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Tiger and Bunny: Rad and Bad Anime Dads

Tiger and Bunny: Rad and Bad Anime Dads

Since its inception, the superhero genre has been the playground of the male power fantasy. With their extraordinary abilities, superheroes exert control in an uncontrollable world. They function outside the law and society, beholden only to an honor code they impose upon themselves. Instead of being limited by their tragic backstories, they rise above them and seek to right the wrongs the villains of the world committed against them.

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Paradise Kiss: Modeling Agency

Paradise Kiss: Modeling Agency

Yukari’s success is due to her initiative, yes, but she is helped along amply by those around her, with no real obstacles other than her mother’s obstinacy. While this is preferable to a salacious soap opera where she is exploited at every turn, it all just seems a bit too glossed over. There is, on the other hand, a distinct advantage. Yazawa’s version of the fashion world is one dominated by women, allowing Yukari to meet and be mentored by accomplished women in her field.

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Paradise Kiss: Girls, Interrupted

Paradise Kiss: Girls, Interrupted

While Yukari’s story is a wonderful coming age story of a girl learning not to be defined by those around her, the female secondary characters, Miwako and Isabella, are not so lucky. Although they too are coming of age in their own right, their storylines are severely lacking compared to Yukari’s.

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Paradise Kiss: A Coming of Agency Tale

Paradise Kiss: A Coming of Agency Tale

Paradise Kiss could easily have been a standard “Girl meets boy, girl’s life is changed forever” narrative. Luckily, in the capable hands of Ai Yazawa, it instead becomes a beautifully drawn, thoughtful meditation on adulthood, ambition, and the ways we hurt the ones we care about. With the issues of agency, identity, and non-conformism front and center, Paradise Kiss has the potential to be a powerfully feminist narrative, and while not an unqualified success, it certainly succeeds on some levels.

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