The best animated shows for female characters

There’s a funny paradox when it comes to geek entertainment in recent times. The general public views cartoon shows as being silly, immature, and not to be taken seriously. And yet, during the last twenty years—that’s right, people, for that long—cartoon shows have become a place where writers and artists are free to push the envelope, and tackle a lot of different issues head-on in the portrayal of their characters. As far as mass-market entertainment goes, it’s one of the few places that actually dares to try new stuff and push things a bit in a new direction.

There are a few reasons for this. Mainly, it comes down to the fact that there isn’t as much pressure on cartoon shows to deliver something big and mind-blowing while also appealing to an audience of millions each week. And also, there’s less prestige to be had in making cartoons, so they tend to attract people who are genuinely interested in telling a good story and love to do what they do, just for the sake of doing it.

With more focus on simply making a good product, you end up with a lot of shows that don’t even need to be as good as they are. A lot of animated shows aren’t even really made for children when you think about it.

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For instance, what little ten-year-old would even care that Batman: The Brave and the Bold is so faithful to the old ‘40s comics? The only viewers who would care are either the people who grew up with those comics (who would have to be in their eighties by now) or comic book geeks who are into this sort of stuff enough that they would be motivated to research it.

The best animated shows for female characters

This is a good thing, however, in that over the years, animated shows have flown a bit under the radar and have been able to give us solid proof that cartoons made by women, and cartoons made for women (and girls) can be successful. Here are just some of the extremely positive representations of women in different cartoon shows and franchises.

Tiny Toons Adventures / The Animaniacs
The best animated shows for female characters

Nowhere else, and I mean nowhere else, have I seen this big a collection of comedic female characters in one single place. And this was all the way back in 1990! 24 years ago, it was already proven that women can be funny and you can have a large variety of different female main characters all on one show.

The gender ratios were still a little skewed, but not by much. These shows introduced such characters as Babs Bunny, Elmyra, Minerva Mink, Dot, and Slappy the Squirrel, just to mention a few. These were characters that were original and new in their own right, and still hold up today as being funny and timeless.

The DC Animated Universe
The best animated shows for female characters

Staying with Warner Brothers Animation for a bit, let’s talk about the enormous collection of different series all tying together into one timeline that is the shared DC Animated Universe. It started off with Batman: The Animated Series, the show that said, “Hmm, wouldn’t it be fun if we gave the Joker a henchwoman instead of just another henchman?” Wouldn’t that be fun, indeed?

The best animated shows for female characters

What people often seem to overlook, because it was done so seamlessly, is just how much effort these shows actually put into having female characters. There were a surprising number of female villains showing up in the animated Superman series, such as Livewire, Mala, and Hot-Spot.

The animated Justice League made a bold move, exchanging original team member Hawkman for his lesser-known counterpart Hawkgirl. And it paid off; she stood firm as her own character with her own motivations, strengths, and weaknesses, and by the end of Justice League she ended up becoming one of the more interesting characters on the show.

Teen Titans from 2003 could also arguably be considered a part of this expanded universe, and they really managed to do great things with their female characters.

The best animated shows for female characters

Take Starfire, who many people were turned off to due to her… obvious sex appeal in the comic books. Yet here, she gets to truly be her own character, with traits that go beyond her being a woman. It has little to do with her teen-friendly makeover, and just a lot to do with the way she’s written.

Raven from the same show is arguably the best character out of the main cast, with motivations and inner conflicts that drive her, making her a character with plenty of layers.

So if you’re looking for a fantastic female super-heroine with depth that has nothing to do with men or romantic relationships, look no further than the DC Animated Universe! All the women manage to stand on their own.

Avatar: The Last Airbender / The Legend of Korra
The best animated shows for female characters

Many agree, yours truly included, that Avatar: The Last Airbender is the best western animated show to have come out since 2000. The story, the world, the visuals, the characters, they all come together as a single unit and become something great.

Once again, the gender ratio is a bit skewed, as it is in the sequel series Legend of Korra, in spite of that show having a female lead. But there is effort! So much effort, and the show has a large number of female characters who have arcs of their own and different distinct personalities, meaning there’s a lot of variety here.

Azula is definitely one of the most disturbing female villains I’ve ever seen, in that she genuinely scared me several times when she appeared.

Legend of Korra is of course noteworthy for being one of the few mainstream fantasy/adventure shows with a female lead that’s not aimed at girls specifically, but rather to a general audience. Korra herself stands out as a female lead due to her bulky design, masculine rough attitude, and being in a show that’s not afraid to slap her around when she gets impatient.

She’s kind of a troubled character, which might have to do with the creators trying so hard to make a statement with her that sometimes she feels obnoxious, but the effort is there! And her first season was popular enough to warrant two more seasons, and it’s beyond amazing that that happened. So now we know that a show with a female lead not directed towards girls can be successful and can work.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
The best animated shows for female characters

We all know I kind of had to put this in here. It’s the little show about ponies geared towards girls that became extremely popular among teenage boys (and somewhat older boys). And yet, the show is noteworthy in its own right, in that it’s a show made for girls, with a girl cast, that completely lacks that “we’re girls, let’s shine and glitter” attitude, and instead presents a large cast of unique personalities who just happen to be female.

With the Mane Six, their personalities come first and their gender second, and that really is the key. The show is not bound by being a girls’ show, nor does it feel like it has to adhere to girl tropes. Again, these ponies are just characters who happen to be female.

And that’s all there is to it, and that’s how any female character anywhere should be written: as a person first, and a woman second. Not “the” woman, no. “She’s a woman so she has to be like this and that” is the wrong way to go. It seems simple enough (and it is), but it’s funny how such a simple concept keeps eluding so many writers.

Adventure Time
The best animated shows for female characters

My god, is this show astonishing, if for nothing else than the fact that its cast most likely has a perfect 50/50 split of men and women.

This is a show that appears to exist simply so it can test the boundaries and be different. This is also the show that decided to just sit down and make a gender-flip episode. Not “gender-flip” as in our characters actually transformed into the opposite gender for an episode. I mean there was an entire episode where we enter an established world and everybody just is the gender-flipped counterpart of their usual characters.

No one was acting too different because of the flip; they were just gender-flipped, and that’s all. The universe, characters, and stories still worked just fine. In fact, Fionna, the female counterpart to the main character Finn, has become a huge fan favorite and a top cosplay character appearing at most cons these days.

The best animated shows for female characters

Aside from that, the show in general has a massive cast of female characters, and whenever we encounter a new character, the show is very aware that there’s no reason at all why they shouldn’t be a woman, or a man, or a jelly-bean sandwich. That’s the beauty of Adventure Time.

What all of this tells us is that whoever says, “it can’t be done” in regards to having a larger female cast, or a more diverse female cast, is wrong. Because it has been done, multiple times, and it’s been done well. The answer is not to have just one woman and let her be “the woman”. What’s needed is a larger background cast of a variety of women, who are people first and women second.

With most shows, there are characters who could be females or males. When their purpose to the plot is gender-neutral, why not just turn one or two of them into females?

Heck, once upon a time at the Warner Brothers animation department, someone suddenly decided to give the Joker a henchwoman instead of a henchman, and now Harley Quinn is so popular that she’s been added to the official DC canon. When it comes to creating great female characters, it really can be just as simple as that.

[—Editing/cleanup/revisions to this article provided by Dr. Winston O’Boogie and Elliot Hodgett.]

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  • Muthsarah

    There you are. Been a lil’ worried aboutcha.

    I still need to get into Adventure Time. Is it the kinda show where continuity is irrelevant, and they can be easily watched in any order?

    • Sofie Liv

      Well, i’ve been a little busy lately, working on a theatre project and so on.

      Well erh.. it’s mostly recommended to watch Adventure time in order, there is a long running plot and a lot of big mindblowing reveals that only get to come in their full right if you actually watched the show probably.
      Though it does take a few to get started… one thing to keep in mind is that Adventure time is not just a sweety fun MLP show..
      Adventure time is pitch black dark comedy… first when you realise that and is able to get that about adventure time does it become good.. but ones you get that.. it is so great!

      • danbreunig

        It’s the Ponies that won me over most with everything on this list. All the Justice League shows will take some time to digest, and really I never took an interest in the 90s WB shows, but dang if you weren’t spot-on with this article. Maybe I said already before, but I’m trying to do a fanfic that’s just that: all women characters, no males, and the characters are just *characters*–not a single thought to either Bechdel Test or Male Gaze. Just letting personalities bounce off of each other. And what do you know, they just happen to be all female too.

        Speaking of MLP–come on now, S. We need you to write that one last recap about the season 4 (series?) finale. The show didn’t end with Maud Pie. How about some recap closure?

        • JD

          Try Pinky and the Brain

          • danbreunig

            Gladly.

  • chromesthesia

    I must check out Adventure time one day. I have just started watching Korra, but it’s a bit sad to me for obvious reasons. :(

    The Gaang :(

    And I love MLP FIM and all its strong characters. It’s not that difficult to write strong, female characters, i think.

    • Sofie Liv

      I knooooow!
      How-ever when some re-appears you become so happy like! There were no mention of Zuko in the first two season and then old man Zuko just appears out of no-where in season three and just…
      AWWWW YEAH! ZUKO BABY!
      And still as awkward as ever.

      “She’s a firebender able to create blasts from her forehead, I ones send a man with similar ability out to kill the avatar…… I mean I didn’t succeed!” … lols Zuko, you never change, I love you :D

      Yeah, if for nothing else just for that, it’s such a positive thing that MLP became a thing, I don’t care what people say.

      • chromesthesia

        Oh good. I love Zuko. he’s adorkable.

        Yes, MLP Makes me happy and I enjoy it.

        • Sofie Liv

          He is the greatest dork ever.
          He just tries soooo hard and fails every single time, yet he will just try again, god it’s impossible to hate him, even in season one.
          If just because.. he tries so damn hard and fails so much any-way, aww, Zuko baby.

          MLP invented “The goof up.” and I intend to make that a thing! there’s no reason it couldn’t become a sport along-side the rap battles!

  • Toby Clark

    I really need to catch up on Korra and get back to Adventure Time.

    On this topic, what are your thoughts on the Sailor Moon franchise? (I ask partly because of the new series that started last weekend, though it’s not significantly different from the first one yet.)

    • Sofie Liv

      I actually quite enjoy Sailor moon.

      It’s cheesy as hell and plays straight into any girls dream cliche ever with sugar on top and a thick layer of marmelade but some-how that ends up becoming part of the charm.

      Usagi is in fact, a really enjoyable and good female lead, she’s vibrant, kind of a doofus and scatter brain, has to struggle with all of these aspects about herself but has a good heart and means well, and by the ends fights through it all to do the right thing because by the end of the day, she’s also rather selfless and has a good heart.

      The self aware humour and genuine heart of the show is what manages to safe what would otherwise have been a complete cheese fest and by the end, it’s just a pretty enjoyable thing to sit down and watch that makes you… or at least me, smile quite a bit when it’s on. It makes me happy and I do care for the characters, so yeah.. it’s fine.

      • chromesthesia

        I like Japanese Sailor Moon better. There’s lesbians and people who change gender for some reason.

        • Sofie Liv

          Pfff, anime.

        • danbreunig

          I still have to give credit to Nycea for getting me into Moon in the first place. I’m already a few days behind on the recent Crystal premiere. Although that’s what I’ve heard about the manga, being so much richer in original depth of the dark and the weird. Like the Turtles too.

      • Toby Clark

        For the record, I’ve been a huge fan of the first series since discovering it subbed on youtube a few years back, though for one reason or another I’ve never got around to finishing the second. Really looking forward to the new uncut dub, not least because of Stephanie Sheh, Michelle Ruff and Johnny Yong Bosch.

