My first post here might possibly be an essay length one. Even if it’s not, it’s some serious tl;dr type material. Just a fair warning. Though this isn’t the first time I’ve posted this, I’m really just moving it over from Blogger to here. Anyway, y’know how the character Aki Izayoi from Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds struggled with emotions like rage, hopelessness, and sorrow? Well.. 5Ds and the Yu-Gi-Oh anime series in general makes me feel that way, mostly due to the sexism within it. I mention the anime series because I really like the Yu-Gi-Oh GX manga myself. I think I’m starting to warm up to the Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds manga too. Anyway, let’s get started. Below the break I’ll explain my issues with the series as a whole, but in particular I’ll talk about how the treatment of Aki Izayoi finally got me to write about this.

Yes, the Yu-Gi-Oh anime series, I’m really starting to get deja vu here. This series seems to have a bit of a problem with women, it had one in the first series and I thought that maybe it was a small issue. After all, some of the women did things important to the plot occasionally. I tried to keep believing that even when the second series came and went. I thought that over time the issues would gradually disappear and perhaps things would get better. How very wrong I was.
I think this says a lot about the things I’ll probably be talking about on this blog though, not everything but a lot. This is an opinion, my opinion, on the.. uh… character development of Aki Izayoi throughout Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds. This is not gospel, and I will not claim it is. You have the right to not agree with me and I have the right to criticize something if I please, we both have that freedom. If you don’t like semi-coherent rants you should probably just close this out now.

Also, I’ve only watched the subbed/original version of this anime, not the dub, so you’ll only find the japanese names here. This has something I’ve ranted on before, but I wanted a more thorough version myself. Also, if you haven’t actually watched a good chunk of 5Ds then this probably won’t make much sense to you. Then again it arguably doesn’t even make sense now if you /are/ watching it. For now this is all I really have to say on the subject, take it as you will.

The Good
Aki Izayoi. Introduced as an enigmatic young woman who was suspected of being the fearsome Black Rose Witch that had been terrorizing civilians and duelists with her strange powers over cards. The Black Rose Witch got her own introduction a few episodes before Aki’s first duel, though the characters and naturally we, the audience, caught a good look of her we only saw a glimpse of her signature monster before she vanished in a beam of light. We finally get to see the monster in clear view when Aki has her first full on-screen duel. Surprisingly, she seemed to have no qualms about revealing her identity and summoned the Black Rose Witch’s signature monster, Black Rose Dragon, almost immediately after the duel had started. This, along with each instance of physical damage her cards inflicted on Gil De Lancebow, caused panic in the crowds. This came to it’s peak when she delivered the finishing blow to her unfortunate opponent, severely injuring him with her Black Rose Dragon.

This was a /great/ introduction for a villain! Feared, dangerous, and seemingly indifferent to the suffering she’s caused. Gil arrogantly claimed to be the hero of the story, there to be beat her once and for all, and he was stomped out for it by a villain that was completely out of his league. I think it was a good thing that some people felt bad for Gil, because that was pretty much the point.
Things might not be as black and white as all that though, as another mysterious person in a trenchcoat (who has a /shocking/ resemblance to a certain Lunar character I know. Just get him a comb and replace that coat with gold plated armor and he’ll be a dead ringer!) watches over the duel with a satisfied smile instead of a shrieking in horror like most of the people around him. He praises Aki’s performance while also thinking she should not become too pleased with herself over it. He almost sounds like he has a personal relationship with her or something…

A bit of Aki’s backstory is revealed (I’ll get into that later) and one starts to think that perhaps her character isn’t as simple as it first appeared to be. Her duel with Yusei seemed to reveal that she was more tragic than malicious, and had created a split personality to handle her many mental issues. It seemed to be, at least in /this/ season, that she has lashed out at everyone who feared and despised her because of her powers, growing to hate them and then terrorize them due to the mistreatment.

