Manga and Austen: Types of Romance Heroes and Heroines

Thanks to my niece Kezia for this
graphic novel.
Eugene's post about Kimi Ni Todoke got me thinking. Many manga series present a strong, silent hero (Sano from Hana-Kimi, for instance) who is wooed and falls heavily for the somewhat more extroverted heroine (Mizuki).

Ah, Darcy and Elizabeth!

So, I pondered, to what Austen couple would a comparatively extroverted (but still introverted) hero like Shota and a far more introverted heroine like Sawako equate?  

Captain Wentworth and Anne, of course!

That takes care of Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion. What about the rest?

Dr. Umeda
Northanger Abbey: an impressionable, imaginative young woman and a slightly older, slightly awkward guy who uses clever quips to get through social situations?

Usagi from Tail in the Moon and Mizuki from Hana-Kimi qualify for the heroine role while the vulnerable young man who uses quips to hide his insecurity is best captured by Yoh of High School Debut.

A number of supporting characters also use snarky quips to hide insecurity, such as Dr. Umeda (Hana-Kimi), Juta (Otomen) and, flipping genders, Asako in Library Wars.

Emma: a bossy, interfering chick and an exasperated, older hero?

High School Debut
This is difficult because NOBODY in Japanese literature compares to Emma. Emma is a woman who imagines what is best for people and then goes and tries to make it happen from behind-the-scenes without checking her facts. Most manga heroes and heroines spend far more time mulling over whether or not to even get involved.

In High School Debut, for example, the madcap heroine is more concerned about living up to what she thinks a girlfriend is supposed to be like than trying to boss other people around while in Hana-Kimi, Mizuki--who always wants to help--frets for several issues over whether or not to speak to Sano about his father.

Library Wars (Dojo scowls a lot :)
Library Wars possibly works since the heroine, Kasahara, is quite impulsive, and the hero, Dojo, gets exasperated while remaining fascinated. And Kasahara does take action. Still, she isn't a behind-the-scenes type.

Neither (switching genders) is Ran of Flower in a Storm, a cute manga (in the over-the-top, too-much-sugar sense of "cute"). Despite being too direct, Ran's unrepentant interference makes him a decent Emma while exasperated Riko makes a good Mr. Knightly.

Usagi in Tail in the Moon comes the closest although her trouble is more too-much imagination (see above) and "rushing in where angels fear to tread" than a deliberate desire to force events to a certain end. Still,  like Emma, her "rushings in" cause more problems than solutions. And patient, lecturing Hanzo does qualify for the part of Emma's hero, Mr. Knightly

Mansfield Park: a heroine who lives-in-her-head while observing others and a hero who hasn't a clue what he wants until the very, very, very end.

I failed here. Most manga heroes know what they want by the 2nd volume, even if, as Eugene states, "he's not going to broach the subject with someone he knows isn't going to broach it either. As I mentioned, this can get annoying fast."

Kira of Mars makes a great Fanny (heroine of Mansfield)--she has that core toughness--but Rei is far too aggressive to make a believable Edmund (hero). In general--I'm inappropriately speaking for all women here--a novel where the guy frets over another woman for most chapters isn't terribly romantic. But then, hey, I'm the kind of woman who thinks Eponine of Les Miserables should let Cosette have Marius and focus on someone with more backbone.

Perhaps (flipping genders) . . . Asako and Tezuka (Library Wars) . . . 

Impressive novel! Less fun romance. 


Unknown said...

What a fun topic. Thank you for a great read. I should reread these series!
"a heroine who lives-in-her-head while observing others"
Kanoko and Tsubaki in "The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko" by Ririko Tsujita. Unfortunately, Tokyopop folded before publishing the last volume. Kanoko is exactly the same as teh heroine. Tsubaki is closed enough. He did visit her a lot, though.

Unknown said...

As for Emma, the closest to her I can think of is Kobato from the same name series by CLAMP. She tried to heal people's heart, so she could collect Konpeitō. The one who's doing the fact check is Ioryogi.

Eugene said...

A guy who "imagines what is best for people and then goes and tries to make it happen from behind-the-scenes without checking the facts" is a perfect description of Kento (the troublesome extrovert) in Kimi ni Todoke. He's not a bad guy the way Kurumi starts out a mean girl; he just misinterprets everything and comes up with the worst possible (earnestly delivered) advice.