  • Good to see you back, Sensei. And I need to see Korra all the way through, one of these days.

    • danbreunig

      Glad to see class is back in session. To think it’s been nearly a month (a whole MONTH) since something Sofie related came our way. I thought I was missing some sugar in my diet lately…

      So many great shows, so little time to soak them all in, especially in such short time ):/

      • Indeed.

        • Sofie Liv

          Well.. i’ve been busy.. and kind of ill and stuff. so yeah..

          • Muthsarah

            Well, good. I was worried that a huge earthquake had struck and drawn Denmark into the deep, taking all of its exceptionally tall people with it. Denmark being what it is, it might have taken a month for anyone else to notice what had happened.

            ….Why does being mean and insulting come so easily to me? I kid because I love. :)

          • danbreunig

            I’m sure we would’ve noticed Ragnaroek if it happened. Then again, 2012 is over.

  • Moppet

    I always intend to check out adventure time. I never get around to it.

    Even with Korra sometimes going in questionable directions, I kind of prefer that. I don’t want a lead to be perfect, regardless of gender, and, while I don’t like some of the things Korra has done or said, I like that she does/says them anyways. I like flawed characters, and Korra’s flaws make sense to me. I might not like it when she said or did a particular thing, but I understood it. That’s all I really ask of any character, regardless of what they’re doing. I need to understand.

    The previews to the new season of Korra were spectacular.

    Loved the DC universe stuff, and I still adore Teen Titans.

    • Sofie Liv

      The intentions with Korra is all good, she is a trouble characters for many reasons, but none of them about her being a girl and more about the show itself struggling trying to find its own identity and create a new avatar whom has to be the Avatar but can’t be Ang, so that’s just problematic right there.
      All in all, I appreciate she is there, I love her designs, I like many of her attributes, it’s the right direction so yeah.
      And ones again… a big epic fantasy drama geared NOT towards just girls, but all genders, featuring a female lead.. hells yeah.

      • Zack_Dolan

        believe it or not, i actually vastly prefer korra to last airbender. a lot of that is probably bcs i saw it first (unless you count the two separate instances i tried to watch the first episode of airbender and didn’t bother continuing bcs…well NOTHING of merit happened in it), but the main thing i find is that, despite her flaws, korra is a vastly superior hero to ang. She actually WANTS to be a hero, she never had to be dragged kicking and screaming into it. she never spent years whangsting about “the destiny she never wanted” or how “not ready” she was. and she certainly didn’t run off and hide in an icecube and let the world burn for a century or so. Nope, she just dove face first into it with a big grin on her face and i loved her from the minute i saw her. her very first words in the series as a destructive little child are “I’M the Avatar! DEAL WITH IT!!” and she INSTANTLY endeared herself to me. I grew to love the original as time went on, but honestly i did not get on board for about 5 or 6 episodes. it took a lot of time with every character who wasn’t Katara or Iroh to get me to truly like or connect with them. Korra had me in literally the first 30 seconds. to me, that is a way bigger indicator of how much it succeeded at putting it’s concept and characters on the table and making me care. Also, and it’s petty, the animation from Korra CRUSHES the original. just…no comparison. obviously that comes from a few more years experience and a few more zeroes in the budget, but Korra rivals anything from the best animators on either side of the pacific.

        • Sofie Liv

          That’s fair.

          I personally prefer last airbender because i feel the story telling and structure is way tighter and more competent, there is more purpose in it and every-thing fits together to go up in a higher place by the end of it.
          But that doesn’t make Korra a bad show by any means, it’s an amazing show and a amazing feed.
          And I am happy that you like it so much! All the more power to you, I mean that sincerely.

  • mamba

    I can’t wait until we get to the day where we as a species are just talking about “characters” and not having to subdivide into genders or race or nationality or what have you. I really feel for a comic book writer…they have this idea for a character, and no matter WHAT they do, someone will be offended. Make them a male…women get offended, make them white, other races get offended, make them a latino woman and somehow THAT offends people too, make them black and some other group will complain about no representation! Sheesh…people are people and we all look different and have different parts, and it doesn’t matter at all.

    Perfect example, My Little Pony, a show I love (and yes, I’m full-on brony, adult male). But think about it…people are so caught up in (rightly) praising it’s female-centric cast that they forget that there are NO males that are worthy of note. Go ahead…name 3 that are actual characters rather than idiots, stereotypes who barely speak, or comic fodder. The closest is Spike who’s still basically a well-rounded servant to Twilight…everyone else is a literal moron (Snowflake, Red, Soren, etc…) But even mention that fact to someone that the balance is all female and all you’ll get is some talk about balancing against the many shows that have all-male casting.

    So they solved sexism with…more sexism, just in the other direction. How’s that going to help things?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that female characters are being treated the same as male ones in their actions, motivations, development, etc. But yet it still oftentimes screams out “great character…AND A WOMAN TOO” when the last part really SHOULDN’T matter. They’re just great characters…period. Drawing attention to their femaleness defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? After all, if women and men are equal, then should it matter about the gender? If not, then why would some writers go out of their way to draw attention to it? But they have to, otherwise they offend someone…and someone’s going to be offended no matter WHAT they do, so the whole gender-issue becomes pointless.

    I don’t hang with my girl friends and my boy friends, I hang out with my “friends”. I don’t watch girl’s shows like Pony or boys shows like Justice League…I watch good SHOWS. OH WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG???

    But point is…nobody can please everyone I guess, so this will go on and on and on in circles until we evolve past genders completely…then we can find some other meaningless detail to divide us as a species. Humanity is doomed until we stop referring to people by their labels rather then their actions.

    • Toby Clark

      “Go ahead…name 3 that are actual characters rather than idiots, stereotypes who barely speak, or comic fodder. The closest is Spike who’s still basically a well-rounded servant to Twilight…everyone else is a literal moron (Snowflake, Red, Soren, etc…)”
      Who’s Red? You mean Big Macintosh? Because last I checked, he was the smart one out of the Apple family, what with his fancy mathematics.
      I’d also point to Shining Armor, Carrot Cake and Discord, though I’m getting the impression you have some reason to not count them.

      • JD

        Cheese Sandwich.

        • Sofie Liv

          I’m just astounded over that big passionate speech…

          Urhm.. well it is problematic because.. yeah, gender roles shouldn’t matter as much as they do, but on the same time, men and women are kind of different and well, I for one AM a woman.
          I’m not a “It.” i’m a “She.” .. so unless we are going to change our entire languet and refer to people as. “it.” .. there’s kind of a fundemental problem here.

          All though a kind of interesting thing going on here in denmark, and it would be kind of cool if you could applie it to script writing in genneral, here in denmark it has begun to become a thing that when people write stage dramas.. they write them compleately genderless, meaning.. none of the characters have a pre-described gender! All they have is a last name and then you just cast it in what-ever the hell way you want, and the next time some-body performs the same play, the genders will probably be switched around yet again..
          It’s a pretty fun concept that would be great if it was applied to just all script writing in genneral and the consideration while casting for movies and plays X)

          Also MLP has plenty of good male characters. Discord is the best of course, because.. well he’s discord!
          I also always quite enjoyed the flim flam brothers, they still have my favourite MLP song, I just love vaudville.

          • danbreunig

            That sounds like a really cool practice. Is that fairly new or was it always that way in your culture’s history?

          • Sofie Liv

            It’s fairly new, but has become a sort of standard when writing stage dramas these last ten years.

          • mamba

            “good” astounded, or “bad” astounded? Because I didn’t mean to insult anyone, and certainly not you. Honestly, before I wrote that I had a stranger female yell at me for offering to help her carry stuff from her car. I was just being nice, she thought I was “implying her female weakness” (her words), so might not have been in the best mood to hear about gender balance…sorry.

            Language is the root problem, but for example…let’s look at you. You are not an “it” not a “she”, you’re a “person”. Your gender is ONLY important if someone wants to have sex with you, right…because we’re taking to your brain and not your boobs If you spoke from behind a screen, every word you say would be just as intelligent and insightful. Same with characters…they are written well but some writers really feel the need to have FEMALE role models rather than just ROLE models. The division is hard to get past, and unless we forget the entire concept, feminism will always exist because as soon as a character or a person says “I am a woman” they immediately are saying “I am different than you” and that defeats the entire point if inclusion. (note “different”, not “better” or “worse”, but human nature will always compare unfortunately)

            I LOVE the play idea of genderless roles, that’s the best way to do it!!! Then take a dartboard or bingo-ball dispensor and assign them later, making the gender totally random and irrelevant. A perfect solution!

            As for discord and the other “male” characters, as I pointed out to another writer, they are barely in the show. Over 4 entire seasons and probably close to 80 episodes, their screentime can be measures in minutes at best They are the “token” males, and even Shining Armour is clearly just a potential love interest. They just took a sexist trope and reversed the gender and somehow the sexism is now a sign of progress and empowerment. If they used the “random gender” assignments for the background ponies and made the mane 6 all female on purpose, sheer mathematics would have some really good males as well and still be female-centric if that’s the goal. Instead they went too far the other way.

            Racism will never fight racism, and sexism will never fight sexism. Just think how wonderful the world would be if articls like yours didn’t NEED to be written! But since it had to be written, you did an excellent job writing it and thank you.

          • Sofie Liv

            I do think my gender is kind of important in other areas to…
            I do identify myself as a woman as a person, ones a month I exsperience a couple of pounds weight gain due to water contaiment in my body to deal with a certain red problem.
            I’m naturally not as physically strong as men.
            I really do have to take good care of myself when I go to town at night, because I WILL be stalked.
            I have carried many frustrations as an actress throughout my life as all the parts I found the most interesting were written specifically for men.
            how-ever they are also written that way because back in time genderoles worked like that for very specific reasons that has to do with mere survival.
            Our society has just thankfully moved past that now, though that is still a new thing in the larger picture of things, so certain things are slow in the uptake how to fit into this new society, gender roles included.

            Yes, yes I am a person whom just happens to be a woman!
            A person first, a woman second.. but still you look at me, your first-hand impression is done in 0,5 seconds, this is sciense that has been made, and you will have subconciously taken into account that I am a woman, and subconciously applie that to your actions.
            And I am not a guy who just happen to have boobs and no penis, i’m a woman! And that’s important to me to, that’s who I am.
            When some-body decides to be a gentleman and pull out a chair for me, I get happy, it makes me feel special and I like it.

            Very largely and very gennerally speaking of course, since every-body is different, women does function a bit different than men in our behaviour, the way we talk and the way we think, and that’s fine.

            To deny a woman the right to just be a woman, and the man just to be a man, is the other extreme and another evil that is just as bad.. it’s all about balance really. That middle balance where you accept people for being people AND being what-ever race, gender or what-ever they are, without any-body having to denounce any-thing.

            I’m a girl, I grew up loving princess dresses and barbie dolls.. I also loved watching Batman tas every morning.
            The one thing doesn’t have to exclude the other and to say I have to denounce my gender is just as sexiest and pressuring… I am a woman, I was born that way.

            I am also blond, I am also a Dane from Denmark, and a elder sibling, I also have some autistic tendencies, i’m also an intro-vert and a big geek… it’s all part of whom I am as a person, and plays into my identity. And it is who I am.. boobs and every-thing.

          • danbreunig

            This whole issue points to the truth behind one of my favorite Sofie-isms:
            A woman is not just a subspecies of man with an extra hole.

            Not those exact words, but the point’s the same.

          • Sofie Liv

            Well… don’t exclude or dismiss different types, include them!

            Also a world where every-body was the exact same would be a boring world!
            Men and women is a nice variety, it’s just a shame some people can’t figure to treat them as equally valuable as human beings… because we are.

