that she had dated Fumi, another female lead character. But that’s how a lot of people in real life react towards sudden revelations regarding sexuality. While we’re gradually becoming more open-minded as a whole, the world is still relatively heteronormative. And fiction is no different.
Dramatic yuri media (manga and visual novels are better examples than anime in this regard) are often centered around a girl’s realization of her sexuality and preference towards other girls, for example. And if the girl in question gets around to confessing her feelings to the girl she loves, she often cries while apologizing for being “gross.” It’s a genuine fear that afflicts both characters and people, unfortunately, and it is a shame that some people are led to hold poor self-image of themselves due to their sexuality.
But is the realistic depiction of ugly yet common occurrences a strong enough reason to include such comments or reactions? Other series portray a more idealized world, such as Yuri!!! on ICE where there are no instances of homophobia or prejudice to be seen. Does such a romanticized setting undermine attempts at making people more cognizant and open-minded? Or is it fine for fiction to leave out sexist and homophobic content since the real world has enough of that to deal with already?
It really comes down to preferences and either side can probably make a compelling argument. But I also think that people should try to be open-minded about this and not see this issue as black-or-white.
What do you think about this? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!