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The Great Feminist Manga and Anime List: Basara

adventuresofcomicbookgirl:

Basara or Legend of Basara is a 107 chapter manga written and drawn by Yumi Tamura. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic Japan that is being ruled by a tyrannical emperor. In a small village, a prophet predicts the birth of the one who will lead the country to freedom. On that day, fraternal twins are born. The villagers assume that their chosen one has to be Tatara, the male twin, and not his sister, Sarasa. She resigns herself to living in her brother’s shadow. Fifteen years later, however, circumstances force Sarasa to assume her brother’s identity and lead the villagers in revolution against the Red King who terrorizes them all. But things are more complicated than they appear, and a double life has its hardships- and Sarasa’s got her own destiny to face.

There is an anime, but it only runs thirteen episodes and therefore only covers a small portion of the manga. I’ve seen the first episode, and so far (and also according to Wikipedia), it sticks pretty close to the manga it’s adapting, though the animation is naturally very nineties and there’s less blood and whatnot.


Women and Gender: Basara as a manga is utterly dedicated to deconstructing the second class-citizenship of women and showing the power women have. To begin with, it starts by completely taking apart the tendency for fiction (and reality) to constantly tout men as the “chosen ones” who will “save the people”. (A trope still annoyingly and ridiculously prevalent in the world. Especially in Hollywood- oh look, another movie about a straight white dude chosen by a prophecy to save us all! HOW DIFFERENT! Gosh, could you imagine a woman or a PoC ever being chosen? Nah, that doesn’t happen.) Yeah, Basara pretty much has a society who bought into all these movies, and even Sarasa herself pretty much buys into it, but the entire story is all about inverting the heck out of that. Sorry guys, but your manly man didn’t make the cut; prepare to have a fifteen year old girl be your badass savior. It’s a pretty delicious takedown of one of the world’s most annoying clichés, is all I’m saying.

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also added pictures to this

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The Great Feminist Manga and Anime List: Basara

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These reviews are to examine the feminist-friendly elements of each series as well as the problematic elements. 

In other words,this is simply meant to be a guide to recommend anime feminists like me might enjoy and also give warning of any elements that might disturb or affect someone. I am also aware I am limited by my white, Western feminist context in these reviews and thus, can’t really give anything other than the perspective of a Western feminist fan on various themes. I can only say what these series mean to me and what I take away from them as an outsider who is not the primary audience. If I get something wrong or if you are aware something has an entirely different connotation in Japanese culture that I am not privy to, I would love to hear about it so please feel free to tell me about it.

Basara or Legend of Basara is a 107 chapter manga written and drawn by Yumi Tamura. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic Japan that is being ruled by a tyrannical emperor. In a small village, a prophet predicts the birth of the one who will lead the country to freedom. On that day, fraternal twins are born. The villagers assume that their chosen one has to be Tatara, the male twin, and not his sister, Sarasa. She resigns herself to living in her brother’s shadow. Fifteen years later, however, circumstances force Sarasa to assume her brother’s identity and lead the villagers in revolution against the Red King who terrorizes them all. But things are more complicated than they appear, and a double life has its hardships- and Sarasa’s got her own destiny to face.

There is an anime, but it only runs thirteen episodes and therefore only covers a small portion of the manga. I’ve seen the first episode, and so far (and also according to Wikipedia), it sticks pretty close to the manga it’s adapting, though the animation is naturally very nineties and there’s less blood and whatnot.

 

Women and Gender: Basara as a manga is utterly dedicated to deconstructing the second class-citizenship of women and showing the power women have. To begin with, it starts by completely taking apart the tendency for fiction (and reality) to constantly tout men as the “chosen ones” who will “save the people”. (A trope still annoyingly and ridiculously prevalent in Western media. Especially in Hollywood- oh look, another movie about a straight white dude chosen by a prophecy to save us all! HOW DIFFERENT! Gosh, could you imagine a woman or a PoC ever being chosen? Nah, that doesn’t happen.)

Yeah, Basara pretty much has a society who bought into all these movies, and even Sarasa herself pretty much buys into it, but the entire story is all about inverting the heck out of that. Sorry guys, but your manly man didn’t make the cut; prepare to have a fifteen year old girl be your badass savior. It’s a pretty delicious takedown of one of the world’s most annoying clichés, is all I’m saying.

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according to a friend, the Basara anime is super bizarre

I’m gonna watch an episode and SEE

also

this manga really needs like a thorough adaption! Covering all of it. It deserves it! Get to it, Japan.

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Wow I just finished Legend of Basara

WOW

W

O

what. a. good. manga.

This must be what manga nirvana is

I love it so much, this is definitely one of the best I’ve ever read. I will rank it as my third fave right after Sailor Moon and FMA.

SO MANY CHARACTERS YET IT’S ALL AWESOME AND SO MUCH COMPLEXITY AND SO MUCH DEVELOPMENT AND SO MUCH STORY

AND AWESOME LADIES ALL UP IN YOUR FACE

amazing manga I am in awe. 

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Sarasa: Dr. Basho, please get up.
Basho: Assassin? It’s so quiet…
Sarasa: Yeah. He’s here. Take the president to the cave.
Basho: Okay. But what about you, Sarasa?
Sarasa (taking out her sword awesomely) I’m standing guard.
Basho: What?!
Sarasa: Hurry, he’s coming!

If I posted all the pages of Sarasa being awesome that would basically be the entire manga. It’s impossible for her to not be. But here’s a page of her just being her awesome self.

Sarasa: Dr. Basho, please get up.

Basho: Assassin? It’s so quiet…

Sarasa: Yeah. He’s here. Take the president to the cave.

