Not really a double poster, but anyway.
I kinda blanked out with a conclusion, but it's only a rough draft (I have to hand in my rough draft) so here goes:
! Elois Andre
One Piece is a Japanese anime show that is classified as a shonen, which is defined as having its target audience for young men, and because Japan is known for being particularly patriarchal for an industrialized nation, these shows or comic books they are based off of are notably sexist (Sean Boden). Catering to boys, the shonen genre usually involves some sort of fighting or combat as a heavy theme, but women are often confined to a passive role and if they do battle they somehow end up falling in love with one of the male protagonists and/or wear revealing outfits. One Piece, while not feminist by any means, manages to break through this shonen mold in several occasions throughout the anime, but exemplifies it with the character Nico Robin. Thus is very different with how it portrays her compared to other shonen and Japanese work with their female characters.
! In episodes 275-277, Nico Robin has a flashback about her past; extremely intelligent, she became an archaeologist/historian at age eight to follow in her mother's footsteps along with the archaeologists at the center of her island's culture. However, her mother and the archaeologists have cracked the code to read indestructible stones called the Poneglyphs which tell about the mysterious origins of the World Government entity but also of an extremely powerful weapon, and because of this, their studies are illegal. The world Government ends up destroying the entire island of Ohara and killing all of its inhabitants, save Robin, in order to avoid the information leaking out. Finding herself a highly wanted criminal, she has no choice but to never trust anybody, and betray before she is betrayed herself, for twenty years. On the main storyline at age 18, Robin is not a damsel in distress by any means. She has the power of a "devil fruit" - fruits that grant the person who eats it powers in exchange for the ability to swim - and uses it to her advantage to defeat entire armies of men. This is very different from the usual shonen portrayal of women - they usually are between 16-21 years of age and have very little combat ability. Like Davies and Ikeno point out, "women appear in supporting roles with long hair, big eyes, ideal proportions and glamor, as the hero's girlfriend or to nurse the weak." This is because during the Edo period in Japan, Confucianism became a strong philosophy that held the idea of "men outside and women inside" and this made it very difficult for women to have a career or anything regarded as men’s territory (Davies, Ikeno). However, while Robin does have ideal proportions, she is neither the hero's girlfriend, nor does she nurse the weak, nor is she weak herself. Being an archaeologist and strong, she can be described as an Otoko-masari, "a woman who is superior to men physically, spiritually and intellectually," something viewed negatively in Japanese culture (Davies, Ikeno). Yet, despite this, she is portrayed as an attractive woman in the show, often on commented as being beautiful. By doing this, One Piece shows its viewers that women can go outside traditional Japanese gender roles, but more importantly, can still be beautiful and attractive.
! Robin being an independent, strong female character, yet still being beautiful and wearing somewhat revealing outfits might be argued to contradict my point, and it usually is the case, but part of what makes Robin so different is precisely that she is attractive. She is everything that is viewed negatively about women in Japan she does not do any housework, she is not innocent or childish, she is past the "tekireiki" ideal marriage age (Davies, Ikeno), she is stronger than many male characters, she never shows any romantic interest, and she is independent and has her own career. Men in Japan still expect women to behave like their mothers, do the housework and take care of them (Ikeno, Davies), and that would be impossible for a woman like Robin. Yet unlike many other shows hailing from Japan (Boden), One Piece shows to its intended Japanese male audience that woman can be older, intelligent and independent and still be beautiful and attractive. In contrast, another highly rated shonen show called Naruto, portrays woman as being clearly weaker than their male counterparts, often confined to a healing role, and whose character and character development is entwined with the men they are in love with and that surround them. This other TV show is more demonstrative of how Japanese culture dictates what an attractive woman should be, and it contrasts heavily with One Piece and how it has portrayed the same thing.
! There is the Confucian idea that a woman should always be obedient to the leading man in her life and Robin defies that in several ways, including how she was brought up, demonstrated in the episodes. The person who had the most of a leading role in her life was her mother, and not far from that, the historian Clover who played as a father figure. However, instead of it being her mother who took care of her as a child and her "father" that left the house to work, it was the opposite. Professor Clover was the one who stayed on the island who took care of Robin as a child, and it was her mother who left the island to study the poneglyphs. This is the complete opposite of the "women inside, and men outside" stemming belief of Confucianism that influences Japanese culture (Ikeno, Davies). At the time, Robin was being taken care of by her uncle and abusive aunt who forced her to do housework as a child while she years to get back to studying, and this is portrayed as negative, despite the Ryosaikenbo "good wife and wise mother" upbringing for girls in Japan where they are encouraged to learn household chores (Davies, Ikeno). Robin's flashback begins with her doing what she enjoys the most - studying outside the house, and then is later shown inside the house being forced to do housework. Interstingly enough, while she studies outside she is picked on by a group of boys, perhaps symbolizing that she is not welcome in the boys' world of studying and being outside. Yet, Robin does not give up. Even if she has to run for the rest of her life from the World Government and avoid bounty hunters, she continues to pursue her dream of learning about the missing century that tells history throughout the show. In these episodes, she does end up depending on the other protagonists to rescue her, but the reason she needed to be rescued was because she had given herself in to the World Government in order to save them from the same fate that destroyed her home island. Even then, what she was truly rescued from was giving up her dream. In the other show I mentioned, Naruto, the protagonist does something similar with a quiet girl, but her goal came out of her falling in love with said protagonist and said protagonist changes her completely. In One Piece, the male protagonist did not change her, nor did he ever intend to, he merely let her believe in herself and her own dreams but he always accepted who she was, and there was no romance involved.