I am sure many of you are familiar with the
American Comic Witchblade. I’m not. I am however familiar with the anime
Witchblade based on the comic Witchblade. Though, I must admit I am not very
familiar with, in fact I have only seen four episodes, but I believe that is
more than enough for a feminist-analysis.

It’s a little hard to know where to begin,
so I will begin at the beginning. The show opens with Masane Amaha returning to
Tokyo with her daughter Rihoko. There was previously a catastrophic event that
ravaged Tokyo (as there always is) and Masane was found with Rihoko at ground

The supreme mother.

The first thing one notices in these
opening scenes is the size of Masane’s breasts. And they are an important
symbol. Breasts symbolise femininity, and motherhood, and she clearly loves her
daughter dearly. Early on it is revealed the Child Welfare group NSWF does not
believe she is a good mother and wishes to take her child away from her. The
female Child Welfare agent that does indeed succeed in separating Rihoko from
her mother does not have such large breasts. This could very well be used as a
symbol for her own un-motherly actions, and her lack of understanding of the
mother and daughter bond.

But before I go on I should mention the
Witchblade. It is a mystical weapon that was long sought after by men, but can
only be wielded by women. There are many things that this could symbolise. It
could be the clitoris—the female orgasm—but I believe that it symbolises
motherhood itself. I am sure my readers are aware that men cannot bare children.
And who did the Witchblade attach itself to? Masane herself—the woman that
symbolises absolute motherhood.

But it also symbolises the absolute sexual
power that women have over men. The Ex-Cons are monsters that Masane must fight
against. They are walking phallic images that are motivated by a sadistic
sexual desire that can only be achieved by brutally murdering people—mostly
women. And who are the Ex-Cons most attracted to? Who do they find most irresistible?
The supreme mother herself, Masane.

But to symbolise her power over them, and
to take the symbol further, Masane generally teases them for a moment, before
slicing their phallic image in two with sexual glee, showing that woman’s—the
mother’s— ability to take easily cut away a man’s very manhood.

Indeed, after they are separated Rihoko
seeks solace in a bar run by another woman with big breasts. She reluctantly helps
the helpless child, yet again showing that the breast symbolise a motherly
instinct. In fact, as cold as she is, it is clear that she does care for Rihoko
when she places a blanket over the small girl as she lies sleeping, arms around
the leg of a table.

Yet here we see the beginnings of the
cynical projection of women in an animation animated by men. Rihoko is the only
truly innocent character in the show male or female—in fact she is the only
female character without breasts that is portrayed positively. And perhaps this
stems from a child’s perceived sexual innocence. Without the breast she might
not be a mother—but more importantly she is not a sexual being. The women with
small breast are still women, but they are women good only for sex and not
motherhood, which greatly degrades all women.

For example, Shiori Tsuzuki, who is the secretary
of Tatsouki Furumizu, has small breasts, so is not fit to be a mother, or even
for a man’s sexual pleasure. This is symbolised by Shori’s infatuation with her
master, indeed Shiori is madly in lust with her master, and is of no use to
male sexuality.

But not all the women with small breasts
are lesbians, and indeed some do serve some sexual use for men. A woman with
small breasts bumps into Rihoko as she runs through a crowd, and she appears to
help the young girl, but a few scenes it is revealed that she in fact stole Rihoko’s
money. Not exactly a compassionate mother. But to symbolise that while she
might not be a mother, she can still serve her purpose as a sex object for men,
she is sexually brutalised by an Ex-Con in the form of forced penetration, and
to symbolise that she enjoyed it despite it being rape, she was killed by
‘heating her up’, through forced self-penetration by the Ex-Con. Heat being a
cultural metaphor for sexual arousal.

Indeed, the NSWF, which is in fact a cover
organisation who are desperately in search of the Witchblade, is populated by
large breasted women (lesbians aside) who wish to wield the Witchblade. But at
the top they are lead by a man. Perhaps Child Welfare symbolises female
infertility, indeed if the Witchblade symbolises female fertility, then it
must. These women are infertile, and are desperate to have children, so they
must search out the Witchblade.