            And no-body ever forced me to play with barbie dolls, I loved my barbie dolls, I still find lots of princess dresses pretty and have a wish to try and wear them, and i’m not sorry -_-;

          • Sean

            Well color blind is the ideal world. Where race/gender/sexuality/ect literally do not matter in terms of how you legally treat people. Everyone gets an equal shot regardless of all of that. No one gets looked down on. No one hates anyone based on accidents of birth. And I don’t just mean “no one hates non-whites or women or gays.” I mean no one hates anyone based on an accident of birth period.

          • Sofie Liv

            True, but you should also accept people for who they are.
            Like it or not, I grew up in a nationality very different from the US nationality, so by defintion I think very different than the average US citizen because of how I grew up! And how they grew up!

            But that doesn’t mean either of us are wrong, it just means each of us has a unique entrance vision to some problems and perhaps we should listen to each other and accept each others ways, what-ever make the indiviudal happy :)

          • JD

            You don’t need to say much about Cheese Sandwich.Weird Al, a back story, and more dialog then Big Mac has had in 4 seasons, all in one episode. I also liked the Flim flam Brothers

          • Zack_Dolan

            That thing you mentioned about writing characters gender (and presumably color) blind is an excellent practice that i myself include in my work as a comic book writer/artist. we actually tried a social experiment on our readers where in issue one we introduce a character called Silhouette who is sort of a Dr. Fate meets The Shadow type, who wears a full body costume that disguises literally every square inch of skin and features a long flowing cape that conceals a large amount of the costume. They are easily the most badass and competent member of the group and became one of the most popular among readers. Everyone, and i mean EVERYONE referred to Silhouette as a male with ZERO clues one way or the other.

            So in issue 3 we reveal that it is in fact a woman under that outfit and people’s minds were just blown. Now mind you, we didn’t do a dramatic *GASP reveal and have someone go “but…YOU’RE A WOMAN????”. it’s just simply the first logical excuse to show her in her civilian identity. her teammates know this. it just never comes up because…why should it? do you standardly remark on how your co worker is totally a male or a female or black or asian? no. so literally nothing is made of it in the story itself, but I was continually shocked by how much it completely surprised people bcs they had thoroughly convinced themselves that “oh Silhouette is the most awesome out of them, of course it’s a dude” prob. without even thinking about it at all. Most of the reactions were positive, including a quote from one guy that has since become my favorite way to describe it: “Shit, Silhouette’s a girl? I just done got Samus’ed!!” but there were several that really dissapointed me by suddenly finding her less cool with literally no new information besides she is definitively a woman. One actually said “i don’t know how to feel about the character now…” and i was actually a little offended. i was like “why? what’s different about her? what about being a woman makes her less cool to you? why does it matter?” and they couldn’t give me any satisfactory answer. as someone stated above i would LOVE to see the day when all characters are just CHARACTERS and not primarily the racial or gender stereotypes they are expected to fill.

            I can’t include a picture of what i am talking about in the comments, but i’ll try to show a link.

            https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201067003218469&set=pb.1269893864.-2207520000.1404963918.&type=3&theater

            and if that doesn’t work, anyone who actually cares, feel free to check out the book itself, called Super!, at http://unlikelyheroesstudios.com/

            also i apologize for the shameless plug, but it really does factor into my point :D Also, it seems appropriate in his post about strong female leads in fiction that i try to spread the word about a comic that is fronted by two strong females who’s reproductive organs NEVER factor into how good of a hero they are. ok, I promise, the shameless self promotion has ended haha.

          • Zack_Dolan

            oh hey the picture did work. i had no idea that it could actually do that!

          • Sofie Liv

            :O

            ….

            Can I.. Can I just thank you? Sincerely from the bottom of my heart, if you were there in front of me I would take off my hat and shake your hand.

            That character, that’s preciesly what the female superhero of my dreams look like!
            I always had a kind of idea/obsession about having just one female in a trenchcoat, where well.. the out-fitt could as well be worn by a male, but it’s not just a “Question 2” … because having the second genneration of a hero being a woman just isn’t the same.. it’s a re-hatch.

            As a kid I actually made a design where it was a woman wearing a gasmask to cover her face, a fedora and a long trench-coat.. I cannot express to you enough how much I just LOVE the design of that woman you showed me, I really wanna read her comic book! I am so happy to now know that she does in fact, exsist out there!

            Thank you good sir, thank you so much!

          • Zack_Dolan

            well…wow. no, thank YOU. that means a lot and I really appreciate it. Especially since we follow your show and know how much you care about this stuff and how much you analyze it and what you expect from the material. In fact, watching shows like yours, along with Solkir’s the graphic novel picture show and others like the Nostalgia Chick’s and a few others has really helped us to understand what female and LGBT fans want and, just as importantly, what they are upset about not getting or how bad what they are getting keeps turning out to be. It always feels good to watch one of you guys’ videos where you make a checklist about what a hero needs to do or be like to rise above the weak stereotypes and be able to go “we did that. we did that. oh good, we’d NEVER do that” and realize that we’re actually hitting the right marks. I find that prob. the biggest problem modern comics have (in a LOOOOOONG list) is that they do not care what their readers think or want and only care about short term shock based sales spikes, and the thing we are trying to do different is actually listening to the fans and making THEM happy, since they are…well…paying our bills. I never understood why the big 2 never seem to realize that.

            We aren’t trying to make a “message” book that exists solely to further some agenda or another, We are just trying to make a good one, populated with good, well thought out, lovable characters. That’;s part of why we did what we did with silhouette. and the experiment proved a total success. Among the first 4 characters introduced, there is another female lead Blitz, but we make no attempt to disguise her gender identity and people totally treated her differently than silhouette. Not bad, exactly, she is still well liked and considered to also be a super badass character for the most part, but clearly there was a whole different set of rules and standards people held her to, where as with silhouette they just bypassed all of that and decided she was awesome. It is both interesting (and a little sad) to see that Blitz was judged as “a female superhero” while Silhouette was just accepted as a “superhero” with no extra caveats.

            For example: we have not done more than one or two interviews where we WEREN’T asked “so why did you choose to make Blitz a woman?” I don’t know….why is conan a dude? why is mickey mouse a mouse? why is Grrrr a robot in a teddy bear disguise? they just are. I’m not even sure how to answer that question when it comes up. the best i can do is “Because it feels right” I do like that it forced people to rethink how they view heroes and gender/race roles, even if only a little bit, but what i really REALLY want is for ALL superheroes to just be “superheroes” and not “female heroes’ or “homesexual heroes” or “black heroes” or “latino heroes” or “muslim heroes” or “jewish heroes” or whatever. it’s like you said before, no character should START with a gender or race role, they should be a CHARACTER, then the rest should be filled in based on what feels right for that particular person. I think if you actually just focus on that, the rest of it falls into place.

            there will always be roadblocks, and as someone said above, SOMEONE will always be offended by what you do, so you just have to do what you know is right for the story and the characters that live in it. I really love what you said about the adventure time’s view of character creation. “there is no reason at all that this character shouldn’t be a woman…or a man…or a jellybean sandwich” and i think that says it all. :D

          • Sofie Liv

            Oh yeah absolutely.
            When I write characters I am always trying to put myself in their place and view things from each their perspective.
            What are their motivations? their convictions? Why do they act the way they do in some circumstances
            Their gender will have something to do with that around 1 maybe 2 percent of the time, unless love life is involved, then the percentage gets higher.

            I actually just started a new table top game with a couple of friends based on “Mutants and Masterminds.” where yup, we all played as superheroes.
            We are two girls playing having written each our superhero.
            My female friend wrote a thirty year old some-thing woman whom is a genius, but therefore also a rude narcisists, wears a long green swallow tail coat, green mask red hair and yeah.
            She really looks down on every-one around her and don’t care that people hate her guts because she’s… really freaking rude and narcisitic, but it’s fun playing around with.

            I am very proud of my own character which I had a lot of fun writing.. and her gender actually does come into play here, but in a pretty funny way which almost plays into your aspect with shade.
            My character is called the Crimson Defender, the thing about her though is that she is part of an old legend.
            The legend says that the crimson defender is this dude in crimson red that just kind of pops up from time to time throughout history when the world is in trouble, and the last time was around sixteen years ago from our time-line, so some people even remember that.
            The common theory among the world is that this person is an imortal or an spirit, able to just life on for-ever and pop up.
            How-ever, the real truth is that the crimson defender is actually just a title that gets to be inheriated from parent to child through time.. so the joke kind of is that when people hear of the crimson defender and see the trade-marks reapear, they exspect an old mystical looking dude, and what actually shows up is a young teenage girl whom can barely hold her own yet with a sword.
            She’s hillarious to play as! We had a lot of jokes about it, this conversation really took place in the game.

            “You… are a girl now?”

            “Look! I had to take some very hard decisions and I want you to respect my life choices!”

            It’s hillarious..
            And then of course there is the added background story that the last crimson defender was actually her grandfather whom wished that HE would be the last one, but my character is absolutely in love with the idea of becoming this person and fully belives that the name should indeed live on and there’s a need for it, so she’s all for it and yes, kind of ends up stealing the magical crimson defender sword and go for it, just to prove she can do it.. And then gets her head in far to deep in a matter of minutes it seem.
            It was pretty damn fun when she was hired into the superhero team and it was suggested she should be the mentor because she’s done this for like a thousand years right? ….. “Yes! but.. erh.. i’ve been.. gone for quite a while so erh.. why don’t you just.. keep on doing what you have been doing until now?” XD

            The thing I do think is interesting, is that me and my friend decided to play characters like that and NOT your typical miss Marvel character or Wonder Woman tells some-thing doesn’t it? It tells some-thing about what we actually want to play as, explore and pretend to be.
            RPG is about our inner fantasies after-all, you will end up creating a character you wished you could be.. and neither of us wanted to be catwoman, so that’s kind of interesting isn’t it?

            I think you’re right! Absolutely right, focus on just telling the good story and be entertaining as a first thing!
            The rest will naturally fill itself in as you go along, if you are a good writer and a exsperienced person, you just can’t help it but have some of your own ideals and convictions bleed through in the story line from time to time, it just happens without thinking about it.
            But if the story is entertaining and clever, that’ll only be an extra level of goodiness.

            Oh god, man oh man, I just can’t belive some-times, that there are people that freaking cool!
            Actually listening to what I say and take it into account, that’s just mindblowing!
            Your cool good sir! Your comic looks amazing! It looks really entertaining and like it’s just playing into all of the fun of a superhero comic without to much pretense :D

          • Sofie Liv

            Oh I got an idea!
            Would you maybe be interested in anticipating in an interview, about your comic book?
            Featured here on the site?

          • Zack_Dolan

            um…YES. that would be amazing. :D

          • Sofie Liv

            Okay cool! Contat me on my mail SofieLivp@yahoo.com

            We’ll try to set up a skype meeting a day.. it probably will take a week at least since I will be going to Belgium tomorrow to work on a theatre project that will premier in August. Will be back at Denmark again Saturday a week from now and have vacation for a week, so I think we could figure out some-thing there.

            Also need to figure out how our time zones are different and so on so we can find a time both are actually out of bed and not on work.

