about sentai villainesses

Has anyone noticed that it's been a while since a sentai villainess has been shown as a truly evil character and a serious threat for the heroes; since Timeranger, almost all villainess are either shown as comic relief characters (Furabijou, Wendinu, Shizuka, Kegareshia, Vancurya, and in a way, Tsue Tsue, Lila and Insarn) or as sympathetic characters (Mele, Jannu, Rije/Rijewel, Sphinx, in a lesser way, Dayu and Metal Alice (some of them were shown as serious villainesses (Jannu, Dayu, and in a way, Mele), but those had a tragic story in their background and therefore inspiring pity from the viewers) ot both (most of the comic relief villainesses); even before, villainesses were shown somewhat in a nice way (Shima, Kirika, and in a way, Igam, had tragedy in their storyline and eventually, redeemed themselves, Bandora and Lamie were funny, Gara was evil, but it wasn't the true Gara, the Hanaranger were just cats, and Zonnette was in love with Red Racer) truly despicable villainesses are mostly from old sentai (Salome, Amazon Killer, the female Vader members, the Zero Girls, Mazurka, Chimera, Zenobia, Farrah, Ahames, Nefel, Mazenda, Jarmin, Doldora, and the henshwomen (Farrah cat, Fumin, Zaza) ; the most recent ones were Shibolena, Dinas and Shelinda);it seems that Toei's afraid of showing cute girls as truly evil villainesses, and tries to show them in a sympathetic way, sometimes, very badly ( the female members of the Bandora gang, Vancurya, Kegareshia and Shizuka being notable examples); and even with suit actor villainesses, they have some trouble with it (hence, Insarn was completely underused, and underwhelming). Perhpas that's why, since Shinkenger, most human looking villains have been male again, because male villians are easier to show as truly evil characters. And unless I'm wrong, Marushina is gonna join the club of sympathetic villainesses.
Your thoughts?
 

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
Short answer - it's not considered attractive/sexy for a female character to behave in the same way as a male villain. Even if the character isn't human-looking they seem to think it's just a step too far and makes her too loathsome if she enjoys evil for evil's sake. So the villainess either has to be redeemable or have the fanservice angle played up. And a lot of writers seem to think that all female characters (whether good or evil) must have the stereotypical motivations of family, romance, or some past trauma

EDIT: I think you have to remember as well that the target audience for modern Sentai is kids aged from about three to five. It's very common for children to be taught that "bad people" are men; and at that age kids are still very much dependent on their mothers. So there are reasons why writers might be wary of making a female character too villainous. When Tsukada was producer of Gekiranger he said in an interview that Toei wanted Sentai to present the audience with a nicer world than they see in real life, so they do sanitize the show to some extent.

I would kill for a female equivalent of Long, Basco or Enter that was genuinely menacing and evil, not just there for fanservice. But it's not going to happen.
 
Last edited:

icecreamhendrix

Also called CentaurusRhinos
The fact of the matter is that Sentai is targeted toward elementary-age boys, so a lot of female characters (good or evil) are given shallower characterization than the men. Even at a young age, boys relate more to and sympathize with male characters. It's part of the reason why screaming reds are so popular. Which is why female heroes come in roughly 4 personality types, and female villains get the same kind of backstories and personalities over and over.

lazycoconut has a really good point as well; children at that age are more inclined to like their mothers, and often see their fathers are bossy and mean. So they're probably used to men being like that, and can relate it to Sentai villains. Women, not so much.
 

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
There's some evidence that boys can "relate" to female characters. Nickelodeon have publicly said that they were surprised at the positive response that Korra got from test audiences, boys loved her and didn't care that they were watching a show with a female lead. But the attitude (not just in Japan) that boys don't like/won't watch/won't buy merchandise of female characters is going to take a long time to change.

I can't help wondering if there's some "benevolent sexism" as it's called going on here as well? Writers thinking that a truly evil and capable villainess will be not just unattractive to a male audience, but offensive to female viewers, who will object to seeing a woman portrayed as evil.
 
I can't help wondering if there's some "benevolent sexism" as it's called going on here as well? Writers thinking that a truly evil and capable villainess will be not just unattractive to a male audience, but offensive to female viewers, who will object to seeing a woman portrayed as evil.

