Thursday, September 5, 2013

Let's Play A Fun Little Game, Just To Say We Did It

I, Ryan Timothy Bish, being of sound mind & solid badassery, do hereby challenge myself to name fifty (50)* female Asian superheroes who have half a chance of being familiar to American audiences who are not otaku; if at all possible, I should like to see this done without any Internet searching, in other words, "off the top of my head."


  1. Sailor Moon (sadly, there is something of an argument about whether or not most or all anime characters are "supposed to be" Caucasian anyway)
  2. Sailor Mercury
  3. Sailor Mars
  4. Sailor Jupiter
  5. Sailor Venus
  6. Sailor Pluto
  7. Sailor Uranus
  8. Sailor Neptune
  9. Sailor Saturn
  10. Sailor Chibi Moon
  11. Jubilee
  12. Psylocke (and an argument could be made that she "doesn't count" since she was originally white; her twin brother is the very blond Captain Britain)
  13. Dani Moonstar
  14. Dust
  15. Hisako Ichiki (you would think Joss Whedon, of all people, could be counted on to make more of an effort to get more people talking about this; his fondness for badass Asian females is not exactly a secret, but approximately 85% of his human characters are ALL WHITE)
  16. Cassandra Cain (I am allergic to the New 52. Does she even exist anymore?)
  17. Wasp (the Ultimate version of the character, who was killed after everyone stopped caring about the Ultimate Universe)
  18.  Nico Minoru (true story: in Brian K. Vaughan's original pitch, he was very specific about his intention for the group to have four girls and two boys to "buck tradition")
  19. Yukio (is "secret lesbian lover of Storm" enough to qualify as a superhero?)
  20. Dr. Alison Mann (you could easily argue that she's not exactly a superhero, but the question that I would ask you to ask yourself is something like this one: Did she, or did she not, save the human race from utter extinction?)
  21. Katara
  22. Toph Beifong
  23. Princess Yue 
  24. Avatar Korra, the most powerful person ~on the planet~ (thank you, Mike; thank you, Bryan; thank you, Nickelodeon!)
  25. Asami
  26. Lin Beifong 
  27. what the hell was Sage's ethnicity supposed to be
  28. Hay Lin (does anybody else wish W.I.T.C.H. had been more successful, or is it just me?)
  29. Karma
  30. Trini Kwan (who, let's be honest, happened to be the Yellow Ranger because Thuy Trang was Vietnamese, much like Walter Jones was the Black Ranger because, well, obvious reasons; for shame, Saban, shame on you, shame on your face)
  31. Cassie Chan
  32. Alyssa Enrilé
  33. Madison Rocca
  34. Vida Rocca
  35. Mia Watanabe
  36. Emma Goodall
  37. Grace Choi
  38. Nancy Lu (oh my goodness, oh my goodness - I completely forgot about her, I haven't re-read Spider-Girl in ages & ages)
  39. Jolt
  40. Katana (personally, I don't know anything about her other than a) her name and b) her status as a supporting character in the latest new Batman animated series - but seriously, her name sounds like something of a "Trini Kwan" situation, don'tcha think?)
  41. Juniper Lee (why did I never watch this show?)
  42. Thunder
  43. Lightning
  44. Alex Munday
  45. Satsu the Vampire Slayer
  46. . . .
YOU GUYS. I CAN'T DO IT. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING. The really sad thing is, I had to look away from my own "no Internet searches" suggestion rather a long while ago.

One of my best friends, Sho Tanahara (who, as you may be able to infer from her last name, hails from a small town just outside of Tokyo) asked me recently why I care so much about finding stories that feature strong female characters and/or people of color.

At the time, I told her I didn't know what to tell her, as I was simply "wired that way."

What I should've done was paraphrase Joss** and say,

"Because people are still asking why I care so much. I intend to keep caring until people quit asking. This should not be such a big deal in the Year of Our Lord two thousand and fucking thirteen, but it absolutely still is, and I just can't stand it."

*That might sound like kind of a lot, but take half a second to remind yourself just how easy it would be to name more than twice as many superheroes who are white males (for example, every title character from every entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe who is not Black Widow, just for starters).

**When in doubt, paraphrase Joss Whedon. It's as uncomplicated as it is simple.

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