The door to Neil’s room slams open, and he can’t even say that he’s surprised to see Andrew behind it. His grip tightens around the railing Hernandez had mounted along the wall, and Neil turns so his back is against it and he’s facing Andrew. He feels himself being observed carefully as Andrew shuts the door behind himself without looking.
“Millport automail? This is where you’ve been hiding?” Unlike before, Andrew’s face doesn’t match the bite behind his words. His expression is blank, and Neil wonders if he’s imagining the steel in his eyes.
“I haven’t been hiding,” Neil points out. “Everyone on the team knows I’ve been here.”
Everyone except you, he meant. He hadn’t wanted to distract Andrew from his own recovery.
Maybe a month ago that would have provoked a reaction from Andrew, be it an uncontrollably manic smile or an ugly flash of rage. Instead, Andrew just stares at him flatly. “Do they know you’ve been trying to walk? They must not, because otherwise this room would be full of idiots trying to teach you what ‘recovery’ means.”
Both of you are my two best friends. You two are like sisters to me. You don’t know each other but I just want to tell the both of you that I love you so much. Right now, we don’t have a signal. We are under attack by ISIS. And we are hearing gunshots and grenades. Our mayor here, he hasn’t confirmed the events that happened here to the media. If you know someone, or if you have a connection to the police or soldiers or whatever, we are calling for help. Marawi is on red alert. They’ve beheaded people. They’ve shot civilians. They’ve burned down schools. I am telling you, ISIS does not represent ISLAM. These are evil people. I love you guys. I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again. I love you so much. Forgive me if I did something bad. I’m not sure what will happen tomorrow. They said that there’s something big happening. I am traumatized by the gunshots. They said that what happened so far was mild compared to what they had in store for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the real thing. They’ve cut off the electricity in some places and I hope our place isn’t next.”
Marawi in Mindanao, Phillipines is under attack. This is just one of the many SOS messages that were sent out. Please please pray for our brothers and sisters.
Okay I’m going to elaborate a bit on that last post. The argument I’ve seen more than once is basically that Arakawa ‘overcompensates’ with her female characters by showing them as over the top totally awesome, competent, a+ all the time in fields that are traditionally male dominated. I don’t agree with this argument. I love these characters, but I don’t think their awesomeness is on some kind of… unrealistic level or SO WAY ABOVE the level of the guys.
But let’s say they’re right. I wonder why that could be? Maybe because Hiromu Arakawa is, herself, in a career that is SO male dominated that it is literally called ‘boy’s manga’ and that is SO male dominated that she had to change her name for publishing (from Hiromi to Hiromu) so people would think she was a man and be more open to publishing/buying her stuff. It would be no wonder if her characters did come across as overcompensating, considering due to her field of work, it’s likely she’s felt like she’s had to do that herself.
It is not uncommon in shounen manga (Adachitoka, Yellow Tanabe, etc) for women to go by either a gender neutral or male pen name for this reason.
So instead of acknowledging the sexist industry that may have caused Arakawa to end up feeling like she needed to ‘overcompensate’ (as much as I disagree that she did), ya’ll just lay into her. Let’s be real; on the scale of one to sexist, a female author making her women ‘too awesome’ is relatively low.
Continuing onward, don’t forget that:
Arakawa wanted to bring more women into the story earlier on, but her editors would not let her (case in point, Winry was not introduced until the beginning of volume three because of this).
Once Arakawa was successful enough that she had much more in the way of editorial freedom, one of the things she did was set out to add more women to her cast. She looked at what she had and said ‘not enough’, so she introduced several more.
I’m not saying that Arakawa is above reproach or something, but it’s important when discussing her to look at her work through the lens of- this is a woman writing in a field that is so male dominated it is literally called BOYS COMICS, who constantly has to work to tow the line between the story she wants to tell as a woman and the story that editors, who generally hire male authors, want to see in their shounen magazine. And ignoring that context is ridiculously unfair to her. This also applies to other female shounen mangaka. They’ve all been in her shoes.