December 18, 2007

Monster girls

Recently I wrote about otaku dream girls. Otaku dream girls are gorgeous and desirable, but the defining characteristic of an otaku dream girl is that she's aggressive towards the viewer avatar in the show. She makes all the moves, so that he doesn't need to. Girls are scary, and the otaku dream girl takes all the risk out of the relationship for the viewer avatar. Hence the fantasy.

Seems to me there's a flipside to this: the monster girl. This goes beyond the simple tsundere or yandere; a monster girl literally can and might kill the guy who is becoming romantically involved with her. Not for jealousy, either. Not necessarily for any good reason. If there's less fear and less risk in a relationship with an otaku dream girl than with a normal girl, then there's even more with a monster girl.

Shana is almost one, but not really quite. It's entirely plausible that a situation could arise where she would need to kill Yuji in order to prevent the reiji maigo from falling into the hands of one of the Tomogara. ('s a long story.) But she's not really a monster girl, because if she does eventually decide to do that, it'll be for good reason, and she'll cry afterwards.

No, the true monster girl is one who could kill the guy for little reason, or no reason. Mayu in Gosyusho-sama Ninomiya-kun is a monster girl. She's sweet and stunningly gorgeous, but she's also a succubus and she has to consume life energy from males in order to survive. Shungo is someone she seems to care about -- but he's also potentially a meal. If she gets hungry enough, it's all over.

In the second half of Maburaho, Yuna pretty much becomes a monster girl. About the only reason she doesn't kill Kazuki is that he's already dead.

Lucy in Elfen Lied is a monster girl, in spades. Primula in Shuffle! is presented as a monster girl, but I don't believe she ever really comes off as being dangerous to the guy in the series. (The two fathers are terrified of her, however.)

The girls in the upcoming show Rosario to Vampire are monster girls. That's the plot hook: a guy gets into a highschool that normal humans are not supposed to know about. That's because everyone there is a monster of some kind. He has to keep his ordinariness secret, because if they find out, he'll be lunch. So the show will present us lots of really, really cute girls -- and plenty of menace.

It's not surprising that otaku dream girls are far more common, of course. When I wrote about otaku dream girls, I said this:

Let's be frank for a bit, guys. We're all afraid of women, deep down. We like women, but we fear them too. We're programmed to like women, or at least most of us are. We want women around. We want to get intimate with them. But when we try to get to know women, we leave ourselves vulnerable -- and I doubt there's a heterosexual man alive who hasn't had his heart ripped out and stomped on at least once in his life.

If the otaku dream girl is the fantasy that relieves us from this fear, the monster girl is the personification of this fear. She doesn't just break your heart, she outright kills you, or maims you. Or she could, at any moment.

Socially inept guys who try to get involved with a girl have a degree of nervousness at all times. And I think that the monster girl, who represents a palpable mortal threat to the viewer avatar, even as they are also attracted to one another, manifests this same kind of nervousness.

Rosario to Vampire is the pure form of that nervousness. "If they find out what I'm really like, I'm in for a world of hurt." For the insecure guy in a relationship, that's what the little scared voice in the back of his head is saying.

UPDATE: Actually, now that I think about it, Yuna isn't really a monster girl. That's because her violence is motivated by jealousy. I guess that makes her a yandere (spoilers). And whatever else monster girls might be, they ain't that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 11:38 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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Funny you should have this on your mind.  I've been thinking about tsunderes the last couple of days, thanks to Black Lagoon.  I've only gotten through one disk so far, but Revy is the grown-up version of a teenaged tsundere girl. The deredere is buried deep, but it's there, and you can tell she's had a sneaking admiration for Rock since he stood up to her drinking challenge in the bar.  There's little "violence as love" here (though there is some, if Rock starts whining), but the real problem is she's somewhere past tsundere  -  realistically, I would judge her as a functional psychotic.  Tick her off, and you'd wish you were dead.  I'm really interested in seeing where the writers take the relationship between Revy and Rock, given that they're both adults. 

And then, there's always, "Lyrical Tokherov, kill them all!" to give a guy nightmares.


Posted by: ubu at December 19, 2007 06:16 AM (dhRpo)

2 Punie would definitely be a monster girl, except that there's no male viewer avatar in that series.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 19, 2007 09:34 AM (+rSRq)


Which only goes to show that, while many anime guys are stupid enough to get caught in relationships with women of questionable stability, there are some girls that nobody is stupid enough to approach. 

Punie is probably going to end up with whatever spineless wimp she decides to inflict her attentions on.  Which explains her father, now that I think about it....

Posted by: ubu at December 19, 2007 10:47 AM (dhRpo)

4 I can't believe nobody has mentioned the ultimate monster girl, Dokuro-chan. Must be the memory repression.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at December 24, 2007 10:26 PM (j8zCH)

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