What will stop the bastardizing of Japanese cartoons here in North America? It's bad enough that Sailor Moon and company are now Scouts and nearly all of them have had their names changed for no good reason. Worse yet that Zoisite was turned into a girl. But to wreck perfectly good female role models is unforgiveable.
What are young women to do? Who are they supposed to look up to? Are they supposed to follow Ash and his exploits as he captures all the Pokemon? Well, of course they will, because our society hasn't given them any choice. My generation at least had She-Ra, though I didn't like the show.
Well, of course, this generation has Sailor Moon and Powerpuff Girls. Is it any wonder that girls of all ages are sporting PG T-shirts? They don't have any choice! As for Sailor Moon...
It's all well and good that we have quite a number of strong female characters in this show. We even have a great diversity of personalities and goals. We have Amy - the intellectual, Lita - the tough cook, Mina - the elegant fighter, Serena - the screw-up with a good heart. Good. Great. Yay! But did they have to ruin two very cool characters?
Oh, Amara and Michelle still have their cool moments, I admit. How could they not? Their animation is that of Haruka and Michiru, so they're bound to have some cool moments -- when neither of them is talking.
Now Haruka is a famous race car driver, she's one of the very best in Japan. She also plays a mean piano, races motorcycles, and is just overall doing very well for herself. Competing in a man's sport is a very tough thing to do. And she does it well.
Michiru is a very talented violinist and a famous artist. She is also doing very well for herself. It's very difficult to excel in two vastly different fields like that. I'll also mention that Haruka and Michiru are very intelligent, do well in school, and have other great qualities that just make them phenomenally cool. Not just to the Sailor senshi, but to us, the audience, as well.
So when they transform into Amara and Michelle, how could they possibly lose all these cool qualities? Easily, with a few well-placed words by our trusty re-writers. Amara and Michelle both give up their dreams -- racing, painting, music -- not to pursue their new destiny (fighting as senshi), but because they're "not good enough".
Not only are they very bad racers, artists, and musicians, but they're quitters as well. That's right, girls, just give up if you don't think you're talented enough. Hard work doesn't count for anything.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Michelle later gets tagged as a "social failure". In the original, that line was meant to indicate she was somewhat of a recluse. Nothing wrong in that. But how did that get translated into "social failure". My word!
Is this a ploy to make the inner senshi look better? It sure seemed like it once Pluto showed up. Her voice is entirely too young-sounding for the very old Pluto. It makes Darien look like the most mature of the lot, when it should rightfully be Pluto. But back to Amara and Michelle.
Why do they have to be cousins? You can't be close with another person unless they're your cousin? You can't care deeply for someone unless they're related to you? You can't sacrifice yourself for their sake because they're just a friend? What kind of message is this sending to girls and their best friends?
And now I come to the title of this essay, or rant, whatever you'd like to call it. Card Captor Sakura has been perverted into Cardcaptors, but it might as well be called Card Captor Li.
They entirely cut the episodes where Sakura is finding out about the cards and learning how to capture them. They skipped all the scenes where we get to see her acting independently with only a semi-helpful Kerochan to assist her. They jump right to the first episode with Li-kun. Then they jump around some more to find episodes that feature him prominently.
You cannot take a mahou shoujo (magical girl) title and turn it into a shounen (boys) title. Well, I speak falsely, apparently you can. But it's a travesty that they felt it necessary. What? Girls don't watch cartoons? Of course they're not watching Pokemon which is on before and after it, because Pokemon is a shounen series! Don't try to draw the girls in and get their ratings. That'd be just terrible. More people to market to. More people buying all the anime goodies. Sigh.
This rant has been brewing in my mind for awhile, but what finally set it off was the commercial I saw today for Cardcaptors. We're treated with a very lovely clip of Li shouting his lovely rhyming incantation. You know the one, about releasing the light. Did we also get a clip of Sakura, the heroine and main character of the show? No. Did we at least get a clip of her best friend, Tomoyo? No.
No. Of course not.
Carry this to its logical conclusion, folks. If what was done to anime were done to other shows, Joxer would be sky-rocketed to stardom. It wouldn't matter that he's not in every episode. It wouldn't matter that he's only a supporting character. It wouldn't matter that Xena and Gabrielle are very strong, talented women who could carry the show themselves.
It would only matter that Joxer was a man.