          • Zack_Dolan

            I think you hit it right there, that you made your own characters and neither of you chose to be catwoman or psylocke. it’s always made me shake my head that most comic creators idea of a “strong female character” really means “big breasted ninja in hot pants”. Some of them really are trying, but a lot of them think of feminism from the perspective of a 13 year old boy sometimes. “No, dude, Barb Wire is totally a feminist bcs she kills dudes who call her a babe. she’s fighting the power, man.” haha

            When we were searching for a larger publisher to take our book when we first started, we were actually told by someone (i’d rather not say who) that Blitz was “too Butch-y” and asked if we could “sexy her up a little” because we had the unmitigated gall to NOT give her enormous breasts to be displayed through a boob window and took the daring step to let her wear pants. needless to say, we said “no. no we can’t.” and that was that.

            also i dig the idea you had about the hero who basically stole the gear and pretty much accidentally became the person worthy of having it in the first place. i’ve always had a soft spot for the d-list schmuck who has to prove they’re just as good as the a-listers

          • Sofie Liv

            Well, it’s not so much “Accidently.”
            I made a writing error, the last crimson defender vanished sixty years ago, not sixteen.. so my character don’t know what happened.

            She was brought up by her grandfather whom were the last crimson defender, and thus knew of the history behind it, though only vaguely. Based on what-ever little information the grandfather would dish out and her own re-search.

            So she thinks that hey, this is a proud family tradition! I should totally take that up! And then of course all the accidents happens so yeah… yes kind of find herself in a lot of trouble by accident, hehe..

            I don’t think you would loose much by making her just slightly more feminime, what I mean is, make her a tiny bit slimmer than the males around her and possible shorter, which could even look pretty funny, the cool oposing blitz standing next to the muscle guy and be around a head shorter because well.. women in genneral just are shorter and slightly slimmer across the shoulders.. which is really enough to signal feminity if you think about it. Or it should be enough at least.
            Heck it worked with Rorschach, some-how him being that small just added to his character, a lot X)

            And now that you made her a woman, there’s no need to dodge all of the feminim aspects, it does automaticly change a few things.

            Like it or not there are things it just changes instantly for instance, a scene where a man comforts another man, is often a bit awkward, the best you can do is just having one man venting and the other listening and nodding and that’s it, men are a bit simple that way.

            How-ever, a woman comforting a man, or a man comforting a woman, or a woman comforting a woman, hugging is actually suddenly oki doki without becoming awkward, and a woman giving that long speech about self worth and so on is for some reason, not as awkward.

            It does change some things, not all but some, but I don’t think there is any reason to entirely reject that.

            just.. do what feels natural.

            Lots of comic book creators has miss understood greately how women thinks and what women actually want from our heroes.

            Perhaps the wonder woman type was exactly what we wished for ones, but the truth is that same type has now been done a bazillion times and what we actually lack is variety!

            The mere option of being able to pick who we like! Catwoman has allready existed for 70 years, you don’t need to make more versions of her! We need fresh blood, variety, options!

            And also… awwww! I can’t buy the first issue of your comic book, I checked your site and I see you only ship to the US.

          • Zack_Dolan

            Oh, well there’s nothing wrong with being feminine, I should point out this is the other lead character, not silhouette that we hid the identity of. Blitz looks a bit like a gender flipped Booster gold with a lightning theme to the costume. she’;s also based on a person that I know, who is beautiful in that very real person way, not in a plastic stick figure alien hybrid looking supermodel kind of way. the guy’s literal problem was the absence of a boob window or thigh high boots or frightening Rob Liefeld curved spine for maximum sluttiness. I was pretty sure we weren’t going to get far when he asked, in reference to the speedster on the team having a tendency to burn his clothes off as he runs “if the Streak carried Blitz…would it burn HER clothes off?” I remind you these are people who get to make decisions in the industry. I know I’m depressed too haha

            and yes, options are definitely good. Since Super!n is a book similar to Astro city in that it is an entire marvel or DC sized universe that exists in one book, we hope to add a few hundred worthwhile entries to that list if we can last that long. We’ve already got a couple dozen in the first few issues in both major and minor roles throughout

          • Sofie Liv

            Oh wauw gesh… I have looked at your site, so I did see Blitz, the girl with short blond hair and the goggles right?
            And quite frankly.. I dig her design a lot. She looks like a woman and a superhero but not a slut, it looks like an out-fitt a superheroin could wear, and it’s eye-catching and good looking.. I like it!

            Yeaaah… what you are telling about those publishers sounds kind of disturbing to me.
            And I think the thing is.. that kind of thing doesn’t even sell as good as they think it does, I don’t believe the majority of men even likes that kind of stuff because.. majority of men have actually better brains than that. And most guys I talked to like girls whom are indeed, natural and have interesting personalities.

            You are actually shooting yourself in the foot as a publishers company putting out such an image of yourself -_-;

            Yup, don’t denounce or exclude just… include as many different types as possble that’s really it.
            :)

            Also woah that’s quite a project!
            In my own stories I always concentrate hard on only having the neccesary characters there, just having a small cast of recognisable leads and then the rest will be there because they have a reason within the story.
            It’s a key rule of mine to keep it as simple as possible and then just focus on the things that are indeed important, which yes means, I have had to cut out a lot of babies in my time and it hurts, but for the sake of story structure!
            If there are no reason two characters can’t just be the same, they will be melted together to one so yeah..
            Also kind of for my own sake so I as an author knows who’s who and why they are even there.

          • Zack_Dolan

            Yeah that’s her, and thank you. I tried really REALLY hard to design her in a way that make a woman look at it and go “yeah, i would totally want to dress like that if i fought crime” instead of insulting them or making them roll their eyes at it. I know a lot of cosplayers and I kept in mind that they occasionally like to wear pants and not die of hypothermia or break their ankles on the high heels that are confusingly built into their armor. plus, who the hell would fight crime like that? We actually have a lot spoof jokes that directly rag on that kind of thinking, and there are several obvious poor examples of characters that are just “doing it wrong” if you know what i mean. Most of our satire is out of love, we mock the silliness of things with no malicious intent, but there are a few things that we really tear into bcs we genuinely don’t like it and want to lampshade the hell out of it. the double standard sexism is def. one of those things. even in our world, heroes with boob windows are more popular than those without, regardless of how unfair it is, and our heroes, especially Blitz, are really sick of it and aren;t putting up with it anymore.

            and yes, the scope of the project is nuts, but while we have this huge living breathing world, we have a main 7 that the story focuses on. we look at it a bit like GI JOE and transformers used to do it. sure there are literally over a hundred characters, but it has a core group at the center of which at least one member is always featured, but the other characters of the world are always given at least a little time to shine in a way that intersects with one or more of those main characters. it’s really hard to juggle sometimes, but we very carefully planned out our entire run from beginning to end, so we know exactly where to fit everyone in and in a meaningful way. we can promise no pointless shock deaths or heel turns for sales spikes. we didn’t write every single line of dialogue or anything, but the story is the story it needs to be before we made issue one. I always think it’s the worst when a comic or show comes out of the gate running but clearly has no idea where it’s going and just meanders along trying to squeeze justr a few more bucks out of the property until finally fizzling out. it’s so much better when you can tell the author always had the endgame in mind, and we made sure we did that first

          • Sofie Liv

            Planning ahead sure is a good thing and is very often the deciding factor between break and fail ones a story has been going for a while.
            It’s always easy to begin some-thing new when you don’t know where you are going.. but end it in a satiefying manner? That’s an entirely other story and actually, the far more challenging one!
            LOST is a grant example of this isn’t it? And a lot of Manga.. One Piece though is a prime example of how actually planning can carrie a long running manga through the ages and make it still hold up for so long, and I know reading that manga that it IS indeed building up to some-thing spectacular, a great endgame! Not only that, while reading the different archs bleeds over to one another, and they can only do that because the author knew what was going to matter in the future, so he put in the right set up and left the right hints.
            That’s also the difference between a good plot twist and a bad one, a good one is a pre-planned one that makes the audience go. “Oh I get it! now it all connects!” while a bad one is the one obviously not even planned that is only there for shock value and doesn’t actually make sense in the larger scheme of things.
            Naruto and Bleach has so many of those problems, because.. no planning.
            Unfortunately lots of Marvel and DC comics suffer from the same problem because well.. they’ve just gone on for to long.
            It sounds like you really have put a lot of passion and thought into this! looking forward to read it!

            Hehe.. yeah.. speaking as a cosplayer myself.
            Walking around in kinky outfitts is always a lot of fun.. for just about five minutes, then it becomes tedious and down-right exhausting!
            So yeah, women CAN be attracted to the idea of being slutty and sexy but.. it’s only fun for that long and only in such small doses.. it’s only the fewest women whom has the mental capacity to be like that all of the time!
            I did quite enjoy cosplay such characters as Sophie from howls moving castle, an Attack on titan soldier and so on.. I felt a lot less exsposed and just, more comfortable in those costumes than I did in my wonder woman costume.
            And I rocked that Attack on Titan uniform! I felt like I looked cool!

            Currently i’m also working on an alternative Harley Queen costume, where it’s build around this swallow tail suit jacket set in the harley queen colours and theme, with mask, red fedora and cane..
            just to show you know, you can make the recognisable and stylish theme without having to make it slutty and go all “Arkham Asylum.” on it.

          • Zack_Dolan

            Lost was literally what i was thinking of when i wrote that description. it is probably the biggest and best (or worst i guess) example of poor planning. I always felt Lost went into it with the idea that they were all dead, the island was purgatory, and the smoke monster was charron the boatman come to take their souls to whatever end their actions merited. the problem being EVERYONE guessed that pretty much immediately and because they were far more concerned with “the twist” they scrambled to find a new endgame that would serve that purpose. instead they just floundered around for 7 years until finally fizzling out in boring confusing and ultimately unsatisfying mess. :P

            And I LOVE One Piece. I avoided it for a long time bcs of the atrocious 4kids dub i caught a random episode of (egh…the OnePiece Rap still gives me the shudders) but my business partner and co-writer is like the biggest one piece fan in the universe, and he badgered and badgered me to give it a chance and i finally begrudgingly gave in. i was sitting there, arms folded with my Hurrumph-ing pants on ready to hate it. but it totally sucked me in and now i can’t get enough of it. which is good, bcs there’s like 900 episodes of it and i’m only in 400’s haha

            And yes, completely agreed about Naruto and Bleach. hate them both for that (and many other) reason. i was babysitting a friend’s kid over a weekend that was airing all 99 previously aired episodes of Naruto to countdown to the 100th, and the kid was OBSESSED with it. i was forced to watch like…i don’t know 30 or so friggin episodes and now i can’t bear to even look at it. I mean, the marathon didn’t help, but side by side you see how utterly terrible and poorly thought out the stories are, no matter how much they try to convince you it’s “DEEP”.

          • Sofie Liv

            WHAT A TWIST!
            It’s almost Shamalayn isn’t it?
            He clearly also suffer greately from the disease of the twist mattering more to him than the actual story…. Sigh.. People, a twist will only work if it makes sense in hinsight and makes you appreciate what happened before even more, if it makes you think about stuff.

            Hehe yeaah, i had my doubts about One Piece to before I became a fan, I actually read the first few issues as a child and then just put it away thinking it was way to weird, I just didn’t get it.
            Then years passed by and I got a crick in my back, litterately couldn’t move out of bed without being in severe pain.. and I have no freaking idea why, but for some reason I thought. “I’m gonna give One Piece another go.” YEARS after I laid it on the shelf.. and by the end of it, marathoning through dubbed episodes I was hooked for-ever! Going from. “I don’t get it.” to “OMG THIS IS THE GREATEST THING EVAAARRR!!!”
            Oh boy.. I guess you havn’t even made it to the Sabboday and Impel down arch yet then?
            Look forward to that my man, look forward to it! Water Seven is where it starts become a real emotional roller coaster, but believe it or not, that’s only the warm up before Sabboday where it’s just.. it just.. Well, just wait and see.. and prepaire to get your heart broken! a lot!

