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.
also added pictures to this