< Piro >
Sunday - September 10, 2000
The placement of large caliber handguns, large bore assault weapons and heavy artillery in the hands of female characters is nothing new. Hollywood has been doing it for years, FPS games had female characters to choose from since Quake II, and It amazes me how many fan art sites (in particular here in the US) that show cute, scantily clad females holding some form of firearm. I suppose that is has something to do with combining two strong desires of the male psyche - sexy women and cool weaponry.
To me, this doesn't really work too well. I tend to groan inwardly when i see female characters running around with guns. So often there is no good reason for these characters to be so heavily armed (other than the fact it looks cool). We've all seen the b-movies where the women wear body armor that seems to me to protect them far less than ordinary street clothes, yet are able to lay a path of destruction without streaking their makeup. There are countless examples of this in anime and manga too.
There are, of course, many exceptions. The gratuitous gunplay in Gunsmith Cats is the whole point of the story, and is well carried out. The master, Masamune Shirow, i don't think is capable of drawing women without some sort of artillery or mecha element involved. In cases like this, the characters are comfortable with their iron, feel natural with it, and have the personalities that make their obsession with high explosives very believable.
And I suppose this brings up a point - what does make a successful gun toting gal? Shirow and Sonoda develop characters where the munitions are very much a part of their personality. This is not easy to do. I myself don't think I could develop a character of this that would be successful. Why not? It's easy, just slap her in a cute top, some short shorts and a nice big Glock 20 and give her a good pose with the wind blowin her hair... gaaaack. no. To me, this is degrading, insulting to women and people who respect firearms. Most of all it is just plain stupid.
The key is personality. If you haven't noticed by now, I tend to do a lot of contrast pieces - placing established characters in clothing and situations that are outside of what you would expect them to do, but not so outrageous that it doesn't work (my personal fave is this drawing of Vampire Princess Miyu wearing a cute DKNY outfit). Hoshino Ruri in combat gear and about to frag your sorry ass is an image that just makes me chuckle. The image is believable - Ruri is wearing combat gear, not some scanty outfit. She can take a few hits - and she can give em too. :P This is out of character for Ruri - but at the same time, it works with her character. There is contrast, but it is a believable contrast. Now I just gotta build that 3d model someday...
BTW, it looks like the schedule for Megatokyo has come together like this. There will be a new strip every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as Largo's little rant. My rants will show up the next day (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), and with luck I'll have a new sketch up over at Fredart sometime over the weekends.