Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Talking to an Akane fanboy

First I'd like to point out that I do not hate Akane. In fact I can sympathize with her fairly often and have defended her on several occasions. Having said that, I recently have gotten into an argument with an Akane fan boy. They were of the Saint Akane stance. I don't mind defending Akane but you should not demonize the other characters while doing so. While Akane is not a bad person and probably one of the nicest people in the manga she is far from a saint.

Generally I try to avoid these arguments since I find them to be pointless. I can show as much evidence/ logical thinking as I want and it generally does not change the persons opinion. Generally these type of arguments turn into flame wars or one side just stops arguing. Which is why I'm surprised this particular one went as long as it did and did not turn into a "I'm right and your wrong and nothing you can say will change that" type thing. I do not believe I changed the persons stance much if at all though (this is not a direct copy of the talk it is a cleaned up version, sticks to only on topic stuff, and points have been separated more - in original talk were more clumped together - talk is very one-sided because original was one-sided, the fanboy was not very good at bringing up counter points, fanboy should have dropped the comparison to Ranma and instead have listed Akane's good points or compared her to someone else - or have brought up Ranma's more negative traits such as his occasional Machiavellian tendencies).

Fanboy claims that Akane is a very independent girl.
Me - Is not independent at all, constantly relies on others for most things. She can't cook, clean, sew, or really take care of herself in any way, goes to Ranma whenever she has a problem, etc.

Fanboy claims Akane always has a valid reason to hit Ranma and he deserves it.
Me - Even supposing physical violence is okay to retaliate with it still is a false statement. Akane has hit Ranma for no or very poor reasons several times in the manga. She knocked him out of a window because she didn't want him hearing a conversation during the Valentines day story arc. She hit him when he tried to cheer her up when it looked like she was crying. She has hit him for other peoples actions such as Shampoo's/Nabiki's. She has hit him because he might do something, Cologne explained how to stop the smiling three year death and she hit him not because he did it but because he might do it. I can go on for quite some time.

Fanboy claims Ranma always insults Akane.
Me - Nope. Ranma does not insult her every time he has an opportunity to do so. He has even on occasion attempted to not insult her. Such as when she first made a meal for him and instead of insulting it he attempted to continue training (Akane herself tasted it and considered it bad - she did still hit him for not eating it).

Fanboy claims Akane never insults Ranma.
Me - Yes she does. Depending on what you count as an insult there are a few volumes where Akane insulted Ranma more than he did her.

Fanboy claims Ranma uses much worse insults than Akane does.
Me - Matter of opinion but I disagree. She has used pretty bad insults like calling him sick and twisted, accusing him of being a rapist, freak, pervert, told him to "Be a woman for the rest of your life and find a real man to marry" after splashing him, etc.

Fanboy - Ranma doesn't do much for Akane.
Me - Ranma has done a lot for Akane. He started fights with several people because of her Mikado (Akane came running to him about P-chan being stolen), Herb (Herb threw Akane) , Mariko (made Akane cry), etc. He took her place in battle versus Kodachi. He showed up to help her with the dojo destroyer even though he had something he considered very important to do (get a cure for his curse). He rescued her when she was kidnapped. He saved her when she was drowning. He tries to cheer her up when she is sad. He killed Saffron to get her to the water in time.He was willing to marry her when he thought she was turned into a duck to make her happy. And so on...

Fanboy - Akane always helps Ranma when he needs help.
Me - While Akane does help Ranma more than anyone else in the manga she also has stood idly by when she had the ability to help him. Examples: Volume 34 stood idly by while Ranma's mom tried to kill the pervert in her room, Volume 33 allowed all the blame for the disorder in the household to be shoved onto Ranma. During Mirror clone arc allowed everyone to tie up Ranma, etc.

Fanboy - Akane is sensitive to other peoples feelings and Ranma's just an insensitive jerk.
Me - Not going to argue that Ranma can be insensitive to others and occasionally is a jerk but he has also been shown to be sensitive to other peoples feelings multiple times and dislikes hurting people. It is the primary reason he apologizes to people. Akane maybe sensitive to other peoples feeling but she is usually just as insensitive to other people as Ranma if not more so on several occasions. She has shown to be consistently insensitive to Ranma's feelings on his curse, his fear of cats -even using it against him, takes the side of someone who was an accessory to kidnapping her, nearly killed her, and has publicly stated would kill Ranma over Ranma's (Ryoga), is insensitive to the other fiancee's feelings, is insensitive to Ryoga's feelings (going on a date with Ryoga to make Ranma jealous is pretty insensitive thing to do to Ryoga), etc.

