Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Toku Rant II: Why Do People Like Mako So Much? EDIT

So, when I went back and read this post I realized that I sound like a total social justice warrior idiot, which I'm not. I wrote this post a while back, and didn't publish it until last week. And sometimes when you go back and read something you wrote, you realize you made a mistake, like when you go through your old clothes and can't believe you wore some of that stuff. So I decided to edit my post, but my opinion stays the same: I don't like Mako. And remember, this is an editorial, so a lot of it is my own opinion. It's not fact.

Okay, I'm going to get something off my chest. Ready? I'm probably going to piss a lot of you off, just to warn you (Sean Akizuki and FireandHeaven27, I'm looking at you). Okay. (Takes Deep Breath). Remember in my last post, I said I didn't like the Boukengers? Well, there's another sentai character who I really hate: Mako aka Shinken Pink.

As with Sakura from Boukenger I don't hate the actress, I hate the character. Granted, a lot of the reasons why I don't like Mako is because of the fan response to the actress. They think she's the hottest thing ever, when really, she isn't as hot as they think she is--and this is coming from someone who is attracted to women as well as men. You want a beautiful sentai actress, look at Sayako Hagiwara, the actress who played DynaPink, or Ayumi Kinoshita, the actress who played DekaYellow.

Mako has done some of the meanest things ever, at least in my opinion. In addition to saying "she likes men she can fix," she dropped Shinken Blue like a hot potato as soon as he was "fixed." Also, for those of you who think that she's "good" for Takeru, that she is compatible with him, she would probably drop him as soon as he's "fixed." As well, when you look at their interactions, they seem to have a negative affect on Takeru: when you look at the episode where Takeru pushed her (which was actually kind of awesome, but remember, I'm biased). Takeru was practically catatonic in the next episodes--in fact, it was KOTOHA who got Takeru out of his funk. Hell, in the Lord Butler episode, even the narrator acknowledges that Kotoha holds a torch for Takeru. Why do people want to see Mako, who is, as FireandHeaven27 ironically says "a nosy bitch" together with someone who clearly enjoys his privacy?

But I'm not the only one who doesn't like Mako. According to susurro, a commentor on a blog post glorifying Mako:

"Also, Mako isn't as perfect as you keep saying here. Almost her only appeal as a character was her looks. If she weren't played by an attractive actress would people care how "badass" she was or want to see her get together with Takeru? No. She was only ever nice to Takeru, not the rest of her teammates - she was horrible to Ryuunosuke, hit Chiaki, ignored Genta and dismissed Kotoha when Kotoha was worried about Takeru. A tokusatsu hero is supposed to be someone exemplary, a role model to the audience - not someone who's really a horrible person but the fandom worships them just because they're 'hot.'"

But because Mako's "hot" isn't the only reason why the fandom likes her: particularly the male fandom. 

The idea occurred to me in my Genres in Television class. My professor asked us if there was anything on television today that could be considered "trash." My hand immediately shot up and said "Two and a Half Men," and everyone agreed with me. He asked the class why people watch it, then, as for a while, it was one of the highest rated shows. One of my other classmates replied "Because it's misogynistic, it has misogynistic humor. It makes men feel comfortable." Now, not all men are sexist pigs, but some of them are, and some would wish they could go back to the glory days--they do all the work, the wife greets them at home with a martini and a warm meal waiting, and doesn't complain about the fact she has no life outside being a baby-maker/mother/prisoner her own home whose only way out is bridge with the girls and going to the grocery store. Not now when women are more empowered, are making decisions not to have children and have the ability to control their bodies, wearing pants and suits, are going to colleges and using their degrees and are advancing more and more, and hold the same positions as men, and can be their bosses even.

The fact that you have a female character who wants to be a wife and mother, might entice some male viewers.

Feminism is about choice. You can choose your own career, your own future. Mako wants to be a wife and mother, it's what she's passionate about. And I'm pretty sure she'd be a good wife and mother. Now, Shinkenger had two other female characters who some fans either ignore, blast, or hate.  First you have Kotoha, who is a freakin powerhouse. She isn't weak, at all, and she had to grow up really fast. She's awkward off the battlefield, though, and constantly suffers from crises of confidence which mirror Takeru's. She can be shy, but she overcomes it. Throughout these series, she comes of age, becomes stronger off of the battlefield, starts to deal with her feelings for Takeru, and finally acknowledges that she is the real Shinkenyellow and not a stand-in. It seems she enjoys being a samurai, though, as it's what she's good at. In my opinion, and this is my bias, as I like strong, daring, female characters who break social norms: she's a better positive role model than Mako. But fans refer to her as weak, or "junior", or "cute", or "inexperienced," and the little sister, or the other girl. And they ignore her.