Divine, being the only one who seemed to show her understanding and kindness (but in reality is the true Big Bad of the Arcadia Movement that has been manipulating her all along), was quickly put on a pedestal in her eyes. Because he had powers like hers, she found it very easy to trust him. He became someone she depended on and became loyal to, to the point where she let him think for her and decide her actions, convinced that she was too screwed up to do anything on her own. Yusei tried to talk her down instead of simply denouncing her as all the others had, and actually managed to somewhat get through to her. Their entire duel was about Yusei trying to get her to understand that letting someone else think for her and just running away from her issues instead of facing them was never going to help her get better. This /could/ have worked as a set-up, a good start to a long road of recovery but.. well I’ll get into that below.

The Bad
What happened? Really, what the hell happened? It started out so well (really the beginning of the Dark Signer arc had a pretty neat intro and all the duels leading up to the Arcadia Movement episodes were fantastic.) and then It was like the entire series was suddenly sucked into a… Suck Hole, where it was then regurgitated back out into the debacle that we see now. The Gary Stu Walking Card Advertisement, the horrible pacing, the lack of any consistency, the badly written and nonsensical plot points, the Big Bad Who Did Nothing (and yet still claimed credit for it as if he did!), the death of character development (and sense) and pretty much reaching the point where it seems like the writers just stopped caring about making a decent story. Oh, Shin Yoshida joined the staff. Okay, that explains everything.

Backstory/Origin (If you can even call it that..) and Heel Face Turn (Please go back if this is the alternative!). Ugh. I’m not going to claim to be a good writer, but there was seriously no other backstory they could have thought of? She got mad at her parents for /daring/ to have lives of their own and enjoying themselves. That basically sums it up, she’s a horrible brat. I mean they had so many ways to give her a tragic past and instead they left me feeling like she was just some spoiled brat who needed some ritalin. Even after that small glimpse of the story in the Fortune Cup there were still a /dozen/ different ways to do that story. Why did she have to get angry at her father being on the phone for all of five seconds? How come that part couldn’t have been left out and instead her powers just activated involuntarily and struck him? That would have made it something completely out of her control without making it look like she was intentionally trying to cause him harm or was at least /thinking/ it and throwing a tantrum. In the end they made her look like a self-centered jerk ass, not a sympathetic character. “My parents didn’t center their lives completely around me and so I decided to be a mass murderer.” Really?

That leads me into talking about the way they executed her psychic powers emerging in the first place. This was done so poorly. Why did her powers have to come to effect /only/ when /she/ was dueling? Yes, granted, this is a show about card games and naturally it /would/ happen while she’s dueling, but I mean why not other times too? She had no control over them, why didn’t they occur even when she came near /any/ card? There is no reason given as to why her power would affect only her own cards. It would make sense that it would affect other cards because she had no experience with them and no idea how to make it stop, leading to the same reactions of people being afraid of her and outright despising her but also making her.. y’know .. Sympathetic! She wouldn’t be able to stop it from happening but people continue to hate her anyway, causing her to in turn, at least with Divine’s influence (which would pretty much immediately explain how her powers had been focused in the future to not affect other cards) her the nudge, to become unstable and hate /them/ and terrorize them.

It seemed like they were going to set-up a simple cycle of hatred but then had no idea how to actually /do/ that and flopped halfway through. It’s been mentioned to me that perhaps I should have given the writers a bit more slack and assumed that a bunch of events were going on in the background and only the key ones had been shown. However, I don’t even think those key scenes shown really did enough to get through to me the pain she went through and how it was all building up to the burst of aggression when she went back to her parent’s house. I mean I’m not saying they had to show everything but they could have at least let you hear Aki’s thoughts so you could get a real feel of how much this stuff is getting to her. It just felt like they fell short in a lot of ways here and ended up seeming like a really weak backstory in the end.

How does Aki become a hero you ask? Well, Yusei sprinkles his manly Stardust sparkles over her and she is instantly cured. All her mental issues disappear and she turns into a happy, care-free person who can once again appreciate the beauty of the world. This happens in two-part duel. No, really, that’s what happens. I’m /not/ exaggerating. That is exactly what happens. Aki and Yusei have a two-part duel and by the end of it she magically learns how to control her psychic powers (Even if her father was in danger they don’t even really make it look like it took her a lot of mental effort, even though she /completely shuts her powers off/.. which made it sort of hard to believe. They had no other way to do that?) and decides to tether all her daddy issues to her /new/ father figure, Yusei.

