Tag Archives: april fools

The Feminism of Prince Zuko

Zuko is the most feminist character in Avatar.

Sure, there are a lot of other contenders – a fact which reflects well on the show. Katara’s competence at waterbending, her slight motherly bent, and her suffer-no-fools attitude combine to make her the most obvious choice. But while Katara has power, it also comes with a distinct “horror show” streak, as shown in the episode about bloodbending. Ultimately, the implication that fully exploring her power is morally dangerous undercuts her purity as a vehicle for a feminist message – if her power is tainted, is female power itself then tainted by association? If Katara must limit herself to be decent, does that mean women should limit themselves?  Is there something sinister about a woman behaving at her full potential?

Suki, the Kiyoshi Island warrior, must be rejected for different reasons. Despite a promising start proving herself the equal of any other warrior, she manages to get knocked out and captured – off screen, no less – and then plays only a small part in the episode dedicated to her escape from prison. In between telling the compelling story of Sokka and his father, and introducing the plight of the other prisoners in the Fire Nation maximum-security prison, the writers sideline and diminish her to the point where she is less a character than a plot device.

Suki’s most heroic moment comes when she states that she is willing to return to captivity to help Sokka get another shot at freeing his father; aside from this one difficult decision, she is reduced to being another damsel in distress until near the very end of the escape. Even Suki’s decision is not given the weight it deserves; her suffering and emotions after being a female, mistreated prisoner of war for months are not really explored. No doubt much of this is to spare kids watching it the horrors of war, but the result is an unfortunate glossing over of Suki’s feelings and burden, as if they don’t really matter next to the great and glorious task the males are fixated on.  She doesn’t even get screen time to agonize over the decision, which would at least make the audience stop and think about just how much Sokka asks of her.

While we’re on the topic of women in the story, Azula has to be mentioned. Here is someone who ostensibly fills the role of a powerful woman, but she is repeatedly presented as so reprehensible and out of touch with humanity that she seems more like a parody of feminism set up by its critics than any kind of advertisement for it. Azula is less a human character and more a devious, malicious spirit wearing a villain suit that happens to be female. She is not shown wrestling with serious urges to be more feminine, difficulties with social pressure, or desire to find a man mingled with resentment that people would assume such. (She does attempt to become better socialized in one episode, but fails horribly and brushes the matter aside in favor of burning down the house in revenge.)  Azula’s psychosis alienates people, but while she uses social pressure as a weapon, she doesn’t really allow herself to care all that much about it, and that’s where she goes wrong as an exploration of the dialectic between women and power. Her gender, much like the spectacular self-destruction tacked on to the end of her story, is an afterthought.

Zuko? Zuko wanted something so badly that he betrayed himself to try to make it happen. He’s insecure and repeatedly undercuts his own intentions to try to please a distant and uncaring authority figure. That’s something teen and preteen girls in Western society can instantly relate to – certainly better than most guys of that age. While Ozai sacrificed his own family members for the throne, and Azula goes to great lengths to torment people because she’s a catty bitch, what Zuko seeks above all is a happy and harmonious household. He wants a nice, domestic scene.

It might seem odd to say the best story in Avatar about the female experience is that of a male, but if we accept that the world unevenly applies rules, that there is nothing inherently wrong with women wielding power, and that women often start from a position of being socially disadvantaged and must work harder to prove themselves, Zuko’s tale is the one that fits.  Zuko’s ultimate lesson is to learn to be true to himself despite what the world thinks, and as Liz Phair once said: “Be yourself, because if you can get away with it, that is the ultimate feminist act.”

Anime Blogging Collective War Ends; All Bow Before Owen S

“It was an April Fool’s Day joke, we swear!” former rebels claim before being executed

Owen proclaims the new regime

MALAYSIA–the week-long civil war within the Anime Blogging Collective, founded by Owen S, is now over with the final surrender of all the breakaway and expelled blogs. The surrender was signed on board the USS Saturn-9 on April 1, 2008. The signers were then all blindfolded and executed by firing squad.

“Today,” Owen declared, “is a sad, and also triumphant day for the Collective. The imperial running dogs and their allies have been defeated, but fresh blood must enter the collective to replace what it has lost. We must embark upon the task of rebuilding, with new friends and allies who believe in the Revolution and the Cause of the Collective.” He then announced new leaders for all the formerly rebellious blogs.

The conflict began when CJ Blackwing, the leader of Borderline Hikkikomori, was expelled for noncompliance with the Clannad and True Tears Watching Act. She voiced her dissent publicly and was joined many other bloggers who concurred with her scurrilous assessment of Owen S as a “dictator,” and before long, all-out battle ensued. While some stood on the sidelines, Leader Owen mobilized his army, which included Anime Diet, and after many intense battles was able to recapture all the lost territory.

“The future of the ABC is bright,” Owen said. “Now that we are once again united behind my singular vision for anime blogging, we plan to increase the quota output by 50% in next month’s One-Month Plan. This incident proves that the Collective is the wave of the future, and that when bloggers unite, there is no stopping them.” He then added with a smirk, “And who will now think of even joking around with me?”

“Ray Hu’s” True Identity Revealed

BUFFALO, NY – Following a member of Section 9, our reporter busted down Ray Hu’s door and we have discovered his real identity.”Ray Hu”, or according to his driver’s license, Ricardo James Hunter, was hiding in his grandparents’ basement in upstate New York. When we found him, he was downing a can of Bud, scratching his privates, and viewing a certain anime involving kendo women, mermaids, and bikini girls with machine guns.

The 5’4″ white male tried to put up a struggle, but fell on his face into a puddle of his own puke.

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Editorial: Why We Love Owen S

Owen S, the Great and Illustrious Mind and Founder of the Anime Blogging Collective, is our noble master! Born in a faraway land, it was his initiative to begin the Glorious Revolution which would overthrow the AnimeNano and Animeblogger imperial running dogs’ regime and lead us toward the shining path of the Collective. From the beginning, Anime Diet has stood proudly with the Dear Founder as he led more and more of the blogging world to the light, to the wave of the future: the Blogging Collective, in which all speak as one.

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Hirano Aya Not Performing Hahiru Sequel

Hirano Aya

TOKYO – Today, Hirano Aya announced to the cyber public that she will not be performing voice acting for the upcoming Suzumiya Hahiru sequel at a press conference at Ishita Electronics in Akiba. The announcement was made after her private performance in a closed room for the 偽prime minister of Japan, Taro Aso.

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Revived Geneon USA Licenses Everything

GRIMES, IA–The once moribund Geneon Entertainment (USA), its fortunes revived by an anonymous $5 billion bequest, has licensed all past, present, and future anime for North American release.

“This is a huge victory for the future of anime in America,” Eiji Orii, the CEO of Geneon USA. “Now there will be no more need for fansubs of any kind, ever again. We would like to thank our anonymous donor for his kindness and generosity in making this possible.” When asked for any clues to the identity of the donor, Mr. Orii smiled slyly. “Let’s just say that he is not Japanese and he runs a very large review site. That’s all I’ll say.”

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Pokemon Kids Terrorize Kanagawa Neighborhood

Pikachu

KANAGAWA PREFECTURE – At 3 AM today, children in the prefecture of Kanagawa who watched too many Pokemon episodes with lights off on purpose began to report dizziness, headaches, vomiting, and an urge to attack adults with squeals and eating human flesh.

As most of the kids were sent to the hospital right away, the first victims were the nurses, and then, the doctors.

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