If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any significant amount of time, you’ll know that I gravitate towards female writers—a tendency I wasn’t even fully aware of myself until the moment I realized that nearly all of the series that made my personal top ten list a couple of years ago had been written by women. Fortunately, this preference tends to offer me a fairly spectacular array of terrific female characters to meet and fall in love with, and I’ll be grateful to the Japanese comics industry forever for nurturing the talent of so many incredible female artists and publishing them in such volume.
Unfortunately, there is one female-dominated manga genre in which female characters are drastically under-utilized (and often vilified), and that would be boys’ love. And yes, I do realize that a love story in which both members of the primary romance are male will inevitably have male characters at its center, and that there isn’t often room in the romantic universe of two for anyone else of significance. Still, I admit I long to see relatable female characters as essential parts of any story, and I tend to hold BL authors who agree in the highest regard.
The male-centric sensibility often applies to shoujo manga as well—particularly those penned by creators who enjoy a strong undercurrent of BL subtext in their work, and this absolutely describes Yun Kouga. After all, even Gestalt‘s kick-ass heroine, Ouri, is actually a man temporarily endowed with a female form. Still, Kouga-sensei does not let me down! Female characters are always part of the fabric of her stories, even the most BL-rific of her worlds. For today’s 3 Things Thursday, I’ll look at three of these!
3 favorite female characters in the worlds of Yun Kouga:
1. Gestalt: Suzu – Ouri is a scene-stealing character from Gestalt‘s start to its finish, but I admit that my true heart belongs to dark elf Suzu, who begins as an antagonist, sent by the church to capture and return Father Olivier, and slowly but surely becomes part of our heroes’ party. Though she’s a character who is slow to open up, even to the reader, this scene in volume three in which she finds the courage to battle her sisters, by whom she’s been made to feel inadequate for pretty much her entire life, really begins to reveal who Suzu is. And that Suzu is awesome.
2. Earthian: Elvira – Though Earthian‘s romantic drama revolves largely around its primary couple—partnered angels Chihaya and Kagetsuya—a major key to its larger plot is human/angel hybrid Elvira, daughter of the fallen angel Seraphim, who fell in love with a human woman. Her role is complicated in many ways, but it’s her persistence that brings to light the angels’ true plans for the Earthian. She’s smart, angry, manipulative when she needs to be, and I can’t get enough of her.
3. Loveless: Yamato & Kouya – It may seem like I’m cheating by choosing these two characters together, but together is the way they belong, and they’re willing to risk life as they know it to ensure that it’s how they’ll remain. The story of this “Zero” team is one of my favorites in Loveless‘ early volumes, and I particularly love the way that Kouga-sensei references and then rejects the trope sometimes known as “Bury Your Gays” by setting these two up to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their love, and then turning that completely on its head. Also, they just kick ass.
Do you have favorite female characters created by Yun Kouga? Share them here!
To submit your contributions to the Yun Kouga MMF for inclusion in this month’s archive, please send your links by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter to @mbeasi between now and Saturday, July 20th. If you would like your contribution(s) to be hosted at Manga Bookshelf, please email them to MJ, along with any included images. Contributions to the Yun Kouga MMF will be archived here.
li_izumi saysJuly 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm
Yeah, Suzu is probably my favorite character in Gestalt as well, though I do adore Ouri as well.
AshLynx saysFebruary 3, 2014 at 12:37 am
It’s been ages since we’ve had another 3 Things Thursday column :(
Melinda Beasi saysApril 10, 2014 at 10:38 am
I know. It’s been ages since I was able to sit down and write anything longer than a couple of sentences. But I see light at the end of the tunnel! There should be more soon!