So I suggested Cardcaptor Sakura as a more pleasant alternative to Yu-Gi-Oh! Like everything else I write, this requires some background. Indulge me. And my tendency to run words together inconsistenly.
The story begins with a cute little girl named Sakura Kinomoto. One day, Sakura is in her father's library and finds a book named The Clow. The Clow is a large book with a gold lion on the front and originally held the Clow Cards. As Sakura held the book in her hands, it began to glow. Cerberus (aka Kero-chan), a little critter with wings, emerges from The Clow's cover and asks Sakura to capture the Clow Cards. Kero-chan was sleeping on the job, so the Clow Cards escaped. Sakura is given the title of the Card Captor and the Key that can catch the Clow Cards. The Key can grow to staff-size and also can use the powers of previously captured Clow Cards! Sakura is reluctant to become the Card Captor at first, but Kero-chan informs her that if she fails in capturing the Clow Cards, Disaster is certain.
The Key and the Clow Cards are not the only things in Sakura's arsenal. Thanks to Tomoyo Daidouji, Sakura's best friend, she also has cell phones, mini-computers, and...COSTUMES!! ^_^ Tomoyo loves to make costumes for Sakura and then film her, so it only makes sense that she would film Sakura performing her Card Captor duties while wearing her creations. "It's the Birth of the Card Captor!"
Oh, shut up. It's a Geocities anime fan site. You're lucky I didn't include the Comic Sans MS font tag.
Anyway, that last bit about Tomoyo. . . er, they have a different attitude towards such things over there. See also: Sailors Neptune and Uranus. Oh, the eternal debate. . . Anyway, according to theory.org.uk, and with a name like that, it has to be good:
So is Japan more liberal about these issues?
Jennifer says: "This is not to say that Japan is a queer-positive society overall, for it is not. Japanese society is more accepting of many things western cultures actively seek to destroy, but only under the understanding that the matters in question are kept private. Few Japanese parents would welcome the prospect of a queer child, and there is a certain exclusion offered openly queer individuals in Japan, for they are considered odd, or different, and being 'different' in Japan is a source of interest, but also immediate suspicion.
"So, perhaps the best way to understand the representation of queer folk as positive, or at least comically human, characters in Japanese media, is to see Japan as a culture fascinated by difference, precisely because it is maintained as a homogeneous society. It is a culture that is not overly hateful towards queer issues, but neither is embracing by any means, and finds acceptance of the queer mostly as entertainment, or as a hidden and therefore unoffensive, subculture. The hidden nature of queer culture in Japan is not, however, linked with dread fear of violence as might be often found in western culture, but is rather more an extension of the general social disdain for overt expressions of intimacy of any sort."
Er, there's quite a bit more there, actually, but I won't ask you to indulge me that much. The extended quote is from Jennifer Diane Reitz of Accursed Toys fame. She also runs Transsexual.org, if you're wondering about her bona fides with such things.
I was talking about a children's cartoon at one point, wasn't I?
Right, um, there's a comparison of the original version and the edited all to hell US broadcast disaster at CCSvsCC. Y'know, CardCaptor Sakura vs. Cardcaptors.
Update: Want to know more? God, you're a glutton for punishment. See toastyfrog's guide to anime for help with bizarre terms like, um, anime, and Anime Web Turnpike is an invaluable source of Geocities fan pages that use Comic Sans MS where someone over the age of 13 would not.
Time for more coffee, I think.
Update 2: See also: Media, Gender and Identity by David Gauntlett.
Media, Gender and Identity provides a new introduction to, and analysis of, the relationship between the media and gender identities today.
Since many of the key texts on media and gender were written, a lot has changed. We've seen the rise of 'girl power' and better roles for women in TV and film, plus the emergence of cocky new lifestyle magazines for men whilst we hear that masculinity is 'in crisis'. The worlds of pop music and magazines give women assertive, aspirational messages, whilst texts for men are both cheerfully virile and quietly insecure. New identities abound, but some traditional images persist too.
Within this landscape of complex media messages, there are individuals trying to establish their own identities, to feel comfortable in themselves and as part of society. Media influences are clearly subtle and indirect, so how can we understand them? David Gauntlett proposes a new route through this question, providing clear chapters on theorists Anthony Giddens, Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, to show how recent ideas in identity negotiation and queer theory can be used to understand the place of popular media in people's lives.
Or, you know, you could just buy Cardcaptor Sakura and watch the pretty cartoon. It's not necessary to overanalyze everything to death, after all.
That's why I'm here.