And then there's Kaoru. Kaoru kicks ass. And people instantly hated her when she declared that she wants to fight, and that she will be ShinkenRed from now on. But people forget the reason why she wanted to reclaim her position: she was tired of hiding, she was tired of being the princess being protected, and she was tired of probably living with that asshole Tanba. She wanted to fight. I know, Takeru and the team took it extremely hard, but she didn't know this was going to happen. And they also forget that she constantly hits him with her fan for being an asshole. And at the end, she pulls an extremely ballsy move by adopting Takeru. She's an amazing fighter, made an amazing entrance, and is a pleasure to see whenever she returns in the vs. movie and in Gokaiger. And she was a nice princess, she wasn't a spoiled brat.

So Kotoha is a young woman who is coming of age and is becoming stronger and ballsier, yet has a lot of flaws which makes her a more fleshed-out and real character, and Kaoru is a freaking warrior princess in a kimono. But NOOOOO they aren't the beloved characters. It's Mako. Why? Because Mako wants to be a Yamato Nadeshiko--a traditional Japanese women, a housewife, a mother, subservient. At the time, I guess male viewers were getting tired of seeing women take charge in sentai, male viewers were getting tired of seeing women either reject them, emasculate them, or hold superior positions to them, and when they saw a woman who's dream was to take the big step backwards, they couldn't help but fall in love with her.

And it's not only that: they see Mako as perfect--A woman whose only flaw on the surface seems to be her bad cooking (she has a flaw as well: obsession and fixation, but none of the Mako lovers seem to acknowledge it). Mako's whole character song is about being a freaking bride and housewife. Kotoha's character song however, is called "Bushido Girl." See the difference?

Now, why do female fans, in particular a certain group of female fans worship Mako so much to a point where it is an obsession?  Maybe it's because they believe she's "perfect." And they want to be as "perfect" as her. And they would want to be like Kotoha because she's so awkward or like Kaoru because she's such a meanie. Or maybe because they have a crush on Takeru's actor and would rather see Mako as their surrogate.

Another factor is being a lemming. Remember in my shipping mistakes article where I said one of the biggest mistakes is being a lemming--assuming that because a non-canon ship is "popular" or considered the "fan preferred shipping " on TV tropes (which is usually added by just one troper), or that has vocal fans, is the most popular/canon ship. The same can be applied to characters as well. 

 A lot of new sentai fans who aren't familiar with the shows might look at other blogs for info, particularly well-known blogs that appear on the top of your google search, and believe that said "sentai expert" is objective, and believes his or her opinion to be true. So if a popular blogger who acts as if they are speaking for the rest of the fandom shills a character they like, the new fan might believe it to be the truth, which is sadly the case with Mako. I'm not saying that new fans aren't smart, but sometimes they assume that if someone is seemingly well-versed in sentai, then they are telling the truth.

The most important thing to remember is that Shinkenger is one of the best sentai ensemble series. A lot of people will dismiss the rest of the characters as annoying or comedic relief or "mean" sans Takeru and Mako. This is partly because of the example above, and another reason is that a popular blogger refers to Shinkenger as a tribute to the popular manga Rurouni Kenshin, and even based off of it, which like Shinkenger, is about samurais. Kenshin has both a male and female lead which said blogger believed Takeru and Mako to be based off of. However, if one actually reads the premise and character summaries to Rurouni Kenshin, they'd see that it is far different from Shinkenger. It's like saying Hurricanger is a tribute to Naruto. (Hell, the only manga that was incorporated into a sentai season would be One Piece as Gokaiger, mainly with the character archetypes, but Gokaiger was it's own series too). But because said popular bloggers assertions, along with someone (probably said blogger) writing it on TV Tropes some people come to believe it to be so. And therefore they forget that Shinkenger is an ensemble series.

