Nicholas Bennett

Nicholas Bennett

Screenwriter and educator with an MFA and BS in Communications related fields.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    6

    Biracial Identity and Half-Demon Characters in Anime

    I’m watching Inuyasha for the first time and as a biracial person, I identify a lot with his complicated relationship to his race. He’s half human and half demon, but is always trying to squash proof of his human half by overcompensating his demon half. He experiences negative stereotyping because of his identity and though I’m only in season 3, it seems like Inuyasha’s struggle with identity will lead to him being forced to "choose" one or the other.

    Half-demon characters are fairly memorable in anime, and it’s usually a big deal when it’s revealed. I’m thinking Rin from Blue Exorcist, here. Even looking at Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho and his discovery of demon heritage could be tied to the concept of "passing" or even embracing one’s culture when it’s been erased from your history.

    • I feel like this is a really good insight and for someone who doesn't watch or read a lot of anime/ magna this could be a different way of looking at 'cultures' through media. Cultures here being the demon vs human culture – ambermakx 2 years ago
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    7

    Native Americans in Hollywood film

    I would love to read an article detailing Native American representation in Hollywood cinema. Whitewashing, the Marlon Brando Oscars debacle, and more.

    • There was a 2009 documentary title "Reel Injun" that did a terrific job exploring this, and it is a powerful topic because of the influence that the portrayal of First Nations in films has had on the European North American consciousness. In light of the more recent calls for recognition of indigenous sovereignty, rights, and title to unceded land that have been in the news lately in both Canada and the US, examining our perceptions of First Nations peoples and biases formed by Hollywood visions would be well worth reading. – petethicke 2 years ago
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    • You're right that "Reel Injun" addresses this and does so amazingly. It is about 10 years old; however. I have yet to read recent well written online articles detailing this issue. – nbenn057 2 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    Nicholas Bennett

    Thank you for your comment, Raevenn!

    Interestingly enough, I published this article about two months before the reboot Banana Fish series aired last year. I did watch it in full and I wish I could have included a point about the series in this article, especially since I discovered later that the Banana Fish manga was an influence for No.6.

    I agree with your analysis of Banana Fish, and mine is very similar. I feel the 2018 reboot of Banana Fish is in the same realm of representation as Yuri!!! on Ice, as in, the MLM relationship is written mostly as a queerbait and as you say, can be read as “very good friends” because the creator(s) refuse to allow explicitly authentic romance play out on screen. However, that is not to deter anyone from reading the relationship between Ash and Eiji as romantic, nor to deter anyone from feeling represented by them or any other queer-coded characters in the series. Those readings of the series are all fine, but I urge fans to look critically at it, as well.

    As for the genre and dark topics of Banana Fish, I agree that it can be taken too far at times and is definitely not something I would recommend to everyone. The plot and structure of the narrative itself is very strong. It is good to see topics such as rape, trauma, PTSD, and a corrupt government dealt with in a mostly respectful way, but the tragic ending of the series (and even more so in the manga) spell out a very bleak message for queer identifying folks. Because of the ending of this series and the constant trauma inflicted on a queer-coded character (similar to what occurs in Revolutionary Girl Utena to Anthy), I do not find the series very positive in its representations of queerness.

    Finally, not to repeat what was already said in the article, but anime fans looking for an explicitly queer relationship in a series with dark/adult themes handled respectfully may wish to try No.6 before braving Banana Fish territory.

    Queer Representation in Anime
    Nicholas Bennett

    Excellent points, zin! I do mention the West’s influence on Japan’s views of homosexuality and queer existence — so I assure you, I did not forget.

    You’re right that the anime and manga realms are shifting to more positivity, though more work still needs to be done (as is the case with many medias).

    I am fairly well aware of the differences between queerness in the US, where I am, as opposed to in Japan, which I felt were addressed in the article. It’s a great topic to unpack: the expectations we have from a different culture when looking on from our own. However, I did not feel I dismissed the headway being made in the anime and manga industry, in fact, I felt the takeway here was uplifting and hopeful for LGBT+ representation. I certainly hope perhaps with a closer read, it would be clear that I am not dismissing progress, I am celebrating it and merely challenging the industry to keep improving.

    Queer Representation in Anime
    Nicholas Bennett

    Thank you for your in depth comment; you are not a bother at all!

    Revolutionary Girl Utena was not a main focus of this article, hence why I only wrote about two lines on the series. Regardless of the symbolism of maturity in the anime and film, these works are centered around abuse and enslavement — that is the core of Anthy’s character from start to finish, and it is very unsettling for an entire series to treat a woman of color as such, so consistently, without granting her decent happiness in the end. I am aware of the realities of this experience existing in real life, and I do not intend to discount the anime’s powerful messages and relevance particularly to survivors of abuse and the queer community, but Revolutionary Girl Utena falls into the unfortunate category of a tragic queer story, thus not providing positive representation — in my opinion.

    I feel your point about Kaworu in The End of Evangelion is totally fair, as well! I believe any time Kaworu is included in the series (anime or films), he is doing something to validate Shinji’s love of him.

    Queer Representation in Anime
    Nicholas Bennett

    Okay John, you’re right about the father in the manga, he is not gay. I misspoke, sorry if this somehow offended you. If one were actually to follow my recommendation and look up this manga, they would surely figure it out without needing your conceited comment as clarification.

    Queer Representation in Anime
    Nicholas Bennett

    You clearly care a lot about this series, John, so I commend your passion for it. The anime’s portrayal of Kumiko’s relationship with Shuichi is drastically different than how it was written in the original. The choice to eliminate evidence of her attraction for him, with more emphasis made on Kumiko’s attraction to Reina and even Asuka (whether it be “shinyu” or not) can be seen as queer. Who is to say that these Japanese cultural phenomenons are not queer? Or that queer individuals do not experience them?

    Regardless, I wrote one whole sentence about this series in my article and you felt the need to flaunt your arrogance just to have the gratification of being “right” on the internet. I feel that you could stand to work on your critical thinking, John, and hopefully you will come to learn that your perspective is not the only one in the universe.

    Queer Representation in Anime
    Nicholas Bennett

    Do not confuse hiding behind a computer screen to write your arrogant and self-righteous comments invalidating a minority community’s reading of anime series as having any power, John.

    Queer Representation in Anime
    Nicholas Bennett

    You clearly have some knowledge of this topic, John, as evident by your manslpaining. One can and should be critical of these genres and works, especially if they make one uncomfortable. Your point of view is not the only one in the world.

    Queer Representation in Anime
    Nicholas Bennett

    Hey John, don’t attack commentors on my article. You are not the authority on these issues, so get off your high horse.

    Queer Representation in Anime