As the AnimeNEXT festivities continued on we took a break and sat in this Diversity panel hosted by The Panel Sisters. There were so many panels on diversity at this con this year I was so proud to see everyone get to express themselves and find others that identify with them. Diversity is necessary in all sorts of media and I’m excited to see what creators of new anime and manga will come up with after seeing fans call for more diversity.
The Panel Sisters did an amazing job bringing up the diversity in anime and the call for more in media. As for anime fans we know Japan is our main source for anime and manga but it’s time to be inclusive to everyone with the material out there and with how successful anime shows have become when they include other races should be the example for how the future of animation and manga should be.
Feminism was another topic that surfaced. Showcasing some strong female characters and the different body types women have. Feminism is a repeated topic in a diversity panel and the same characters come up each time. This shows how lacking strong female leads are as opposed to ones used for fan service.
Another one of the topics The Panel Sisters talked about was sexuality which includes the span of the LGBT community. Many shows and books have recently started expanding into showing characters that represent LGBTQ and it’s long overdue but it seems like some of the media is genuine with their representation and others just go after ratings using gay characters as a fan service. The Panel Sisters mentioned a few anime titles and characters that include LGBT representation that I didn’t even know nor realized until it was mentioned.
- One Piece (Luffy – Asexual)
- Ranma 1/2 ( Transgender Fluid)
- Black Butler (Grell – Gender Fluid)
- Sailor Moon ( Fish Eyes – Gender Fluid, Sailor Neptune & Sailor Uranus – Lesbian)
- Fake (Ryo – Bisexual)
- Until the full moon (Yaoi, David – Pansexual, Marlo – Gender Fluid)
- Utena (Yuri)
- What did you eat yesterday (Yaoi)
- My Brothers husband (Yaoi)
- The Tyrant falls in love (Yaoi)
The sexualities that aren’t usually in the media got a chance to shine and I wasn’t aware
so much representation was in anime that we’ve already been watching. The topic of religion came up as well and a few anime like Vassalord, Chrono Crusade, and FMA that celebrate different religions.
Positive representation is usually always a topic in a diversity panel but many panels I’ve been to don’t talk about how it can affect stereotypes about certain races. There were only a few positive representation mentions and Afro Samurai was at the top of the list. Hand in hand was the celebration of anime and manga creators for being inclusive when it came to having characters of different races in their work and keeping a good representation of the characters as well.
Then there was a discussion about American media that cast POC as characters that were white in the original comics, creating more opportunities for diversity casting that allows people to see a different version of their favorite characters.
The topic of whitewashing came up right after and two of the forsaken movies were bought up, Avatar the last Airbender and Ghost in the shell live action were talked about. Whitewashing movies in Hollywood has been proven to be a big waste of time and money since so many people are aware of the damaging effects erasing the POC of the original story is.
Diversity in media will get better over time because people will start to only support media that represents what they see in their everyday life. I look forward to seeing more diversity in anime, manga and hopefully, they’ll steer away from the negative stereotypes about races they once included. One day we will probably stop having this conversation about diversity because it will already be there.
Do you think having more diversity in anime and manga will make fans happy or disappointed?