The Angel of Usui

I just started watching my favorite anime Initial D for a third – yes, folks, third time. And I just got to the point that always bothers me a little bit: Mako Sato, aka the Angel of Usui.

Most fans, I would imagine, are more bothered by the idea that the loveless Iketani finally had a girlfriend in his midst (spoiler!) – before standing her up for their over-night date out of stupid, blind jealousy over basically a celebrity crush and ruining their relationship for the next two seasons and the movie. Alas, we have never seen the two reunite. But alas! This is far more realistic than the happily-ever-afters we’re spoon-fed in American media; so while a disappointment, that’s not the point that bothers me.

Initial D, for those who don’t know, is a 90s (and actually ran through last year) manga/anime following the tales of Takumi Fujiwara and his fellow street-racers. Yes, in this series the main subject is a male-dominated world, it’s true. So I accept the absence of females besides for the occasional girlfriend. However, when they did finally decide to include a female street racer- well… let’s just say that it takes two girls to do the job of one boy, according to this series.

Yep, the best driver on Usui, Mako Sato, needs a “co-driver” in the form of navigator Sayuki – whose only job is to remember when tight turns are up ahead or whatever and to scream in her nasally, annoying voice, “Can you like- chill out?!” or “Mako punch it!” or “OMGEEZ! SLOW DOWN!!!”

So every single guy in the series, less talented than Mako or not, can drive alone and actually – *gasp!* – complete a race, but poor, simple little female Mako with feeble, feminine mind can’t remember her own home course – which she must’ve driven hundreds of times – without an annoying squawker in her passenger seat issuing orders. That’s the… only conceivable way a woman could beat a man?

Now, the series does make up for it later with the addition of Kyoko Iwase, who gave #3 driver Keisuke a run for his money, but that makes her basically the only full female driver in the series.

I know I talk about a lot of fictional women, what with my question about rabbits and guinea pigs, or my expression of love for Wonder Woman, or even my hang ups on Habibi. But hey, I’m a woman. And I’m a nerd. So of course I want to see my peeps represented in my favorite media!

While our game is definitely male-focused, our upcoming ideas for games let women take a spotlight, too, and beyond the mantle of eye candy or love interest.

What do you think about representation of women in shonen anime?

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