I've stated how important Kotoha and Kaoru were for the series. Ryuu (I suck at spelling his name) will be blasted for being over-the-top and annoying or comedic relief. Okay, he can't help the over-the-top part. He's a kabuki actor. Even his pose is a kabuki pose. Kabuki can be over-the-top at times. Ryuu acts like a kabuki actor. And he is loyal. Really loyal. So loyal that you'd want him as your best friend or even as your boyfriend or partner. I've never seen a character that loyal before. And he kicks ass and is an amazing dancer.

Chiaki's journey is humbling. He learns about humility, he learns about being part of a team. He learns how to use his inexperience, his playfulness, his bravery, his unconventional way of looking at the world to his advantage. And he kicks ass. As well, I like his relationship with Kotoha. He acts like a protective older brother to her. A lot of people see it as romance, I see it as a guy who is protecting the youngest member of the team, who doesn't need protection, and as someone who owes it to her for being kind of a jerk to her.

Genta is extremely loyal as well, matching Ryuu's. He's creative like Chiaki. Sure he's a little too enthusiastic, but this guy loves being a samurai! He takes actual joy out of it. And he brings some positiveness to the team and allows Takeru to start to open up. Plus, he had to learn how to do modjikara (I'm spelling it wrong, I know) on his own, without having the ability, and was able to create his own henshin device. Yeah, he can be a little shrill but he's more than just "comedic relief."

Each character is the hero and heroine of the series. Remember that. Shinkenger did what sentai is at it's best: an ensemble series.

The more and more I think about it Yasuko Kobayashi is one of my favorite sentai writers, someone who I will go to the ends of the Earth to defend. She wrote Kamen Rider Den-O, my favorite Kamen Rider series. She is great with twists, suspense, characters, and yes, storytelling. And as someone who is studying to be a television writer, and is a woman, she's kind of a hero for me--especially in Japan, where the system is still patriarchal. In one article I read, women are forgoing marriage because people expect them to stop working (and some women still need to make a living) and be a full-time mom.

So those of you who know about my love of Yasuko Kobayashi might bring up the fact that Mako is her creation, so I need to like her. Well, some of my favorite writers have created characters that I've hated. Matthew Weiner, the creator of one of my favorite TV series Mad Men created the frigid unsympathetic bitch known as Betty Draper (later Francis).

At first you feel sympathy for Betty, her husband is cheating on her, and she has some issues of her own. But then, by season three, you lose all sympathy for her and are totally okay with the fact her husband is cheating on her, and Weiner wants you to be sympathetic towards her, so does her actress January Jones. Betty is a horrible mother to Sally, her and Don's oldest daughter who around that time was, like, nine. Betty is unpleasant period. You hate her more in season 4, and then kind of stop hating her in season five, and season six, because she undergoes a redemption--although she still is a crappy mother.

Ron D Moore wrote Battlestar Galactica, one of the best sci-fi series that proves that sci-fi isn't outdated, and can be used to explain modern issues and philosophy, especially on TV. It's an awesome show. With tons of awesome characters. Except one. Cally. A nebbish deckhand who, actually I can't tell you too much because it will spoil too much. But watch Battlestar Galactica, because it's awesome.

I guess Yasuko wanted to show how women have a choice and balance out the motivation, or maybe she wanted to comment on how conservative values affect Japanese women, or maybe there was pressure from executives. But I still like her. She's made some other mistakes (Go-busters), but not every Sentai series is flawless, and not every writer is flawless. They sometimes have a bad season.

So why do people like Mako: because of looks, self-insertion, the fact she wants to be a wife and mother, and the swaying of a few vocal fans of her.

I can't really give any advice, to most of those fans, but to the new sentai fans: a popular blogger's opinion isn't set in stone, and my opinion isn't set in stone. Watch the series yourself and making your own opinions. You may like Mako or hate her.

Well, that's my post. I know, it's an extremely unpopular opinion, but sometimes, it's okay to have an opinion that's different than what some people believe to be the fandom consensus. So, go ahead, hate on me. But you Mako lovers have expressed why you love her so much. I have as much a right to discuss why I dislike her. But, hey, at least she's just a character. And I treat her like a character.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. (re-posted/edited for clarity)

    Mako's not unique in terms of characters written by Yasuko Kobayashi. She has several traits in common with Airi Nogami and Ryuuji Iwasaki. My issues with Mako are twofold:

    - As far as Shinkenger is concerned, Mako is the perfect woman. She's beautiful, she's a strong warrior, she's the perfect ideal traditional Japanese lady, and she's always right and always knows what's best for everyone. Her only flaws the show will acknowledge are that she can't cook (which is usually played for comedy) and that she judged her father too harshly (which was presented as justified given the circumstances.) Meanwhile, she constantly pries into Takeru's business and takes it upon herself to decide what's best for other people, but the show does NOT treat this as a flaw and actually expects us to see it as a good thing.

