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Prejudices in Film - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Prejudices in Film
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 18th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

>> I'd assumed that the default manga characters were supposed to be basically Japanese - just so completely stylized that they weren't particularly any one group. <<

Not very often. First, look at the eyes. These characters tend to have huge round eyes with level set, whereas Asian people usually have almond-shaped eyes often with a tilt. Also worth considering is coloration. Bright, inhuman colors of hair and eyes are common, whereas Asian people tend to have black or brown hair and dark eyes. Skin color is often fair, lacking the various golden tones of Asian skin. These are not universal in anime and manga, but they're quite widespread -- most of the creators seem to favor characters who don't look like themselves. They're free to do that, of course, but it creeps me out a bit and makes me favor the ones who at least sometimes draw characters that could plausibly be considered as stylized Japanese (or whatever, some are set in China etc.).

I really liked Disney's Mulan in part because the characters were expressive, not caricatured, and recognizably Chinese.

>>One of the weirder manga that way is Shirow's Appleseed series; he does the thing you read about in Scott McCloud, where the most accessible characters are intentionally made most non-descript, and more distanced characters have more specific facial features.<<

Huh, fascinating!

Often I'll mix up the races in my writing, just because I like diversity and want to represent a bunch of different people. If race matters, I'll specify it. Other times, though, I'll leave it open to interpretation so people can imagine a character who is like themselves if they wish. *ponder* Which makes me wonder, given the social tendency to assume white as the default, if ethnic folks assume a character resembles them only when that is explicitly stated.
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