Because that’s the /healthy/ thing to do. See girls? As long as you have big strong man around to take care of you all your problems will disappear, just become completely dependant on him and cling to him for all you need. She develops this disturbing dependancy on Yusei, but it’s particularly glaring because in the first season when she showed the same behavior toward Divine it was rightly seen as a /bad/ thing. The entire point of her Fortune Cup duel with Yusei was his attempt to try getting through to her that she had to live for herself and not Divine, be independant, take control of her own life, take value in herself, and love herself. But then they completely turned around and threw all that out by putting her in the exact same kind of relationship with Yusei. Face, meet palm.

That aside for a moment, have these writers /ever/ heard of character development? Along with the truly awful backstory, it was like they were desperately trying to get this issue out of the way and never bring it up again. Or maybe they were just trying their hardest to shove the character into the background as soon as possible. Why is Aki /instantly/ cured? Sure, this would make a great /start/ to recovery, but having all her issues just fade into the background and portraying her as totally normal and fine to hang out with everyone? Really? The fearsome Black Rose Witch, who terrorized Neo Domino for, at the least, months on end is suddenly A-OK and everything is rainbows. This is where you have basically cut the bridge, the one that suspends my disbelief. No one with such deep-seated problems (ones that push you far enough to murder people) just recovers like that, it doesn’t work that way and you /insult/ your audience by trying to make them think it does.

Oh, and surprises abound, no one in the city has a problem with Aki after the Dark Signer arc either. Seriously, they just suddenly get over it and forget about all the people she’s hurt and killed just like that (She even revealed her identity! Her face and her real name!). No one cares. “Well while we are certainly /miffed/ that you murdered and maimed our families and countless innocent people.. we don’t want to make a fuss out of nothing so All Is Forgiven!” Oh well, so much for realism (aka, good writing). Also, for anyone who wants to provide explanations on /why/ they seemingly forgot about it all, please don’t. Because it also is a sign of bad writing when the /audience/ has to explain things, like the writers’ plot holes. If it happened off-screen, you think they would have taken time to at least make note of it.

I do not hate Aki, as people have accused me of in the past for criticizing the character arc. I hate what the writers have made her. I am not a ‘mean person’ who doesn’t want Aki to recover or that being a normal person is somehow a bad thing. I’m going to lay it out right now. Not wanting to her recover is not the same thing as Wanting her to recover in a realistic way that at least shows her struggling with her prominent mental problems. And ‘Normal Girl’ is not the same thing as Stereotypical stock female character (vapid, glorified fangirl, useless) pushed into the background to be replaced by a Gary Stu, once again making the three main characters a sausage fest. She only comes back in to be humiliated and make a fool of herself (Hello WRGP duel! I’ll get into that below. But hey, they threw her a bone and had her beat someone that Yusei beat already, so /that’s/ enough isn’t it? Ugh).

Some want a ‘normal’ woman, well I don’t know what their idea of a normal woman is but mine certainly isn’t someone who seems to only exist so the artists can have her just around stand around and look pretty like a freaking prop or decoration. I want someone who is capable of being a badass, a great duelist, like the male characters still get to be all the damn time with all their great moments, and I wonder why it suddenly has to be an either/or. Because it /always/ seems to be this way with the anime Yu-Gi-Oh series (3 in a row now), women never get to be important or active as the men, they’re always kicked over to the bench sooner or later.