I dunno; besides, it's probably new, since Shelinda, Shibolena, Dinas are exactly that; besides, fanservice aside, Vancurya, Shizuka, Kegareshia, Dayu are shown to do despicable stuff in their respective sentai series; and how about Saeko Sonozaki in W, who's a pretty creepy character? And recently, Sarina Sonoda, who was without a doubt evil in Fourze?
Besides, in Abaranger, Jannu, before becoming back Mahoro, was the most serious and dangerous of the Evorian (the comic relief ones were the male Mikela and Voffa). And in Deka, we had Succubus, that was a memorable human looking villainess, completely evil.
 

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
I dunno; besides, it's probably new, since Shelinda, Shibolena, Dinas are exactly that; besides, fanservice aside, Vancurya, Shizuka, Kegareshia, Dayu are shown to do despicable stuff in their respective sentai series; and how about Saeko Sonozaki in W, who's a pretty creepy character? And recently, Sarina Sonoda, who was without a doubt evil in Fourze?
Besides, in Abaranger, Jannu, before becoming back Mahoro, was the most serious and dangerous of the Evorian (the comic relief ones were the male Mikela and Voffa). And in Deka, we had Succubus, that was a memorable human looking villainess, completely evil.

Shelinda, Shibolena and Dinas were in older series, when Sentai was still marketed as afamily show and had a different approach. Plus, let's look at the others:

Vancuria - Ultimately redeemed, plus there's the whole Nai and Mea thing.

Shizuka - Fanservice character, idiot/ditz, takes orders from Yami no Yaiba.

Kegareshia - Ultimately redeemed

Dayu - Is sympathetic in some ways. She has that whole tragic backstory about The Man That Didn't Love Her, and is portrayed as essentially a warped version of Mako. Also sacrifices herself for Doukoku.

Saeko - Lost a lot of her "bite" in the second arc when suddenly she was the giggling schoolgirl who just wanted Isaka-sensei to notice her.

Sonoda - I guess I can agree with you here, however she was the first to be banished to the Dark Nebula because of her incompetence.

Jannu - Agreed, but she did come back as Mahoro.

Succubus - Very minor character

I'm not saying there are no capable or menacing villainesses in Sentai and Rider these days. That's not true. I'm just saying that a lot of these examples tie into your initial point that most of them are ultimately redeemable/sympathetic characters or trade on the fanservice angle.
 
I'm not saying there are no capable or menacing villainesses in Sentai and Rider these days. That's not true. I'm just saying that a lot of these examples tie into your initial point that most of them are ultimately redeemable/sympathetic characters or trade on the fanservice angle.

Indeed; and that's why in a lot of ways, their redemption feels completely badly done; how can we believe that Vancurya, Kegareshia, and Shizuka, who have been evil through their respective series, doing horrible stuff (like trying to kill innocent children and young people for Shizuka, using Houka as an human shield and killing without remorse for Vancurya) suddenly, at the last minute, become good gals? it feels completely phony.
In my opinion, with Jannu/Mahoro, it was more believable, because her villainy was fueled by rage and pain; once she has been able to overcome them (and being freed of the evil armor), she was able to become her good self again, but still being a serious character (but ally instead of villain).
That said, look at Avatar the last airbender; there are characters like Azula and Hama who are completely evil, and even if they have excuses (a crazy father and role model for the former,suffering from the Fire nation for the latter), they still are shown as awfully evil. And from the little I know about anime, evil ladies are pretty standard there.
 
Last edited:

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
Indeed; and that's why in a lot of ways, their redemption feels completely badly done; how can we believe that Vancurya, Kegareshia, and Shizuka, who have been evil through their respective series, doing horrible stuff (like trying to kill innocent children and young people for Shizuka, using Houka as an human shield and killing without remorse for Vancurya) suddenly, at the last minute, become good gals? it feels completely phony.
In my opinion, with Jannu/Mahoro, it was more believable, because her villainy was fueled by rage and pain; one she has been able to overcome them (and being freed of the evil armor), she was able to become her good self again, but still being a serious character (but ally instead of villain).
That said, look at Avatar the last airbender; there are characters like Azula and Hama who are completely evil, and even if they have excuses (a crazy father and role model for the former,suffering from the Fire nation for the latter), they still are shown as awfully evil. And from the little I know about anime, evil ladies are pretty standard there.