    The issue for me is that for most of the show, she's the only positive image of a female character that we're given. Kotoha wants to be just like her, and Dayu's evil. Until the final arc of the show, when Kaoru arrives and Kotoha gets some more character development, there is no one else to show the audience that there's more than one way to be a woman. There is nothing wrong with a female character who wants to be a wife and mother or whatever else. But a show shouldn't hold up just one character as the ideal for girls to aspire to, no matter if she's GI Jane or Suzy Homemaker.

    - A lot of the fandom adores Mako excessively, and will even bash other characters (especially Ryuunosuke and Kotoha) to make her look better. And yes, a lot of people are also obsessed with shipping her and Takeru; usually playing it as this perfect fairytale romance where Mako's love will magically cure Takeru of all his psychological problems. I've actually seen people argue that Kotoha shouldn't have been given character focus in episodes 40-41, because those episodes should have been used to develop Takeru's relationship with Mako further after ep39. It annoyed me so much!

    I remember that when Shinkenger was on the air, there was a certain group of fans (usually from countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia where Sentai has been aired) that got angry at people calling Mako's character sexist. They felt that she reflected their own cultures which teach that women belong in the home; and that western fans didn't have the right to criticise that. While I have some sympathy with this, please try to respect other people's views and don't assume they're all "ignorant white and/or western people who just don't get it"

    As for why Mako is popular, I think it's a combination of looks, ass-kicking, shipping, and being different from the kind of "ditzy" Pink Ranger that a lot of people find annoying. She's fairly similar to characters like Yuuri, Sakura and Amy that also tend to be really popular (and have one thing in common - they are actually in canon relationships with the Red and Mako isn't! Any chance you could write a blog post about why the Red/Pink trope is awful?)

  3. Oh, yeah, then there's the other kind of fan reaction to Mako I hate: When people insist she's a great character because she is supposedly "realistic" and all Japanese women want to be housewives like her. Even in Japan, times are changing - the "Christmas cake" thing has had its day, and more women than ever before are staying single. It's true Japan does have a more conservative mentality than many western countries and a lot of people think that if a woman is married and/or has kids she should stay at home - but Mako is an idealised portrayal of that lifestyle. It's not accurate to say that most/all Japanese women are just like her.

  4. I hope this criticism helps you as you continue to talk about toku.

    First, your analysis of Mako is flawed. I agree that the show hyperidealizes the idea of marriage, but your point is lost when you begin focusing on her appearance/trying to compare her to unpopular conservative women like Palin and Coulter (complete with gendered slurs like b*tch and c*nt). You're relying on her appearance (she's only like because she's pretty), to make you point. That is also sexist. You should focus more on the writing than relying on the "people only like her because she's hot, btw, she's not hot."

    Additionally, a big part of feminism is that it's okay to want to be an idol/pop star/whatever, if you choose. The problem is in media female characters aren't given the choice. Instead of bashing Saki and Miu and Mako, I suggest attacking the (often male) writers that stress that these ideals are innately feminine.

    You also seem to fall into a "good girl/bad girl" thing re: Kotoha and Mako. Why is Kotoha "really" feminist? She's also played up as cutesy, shy, and awkward, and needing men to bolster her self-esteem--I wouldn't call that really feminist, and Kotoha is one of my favorites. You need to address those parts as well. I think you'll find if you review the characters, they all--Mako included--have good and bad parts of their character.

    I'm also surprised that you didn't mention that Mako chooses to repair the relationship with her parents rather than marry at the series finale. That's a pretty big part of her character--she's giving up the idealized marriage for a real family. That should also be touched on in a serious critique of Mako.

    Ultimately, I'm not quite sure what this article is trying? Are you suggesting a female character needs to check certain boxes to be worthwhile? Are you trying to argue for stronger female characters in media? It feels roughly formed and like it needs another round of revisions.