            To tell the truth I was in fact a Naruto fan as a child, it was one of the first mangas I read and collected, and one of the first animes I watched.
            I still look upon the beginning of naruto, every-thing before the time-skip I remember fondly and find to be quite good entertainment.. how-ever.. after the time-skip every-thing just fell apart and the last couple of years has been.. dissapointing to say the least, and a big confused mess where the manga obviously has no idea what so ever where it’s going.
            Which is dissapointing as I still find every-thing pre-time skip to be sweet and have the heart in the right place, plus kind of clever in some ways, especially liked how the fighting was just as much about the creativity and tehcnics played up against each other and not just brute strenght.. but alas that is compleately dropped after the time skip and it only becomes about power levels Dragon Ball style… which is a pretty boring fighting style in my opinion.

            That’s why I simply adore it every single time Usopp gets to fight in One Piece!
            I love seeing what he comes up with of different technics, he always wins with smarts, adaptability and creativity in favour of strenght, and I love witnessing it!
            Sure he gets his ass handed to him half the time, but the other half the time, it’s just so satiesfying to him fight!
            Yeah.. Usopp is my favourite One Piece character, potentially one of my favourite fictional characters period, I just.. relate so ridicoulesly much to the dude.
            I feel like he represent both the worst and the best in a person, but then becomes so inspiring because he overcomes the worst aspects of himself to become the best he can be…
            Also he’s the only person I ever have ever seen whom won a battle using the power of depression… I don’t think you have gotten that far yet, but trust me, that battle is both epic and hillarious ones it rolls along.

            And yes, I got a Sogeking figure on my desk and I am not sorry! he is a source of inspiration! That’s just how it is!
            Usopp is my hero X)

          • Zack_Dolan

            I meant to answer this earlier but i got super busy, but i just wanted to say Usopp is AMAZING. and yes, sniperking/sogeking is the best goddamn thing ever. the idea that in almost every situation, he’s a sniveling cowering sissypants, but you put that goofy mask and cape on him, and suddenly he’s super compentent and totally sure of himself and incredibly brave. it just goes to show the power of the superhero costume haha.

            oh and i am prob. halfway through water seven, which is so far the best arc in a while. i think i’m in the middle of the battles with CP9, it’s been a while since the last set of dubbed dvds, so i’ll have to refresh myself when the next set comes out. i know they are on the way to rescue robin, but have not done so yet. which has been like….15 eps maybe haha. they do tend to do that. NOTHING is ever brief in one piece haha

            also, is it just me, or is paulie from galley la totally Cid from final fantasy 7? well, it’s good to see he can still get work haha

          • Sofie Liv

            That’s all-right, i’m just happy when any-body wanna discuss One Piece with me :)

            Well that’s where I kind of disagree about Usopp.
            To me, he was in fact, always brave, but had to battle his own feelings of self doubt, thinking he is not being good enough untop on every-thing else.
            Also him and Nami are just the only two with any sense of reality what so ever among this crew of pure idiots!
            They are not really cowards, they just are the only two with any common sense period!
            But, you don’t have to look far for Usopp’s acts of bravery, in his very introduction, he put himself between his village and a bunch of pirates heading there.. and he did it solo, fully intending to stay there and fight even though the battle was pretty damn hopeless, he only left when Zoro and Luffy managed to convince him.

            And then in the Skypia act… oh boy.
            He put himself between Nami and the dude who shot lighting and called himself God, only to get his ass handed to him!
            But we are not done, he actually climbed up the ship to face ‘God’ for a round two! And ones again put himself between Enel and Nami, distracting him as good as he could by putting himself in the line of fire.
            THEN he manages to throw Nami off the ship, but only to stay behind himself and crawls up again for round three! Where he also manages to get Sanji and JUMP OFF the flying ship with Sanji over the shoulder, while avoiding the deadly lighting all around them, effectively saving all of their lifes..

            Just… oO; wauw Usopp.. that you don’t have balls is a lie!

            The way I see it, putting on that mask changes absolutely Zero about his personality, he still freaks out when he used to freak out, and he still comes through when it matters like he always does.
            The only persons perspective whom is changed.. is funny enough a lot of readers..
            If you think about it, he has only ever really run from a fight, that being a true act of a cowards… ones! he did it ones back at orange island where he left Zoro tied to a boat while he jumped in the water.
            But that was in the very beginning of the manga while he still tried to find his own courage, and later he even redeemed himself against Kishu where he picked up the battle, and even though he should have been hopelessly out-matched, he managed to win by adaptaing and by being creative, as well as of course, standing up for himself which is where it begins if you wanna pick up a fight.

            But honestly going through the archs, looking at how he stood up to Miss Merry Christmas and continued fighting even though he had all-ready gotten a bat to the face and was hopelssly out-matched, but yet won out by the end using creativity and smarts.
            Being the only one having the bravery to really stand up to Luffy for the sake of his own pride, and fight yet another battle where he is by default hopelesly out-matched.

            I can’t help but think, there are two factors playing in, and when they do, he wont stand down from a battle.
            One is his Nakamas, if some-body threaten Usopp’s nakamas or friends like the village, he will take that battle head on and finish it.
            The other, is his sense of pride.. His pride is a surprisingly big factor and when it’s compromised, he will do all what he can to maintain it.

            Oh yes! Yes yes! Water Seven is when things REALLY picks up, and it’s only going to get better from here!
            Fasten your seat-belt for the future, all the way from now until the time-skip is going to be a wild ride!

            And yes.. yes he does..

          • Zack_Dolan

            well, i guess i didn’t word that correctly. cowardly isn'[t the same thing as just being a coward. it’s true, he’s always been brave, but he screams and whines and goes to pieces in panic and kind of forrest gump’s his way to victory through a combination of ingenuity, gadgets, his uncanny abiliity to take a LOT of punishment, and just plain dumb luck. it’s not that he was ever so afraid he didn’t do what he had to do (and yes you could argue that he’s the bravest of them all bcs he doesn’t have powers that make him nigh invulnerable like most of the crew) but he would always go full shaggy barnes and the tears would flow and the knees would shake, so i guess the real difference i mean is that he never lets it show as sniperking. with few exceptions, when faced with danger, regular usopp’s eyes would be bugging out and he’d be doing a warner brothers wild take as he ran in circles screaming that they were all going to die before snapping out of it and pulling something out of his bag of tricks, where as sniper king usopp with just stand there with his hands on his hips, let out a throaty laugh, and run head first into said danger. obviously the suit doesn’t make him brave, he was always brave, but it makes him outwardly confident in a way he never is as regular usopp. he could always save the day, with or without it, but in the mask, he KNOWS he can save the day, if that makes any sense :)

          • Sofie Liv

            Yeah.

            I do think that’s kind of part of the genius that in reality, that mask changes just about.. NOTHING about him or his personality.

            He is just tricking himself into thinking that, so he’ll overcome some of his usual troubles that way.

            And he can’t go with most of his usual ways out of fear of being figured out…. by those two single people whom didn’t all-ready upon first sight..

            Bless you Luffy and chopper, bless you…

            Though Usopp still screams and makes faces behind that mask… funny thing about Usopp and his screams and his running in circles… every-time he does it, it’s freaking legit!

            The things he encounter and has to fight against now are INSANE, he handles all of those situations way better than I would have.. I think that’s what makes his “Cowardly.” episodes tolerable and even work.. at least for me, i’ve talked to people whom hates him for it.. makes me sad.. but I really do feel like he’s getting closest to how I would react, I relate so much to that character.
            I like that he actually really WANTS to be brave, and does his best, really put up a fight to stand up to his own ideals even though he can’t just yet.. though I think he does for the most part he just don’t see it yet.

            And his arch in Water Seven is all about realising that there IS a place for him the crew, that he CAN be of use to these people he views as amazing and so far above his own level.. And well, find out they are not just keeping him unboard out of pity, but that he is a capable and irreplacable crew-member, not just as a friend but as a fighting comrade.

            And yeah.. Some-times it’s just his plain common sense that saves Luffys life.

            “No Luffy, you don’t run directly into all the magical clouds that could exploid by mere touch, YOU RUUUUUN!”

            Ones again a perfectly legit statement and action to take… if you have more than two braincells, meaning.. if you’re not Luffy <_<

            neither Usopp nor Nami are cowards.. they are just the only two reasonable people on the entire ship.

            Bless them, I feel for them.. And I freaking love it when it's those two and Chopper who'll end up getting stuck together on a zombie infested island… you'll get there soonish :3

            I also just love the fact that both Luffy and Zorro as respective captain and second in command are that stupid in action just racing in headfirst.. i'll never ever get tired of it. Some-thing about it is just freaking awesome, that they'll by default will never step back for any-thing. What an amazing pair those two.

            What an amazing pair of idiots XD

          • Zack_Dolan

            oh, don’t get me wrong, i completely agree with all of that. as i said, being cowardly isn’t the same thing as being a coward. I mean it in a character quirk/ behavior kind of way, not that it is his defining trait. Usopp is absurdly brave, he just always goes about it in a panicky snivelly way, bcs unlike luffy or zoro or sanji, he is always aware of just how easily they could die like…every 2 seconds.

            and i love luffy and zoro’s dimwitted courage and blind stupidity. they are basically invincible so they can afford to be that reckless, otherwise they would have both been long dead bcs i don’t think a SINGLE arc goes by where luffy doesn’t get stuck inside/under something and zoro gets hopelessly lost and falls asleep somewhere he shouldn’t be sleeping. luffy, zoro and ussop are three of my favorite character archetypes. respectively, the rock stupid but well meaning and incorruptable chunk head, fumbling his way to victory through sheer blithely stupid optimism, the grizzly badass who bends over backwards to appear cold and antisocial, but really would do anything for the people he supposedly can’t stand, and would (and has) fought to the death to protect them bcs it’s the one thing he does well that actually matters, and finally the fast talking blowhard con man who at the start of the story is entirely full of shit, but has to step up to be the ACTUAL hero that the rep they’ve cultivated for themselves claims them to be and they are some of the best examples of those particular archetypes anywhere.

            i love the whole crew really, even the most recent addition of frankie, (for where i’m at) who is like some psychotic hybrid of the rock, ace ventura, and mazinger z. steam punk beach bum cyborg powered by booze and soda…can’t argue with that, wouldn’t know how. D

            and i think all the people you say hate ussop never got to the end of that first arc with him, bcs i was totally prepared to hate him and expected him to be the most annoying part of the show, but by the time he stands on that beach, beat to shit, and refuses to let the bad guys pass to raid the town i was sold. i think a lot of the characters are like that. the only ones i instantly liked were luffy, zoro and nami, everyone else had to show me what they had to offer for a few episodes before i liked them, but without fail, each one of them had that “moment” that made me go “shit, they are AWESOME”

          • Sofie Liv

            Oh I didn’t think you got me wrong.. but Usopp and a lot of one Piece characters are difficult to discuss without coming across as bashing them, in spite of the fact… I really really like all of them.
            Man, the next crew member after Franky, you got to love that one! I know I do, I have him standing on my piano, he is the best :3

            Funny enough, Usopp actually fulfill multiple of my preffered character archetypes that almost always end up becoming my favourite character by default when fullfilling one of them, and he fullfills plenty.

            He is a gadget builder! I freaking looooove gadget builders, they are just, one of the coolest things on earth.. THEY BUILD COOL GADGETS! I mean, come on! GADGETS! and he uses them, that’s when fighting with creativity instead of brute strenght comes into play and man do I love it.

