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Thank You, Makima

or: if makima has no fans, i am dead

By angela hepworthPublished 6 days ago 3 min read
5
Makima from Chainsaw Man

*Mild spoilers for Chainsaw Man, but nothing explicit!*

I love anime and manga. I’ve loved it for a long time. But I’ll be the first to say it: anime and manga often lack good female characters. This especially goes for shonen anime, anime aimed at younger males, where the most important characters are almost always male. If there’s a female character, she’s usually there to be either a side character or the love interest. That’s the way it tends to go. Hey, I don’t make the rules.

Of course, there are expections. Attack on Titan is a shonen anime, and it has a great number of female characters. But many anime and manga just choose to write women with an almost purposeful lack of depth since they’re never the focus; their male counterparts are. They’ll get about one good, standout moment in their entire series, if they’re lucky.

Thankfully though, times are changing. There has been a rise in great female characters in shonen manga as of late: Chainsaw Man in particular, I believe, has made strides for the amount of powerful and uniquely written female characters it has incorporated into its story. They drive the story forward, even more than the manga’s male characters, and it’s so inspiring to see.

The author made the bold decision to make the primary villain of the story, Makima, a female character. And she is great.

Like many women written by male authors—of course, Makima is written to be beautiful. She is acknowledged in the canon of the story to be beautiful. Her design is drawn to be beautiful. But her looks serve a significant purpose in the story rather than functioning just as fan service or eye candy. Her beauty is one of the many things that makes her so capable of charming and manipulating other people, both male and female. When she chooses to sexualize herself, she does so for her own gain and no one else’s. She is never put down or made out to be less than anyone else for being an attractive woman. Her beauty is something that she is able to use to help to fuel her desires and her power. It also gives her this air of overwhelming, ethereal femininity that sets her apart as such a unique manga antagonist. It makes her womanhood a significant and poignant part of her character instead of her character’s sole definition, and it makes it a strength instead of a weakness.

Another thing that makes Makima quite different from many female characters in manga is her aura of dominance. It is a trope for the typical female character in an anime to be shy and submissive, arguably adhering to Japan’s societal standards for women, in order to charm the widely male audience. Makima is nothing of the sort. She is her own boss as well as the boss of her entire establishment. She does not rely on anyone else’s strength; she is extremely powerful and capable, even near unbeatable. Her personality lacks any shyness or bashfulness perhaps typical of a female character in anime; instead, she is level-headed, firm, confident, and very much in charge. She is always displayed as calm, conniving, and deceptively normal. Makima is often seen smiling nonchalantly, never stressed or fearful or even angry about a thing. This all adds to her aura of being untrustworthy as a domineering, untouchable antagonist.

Makima does have a lot of haters, and for understandable reasons. She is an extremely evil character who does many cruel and unforgivable things, and let’s just say she is oftentimes very successful at doing them. She’s a demon and an absolute life ruiner, using everyone in her path for her gain, all for her own skewed goals and world view. But this is her function. She is the villain of the story. She is the primary antagonist. She is very much allowed to be evil as much as any other anime antagonist is allowed to be evil. To hate her for being too good at being a villain has always seemed a bit silly to me.

In short, I am grateful for Makima. Her character goes to prove that good representation doesn’t always have to come in the form of good people. Not all women are kind; women can be cruel and hard and just as evil and terrifying as men, and Makima certainly proves this to be true throughout the series. I believe she is comparable to many of the anime greats when it comes to villains, specifically sharing many similarities with the revered villain Aizen from Bleach but never quite receiving her flowers for it. Her character is uniquely horrifying and her writing is phenomenal, and I appreciate Fujimoto for creating such an amazing female villain as a male manga creator.

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About the Creator

angela hepworth

Hello! I’m Angela and I love writing fiction—sometimes poetry if I’m feeling frisky. I delve into the dark, the sad, the silly, the sexy, and the stupid. Come check me out!

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (5)

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  • Murali2 days ago

    Most of the time, female characters in shonen are not well-written. However, Makima is a well-written exception.

  • You had me at villain. At first I thought just that, that Makima would be shy and submissive but boy was I wrong! I loveeeeee villains and a female villain, say no more. I'm adding this to my watchlist. I wanna watch it just for her!

  • Hannah Moore6 days ago

    But do you think it's an issue that woman are only portrayed as strong as it relates to their villainy. Particularly a villainy which relies on manipulation of others, and use of sexuality to do that also, both tropes about the ways in which women exercise power.

  • Andrea Corwin 6 days ago

    So hey - are you saying the MEN who created her (?) realized we need strong women so now make her do EVIL things like MEN? I love warrior women. 🥋

  • Ahsan Ahmad6 days ago

    good

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