Fanboy - Ranma must be much worse since he's made Akane cry so often.
Me - First logic is wrong. All that would really show is that she is more thin skinned than Ranma i.e. easier to make cry. Second Ranma has not made Akane cry very often. Mariko made her cry, she cried about Dr Tofu not loving her, etc.

Fanboy - Ranma doesn't cry because of Akane's actions so he must be worse than her.
Me - First most people don't consider crying to be manly so Ranma is unlikely to cry where people can see. Second Ranma can take being insulted with out crying. Thirdly Ranma actually is shown crying or at least with tears in the corner of his eyes (generally her because guys don't cry) more often than Akane has. He cried when Akane poked his wound, he cried when Happosai used a pressure point to make him cry, he (technically she) cried when the ice skating guy took his first kiss, he cried when he thought Akane dead, he (technically she) had tears in her eyes when his curse was locked, etc.

Fanboy - If Ranma was a nice guy like Ryoga she wouldn't hit/insult him.
Me - First I doubt that if Ranma was a nice guy it would matter much since several of the times she does so is because of other people's actions and his curse (you know things Ranma has absolutely no control over). Second Ryoga is in not a nicer guy than Ranma. He holds grudges, actually tried to kill someone (Ranma), tried to read her diary during the mushrooms of aging storyline, tried to bathe with her in the same storyline, tried to date both Akari and Akane at the same time, uses his cursed form to cuddle up with Akane, tried to use magic to force Akane to love him -koi rod, etc.

Fanboy - Akane has a good reason she just got engaged out of the blue to someone she doesn't know and has unwanted male attention.
Me - That is not a good enough reason to excuse her actions. Even if it was, it is only a good reason for a short time. Ranma also has the same excuse in that he was engaged out of the blue to someone he didn't know or want to be engaged to. In fact Ranma at that point of time in the manga did not even want to be in that country, he wanted to go back to China and look for a cure to his curse. Ranma had to be physically knocked out and carried just to show up.

Fanboy - Akane has more reason to be insensitive than Ranma does.
Me - I have absolutely no idea how that conclusion could be reached. In fact it is sort of strange that Ranma is as sensitive as he is. Think about it Ranma was raised by Genma and did not spend his time in one locale. Of Ranma's past that we know about Ranma pre-getting his curse he had very little contact with females. Training journey in which he likely stopped at training grounds and dojo's which would primarily be males. He did not even know his mother (left his mom as a baby). He didn't know Ukyo was a girl. The school that we know about prior to Nerima was an all boys school. If anything Akane doesn't have a reason to be as insensitive as she is, she went to a co-ed school, has many friends, and had sisters to guide her upbringing.


md.knopp said...

First, I’d like to point out that Akane is my favorite character in the series. That being said, I am not a zealot and actually like her because of her flaws. She is an interesting character which is summed up by Kasumi nearly perfectly at the beginning of the series. She is a very nice person, just a violent maniac. Seems like a contradiction doesn’t it?

>Fanboy claims that Akane is a very independent girl.
HAHAHAHA!!! Really? Sorry, but I disagree.

>Fanboy claims Akane always has a valid reason to hit Ranma and he deserves it.
Have to completely agree with you here. While there have been some instances where her violence may have been justified. In fact her violence has been performed to help Ranma, such as swinging him by his ponytail to save him from a glomp by Shampoo. However, the vast majority of the violence inflicted by Akane on Ranma is for humorous reasons. When examined in a more realistic perspective, Akane is a very insecure young woman who reacts as a child would to some situations. She is in short childish at times. Of course at other times she is very mature. It is just more of the dichotomy that makes Akane interesting. She is nice and violent. She is mature and childish.

>Fanboy claims Ranma always insults Akane.
I will even go one further. It could be argued that the insults happen as regularly as they do because of Akane. I have always found one scene that is very rarely ever mentioned very telling. After Akane’s hair is cut and she is going to Tofu’s Ranma offers to carry her to the clinic and she says, “Don’t be so nice. It makes me nervous.” While I don’t think that this is all of it since the insults were flowing before this, it is interesting that Akane tells Ranma not to be nice to her because it makes her nervous. Just how much to heart did Ranma take this?

>Fanboy claims Akane never insults Ranma.
Again, HAHAHAHAHA!!! Have you even read the series? Through the first eight volumes Akane insults Ranma a total of 39 times, to Ranma’s count of 65. Idiot and jerk are her favorite and most common insults.