            He’s a story teller!
            Oh my god, story tellers! I just.. If there is a story teller in the story, I will love him or her by default, I am in love with story tellers and the concept of story tellers, I view myself as a story teller in front of every-thing else or well.. being the thing connecting all the dots.
            And that’s also how I can’t help view Usopp’s tales some-times.. no no, they are not lies, they are stories! Magnificent magnificent funny stories, used to lighten the mood for the people around him like he did with Kaya.
            But not only that, here the ingenious twist comes in which I never thought about before, never seen any-where.. but my god do I love it.
            He is a dreamer and story teller whom is MAKING his own dreams and stories coming true!
            That’s bloody genius! A story teller who makes his own stories come true, by actually going for it and go out there… by god.. that’s genius! I love it!
            Also love the fact he has that ideal he couldn’t possible life up to because.. his ideal is maybe just a bit ridicoules but.. in fact he all-ready is his own ideal and as he moves on he becomes more and more secure in it and the world sees it to.

            Story teller part B is that he is a creative individual.
            I think that’s often overlooked that yeah.. Luffy is stronger than him, Robin is more book smart than him but.. no one beats Usopp in sheer creativity and adaptability, and creativy goes into all the aspects of him, from how he functions in every-day life and tell stories, draw pictures and build gadgets but also just how he fights and comes around problems.. his solutions are ridicoules thus exsiting and hillarious because you can never tell what he comes up with.

            And then of course the reason why I love him so much.. Usopp’s emotions.. I feel like I can relate so ridicoulesly much.
            His entire journing of wanting some-thing, having an ideal he really wants, does his best to reach it but still feel left behind and not good enough, especially in comparison to all those people around him, question himself, asks “Am I a coward? Am I good enough?”
            Tries so hard, does his best and still fails.. yet raises up again.. I really really felt with him, and really really related.. it just hit all the correct chords inside of me.. I feel like I am Usopp.
            He’s both who I relate to and my ideal.. out of all fictional characters ever I have encountered.. and I actually mean it.
            Superman, Batman, Harry potter, the doctor.. Usopp is just the one I feel like that for.. that ridicoules long nose from a ridicoules Manga XD
            We have a connection him and I! We just do!

            … No actually, I had this discussion with people whom are compleately up to date with the manga. Whom really hates Usopp because they view him as baggage and a coward.. And some called him arrogant and full of hot air.. Hot air, yeah kind of, he’s like those birds trying to make themselves as big as possible when they are threatened. But that is complaints I often hear.

            Which obviously makes me sad each time because I like him so much.
            Then people call him arrogant and full of hot air and I just feel like.. But.. Usopp did in fact question himself like that, and he really felt it. He down-right has that conversation with Nami where he asks Nami. “Am I a coward?” and his main reason for leaving the crew was, he didn’t want to be the one kept around just because they pitied him.. so.. what the heck manga reader! No no! Luffys and Zoros actions are not the standard for bravary, most of the time what they do is not bravary bit complete idiocy.. but I love them like that! They are perfect!
            He’s not arrogant :C
            He down-right uses lies to try and appear less unsure of himself than he feels.. he lies exactly because he is not arrogant and fear he’ll dissapear in the crowd..
            Which I quite frankly also relate a lot to, thankfully it got better, like Usopp the need to downright lie to feel more secure because well.. my reality has gotten pretty impressive over time, and I learned how to stand more firm in myself and my own interest.

            Spending two hole years in school lying about your real interests in comic books, geek culture and larping, instead calling it things like “drama performances.” and “Midevail studies.” to make it sound cooler so you wont get picked on… NOT recommended! it was awful! I felt awful!
            Thank god I grew out of that :/

            I think perhaps.. what happens here quite often is that..
            Luffy and especially Zoro, is the kind of person that a lot of people would like to be.
            A great ideal of being just fearless and badass.
            And then in comes Usopp ruining that image by showing not who you would like to be, but who you actually are!

            Then in my opinion, it becomes so great when he overcomes all of these issues and rises up to the challenge, going for it.
            Which in my opinion is so much more satiesfying and inspiring! Deeply inspiring in fact.

          • Zack_Dolan

            well, first off, yeah lying to yourself and about yourself never gets anyone anywhere, so it’s good you grew out of it. I think everyone has to in some way or other in their lives. I think that you’re right about that being the real moral of Ussopp’s personal story. That you must come to accept your own self worth on your own terms, not be concerned with how others perceive you and that everyone has the ability to be a hero, no matter how small, weak, cowardly, puny, or dimwitted they might appear to be to everyone else.

            Ussop in a strange way is almost the batman/green arrow of their little justice league. While zoro of course seems the more obvious choice as batman based on his antisocial personality and that he is SUPPOSED to be a normal man who has simply developed his skills to the peak of human perfection (though i would argue he is just as “super” as luffy or robin bcs frankly, when you can leap 100 feet in the air and slice A MOUNTAIN IN HALF we’re just gonna have to break down and call it superpowers regardless of the fact that his abilities fall what i like to call “magic ninja bullshit” that you encounter alot in anime/manga haha) but it is really Ussop who embodies that “fights evil with only his wits, his fists, and a bag of tricks” that is at the core of batman, the arrow, batgirl, the huntress, the question, etc. Also, Ussop has never been baggage, even at his worst. even when he was a complete rookie who had no clue at all what he was doing, he was still holding the shit together and building sails and all kinds of basic maritime stuff that luffy and zoro were far too stupid to handle themselves. i mean…luffy was previously traveling in a barrel and zoro didn’t even get that far, his ass was in the stocks haha and nami’s no dummy and a master navigator, but she still can’t fix a broken mast or any of that handy stuff ussop can. plus, it’s HIS ship, if you think about it, that girl from his home town gave it to him, he just gifted it to the crew bcs…what the hell else were they gonna sail on? haha no. ussop was always essential from the beginning. if anyone could be considered baggage for any length of time, it was prob. robin for her first few months with the crew. sure she had a devastatingly useful power, but how much time did she spend sittng on her rump reading history books on the deck while everyone else did all the real work? i feel like robin didn’t lift a finger (no pun intended) to really help until…shit i dunno maybe the end skypea or that part right after when they fall from the sky right into a marine stronghold. which means there’s months of in story time where she didn’t do shit for anyone but herself haha

            While i do definately feel a connection to Ussop for similar reasons, i do think that there is more to luffy and especially zoro than “invincible grimacing chunkhead” Something i particularly identify with about zoro that most people don’t really seem to notice is his entire reason for staying with the crew, and it goes far beyond “i gave the captain my word that one time 7 yrs ago”. Most people think of zoro as the wolverine of the group, and that’s not entirely innaccurate, but i think people miss the same thing about him that they miss about wolverine. zoro remains on the crew for the same reason that logan stays (seemingly inexplicably) on the x men. zoro has spent his whole life fighting for no reason beyond money or avenging some petty insult that he wouldn’nt even remember the next day, but with his new crew, this is the first time in his life his unparalleled skills at chopping the shit out of dudes and adamantly refusing to die matter…and in a GOOD way. now they serve a purpose and help people, both his friends, and the innocent people traveling with them always seems to lead him to. something even he never mentions is the fact that his entire reason for being the best swordsman in the world has nothing to do with glory or fame or money or even that innate need to better himself through martial arts tournaments that seems to motivate every single fighting game lead ever, zoro wants, no NEEDS to be the best bcs when he was a boy, someone took something from him that mattered more than anything in the world to him, and he wasn’t strong enough to do anything about it, and regardless of how wrong he might be about ever being able to have fixed that no matter he did, he strives to be the best swordsman ever bcs if he’s the strongest, no one can ever beat him and hurt someone he cares about ever again. I think that’s something that gets lost not only in his character, but in guys like batman and wolverine as well, buried underneath all the brooding and squatting on gargoyles gritting their teeth and it’s the reason i still gravitate towards characters like that even though they are totally over exposed and often missused. I myself had a very violent upbringing, and i had a lot of struggles trying to find a place in the real adult world when the thing your best at is really frowned upon by society. i like characters that channel their negative emotions in a positive way, to do good in a way that most nice civilized people wouldn’t be willing to try. I love zoro bcs like ussop does for you, he shows that there is still a place in the world for people who have solved everything with their fists most of their lives, as long as they find something worthwhile to be strong for.

            as much as zoro makes out like he doesn’t give two shits about anything and just wants to drink and nap all day, he never ever backs away from protecting someone who needs him. i love that about both him and luffy, that no matter what they are doing, no matter where they are going or how much of a hurry they are in to get there, they will drop everything to lend a hand to complete strangers in need. i love that there is literally no injustice to big or too small that they won’t take the time to stop and oppose it.

            oh and all this talk about where they fit in the archetypal roles i remembered i did this as a commission sketch on one of the wizard worlds i worked, and i figured you’d appreciate it.

            https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4837803864201&set=a.4837803224185.1073741825.1269893864&type=3&theater

            Though this is based more on which fit visually, than an exact one to one analogy, but having zoro’s bandanna stretch down into the batcowl made too much visual sense, and chopper in the flash suit was simply too adorable not to go with haha. though i am far too pleased with the idea of luffy just painting a superman S on his chest, wrapping a towel around his neck, and where his underpants outside of his regular pants. haha i feel like that’s EXACTLY what he’d do if he were to decide he were a superhero (which he basically already is kind of)

          • Sofie Liv

            of course there is way more to Luffy and Zoro than just being “meat-heads.”
            That’s the amazing thing about One Piece, on the surface it looks randomn and over the top.
            But as soon as you scratch the surface it’s so much more, and every single character whom plays a part has so much more to time, each and every straw-hat pirates has their own motivation and own story that goes so much deeper than just because.

            Though Luffy and Zoro are very interesting to me because.. I kind of agree I kind of disagree.
            Luffy would not really stop up to help a stranger, if some-thing has nothing to do with him, he doesn’t care!
            He is pretty selfish and so is Zoro, they know what they want and then they go for it without compromise, other people can do what-ever they want, they don’t care about it.
            HOW-EVER! The one thing the most important to both of them are.. Their friends.
            For Luffy, friends and Nakamas is EVERY-THING, so if a friend is in trouble, Luffy will do any-thing and go to any great lenght to help said friend.
            And it doesn’t take that much to become his friend, just.. be yourself, treat him nice and give him some food. If he likes you, he’ll do any-thing to see you become happy.
            Alabasta is a great example, Luffy.. doesn’t care about the inner conflicts of Alabasta, he doesn’t care about Crocodiles grand plan, he couldn’t give a shit.. how-ever what he DOES care about, is that Vivi is upset and she is his friend, so he’s going to help.
            Nami to, Luffy had no interest in why she did what she did or what Arlong was doing or what the longer term plans were or why he was doing it. He only cared about the one single fact! That Arlong made Nami cry, that was his entire motivation, but also the only motivation he needed.

            I know you havn’t gotten so far yet, it’s the newest arch in the manga but oh boy.. Right now he is fighting this dude called Don Flamingo, and there is litterlately A BAZILLION REASONS Luffy could choose from as to why he should fight this guy, the dude is really one of the big ones in One Piece villains, what he has done is much and nasty… We are talking even for One Piece nasty… this is nasty. Jesus.
            But luffy being Luffy, doesn’t care at all about any of those bazillion reason he could have chosen from.
            No no, he goes through all that bother, because the girl whom gave him a free lunchbox, wants to take Don Flamingo down because of the ways he hurt her..
            That’s Luffys one and only reason.. She gave him food so she’s a friend, She is upset with Don Flamingo.. There are so many other good reasons but.. nope.. Luffy.

            Which kind of makes him different from characters such as Son Goku and Naruto whom are just, stupidly nice and believes in every-one, because that is their thing, believing every-one can be good if you just give them a chance! and lets all be good together then.
            Luffy is not quite like that, he looks at a person, and then makes up his own mind based upon what he sees, not caring about history or belief or any-thing like that.
            Which in its own way is way less pretentious and almost more optimistic..