    I'm not trying to be mean, but I do think you need to rethink the intent and style of this article.

    1. Thank you so much for your critique: I love your dreamwidth post.

      I started writing this post since the fall. I was questioning why people put her on a pedestal when she did, in my opinion, some shitty things, and I assumed it might have been part looks, and part motivation. I wasn't being sexist, I was accusing the people of sexism. And I agree with what you said about it feminism means having a choice, however I think my main problem is the fact Mako wants to be a wife and mother might be why some people like her. And I don't really consider being cutesy anti-feminist. I think both Kotoha and Mako relied on men at least once in the series--but they've relied on each other too. And the "nosy bitch" comment was not a quote I used--it was used by this huge Mako fan who previously used that word in a comment on another one of my posts she disagreed with--- and she likes Mako.

      I wish, though, that that there were more well-written women in tokusatsu. I mean, the target audience is boys, and it can impact how they view and treat women.

      Thank you again! My articles aren't as ramble-ly as this it's more of a rant. When I went back and read it, I was like "oh my gosh, I sound awful."

  5. HUn you like Kotoha and you like Takeru & Kotoha together u hate Mako fair enough ! , but serously looking at me just cause i love something ? why

    I don't judge you for loving Takeru & Kotoha , its kinda biased , its your own opinion like its mine . You love Kotoha , * you love Kotoha together with Takeru , I love Mako ? why on earth it should it bother you , after all this time i dont know.

    Also Mako hit chiaki int he v cinimea his own dream land they wasn't even in character . Yeah i didn't like the whole she helps people then drops them thing felt to fake, Why can't i love a character without you judging mentioning my name ?

    its nothing to do with Mako being hot cause again its who you like, some people will think shes ugly , some people will think s hes ago and then others will think Rin is Beautiful so yeah i have no idea why this bothers you .

  6. Oh Also when you say Kotoha got Takeru out of it in 41 we know that even Takeru & Mako fans know that we don't deny Takeru and Kotoha's moments just because we love Takeru and Mako together,

    we are all fans at the end of the day loving who we want and having who we want together, i have loved the show for 5 years and i am not going to change my mind , so what if am obsessed with Shinkenger and Takeru & Mako can't help it its what i love, i have nothing against any fans , not even Takeru and Kotoha am fine with it , so should u , i have no idea why , stuff people love should bother you , just cause they really love it and express themselves whats wrong with that .?

    Besides even though Kotoha was the 2nd Female in Shinkenger she is the main one. The writer loved her , Shadowed Mako so i have no idea what your complaining about

    Kaoru i love her shes My Third Favorite. People hate on her dosnt bother me , you can compare Mako to any sexiest thing i just don't get why you are ranting mentioning mine and seans name when all we are doing is expressing what we love, nothing wrong with it , its what fans are.

  7. * also you took me calling Mako a Nosy bitch wrong like when i call Takeru a Reckless idiot ! lmao , its cause shes a nosy bitch .

    You might not like it , again your own taste and opinion and what u have in your life but I like people who push .

    Sometimes problems need to be faced head on and people need to know people are there for them and they want to help yeah shes a nosy bitch but she pushes when he pushed away /

    Again in my life i push away and if people just leave me thats the end they have left me , the true friends of mine who are those who are pushed when i pushed away and got in and broke my walls to let me let them in . Whats wrong with liking that / mind you your answer will again probably be your taste and opinion so neither is wrong.

  8. Also since you know i call mako i nosy bitch which is in my description on videos why as a Takeru & Kotoha fan are u keeping an eye on me or watching or clicking on my videos to see what i say ?


    1. Actually, you referred to Mako as a "nosy bitch" on one of the comments you made on my blog. I don't watch your videos. And this isn't about me being a shipper, I don't like Mako, Even if I didn't ship Takeru and Kotoha, I still wouldn't like Mako.

    2. Fair enough but still why do u rant on something then referee to fans like they have done something wrong .

      * your looking at me ? why all i am doing is showing my love for something i love, it shouldn't bother you . Why do i love Mako different tastes and different tastes brings different options and how someone looks at something,

      I don't get why u had to mention me or sean in your rant we are just fans loving something nothing wrong with it but your whole rant makes it like it is .