>Fanboy claims Ranma uses much worse insults than Akane does.
I don’t know how this can be quantified. However, I would actually tend to agree with the fanboy in this instance. Sure, Akane has said some terrible things to Ranma, as you pointed out. However, Akane in general sticks to a very few generic insults, while Ranma tends to tailor his insults to be much more cutting and more relevant to the situation. Thus being a little worse.

It is interesting to look at this from a cultural perspective. One book that I read on Japanese culture mentioned that mothers often punish their children by threatening to or withdrawing their love from the child. In a very real way this is basically what Akane is doing to Ranma. When she gets upset with him she withdraws her love from him. She says that she hates him, she breaks off the engagement, she goes off with Ryoga, or she physically separates them with an attack. In many ways the hitting into the air for Akane is a metaphor for her withdrawing her love from Ranma. This also explains why despite the apparent severity of these attacks they are less likely to actually injure Ranma than a simple slap.

>Fanboy - Ranma doesn't do much for Akane.
Did this person even read the series? Talk about situational blindess. In only eight volumes I have found 62 instances where Ranma shows his concern or caring for Akane.

>Fanboy - Akane always helps Ranma when he needs help.
Have to agree with you here. Akane helps Ranma a bunch of times. Many times when she has no real reason to help him. Of course, as you stated there are times when she could help him and doesn’t. Then again, some of these have to be viewed the prism of story needs.

md.knopp said...

>Fanboy - Akane is sensitive to other peoples feelings and Ranma's just an insensitive jerk.
I have to agree with you here as well. They can both be very caring and sensitive people. They can also both be very self absorbed and insensitive. Just another example of the contrasting characteristics and actions that make them interesting characters.

>Fanboy - Ranma must be much worse since he's made Akane cry so often.
Actually, I am having a hard time thinking of the “often” times that Ranma has made Akane cry on purpose. I am not saying that he hasn’t, as I know he has. It just isn’t that often. Besides, there is that whole men don’t cry thing to consider. By this same argument it could be said that Akane is much worse because she has hit Ranma so often. There are extenuating circumstances involved.

>Fanboy - Ranma doesn't cry because of Akane's actions so he must be worse than her.
I don’t even understand what this argument has to do with anything.

>Fanboy - If Ranma was a nice guy like Ryoga she wouldn't hit/insult him.
Don’t even get me started on Ryoga. Even though, I know it is a comedy and cannot be taken too seriously, Ryoga is an attempted rapist (what did he think was going to happen if had hit Akane with the koi rod of love? Ought to read “Miss Fortune” for a good look at how that one could have turned out.) and is in my opinion the worst character in the series. He is not nice to Akane, he is just as bad as Kuno, it is just that his shyness keeps it hidden from her.

Ryoga aside since I really don’t want to bash him. My favorite line concerning this is from the fanfiction “Something Fishy Here”. In it Mousse tells Ranma that if he were nicer to Akane she wouldn’t hit him as much. Ranma replies that Mousse is nice to Shampoo all of the time and she hits him just as much.

Again, this is actually not supported by the manga. More than a few times when Ranma has tried to be nicer to Akane she tells him to stop or doesn’t trust him. Not without some reason, but still there is no indication that if Ranma was nicer that the level of violence would necessarily decrease.

Also, I must say that your statement makes it sound like Akane hits Ranma a lot for the actions of others. While this does in fact happen, as a percentage of the times that Akane hits Ranma it is not very large. Most of the time she does in fact hit him because of something he said or did.

>Fanboy - Akane has a good reason she just got engaged out of the blue to someone she doesn't know and has unwanted male attention.
I have a very real problem with the second part of this statement. This is a fallacy perpetuated in fanfiction. In the manga Akane seems to enjoy Ranma’s attention and has several times indicated through actions, not necessarily words, that she wants to move their relationship to the next level. She offers to kiss him twice in just the first eight volumes.

>Fanboy - Akane has more reason to be insensitive than Ranma does.
Huh!? I don’t even understand this. Why would she possibly have more reason to be insensitive? In fact, why would either have any reason to be insensitive?

Akane is a flawed and interesting character. Much like Ranma she is a study in contradictions. She isn’t simple or easy to pigeonhole. That is why I generally disagree with both extremes on this debate. She isn’t just a violent monster and she isn’t just a saint. To make her either extreme is to not understand her character.

Psi1 said...

One thing to keep in mind is that Ranma is normally a kind and polite person until he starts to lose his temper like any normal person, and Ranma only loses his temper do to people being jerks to him or others, but the problem is that the normal behavior of the main cast is to treat Ranma and others like crap for no reason beyond the fact they can often, and this makes Ranma's behavior with them the outlier.

Really, Akane is a rude obnoxious monster who walks up to Ranma, and hits him for no reason at all in the series.