mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Ah, yeah. So there was me going on about how all the black characters in my works of choice are Japanese, and all the white characters too. Which is true, of course. But I'd sort of flattered myself that I saw these Japanese characters with the dreads or the blond hair, as per choice, the way the Japanese see them. And now I'm trying to figure out whether I do or not.

Why I'm not so sure has to do with the live action 100 Demons.

It's easier in totally fantasy series to see the brown-skinned chara, the blond chara, and the silver-haired purple-eyed chara as Japanese. Everyone in Bleach *is* Japanese, end of that story. 100 Demons is supernatural rather than fantasy, and the natural side of things, when I come to look at it, is drawn as very Japanese. Everyone in Ritsu's immediate family has the expected dark hair and at any rate not-western features. I could expect to meet any of them on the street in Tokyo, and one thing that puzzled me about the live action series was why, when given these oh-so-common types, they cast different generic types as Ritsu's mother and grandmother. The exceptions to the dark-haired rule are Grandmother, who obviously doesn't count, the rarely seen male cousin, and the businesswoman aunt whom I always read as having her hair coloured or at least frosted.

And Ritsu's father. Erm. One of Ima Ichiko's fair-haired bespectacled Japanese men. Loud alarm bells should go off when you meet one of Ima Ichiko's fair-haired bespectacled Japanese men; and if he's wearing a floppy hat, forget everything, just run.

I don't know if it's the weight of that reading experience or what, but manga Aoarashi doesn't present himself to me as err how to say this? a Japanese body on the same level as the other Japanese bodies around him. He's a youkai (youkai-youkai! youkai! YOUkai! ooohh it's a yoooukai!) Blond, yes? Different. And the thought of slashing him with Ritsu is yuck.

It shouldn't be, you know? The yuck factor is that Aoarashi inhabits the body of Ritsu's father. But he doesn't look like he could be Ritsu's father and he doesn't act like Ritsu's father, or any human being come to that. It should be a clear case of demon x human yum yum yum delicioso. And it's not. The yuck remains, immovably.

So we come to LA Aoarashi, who certainly looks Japanese because he is. He certainly looks like he could be Ritsu's father. Add the living human being factor in and I'd have expected the yuck factor to be squared if not cubed. Um. It's not.

For no good reason I find this rumpled roly-poly teddy-bear Japanese actor far more suggestive of the sinister hence erotic youkai than his fair-haired manga counterpart. Yeah, that's a dragon of sorts there under that skin. (As ever, the chummy and slightly condescending Asian attitude to dragons kerblonxes the westerner in this corner. I'm accustomed to thinking of dragons as magnificent, whatever else they may be. OTOH western dragons don't have pug noses. It's hard to be impressed by something with a pug nose.)

It helps, naturally, that LA Aoarashi's quite upfront about his intentions of eating Ritsu come his eighteenth birthday. None of the youkai-eating-youkai or even -humans subtext in the manga impresses me as the least bit sensuous, but then, none of the youkai in the manga *are* sensuous. LA Aoarashi *is* sensuous and just ripe for demon x human yum yum yum delicioso.

I can only hope that some of my reaction has to do with the presence of sensuous resigned LA Ritsu. (Should be noted that both LA Aoarashi and LA Ritsu are much less effective agents than their manga counterparts.) If I juxtapose LA Aoarashi and chronically kvetchy manga Ritsu... well, the chemistry changes, certainly. Becomes rather more comedic. But it certainly doesn't disappear.
Tags: 100demons
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