      Leave me out of it , just cause i love her , dosnt make it wrong , any fan can love what they want and really there is just as much Mako fans as their is Kotoha fans .

  9. I'm interested to know what makes you think the show gives preference to Kotoha over Mako? The girls have about an equal level of focus episodes and screen time, and Mako is usually portrayed as smarter and wiser than the rest of the team. It is not a show like Jetman or Flashman where one of the two female Rangers gets a lot bigger share of the plot than the other.

    1. Uh don't forget that Kotoha is smarter than Chiaki and she's mature for her age. Like for example, Kotoha is very unaffected by insults and two, she is also smart for her age, maybe not that smart but she is still smart nonetheless.

    2. That's true, although pretty much everyone is smarter than Chiaki. But one of Mako's primary character traits is that she is supposed to be the wisest and most mature of the team, the one who's usually right about everything and understands everyone best (especially Takeru.) Kotoha doesn't get this to the same extent.

      I'm saying I can't see how anyone would get the impression that Shinkenger makes Mako secondary to Kotoha. They are equally well written, and they share pretty much the same amount of focus time and importance to the plot. It's not a case like Jetman (where Kaori receives a lot more story focus than Ako), or Flashman (where Sara is crucial to the ending of the show and thus overshadows Lou, as well as the male Rangers) or Boukenger (where Natsuki is blatantly infantilised and Sakura isn't.)

    3. Kotoha gets more focused episode where as Mako's focused episodes are shared. Accept for the bride one and her past one .

    4. I would also say for women to stand out in Sentai, they don't need to be badass. I mean some women won without being badass. Like for example, women's minds are sharper tha men's. Some great men fell down because of the wits of women.

    5. By my reasoning, the girls each get seven focus episodes

      Mako: 4, 8, 13, 21, 25, 34, 39

      Kotoha: 6, 13, 22, 27, 30, 36, 41

      8 is the bride episode and 34 is the episode with Mako's family. All her other focus episodes are shared. Meanwhile, Kotoha's only focus episode alone is episode 41. She shares two episodes with Chiaki and one each with Mako, Ryuunosuke, Genta and Takeru.


    6. Speaking of episode 13, I love episode 13. We do need episodes like that to show why men and women members need each other in a team.

  10. I would admit as much as I may disagree with you (on some point) but that's okay, but I was waiting for this article for a long time. I mean, I wanted to also write why her actress Rin Takanashi is overrated and didn't have an idea where to start. Thanks for writing this article to "oppose" my thought patterns, it just gave me new ideas to think about.

    Though aside from ranting, you could actually talk about your favorite Sentai heroines and why you love them. =)

  11. My stance on Mako, I think Mako is a good likable character. I don't think she's a great character (especially when compared to a lot of the older heroines), but I don't think she's bad either.

    But yes, a lot of people sadly love her to no end for pretty shallow and pitiful reasons.

    I disagree she's a terrible person though. And I think you're taking the whole "she likes men she can fix" thing out of context. Mako never makes any sort of attempt to be in a relationship with any of the Shinkengers. In fact, Mako doesn't have any sort of story that involves romance at all. So I feel we can't really judge what she'd do in a relationship, considering it never happens. At most, we just see her sharing her dream of trying it out sometimes, and there's nothing wrong with that. And for the record, she can't dump Ryuunosuke, since she was never in a relationship with him in the first place.

    In fact, I find this a recurring problem amongst toku fans. When people see a male and female character hanging out with each other and having some friendship bonding, many immediately translate that as romantic development. I remember in one of Kyoryuger's early episodes, there's the scene where Souji and Amy are having a little talk together, and how many fans immediately started claiming "They're going to get married!!"

    Shinkenger was chock full of shipping material. Every bonding moment between the characters, many immediately assumed Mako and Takeru had a thing for each other. Or Mako and Ryuunosuke. Or Chiaki and Kotoha. Or Kotoha and Takeru. Or Ryuunosuke and Chiaki. Or Kotoha and Mako. Or Genta and Kaoru. Or Genta and Ryuunosuke. Or Ryuunosuke and Takeru.

    What Mako means but "fix" is that she just simply loves to help people. Much like how she helps children at kindergarten. Cause amongst the Shinkengers, Mako is probably the most observant out of all the characters. If something was missing or was out of the ordinary, Mako was often the first one to notice. She's basically the "team mom" of the group. Acting like the older sister to help everyone else.