            Luffy doesn’t fight for a greater course and he doesn’t fight for a better world, in the move Z, the villain threatens about blowing up a huge chunk of the ocean, and Luffy doesn’t care, he just care about the fact the villain took his hat and insulted him, which is very much in character for him, if the conflict has nothing to do with him, he doesn’t care, if he has personal wants in a conflict he goes in head first and doesn’t take other peoples side, not even for strategic gain, their conflicts has nothing to do with him, he is only interested in his own goals, which will become apparent to you in the amazingly awesome marineford arch to be coming..
            We are in fact kind of following the bad guys of this univers, the anarchists bringing chaos to order, the anti heroes kind of.. And Luffy is a very selfish person looking out for what he thinks is important, namely his friends.

            Which is not a critic of the character at all, I love him, and I love how protective he is of his friends.
            I really love the fact that every-one is on that ship due to a personal dream and a want to be there, not some kind of vendetta.

            I love it when a heroes main reason to be a hero is because… they really really wanted to be it.
            Which is kind of rare you see that nowadays, heroes just enjoying being heroes, and it’s such a joy with a person like luffy saying. “I wanna be a pirate, screw what any-body else says, no i’m a pirate! YAY!”
            I like it :)
            It also seems like a big motivator for these people that they want to give it all that they got, and if they die on the way, well then they god dammit gave it all they had and have no regrets, course they tried! They pushed themselves, they didn’t just laid back and gave up, it was never an option because if you do that.. then you are not living to your fullest! And that’s just stupid!
            At least that’s how I believe Luffy thinks.

            That’s really fascinating that’s how you relate to Zoro.
            I’m kind of a whimp myself and.. i’m conflict shy, any raised voices and i’m out of there. So hah.. yeah definetely Usopp for me <_<
            Except I am a bit more of an introvert than he is, but other than that.. yeaaah.

            I absolutely see the appeal of Zoro, I mean, I love him! I think he's both cool and hillarious.. Oh god just wait for the ending of Thriller Bark, you're going to die from his coolnes.
            Any-ways.. what I mean is, I do see the genneral appeal of him being cool and a ideal for whom you would like to imagine yourself being.
            But that other side to it, is absolutely fantastic to.
            Zoro really is a brute and a man of few words most people look upon as scary… And he's not always a nice person.
            That's also the thing with the straw-hats.. none of them are a hundred percent nice, put them in the right situation and well.. they are pirates.
            Okay Chopper is innocent as heck, but the rest.. I wouldn't let them loose in my town. doesn't seem like the best idea.
            Yet they have soom good personal ideals and good personal morals, which has little to do with higher courses and just their own individual choices about, who they want to be as people. And by the end of the day, they are good people, whom are true to themselves and their extreme personalities.
            And we like them! they make this world fun.

            I ones compared the first Straw-hat members to kind of the lost boys from Peter Pan. (How easy it is to forget Zoro and Sanji are actually just 19 upon first introduction..)
            These noisy, loud kids, going on big adventures doing what they want.. and it's glorious fun to be a part of.

            And as for Robin.. hehe, I almost feel sorry telling you that entire arch of them falling down in a marine Base and she bailed them out by dressing up as a marine admiral… yeah that's a filler arch, that's not in the manga at all and has nothing to do, what so ever, with the over arching story.

            How-ever her vaste knowledge in archeology actually does become very important later on, and she's a nice mother figure to have around for the noisy crew, calming them down and being nice to them.
            I really like Robin, I do find her refreshingly different from the usual way women are portrayed in manga and other places.
            I like the fact she's a quiet introvert always sitting around with her books, genuinly enjoying the parties and companies but does it in a quiet laid back way.
            You don't see that very often.. and for One Piece that's certainly some-thing different to add to the crew.
            Every-body else are extremely loud and that's not going to change.. she's just sitting there being compleately cool with every-thing.

            I LOVED that drawing, it made me smile! :D

          • danbreunig

            Wow, just wow. I learned more about One Piece from you guys’ discussion here than I think I could from the show itself–which was all of five episodes I saw at different points in its history. And also a bit about the professional world of making comics and graphic novels, and why I’m kinda glad to be just an amateur in it.

          • Zack_Dolan

            well, we are apparently REALLY nerdy for One piece round these parts, so i guess that’ll happen. I totally recommend you check out the series again though if you get a chance. and also, if you intend to, i recommend you don’t read my above post as it’s filled to the brim with spoilers. i wish i spotted this before i said all that haha.

            and good luck in the comic biz. it’s not easy and it will slap you in the face with a lot of roadblocks, but the key is just never give up. bcs a 100 or more people you show your work to will tell you “no it’s not good enough” but you can;’t ever let that stop you. also bear in mind, if people who ran comic companies REALLY knew a good comic when they see one, this site and shows like sophie’s and solkir’s and dr. winston o’boogies would not be as popular as they are now. i think people NEED to know they’re not crazy and aren’t the only ones who notice how lousy most mainstream comics (and by proxy many of the movies, shows, etc based off of them) are. that’s why i do what i do, i can see it’s not where it needs to be and no one is going to fix it for us, so it’s time to jump in and fix it ourselves. :D

          • Sofie Liv

            Yup, totally nerdy… Which is a testimony to how great that manga/anime is, because clearly we are two incredible intelligent people who knows about this stuff!
            … well erh.. Pfff we are just two nerds geeking out, hah X)

            Well the people Luffy helps, you could argue that he does it because he sees them as his friends all-ready.
            They were nice to him, smiled to him, maybe gave him food, thusly they must be his friends. Thusly he will help them.
            Her certainly does not care about other peoples larger conflicts or long term consequences.. at all.. he just wants to make his friends happy.

            Litterately have the mentality of. “Well, he’s my friend, and he wants to do this which I have NO CLUE what is, but.. he’s my friend, so of course i’ll help!”
            That’ll come into play later.

            Usopp actually had a very good speech about just those things after the time-skip.. Usopp has all the great speeches if you think about it, but this one about Luffy was pretty good, it ran some-thing like.
            “Are you insulting my captain right in front of me? Don’t do that, believe me, if my captain was that kind of a man, it would be easy for me, then I could just run with the tail between my legs like I want to do right now, how-ever, he would never do that, he fights for us with every-thing he got, and he believes in us to do our best as well, with every fiber of his being never doubting never stopping, therefore I can’t life with myself if I were to dissapoint him, so I can’t run, and you better no insult him to my face if you know what is good for you!”

            Not exactly like that word for word, but basically like that, you get the jest.
            And oh year definetely, Luffy believes in his crewmembers, never ever does it even occour to him to comment on how they do things, because he fully believes in their abilities and belives they will all get through by the end.. no doubting, no pep talks, he just believes in them.
            Which yes, I think is the best thing that could ever happen to Usopp, because well.. clearly he doesn’t believe in himself, but have Luffys believe to have to measure up to makes him do his best any-way, and he ends up doing incredible things with it.

            Oh Luffy, he doesn’t really care about good or bad or any such bigger things, for him things are simple, you will never ever see a. “I know there’s good in him some-where!” speech out of him.. never.
            For him it’s.. “I like this person! Now we are friends.” done.. you have no choice after that. or it’s. “I don’t like this person, get out of my face.”
            And if he does like them, he don’t need for them to change or become less strange, he just likes them for what they are and wants them to succeed and be happy.

            Simple choices really. He doesn’t view himself as being good, he clearly stated.. I don’t want to be a hero, I want to be a pirate!
            Which actually has lead me to a little theory of my own, that Usopp might be the secret hero of One Piece.
            Luffy is a pirate not a hero, he views himself as just a pirate.
            How-ever… Usopp has become a hero and presented himself as a hero on multiple occasions.. so the secret hero hiding among the pirates?
            Probably doesn’t matter, it’s just a little theory I kind of like.

            Hehe Sanji, I wouldn’t even call his “Womanizing.” ways his bad side, what I am actually thinking about when it comes to him is how rude and down-right cruel he can be to men, kicking them all around the place, calling them names and swearing like one in hell.
            He’s a good guy though, again, he would never ever let any-one starve, and neither would he just leave some-one behind to suffer, man or woman, he proves that later.. he might complain about it and hit said person he doesn’t like, but he’ll help them out and sticks with the things he feels responsible for.
            Also a funny joke how both he and Zoro are total alfa males so of course they don’t get along, unless they have a common enemy, then they are a perfect fighting duo. And we know they deep down respect each other and would put their lifes down for each other if they had to, because they are nakamas. You even get proof of that later.

            Sanji totally have some of the funniest jokes in the entire damn thing, you have to wait for this one, but some-thing happens to him that broke me a bit inside while i felt like I maybe died from lack of oxygen due to sheer laughing.
            I do think lots of his jokes comes from the sheer contrast in him, he is like the coolest smoothest individual ever, down-right fighting with hands in his pocket and ALWAYS take that time to light up his ciggerate and come with an incredible cool come back while blowing out his smoke.. And then some-thing lady involved happens turning him absolutely ridicoules in a 180 degree turn!
            The humour here definetely lays in the contrast! Hahaha, Sanji :3

            Oh YAAAAY! I love it when comic books are fun, unfortunately I have had no time to read so far and… I think maybe due to poor enternet connection I have had trouble opening the PDF files.. no worries though, i’ll get this no matter what.

            He, that’s also way I love characters like Zorro… not Zoro, Zorro.. the mexican dude from California.. the black fox!
            Any-way, I always LOVED that character, because he looks like he has so much FUN being Zorro, he looks like he loves swinging around like that, giving smirking quirbs to the captain, laughing loudly as he sits there drinking his beer into the Captains face, I love that so much, and it kind of is what I based my RPG character on talked about above, well as a start, then her background story came in and she became her own, which is neat :)

            I do like the fact that with One Piece there is no higher course.. I love the mentality that you have to make up your own mind and decide upon your own actions instead of letting some higher force decide for you… I think that does make things more impressive.
            No god from heaven came and told Zoro he needs to become the world greatest swords man because of mumbo jumbo.. no.. he made the decision for himself, because that is his choice about how to spend his days, no other reason needed really.
            Usopp decided to fight and become brave.. because he wanted to and it’s his dream to become that kind of a person, as an effect, he is becoming that.
            No one told Luffy to become a pirate, he just decided that is what he wanted, and I like that about these people.

          • danbreunig

            Thanks Zach for the encouragement on both counts. One Piece indeed has its quality based on the little I’ve seen and the volcanic amount of great fan vibe going around. For me, It’s one of those things where you know about a subject more from the hearsay, analysis, opinions, and critiques all around than you do from observing the subject itself.

            As many nerd properties that are recommended to nerdy me, especially by those who are several times much more deeper and dedicated to nerd properties than myself [glances over to Sofie], this is a hard one for me to jump into because I know just how extensive it is. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy it, just that there’s too much of it to take in in short time–and that’s just the 15+ year show without the mangas themselves (I’ve never had a manga of any kind). It’s like being a die-hard fan of Saturday Night Live, gushing on how much you love it, strongly recommending the show to your friend, successfully convincing your friend to start watching it, and your friend starts watching it for the first time, and can’t wait to see the whole thing…then realizing the whole show may take the rest of his life to absorb–and should he actually absorb it all, you yourself will be so long detached from it while you bask in the newest unique property that discussing it just won’t register with you anymore. And of all the shows and properties she recommended herself, Friendship Is Magic is the only one I could successfully plow through and enjoy while doing so. Not that the shows aren’t worthwhile…but do you want to spend the rest of your downtime glued to some kind of screen?