But as the enlightened women of today know,
those women who desire children must have been coerced into it by someone, for
no intelligent woman could want children. Indeed, to further illustrate this
point I will point out that Masane is a complete klutz and suffers from a
severe lack of motor skills, which is a symptom of mental retardation, which in
itself, is a symptom of a non-conditioned desire for motherhood. This fact is
so real and unavoidable that even the male-psyches that produced the show
inadvertently included it.

But back to the coercion. Who could have
coerced them to it? Why, the head of the organisation himself, who is in fact
the father of one of them. And perhaps this symbol could be taken further, and
he could be seen as the father of all of them. In fact, he should be seen as an
abusive father who does not want his infertile daughters to have a sexuality,
but he even he knows that they do, and he knows that the only way for a woman’s
sexuality to exist and be right in the male-psyche is if they are mothers.

And now we come to the most interesting
little piece of this sexist puzzle, and that is the creator of the Ex-Cons
themselves—the creators of manhood. The Ex-Cons were created by the Douji
Group. The Douji Group is lead by a powerful man—the alpha male. The show shows
that in the male psyche a woman’s motivation is either motherhood or lust, and
he coerces Masane into helping him destroy the Ex-Cons by offering her, her
daughter. Perhaps this is their only concession in that he is helping a woman
destroy his own manhood, but more likely it is the most disturbing projection
of the whole show.

You see, during the great quake the Ex-Cons
were accidentally released, and perhaps this symbolises that the Alpha-Male
himself is so male, that he must have all the women to himself. It is how wolf
packs operate, with the alpha-male going from female to female and impregnating
them one by one.

Finally, though, we come to one of the
least subtle symbols in Witchblade. The Tokyo Tower. It is a towering phallic
image that reaches up into the sky. Early on in the show Masane tells Rihoko
that if they get separated they will meet at the Tokyo Tower, and after
escaping from the NSWF Rihoko runs to the comfort of the phallic image.
Eventually Masane takes her there. Perhaps this symbolises that the two are
still linked by their sexuality, and that no matter how old, and no matter how
young Rihoko is, she is still nothing more than a sex object, just as all women
are in the male-psyche. Indeed, Masane was taken to her daughter by a man, and
as the credits roll, one can only imagine what horrors are being done to the
young, innocent, Rihoko.

And on that truly disturbing symbol I’m
afraid I can not go on as I have watched any more, and I wish I didn’t have to
watch any more. But I must, for I watch it so you may not.

She's not smiling anymore...

Posted by Foolz Tue, 17 Mar 2009 12:02:17 (comments: 5)
Tue, 17 Mar 2009 12:43:14

Watch this!

Tue, 17 Mar 2009 12:52:05

I can't tell you too much about this anime or the feminist aspect, but I can give you a little information about the actual comic book (though I've never read more than an issue or two).  Witchblade was part of the "bad girl" trend of the early and mid 90's in comics.  The thought being that if you had a comic book with scantily clad woman with huge breasts as the title character, the book would sell.  And it worked to some extent, but it was a pretty short lived period and soon went bust (no pun intended).  Plenty of new characters came along during this time (Ghost, Lady Death, and an infinite number of characters published by Image Comics) and even older characters were revamped a bit to fit in with the trend (Psylocke of the X-men).  

Witchblade is unique in that it was really the only book introduced during this time that actually survived into the new millenia.  I believe it's still published today though more sporadically as it is an independent comic.  The original writer Mark Silvestri did a good job of making the story and history of the Witchblade very compelling, but most of all he did a good job with the main character Sara.  She was more than a pair of breasts and I know a lot of women who were really into the comic because of that.  And I'm sure that's why today the book has been rolled into movies, tv, anime, etc.  

Tue, 17 Mar 2009 13:04:40
... too much reading. That wrist thing looks exactly like the new weapon in that futuristic shooter, though.

The few times I've ever heard the term Witchblade, I thought it related to Highlander, which I also know nothing about.
Wed, 18 Mar 2009 21:21:19

So Lorena Bobbit is kind of like Germaine Greer in a way?

And... the NSWF is also NSFW.

Thu, 19 Mar 2009 17:34:05
Oh yeah IGA I am watching Transformers Super God Masterforce, 80s japanese transformers anime. Its pretty good Happy
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