    Now, is she perfect? Of course not. She has flaws. She doesn't have the power to do whatever she wants. In fact, her whole life was practically screwed up due to her becoming a Vassal. There was a lot she had to sacrifice to become the samurai she is right now. Is obsession and fixation a flaw of her's? Sure. But I don't think to the extreme like you're claiming. But I do agree she has more flaws than just bad cooking. Mako is a "people person" and is good at reading people. But her social skills aren't the best (which I think is a common trait amongst all the Shinkengers). She's often very quiet, but she's honest when she needs to be.

    I also strongly disagree with susurro's comment. Yes, it's extreme to consider Mako the best thing ever, simply cause she's "hot." But I think there's the other extreme to claim she has no good qualities at all, and to call her an outright horrible person. This just simply strikes me as hype backlash. Mako was not terrible to the other characters. In fact, there are many occasions where she helps all of them. Being only nice to Takeru makes no sense at all, considering her chemistry with him was mostly quite limited. In fact, I remember her with the other characters a lot more. Comparing her to Kaixa, IXA, or Decade is a terrible comparison, and only proves to me that he doesn't understand her characterization even from a basic level. She's nothing like say, the Boukengers. I feel the comment only focuses on taking a lot of her actions out of context, and simply portraying them in a negative light.

    1. I don't think it's at all accurate to say "people only like Mako because she's hot." There ARE characters in the franchise whose appeal rests mostly on the fact of them being played by a hot idol-girl (Nanami Nono, and Candelira being two examples) and usually the shows are quite upfront about that. But Mako is not this kind of character.

      Shinkenger seems to have taken on this entire fanon mythos based on shipping that has very little relation to canon, and is more suited to a show like Magiranger or Kyoryuger where all or most of the Rangers are in relationships. It often shows very little regard for either the characters' canon personalities, or real-world consequences - for instance, Takeru is probably not going to be psychologically ready to be a husband or father any time soon. Chiaki would struggle to take care of a baby. Kotoha is only 16, why shouldn't she want to do something else with her life before thinking about getting married? I've seen this not just from young fans, but people old enough to know better and that worries me.

  12. Sorry, but I think bringing politics into the post is not a good idea. Politics is already in incredibly subjective topic to no end (far more than any geeky media could ever hope to be). I feel this does not make any sort of good point, and only just confuses the overall matter.

    Bringing feminism to the post is also a very subjective matter. Since we're sadly currently in the middle of an era where we have both good and bad feminists. The bad feminists have grown to become just as big of a problem as sexism itself (tumblr being a primary example).

    I don't think it's fair to claim that DynaPink was the first female to go beyond the archetype. I mean, the archetype is still there (and it always has been throughout the decades of Sentai). I mean, there's some good female Sentai characters even before DynaPink. Like Momoranger and Miss America. And they weren't just damsels in distresses. I don't remember when they were ever like that. In fact, I'd say the pink archetype was basically "the badass" of the team during the times. So I don't feel DynaPink necessarily broke THAT much more ground with pinks. Sure, she has a sword, but she's still wearing pink. So I wouldn't say she's completely discarded the elements that came before her. I'll say this though, DynaPink set a pretty high bar for badass pinks, lol.

    I do agree that the women of Magiranger, Boukenger, and Go-onger were all lame. They were probably some of the worst offerings of women ever... actually, they were some of the worst offerings of men ever as well. xP

    1. For your comment on Magiranger, Boukenger and Go-onger... I don't think Urara are lame. But for Saki and Miu, THAT I would agree with you. Houka and Natsuki are so annoying -_-.

    2. Urara is much worse than Mako for teaching the "girls should stay in the home" message. At least Mako has had a job before and lived an adult life. Urara never has ANY life or interests outside of the home. The other Magirangers have goals and hobbies (Kai's soccer, Tsubasa's boxing, Houka's idol work, Makito's farming) but Urara has nothing - she's just there to take care of everyone else. And the show constantly talks about how great she is because she's so young but taking all this responsibility for her family. Then, she's rewarded by marrying the fairytale prince and getting whisked away to the magical kingdom. Of course a little girl watching is going to think that's awesome.

