Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Here's another one where my only illustration is the cover of the TPB in which the battle of choice appears: TPB #24 of Hiro Mashima's shonen series RAVE MASTER.

RAVE MASTER's basic concept is that of a ragtag band of misfits banded together to thwart various forms of universe-annihilating evil, and so forth. The female lead in RM is, like the female lead in early issues of DRAGONBALL, a character competent to defend herself to some extent, but not someone to whom the fans looked for lots of skull-busting action. Instead, just as DRAGONBALL's most outstanding fighting-femme was an ancillary character adopted into the serial's "family"-- that is, "Android Eighteen," featured in Post #12-- RAVE MASTER followed the same essential pattern. However, Mashima first introduced a new male fighter to the series-- one "Let," who was an anthropomorphic dragon who knew martial arts (!)-- and then followed that up by incorporating Let's girlfriend "Julia," for whom I can't find a decent picture on the web.

Prior to TPB 24 Julia's toughness is alluded to but not shown. Following the serial's tendency to let each team-member shine by giving him or her solo-combat scenes with enemies, Julia goes up against "Reevil," a warrior who, with typical Japanese-manga insouciance, just happens to dress up like a giant bunny rabbit. (And sixties BATMAN fans thought they had it bad with a villain like "Mister Polka-Dot!")

Reevil is, however, a formidable opponent, and gives Julia a good long tussle. True, many feminists would not be overly pleased by the way Julia wins. When her clothing gets mangled in the fight and Reevil ogles her like your basic perv, Julia simply rips off her top, gives him a good luck and kicks his ass (perhaps implying that this is what should happen to the perv-readers being regaled by the manga's fanservice). But at least Julia follows a tradition in good standing, since nearly forty years previous the inimitable Modesty Blaise also essayed a stunt called "the Nailer," in which she would walk half-naked into a room of thugs and kill them all while they were busy appreciating her "fanservice." The more things change...

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