I love Jannu/Mahoro, but even though she's not a Ranger, she is on a level with characters like Burai or GaoSilver - they were badass as villains, but they were never intended to stay that way and it's not what they're meant for. Ultimately, the greater sum of the character is Mahoro not Jannu.

Magiranger ended with the redemption of the whole of Infershia, so Vancuria is included in there. Shizuka was never really meant to be a serious threat; she was there for comedy/fanservice and there was the whole thing with BoukenBlue constantly hitting on her. With Kegareshia, the whole deal with the Gaiark was that they weren't really malicious towards humanity, they just wanted to pollute the earth so that it was tolerable for them to live on. They worked with the Go-ongers during the G3 Princess episode and ultimately they were quite sympathetic, with the exception of Yogoshimacritein (sp?)

Sentai villainesses suffer from "the Smurfette principle" - you'll have a whole gang of male villains and just one woman. So they are often better written/characterised than some of the male villains, but all the same you'll rarely see a villainess who is evil just for the fun of it, or because she's just psychotic (a la Juzou) in a post-2000 toku.
 
I love Jannu/Mahoro, but even though she's not a Ranger, she is on a level with characters like Burai or GaoSilver - they were badass as villains, but they were never intended to stay that way and it's not what they're meant for. Ultimately, the greater sum of the character is Mahoro not Jannu.

Magiranger ended with the redemption of the whole of Infershia, so Vancuria is included in there. Shizuka was never really meant to be a serious threat; she was there for comedy/fanservice and there was the whole thing with BoukenBlue constantly hitting on her. With Kegareshia, the whole deal with the Gaiark was that they weren't really malicious towards humanity, they just wanted to pollute the earth so that it was tolerable for them to live on. They worked with the Go-ongers during the G3 Princess episode and ultimately they were quite sympathetic, with the exception of Yogoshimacritein (sp?)

Sentai villainesses suffer from "the Smurfette principle" - you'll have a whole gang of male villains and just one woman. So they are often better written/characterised than some of the male villains, but all the same you'll rarely see a villainess who is evil just for the fun of it, or because she's just psychotic (a la Juzou) in a post-2000 toku.

yeah; the few exceptions being Saeko/Lobster Orphenoch in Faiz and the numerous Himes of Hibiki
 

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
I don't think anyone's saying it's good or bad, just asking why it doesn't happen, especially when (as live jetabare pointed out) there are many more evil female characters in anime aimed at kids.

Something I think is relevant: Are male villains better written if they are ultimately redeemable? My answer would have to be no, at least for Sentai, but then take into account the popularity of characters like Rio or AbareKiller ...
 

Sentaifan'07 Xman

"Let's DRIVING!!!!!"
Short answer - it's not considered attractive/sexy for a female character to behave in the same way as a male villain. Even if the character isn't human-looking they seem to think it's just a step too far and makes her too loathsome if she enjoys evil for evil's sake. So the villainess either has to be redeemable or have the fanservice angle played up. And a lot of writers seem to think that all female characters (whether good or evil) must have the stereotypical motivations of family, romance, or some past trauma

EDIT: I think you have to remember as well that the target audience for modern Sentai is kids aged from about three to five. It's very common for children to be taught that "bad people" are men; and at that age kids are still very much dependent on their mothers. So there are reasons why writers might be wary of making a female character too villainous. When Tsukada was producer of Gekiranger he said in an interview that Toei wanted Sentai to present the audience with a nicer world than they see in real life, so they do sanitize the show to some extent.

I would kill for a female equivalent of Long, Basco or Enter that was genuinely menacing and evil, not just there for fanservice. But it's not going to happen.

The fact of the matter is that Sentai is targeted toward elementary-age boys, so a lot of female characters (good or evil) are given shallower characterization than the men. Even at a young age, boys relate more to and sympathize with male characters. It's part of the reason why screaming reds are so popular. Which is why female heroes come in roughly 4 personality types, and female villains get the same kind of backstories and personalities over and over.

lazycoconut has a really good point as well; children at that age are more inclined to like their mothers, and often see their fathers are bossy and mean. So they're probably used to men being like that, and can relate it to Sentai villains. Women, not so much.