      When Shinkenger was on the air, I saw several different people point to the Shower Banki episode of Go-onger as "proof" that Shinkenger's writing wasn't sexist, because Mako and Kotoha were capable warriors while Miu and Saki panicked at the prospect of having to fight without the boys. I don't like that kind of comparison but I do find it interesting that multiple people on different sites all referenced that one episode.

  13. I do like Kotoha and Kaoru too. But I don't think they're necessarily better than Mako. I think all three women have their flaws and merits in very different ways.

    I think your claim that Mako is "anti-feminist" is incredibly extreme and sorry to say, but quite ignorant as well on a cultural level. There is nothing anti-feminist about Mako dreaming to become a housewife or a bride. Amongst the US culture, sure, this is the image that a lot of women want destroyed. Since this country portrayed women as nothing more than that for many years. But in Japan, it's not like that at all. For starters, feminism isn't really quite as much of a thing in Japan, compared to how it is in the States. In fact, many Japanese don't even know what it is. In Japan, being a housewife is often considered to be a position of power. Where you have great control over the house. I know to the US feminists, that would probably sound silly. But that's how such things are culturally viewed.

    I don't think Kobayashi was pressured by execs. I mean, all the Shinkenger characters all have a lot of Kobayashi's recurring character traits. And Mako is no exception. Kobayashi approaches Shinkenger's characters through the setting. A cast of characters who's normal lives they never had have been completely taken away, at the cost of them devoting their lives to being samurai. And the series focuses on exploring where these people came from, what it's done to them as people, and what they will be doing from here on out with each other. In the case of Mako, Kobayashi approaches her as a character who's incredibly fascinated by people, and a character who's fascinated with the unknown. In other words, doing stuff a lot of women in Japan would do, like becoming a good house wife. It's a dream she wanted to try out. In the States, some feminists would probably view this as anti-feminist. But in Japan, people like Kobayashi view this as perfectly normal and harmless, and a perfectly good dream to strive for. And remember, Mako's whole life hasn't been about her trying to become a house wife. Her whole life has been about her training to become a samurai, much like what Kotoha and Kaoru have been doing. Mako's fascination of becoming a house wife comes from it being something she's never tried much of before, since her whole life has been dedicated to being a samurai. And honestly, I don't see how that would make Mako less good of a character than people like Kotoha or Kaoru. If you ask me, Kobayashi had a very strong grasp on characterization for all the Shinkenger characters.

    I disagree that Sentai is at it's best when it has an ensemble cast. I think Sentai is capable of many different types of storytelling.

    I hope all I have said has made sense.~

    1. I agree that the presence of Mako as a character is not, itself, anti-feminist. But it strikes me that, until late in the show, there is really no one else to show a positive example of being a woman. Kotoha wants to be like Mako, and Dayu is evil - so until around the episode 40 mark, Mako is the "standard" for a heroic female character. That's a bit more problematic and, yes, can be seen as teaching girls that they should aspire to be like Mako and want to stay at home.

      IMO, an example of a Kobayashi series with better balance of female character types is OOO. Hina is very demure and traditionally feminine and most of her role in the story is based around her helping male characters; but she's offset by the presence of Chiyoko and Satonaka as supporting characters. Kids watching would not be given the message that there's only one type of "good" woman.

      From what I understand, it's not quite true that "there's little idea of feminism in Japan" - but not being Japanese myself, I am not really qualified to comment on that. I would encourage anyone interested in discussing the subject to read up on Japanese feminism.

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  14. Excellent post. You've managed to get your point across well. You've expressed your stance and where you're coming from. And you've explained in proper detail. =)

  15. I would like to say I waited for a long time for this post. It's also nice of you to edit it and admitting some of your mistakes (sigh, I have a hard time admitting I'm wrong and choose to play the scapegoat game a lot)... well I might write on my opinion on Mako as an overrated character soon but meanwhile... I wrote another editorial as a "response":

    Why I Think Rin Takanashi is Overrated

    As far as I'm concerned, I would dare agree she is OVERRATED. Plus I think it's just wrong to look at any human as perfect.

  16. Just me wanting to share something irrelevant to this post. So you have created some long, lengthy posts that present your views which is good but you might consider putting page breaks in long posts. It might be helpful to you as a blogger to use them on your posts, let's say add a page break after your second or third paragraph. Just some helpful advice on how to deal with long posts.