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Onee-Sama of Tears – Part Two

October 28, 2009

I have to ask this, since it’s been burning in my brain for the past… several minutes. Is constantly casting your primary villains as women sexist, empowering, or just plain moe?

Going back to the previous post on this topic, another common thread between Umineko and Dario Argento’s Sisters Trilogy is the fact that the villains are almost unanimously female. There are a few token males amongst the antagonists. Umineko has Ronove, who was a duke in Hell before being bound to Beatrice, and there are a few male henchmen in the Trilogy movies, but these are largely supporting roles. In both story lines, it is the women who are pulling the strings both behind the scenes and out in the open.

I can understand someone looking at this as somewhat sexist. We’re talking about fiction created by males and targeting two audiences that are largely male: horror movies and late night anime. It makes sense for a male to portray women who wield immense power as alien, domineering, and malevolent. Some would say that men would feel threatened by a woman who had such power over his fate, and that he wouldn’t feel as threatened if the person in question shared his gender. Yeah, it makes sense, but I don’t think tha applies in this situation.

Going with the assumption that these stories follow dream logic, I think we should err in the opposite direction.

Like we said before dreams follow their own brand of logic. With that said, it makes perfect sense for one’s inner terrors to manifest in an attractive manner. One’s sins and fears need not take on a gruesome, ghoulish appearance. With all of one’s inner thoughts mingling to form a dream, it should be expected for one’s pleasures to mix with one’s pains, blending into a subconscious masochistic cocktail.

This is why Umineko has a host of cute girls taking on the names of the demons associated with the seven deadly sins. If your subconscious is going to conjure images of temptation, it may as well make the fall all the more pleasant. One’s guilt is not the only emotion at play, so that guilt will congeal with sexual desires and aesthetic preferences. Naturally, not everyone is going to find the particular images conjured in Umineko to be attractive, but it’s easy to imagine the minds behind this hellish fever dream finding them attractive. especially since they conform to many harem and moe girl tropes. If an anime fan were to writhe in a nightmarish torpor, he would dream of school girls in short skirts named after the everything that’s wrong with life.

The final movie in the Sisters Trilogy, Mother of Tears, hits upon the same lustful aesthetics. Instead of a harem of doe-eyed high school girls, the movie conjures a coven of witches who seem to be a combination of high-class call girl and the Bratz toy line. All glitzy and glamorous and glittery and oh so modern. Mother of Tears touches upon a completely different fetish, but it is an equally valid and understandable fetish. These are the girls one would see at a trendy club, basking in their hedonism and refusing to talk to the average male clubber. They’re another subconscious ideal that raises its head in the midst of one’s torturous dreams.

Essentially, if a man must fall into the pits of hell, he’d prefer to fall in the arms of a murderously beautiful woman. And said man’s dreams will grant him that wish. It may see misogynist to some, but in some perverse way it could be seen as a pinnacle of adoration.

Then again, such idol worship brings about the same issues as the opposite extreme, but that’s the danger of being in a hopeless scenario such as Umineko. Try as you might, there’s a prescribed, preordained outcome, and there’s little you can do to keep that outcome from transpiring.

And that’s, essentially, what this series and these movies are about: Your actions are largely meaningless, even when you believe yourself to be within your own mind. We’re all slaves to chance.

Or it could be about how awesome it is to have cute, evil girls in short skirts. Either way.

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