Gosh, so tired. Just gotta get this off my chest, then I need a nap!
Today began horribly but ended with a partial triumph!
Yesterday, I discovered two very AUGH-worthy things re my university classes.( My mistake and their rescheduling equals panic )
The third yay is not really related to my university stay here, but is about my bachelor
and general geekery
While listening to a rather boring lecture (not from the topic, but we had a guest lecturer who spoke at a super-rapid, low monotone in a rather echoing classroom and my brain just couldn't handle the effort of trying to listen) I began thinking of my bachelor essay, which I will begin to work on here in Germany. My last essay was for Sailor Moon and the role of the female hero. While the topic I worked with there was one I wouldn't mind returning to, I didn't really feel like doing it for the bachelor essay. Two reasons Firstly, I'd rather wait until the new English edition is out, because it was tricky to switch editions like I had to do. Second, all the literature regarding female heroes is apparantly crap (or I just fail at searching for it) and if I'm going to do some kind of meta-critical analysis of my theory books too
I should either split it into two essays or I'll nead a heck of lot more pages than a bachelor essay gives me. Also, variety is good for you, or something, and since I already knew I want to write about something with a gender focus I might as well switch canons.
Anyway. In class, half dozing and doodling names of mahou shoujo manga in some vague notion that I could always compare the female portraits in general (Sailor Moon kicks Tokyo MewMew's ass might not be an approved thesis, but it's one I fully stand behind) or go the safe old route of body-shape analysis, I am suddenly hit with a lightningbolt of inspiration. CLAMP. I like them. A lot. They have a large enough body of work, which can be grouped in various ways, that it makes sense to compare their different series with each other along a given cross-section. Question is just which aspect to poke at...
Their female portraits are varied but I have a hunch - and this really is just a hunch, not to mention I've slept like five hours tonight! - that there portrayal of women complicated. CLAMP's got a very unique moral view, not just compared to Western media, but also to many other manga and there's bound to be something worth poking at there. So I'm writing down interesting points of attack; narratological analysis of female agency, image analysis of male vs. female protagonists, eye-poking-and-sacrificial-death-!
That's when it hit me.
Unless there turns out to already exist a fantastic essay about the theme, I'll ask my teachers (once they're back from the holidays) if I might write an essay analyzing the motif of chosen suicide* in chosen manga from CLAMP. Probably along the lines of gendered differences (are there any and what) and narrative outcome of the suicide (what happens in the story because of this?); though the latter perhaps only for one or two examples.
There's literature on the theme, I know that much, and since the topic is more narrow than "function of the heroine in a superhero story. which btw has nine superheroines", I can also juggle more canons without getting completely swamped in plot retelling.
CLAMP manga with Meaningful Voluntary Suicide that I remember from the top of my head is, uhm, worryingly long. And, also from memory, I can already group them in four categories 0.o( Death-spoilers for RG Veda, Tokyo Babylon, X, Magic Knight Rayearth, Clover )
I think this could be really interesting to do ^_^ If someone has meta-thoughts on my rambling little rant, please share! I need to go through all my CLAMP canons carefully looking for more cases, as well as check up on the ones that I only remember vaguely. I also have no idea what outcome I'll get, so that is interesting too.
Hopefully my teachers agree...a*chosen suicide here is my own, made-up-just-now, term for a narratively active suicidal act. It basically has no counterpoint in the real world, because there a Hero/in sacrificing themselves won't save the world from blowing up.