            As for the comic business, congrats for sticking to your principles in so unforgiving a business climate, as major entertainment arts fields often are. It’s something I want to do myself but not to the point of professionalism–meaning not to the point where I want to lose so much of myself trying to negotiate with and losing to the Big Time. When I say amateur, what I mean isn’t even that–I think if anything dabbler, wannabe, and dreamer fit my description better. Maybe sketches in school, rough drafts here and there, and lately I’ve done some fanarts and that’s about my whole cred–and cartoonist was one of several things I wanted and still want to be. It’s rather intimidating though when I run into someone who can make miracle images with just a smartphone app or the latest Photoshop, and while claiming “I’m no artist, I can’t draw”–while even with my best efforts I still look like I’m in kindergarten. So being where you’re at now in your efforts is what I’d consider Holy Grail material. Keep pushing on–I hope Blitz gets some due mileage.

          • Zack_Dolan

            I would actually have to disagree with the part about luffy not stopping to help strangers. in 400 some episodes i can’t think of a single time he ever turned away anyone in need. I can think of a few times zoro asked why he should care about something before begrudgingly helping out anyway, but luffy pretty much helps anyone he feels is being oppressed by someone stronger than they are. hell, he even does this for dogs, cats, horse and occasionally, sea monsters.

            now you’re totally right that he CAN be selfish in that petty 10 yr old way he perceives his world through most of time, but i’ve never seen that selfishness extend to letting an innocent person (or animal for that matter) be hurt while he’s nearby. like that thing with Nami and arlong, while you are absolutely correct that he didn’t care about arlong’s larger plans to enslave most of the territory using nami’s navigation abilities to find…whatever the hell he was looking for, but he wasn’t blind to the fact he was an evil prick that the world would be better off without. i don’t think he didn’t care til nami cried, he cared the whole time, but he viewed it as nami’s fight and her decision whether or not she asked for help, which she straight up told luffy she didn’t want. but the second she broke down and asked, not only did he snap into action, the rest of the gang seemed to teleport in from nowhere, bcs they too were just waiting for that moment so they could all saddle up and do the “tombstone walk” right through arlong’s front gates.

            i think that is an important part of luffy’s character as well. he helps everyone he feels deserves it, even if that actually means standing aside and NOT helping. luffy recognizes that everyone has to stand up on their own and find something to believe in/fight for and they have to figure it out themselves. some people already have that, but just aren’t strong enough to get what they are trying to achieve, and in those cases it’s simple and luffy usually just helps out by punching a guy halfway to the moon, but many times, especially when it comes to helping ussop and chopper straighten up into “real men” as ussop would say, NOT interfering is the most helpful thing he can do. letting them achieve their own victories. it’s not that he doesn’t care about them, but he knows that they’ll never complete their personal journeys if he does it for them.

            i think he measures up every single person he meets in this way, and from there decides what to do and I think he has no respect for people who don’t have a dream to fight for, so he can come off as callous. but i think luffy just needs to see you would fight for something, ANYTHING really, good or bad, to respect you. like you said about vivi, she was a stranger to him but she treated him nice (and fed him which always helps haha) and showed to be a decent person. a decent person with a cause that required the aid of say…a nigh indestructible guy who can punch bad guys halfway to the moon, and he just happened to be handy, so he joined in.

            i think luffy IS actually fighting for a better world, but not in a “change the world” superman kind of way, he’s doing it one…er… piece at a time, one person at a time really. he helps the people who ask for it and smashes the people who deserve it, he’s just has no “cause” he’s holding to beyond “everyone should be free to decide what they want and be free to do it” and he’ll see to it pretty much everyone he meets gets that chance if he can help it. And yes, he IS a pirate, and technically a criminal. but when you think about it, they are the WORST pirates in the world. they NEVER actually do anything pirates do and when they try, they fail spectacularly. they never get away with the gold (and with the exception of nami don’t even care about it) and they never rob people or attack anyone, they generally just mind their own business until someone looking for the massive bounty they attracted tries to kill them. bounties i should point out that were raised so high almost exclusively by fighting real bad guys and corrupt marines. with the exception of robin, none of them are wanted for doing anything actually wrong (illegal sure, but morally they are generally on the good side) and where i’m at we just recently learn she was completely forced into it and anyone in her position would have done the same.

            I would argue the crew of the Mary are TERRIBLE pirates, but GREAT heroes. and this is definitely a star wars situation where the actual governmental authorities only come in two flavors, corrupt and inept, and in a world like that, rebels, criminals and pirates ARE the good guys. think about all the people they’ve helped for basically no reason, and how many of which show up to help with the rescue mission trying to get past the gates of justice. like HUNDREDS of people came out to help just bcs the straw hats helped them at some point, and that’s not even close to everybody. i feel like the straw hats are really like the friggin justice league of their world (or at least the x men haha) bcs without them, entire CONTINENTS would be enslaved by mad demigods or corrupt admirals or pirates who are actually GOOD at being evil thieving murdering scum. as selfish as they can be on a personal level, there is something in each of them that stops and goes “ok, this is bigger than me, and people need me to do this” and you see it at least once from everyone. Like ussops famous stand on the beach in his first appearance (and like a 1000 times after) or when sanji spared the man who was starving and fed him despite the fact that it was almost assured if he survived he would go home and bring back his riffraff crew to mess up the joint, all bcs someone once made a great personal sacrifice for him because HE was starving and has vowed he would never let someone go hungry, no matter who they were or how it might screw him over personally. or how chopper will offer medical help to anyone, good or bad, friend or foe, bcs his idol believed that the dr. had a sacred duty to help people, and chopper would die before he betrayed that idea bcs that’s what his idol would’ve done. even frankie after just arriving showed he had that in him when we see that whole flashback about tom leading to where he stands on those train tracks. sure he FAILS miserably, but that he’d do it at all. and plus now that he’s iron riveted cyborg, he actually CAN right that wrong (and i’m assuming he’s working on it haha)

            I think that’s part of why i love the show so much. every character, no matter how superficial their gimmick might seem to be, has several layers that make up their personality. and the fact that each of them has straightened up to be an honest to god hero at some point in their life is so rare for many ensemble cast animes. many animes are populated with entirely one note characters (COUGH COUGH DRAGONBALL COUGH COUGH NARUTO COUGH HACK) that have exactly one or two traits to like or dislike and that’s it. the one piece characters feel human, in that they have ideals and ingenuity and courage, but also flaws like selfishness, stupidity and cowardice. no one character is defined by any one trait. zoro is an antisocial asshat who drinks to much and has a worse sense of direction than a blind lemming, but he’s also an unshakebly loyal and courageous friend who will literally stand on the front of a speeding train and FIGHT A STORM to protect his friends and accomplish his goal. Sanji is a lecherous smirking playa’ who constantly thinks about sex and thinks he’s far too handsome and talented to be bothered with menial tasks, but he’s also the guy with the iron balls to stand in a kitchen full of violent marines who somehow don’t know who he is, but could discover him at any moment and teaches them how to cook properly bcs the art of cooking is actually so serious to him, it’s worth the risk if just ONE more person learns to respect food like he does and use that skill to feed people who need it, as well as the guy who was smart, clever, and downright sneaky enough to pull off that whole “mr. prince” scam on the baroque works crew. armed only with a phone snail, he built that shit up so much they thought he was like some kind of mythic figure like batman and james bond. or robin, who on the surface seems to be a detached listless laze ass who coasts her way through life on the backs of others, but her bland deadpan smile hides this massive guilt and resentment and self loathing and this genuine fear she is cursed and everyone around her is doomed to die if they stay too long, which makes her detachment make so much more sense. you get the real sense robin looks at most people the same way that nameless gladiator in spartacus. “none of us have names here bcs we are all going to watch eachother die. I don’t want to know your name bcs one day i might even have to kill you” which is why the whole water seven arc that explains everything about her was the game changer for me about her character. i liked robin well enough, but viewed her as that asshole character that never really helps and seems to be more of the straight man comic foil and not much else, but water seven shows you what she’s really about what she really has been carrying around with her and that’s when i finally totally got on board with robin. she is pretty much the prof. river song of their group now haha

            and also like you said, it’s FUN. fun is so rare in superhero/fantasy/sci fi fiction these days. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much brooding everywhere you look and i am sick to death of it. sure it has it’s place, but in this nolan-ized world we have been overloaded with “grim and gritty” to the point that it holds no meaning. the fact that one piece isn’t afraid to be silly and happy and goofy, WHILE still pulling it back to be serious when it needs to be, is not only great, it’s impressive. it’s one of the things that’s really inspirational to us writing Super! bcs that sheer unbridled joy of being awesome and bebopping around bashing bad guys and having adventures is such a big part of our story and one piece does that as well or even better than anybody else. we try very hard to capture in blitz that which makes luffy so appealing, the blind boundless optimism and a real sense that they ENJOY doing what they do. Blitz like luffy, is HAPPY she has this thing that makes her unique and lets her make an impact in the world, she WANTS to be a hero, is proud to be one. so many heroes go on and on about “the destiny they never wanted” or how being pretty and superhuman somehow “ruined their lives” that characters like the straw hats who NEVER sit around and go all emo about things is so refreshing i don’t even know what to do with myself haha. especially in anime, where i would argue the brooding blank faced hero really found their first huge audience and where they first started to become so pervasive in all media now.

            oh and thank you, people love that picture, which is so weird bcs it just should NOT work, but somehow it does. :D

          • mamba

            Awesome work, and a great way to reveal too! Well done, and plug forgiven.

            Look’s great and looking forward to reading it!

          • Zack_Dolan

            thank you! I hope you like it :D

      • mamba

        No you are completely correct on Discord, Shining Armour, and Carrot Cake, but they are barely in the show at all over 4 seasons. Red with “fancy mathematics” is still portrayed as a laid back country bumpkin, but passes completely.

        Still you got me and I admit I’m wrong…you mentioned good characters as I asked, but they are hardly shown (Red the exception here). another pointed out cheese sandwich…again good character and appeared only once in 4 seasons. Does that even count? For comparison, if an all-male show had 100 episodes and literally 2 of them showed a female strong character, that would be sexist right? a “token female” to appease the masses but clearly not interested in balance.

        I just wish that people could enjoy the characters as they are and not get hung up on gender. Pony is awesome because the the characters are CHARACTERS…the fact they are girls is irrelevant. I was just showing for humour how it’s still sexist just in the other direction, and always will be until we can get over this male/female importance.

  • Gallen Dugall

    So long as the shows are being judged by how successful they are as vehicles to move products you’re going to have to deal with show content generated by marketing survey stereotypes about what appeals to boys and girls. It’s one of the things that has actually gotten worse as time has gone by and it shows no signs of reversing.

  • I really like “Young Justice”. While they do have the strange habit of pairing off everyone (on racial lines too), each character has their own personality, their own conflict, and their own development.
    Miss Martian is the powerful rookie who is descended from a race of monsters.
    Artemis is the eager to prove herself wild card.
    Zatanna is daddy’s little girl (her dad being a superhero) who wants to grow up and be her own person.
    Rocket is the impulsive and confident firebrand, she motivated Icon her older male counterpart to become a hero.

    It is also just a well crafted show. New characters are introduced at regular intervals so that they can serve as a jumping on point for new viewers. I would also put Aqualad on the list of best minority characters out there. He handles himself with maturity, patience, and poise but is not arrogant or aloof.

  • JellyR

    Watch Brit animated sit com Pond Life for a proper animated girl – done by a girl!!!!

  • Andre Ivanovich

    korra is the worst example for girl teens or for girls in general!, she’s whiny, rude, self centered, self entitled and forcefully tries to get what she wants with complete arrogants and with semi sloppy execution!

  • Andre Ivanovich

    Also korra is not as strong as Aang, she also has average build and not bulky unlike what the statement said above, she just has disproportionate wide shoulders compared to the rest of her average normal body, that makes her look like that, badly drawn!