Basho: Okay. But what about you, Sarasa?

Sarasa (taking out her sword awesomely) I’m standing guard.

Basho: What?!

Sarasa: Hurry, he’s coming!

If I posted all the pages of Sarasa being awesome that would basically be the entire manga. It’s impossible for her to not be. But here’s a page of her just being her awesome self.

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Yuna: HYAH! (she breaks the board cleanly in half) (storming off) We’ll leave after the sun goes down!
Sarasa: Someone sent us a funeral urn.
Shuri (staring at the board): …I see.
Sarasa (thinking): I have a bad feeling about this. Was that thing…sent just to harrass us? (a tarantula crawls out of the broken vase)

I love that she apparently breaks that board in half just to let off steam
(And spoilers
don’t worry about the tarantuala, though apparently it’s somehow trained to seek out it’s target, Sarasa figures out about it and kills it with a sword before it can strike. She’s amazing like that.)

Yuna: HYAH! (she breaks the board cleanly in half) (storming off) We’ll leave after the sun goes down!

Sarasa: Someone sent us a funeral urn.

Shuri (staring at the board): …I see.

Sarasa (thinking): I have a bad feeling about this. Was that thing…sent just to harrass us? (a tarantula crawls out of the broken vase)

I love that she apparently breaks that board in half just to let off steam

(And spoilers

don’t worry about the tarantuala, though apparently it’s somehow trained to seek out it’s target, Sarasa figures out about it and kills it with a sword before it can strike. She’s amazing like that.)

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Sarasa (the main character, a young Japanese girl with shoulder length brown hair who often takes on the role the prophesized male hero “Tatara”, her deceased twin brother): Funeral urn?
Yuna: They’re trying to harrass us!
(Yuna bursts in on Shuri, who is eating a banana) Shuri!
I’m going with you! If we don’t finish this nasty business soon, I’m going to pop a vein in my head.
(She thrusts a board in his hand while his mouth is still full) Take this!

Hahaha Yuna gets so FREAKIN PISSED when the opposition starts harrassing them, she agrees to go fight the guys out of pure anger even though she didn’t want to go before. She is after my heart.
I am so conflicted about Shuri by the way. He’s like a major self-centered jerkass, but he’s certainly going through a lot of character development and he’s sort of hilarious sometimes.

Sarasa (the main character, a young Japanese girl with shoulder length brown hair who often takes on the role the prophesized male hero “Tatara”, her deceased twin brother): Funeral urn?

Yuna: They’re trying to harrass us!

(Yuna bursts in on Shuri, who is eating a banana) Shuri!

I’m going with you! If we don’t finish this nasty business soon, I’m going to pop a vein in my head.

(She thrusts a board in his hand while his mouth is still full) Take this!

Hahaha Yuna gets so FREAKIN PISSED when the opposition starts harrassing them, she agrees to go fight the guys out of pure anger even though she didn’t want to go before. She is after my heart.

I am so conflicted about Shuri by the way. He’s like a major self-centered jerkass, but he’s certainly going through a lot of character development and he’s sort of hilarious sometimes.

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Yuna (a dark skinned young woman with short black hair) bends Shuri’s (a larger dark haired Japanese young man) arm back after he tries his seduction technique on her.
Shuri: DYAH! ATATATATATA…
Yuna (letting go) if you’re so able, you can help with scrubbing.
Shuri (examining his arm, confused): How’d she do that?
Hey you! That’s a good arm you’ve got there! You should join the army!
Yuna: WHAT?
Basho (an old man with a beard, the traveling doctor Yuna’s assisting) (smacking Shuri on the head): Watch your mouth in front of young ladies, bonehead!
Shuri: Boy or girl, it doesn’t matter! Not when good soldiers are in such short supply! The one with the strongest army wins! It’s as simple as that!
Basho: Ohohoho. Is that so? Is that what you think?

I’M LOVING LEGEND OF BASARA SO MUCH SO FAR YOU GUYS. The story is awesome and super complicated with lots of interesting relationships and action and it’s morally complex, but most importantly it has ALL THE AWESOME LADIES. The main character, Chacha, others and another one just showed up! Look at her, she’s amazing.
There’s also a lot of positive darker-skinned characters (it takes place in post-apoclyptic Japan and apparently Okinawa has become some sort of international placeamajig) and characters with disabilities. If it goes on like this, it’s gonna get a super awesome rating.

Yuna (a dark skinned young woman with short black hair) bends Shuri’s (a larger dark haired Japanese young man) arm back after he tries his seduction technique on her.

Shuri: DYAH! ATATATATATA…

Yuna (letting go) if you’re so able, you can help with scrubbing.

Shuri (examining his arm, confused): How’d she do that?

Hey you! That’s a good arm you’ve got there! You should join the army!

Yuna: WHAT?

Basho (an old man with a beard, the traveling doctor Yuna’s assisting) (smacking Shuri on the head): Watch your mouth in front of young ladies, bonehead!

Shuri: Boy or girl, it doesn’t matter! Not when good soldiers are in such short supply! The one with the strongest army wins! It’s as simple as that!

Basho: Ohohoho. Is that so? Is that what you think?

I’M LOVING LEGEND OF BASARA SO MUCH SO FAR YOU GUYS. The story is awesome and super complicated with lots of interesting relationships and action and it’s morally complex, but most importantly it has ALL THE AWESOME LADIES. The main character, Chacha, others and another one just showed up! Look at her, she’s amazing.

There’s also a lot of positive darker-skinned characters (it takes place in post-apoclyptic Japan and apparently Okinawa has become some sort of international placeamajig) and characters with disabilities. If it goes on like this, it’s gonna get a super awesome rating.