the_sun_is_up: Panty and Stocking looking confused, with the text "What?" (psg - wut)
[personal profile] the_sun_is_up
Puella Magi Madoka Magica was given a Sisterhood Prize in the Sense of Gender awards, which are chosen by the Japanese Association for Gender, Fantasy, & Science Fiction. These awards honor "science fiction or fantasy that expanded or explored our understanding of gender," and the Sisterhood prize was added this year to honor works that "develop a new kind of relationship between women which may not have been noticed or told before."

I have to admit, my reaction to this news was one big "Huh?" I'm having difficulty figuring out how PMMM of all things "develops a new kind of relationship between women." The female/female relationships in this show seemed like your bog-standard close friendships flavored with lesbian subtext like you'd find in any anime with a female-dominated cast. The only unusual thing about the female friendships in PMMM is that they frequently resulted in the death and/or traumatization of one or both girls involved. Madoka befriending Mami was directly responsible for getting Mami killed, Hitomi's friendship with Sayaka ended in them fighting over a man which resulted in Sayaka's breakdown, Madoka's bond with Sayaka completely failed to bring Sayaka back from monster-ification, Kyoko warmed up to Sayaka just in time for her to mercy-kill Sayaka and sacrifice herself in the process, and Homura's love for Madoka led to the repeated deaths and psychological scarring of the entire cast while continually increasing Madoka's destructive witch power (although that turned out to be a blessing in disguise). Pretty much the only time a female friendship in this series didn't have horrible results was in the very last episode.

But while this theme is unusual for shows of PMMM's type, I wouldn't really say that "women being friends with each other always ends in terrible tragedy" is a "new kind of relationship that hadn't been noticed/told before." So yeah, still puzzling over that one.

Date: 2012-07-09 08:33 am (UTC)
nenena: (or is it just me?)
From: [personal profile] nenena
And Crunchyroll is correct in translating the description of the award as "given to the fictions which develop a new kind of relationship between women which may not have been noticed or told before."

Legitimately furious about this. Magical girl shows for girls have been exploring these themes of friendship, sisterhood, and even lesbian relationships with much more depth and complexity than PMMM ever did for decades. And they tend to be much better than PMMM at centralizing relationships between mothers/daughters, granddaughters/grandmothers, and sisters as well. But magical girl shows for adult otaku have always been notoriously shallow in terms of portraying relationships between girls and notoriously bad at including any female family members in their cast, so as soon as PMMM comes along - with its more developed friendships between the girls (although as you said, absolutely bog-standard for the genre when we remember to include magical girl shows for girls) and with its ONE mother who appears onscreen and interacts with one of the girls, male otaku act like it's some sort of fucking revelation. And once again PMMM gets credit for doing something that magical girl shows for little girls do better but hey, stuff made *~for girls~* certainly can't be complex and challenging and expanding our understanding of gender roles, right?!

It looks like Mari Kotani is no longer a member of the JAGFSF. I honestly wonder who the board is composed of now and who's responsible for voting for those awards. I can't find that information anywhere on the SOG website.
Edited (typo fix) Date: 2012-07-09 08:35 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-07-09 03:36 pm (UTC)
ext_1092326: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Unless they were just like "Hey, this show is popular right now, let's give it something."
Yes, I'm pretty sure this is the main reason, what with the movies coming out in a couple of months, they want to market it to get as many sales as possible. I can't find the source right now (I think it was on ANN), but it was revealed a couple of months ago that a popular Japanese site was paid by the animation studio to hype it as much as possible before the show aired, which ensured it got a lot of attention. Viral marketing, in other words.
I share the feeling of frustration at how overrated it is when in fact it doesn't really bring anything new to the table. Don't get me wrong, I did kind of like the show, but it makes me so mad whenever I see someone not sure if he (more often than not it's a male) should watch it, because he never liked magical girl shows, and someone else responds "but it's not like those other shows, this one is for men~!".
(Also, hi, I stumbled on your lj a couple of years ago when browsing the internet for Umineko, but I don't think I ever commented there. I find your magical girl project very interesting and I love your love for ladies)

Date: 2012-07-09 06:42 pm (UTC)
nenena: (Devi - Is it stupid in here)
From: [personal profile] nenena
Both Western and Japanese fandom seemed to have latched onto Madoka's mom as something utterly *~revolutionary~* or whatever. She's a great character but for fuck's sake, it's galling to see Madoka's mom continually upheld as something that magical girl shows have never done before when Heartcatch Precure JUST FINISHED AIRING right before Madoka started. You know, that show that in which ALL of the magical girls had working moms and the season-long character arcs were strongly focused on the relationships between Tsubomi and her grandmother, Erika and her sister, Erika and her mom, and Itsuki with her entire family.

Out of the five magical girls in Madoka's story, two had tragically dead mothers (Mami and Kyoko) and two had no mothers or family members mentioned at all (Sayaka and Homura). Only Madoka had a living mother who appeared onscreen. Wow that's so revolutionary. One out of five.

I don't know if the whole Madoka-mom relationship was a factor in the SOG award committee's decision, but considering how loudly Madoka fandom in both English and Japanese seems to have fixated on Madoka's mom as some sort of feminist icon, I wouldn't be surprised. And of all the things to single out about Madoka Magica "breaking the mold" or being "not like those ~other magical girls shows~" or whatever, that is the LEAST unique thing to focus on. Also arguably the most failtastic because if you really think that having not-dead moms who have strong relationships with their daughters is a good thing, then why the fuck are we lavishing praise on this show in which two mothers are dead and only one has screentime when so many of those ~other magical shows~ have working mothers who form strong bonds with their daughters for most or all of the ENTIRE cast of magical girls.

Date: 2012-07-10 12:29 am (UTC)
cypsiman2: nevermore will she hope for love (Krahe/Rue)
From: [personal profile] cypsiman2
Yeah, I would say that while PMMM is a good show, it is not a revolutionary one and does not deserve awards for being such.


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