Yeah, there's no argument with that. Although in some cases it's considered the opposite here in the U.S., but hey it only related to how the characters are being described as to the behaviors of the parents.
:sayin:
 

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
Well, look at the general stereotype of Japan as somewhere where women are encouraged to be devoted wives/mothers and men are encouraged to be salarymen slaves who devote their entire lives to a company. I'm not saying that all of Japan is like this in real life or that there aren't other images in Japanese media. But there is an element of truth to the stereotype (even though it's changing) and I think that at some level that bleeds across into toku. Female characters are generally kind and nurturing - even a villainess is likely to have some kind of romance angle or motherly desire, or at least to be a little bit more sympathetic. Villainous empires are largely made up of all-male commanders and mooks with maybe one or two token females, as if they were a big corporation.

And however you look at it, the Sacrificial Corporate Drones in Akibaranger are still funny
 

icecreamhendrix

Also called CentaurusRhinos
Well, those stereotype are not exclusive to Japan. They exist in America, just not as strongly. I think it's less that 'Japan is sexist' and more 'Children are sexist'.
 

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
Well, those stereotype are not exclusive to Japan. They exist in America, just not as strongly. I think it's less that 'Japan is sexist' and more 'Children are sexist'.

Maybe, but for some reason villain empires in tokusatsu really do remind me of your stereotypical Japanese corporation :sweat:

I think the whole thing is self-perpetuating really. Why do these stereotypes appeal to kids? Because that's what they are used to seeing on TV. Why is it what they are used to seeing on TV? Because it appeals to kids ...
 

Black Fang

Active Member
So are you saying that when toku was more of a 'family show' the kids in the audience would have been "weened off" their mothers enough to accept irredeemable villainesses like Amazon Killer and Ahames?
 

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
So are you saying that when toku was more of a 'family show' the kids in the audience would have been "weened off" their mothers enough to accept irredeemable villainesses like Amazon Killer and Ahames?

I'm saying things were done differently in the past, as we are all aware. Who's the person who keeps complaining that the tough yet feminine heroines of pre-2000 Sentai have been phased out in favour of idiotic Houkas and Natsukis? You.

I'm saying it's a POSSIBLE reason why truly villainous female characters are rare these days, but either way it's a pretty poor one. Evil witch and stepmother figures are as old as time
 
Saeko - Lost a lot of her "bite" in the second arc when suddenly she was the giggling schoolgirl who just wanted Isaka-sensei to notice her.

Wow, you really whiffed on the point of Saeko's character, especially. Like super hard. She gets into that relationship with Isaka because she finally found someone who is her equal, in terms of Gaia Memory strength and force of personality. They were both intoxicated by the power the other offered and their relationship was more about that than anything. Which is why that last moment they have together is so important to both their characters. "I want to show you the real me." They're trying to show each other the other side of themselves. They're finally opening up, instead of engaging in manipulations and trickery and all that.

Mele isn't too far off. She dedicated her life to Rio, which we all see when she kills Braco with no hesitation. There's the implication that she's in it for her own personal goals (especially in the first episode when she attacks him for whatever reason), but then we just throw that out the window. Sure, she squeals a lot but, spoiler alert, everyone in that series is a little silly. She made the conscious decision to dedicate her life to Rio. She even decides to trust Long, even though it goes against her instincts. Gekiranger is a lot more subtle with it's characters that most people give it credit for. Things are put down in subtext, and not really spoken aloud. There's a level of superficiality to the series too, which is probably why you hate it so much, but there's also plenty of subtext as to why things are the way they are.
 

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
I don't hate Gekiranger, just Rio and Mele. And I wouldn't call Isaka "intoxicated by the power Saeko offered." For most of the arc she was running around trying to get him to notice her while he had zero interest in anything but the Memories/trying to power up Wakana.

Saeko and Mele both count in the OP's category because they were redeemed at the end. It doesn't make them bad characters at all, and in both cases there were good reasons for the story to go as it did, but for the purposes of this thread theey count.
 
Last edited:
Top