I will say flat out that I think the writers are sexist, intentionally or not, in that they think it’s fine for her to get shoved to the wayside and turned into someone that lives and breathes for Yusei and exists only to make him look better and provide Fanservice (Though ‘fanservice’ implies it’s for every fan.. when often it’s really only for the male ones so.. it really more like Manservice? I might get into this in later posts.) while on the sidelines, or to be a punchline to a joke in a duel. Again, this is not the first female character in Yu-Gi-Oh that seems to reach this destination or already be firmly planted in it from the beginning, not by a long shot. Oh wait though, she /does/ have two uses then so I guess I’ll have to retract my comment about her being useless. Yay, she gets to be a full-blown sex object, not get any respect, and worship Yusei and his awesomeness. Yeah, such a /great/ character she is now.

It’s a sign of bad writing when I end up desperately wanting the sociopathic, unstable villain version of the character back. That’s how crushed I am to see Aki turn out this way. Even while under Divine’s influence, she still managed to actually be a Badass duelist in her own right (instead of just making Divine look good) and have /actual/ character and wasn’t just some horrible imitation of what she once was. If I have to choose between supporting the infantilized Blow-up doll or the psychotic villain.. I choose the psycho. Rock and a hard place. And it’s rather interesting that a short time after becoming ‘good’, Aki loses almost all her strength, assertiveness, and competence. The same things happens to Carly too. Apparently the only time you get to be a good character and a woman at the same time in Yu-Gi-Oh is when you’re an antagonist.

The Ugly
Sugoi! Yusei! Sugoi! Yusei… Sugoi, Yusei! Yusei, sugoi! (Ad nauseum). Crow inexplicably replaces Aki as part of the Main Character Trio. I guess organically adding someone to a cast just isn’t possible for this show? No, time to hurl them into it with a shaky plot-from-nowhere where they are miraculously BFF’s with the main protagonist while the audience has no connection to them whatsoever. More Quality Writing! I could go on for so many pages on why I believe Crow was one of the first signs of the Suckocalypse and just how horrible his character really is. Many have already though and maybe someone else will write up their own character analysis of him. To anyone who does I only pray they can survive the task.

Aki goes back to Duel Academy… why? No, really. Why? It doesn’t make sense. She got put back in there in season 3 even though she already knew how to duel, well enough to beat fortune cup level competitors and give Yusei, the one who defeated the King, a run for his money. And yet she went there along with Rua and Ruka. So why did she go then if it didn’t make sense? And why the de-aging that went on? I don’t get it, it’s like they just needed somewhere to ship her off to and threw a dart at the world map. They ship her off like she’s just some sort of prop or something. And then /that/ thin plot thread was cut and never heard from again either so it was even more pointless.

But wait, that’s not right is it? Aki and Ruka and Rua /do/ come back into the spotlight eventually, Aki even gets her own episode! – Ah yes, the ‘D-Wheel Driving Course’ episode. That’s a classic episode isn’t it? Yes, I especially love that she apparently doesn’t wear a shirt or even a sports bra under her riding suit, because apparently her cleavage is /that/ important to show. Glad to see what the artists have as priorities for female characters huh? I also distinctly remember that part where Aki is constantly making a fool of herself. Oh wait that’s pretty much the entire episode except for the short duel (a duel, I repeat, against someone Yusei had already defeated multiple times).

Since when did this anime decide to turn into a Looney Tunes short? In this episode, she spills off her bike over and over again, each time looking more overblown and ridiculous than the last. How is anyone supposed to take this character seriously? And I get the whole ‘the entire season seems light-hearted’ thing, but it doesn’t really work. The season opener was Yusei dueling a highway bogeyman that had severely injured numerous other d-wheelers and was now coming after him. And then.. it went nowhere. The signs of a plot disappeared underneath a flood of nonsensical filler episodes. Then it just went back and forth, as if the writers didn’t really have any kind of set plan of where they were going and were just making it up on the fly as they went along. Where is the consistency at?

Aki and, let’s face it, Jack, were turned into clowns that engaged in horrible slapstick, even though there was no comedy relief bit of their characters in the previous episodes at all (and where there was, it was underplayed and Believable to the point you didn’t find the character to be an embarassment afterward). And that’s the point in the end. You can’t introduce someone as a dangerous, brooding, unstable character and you can’t present a series as Darker and Edgier then do a complete 180 and pretend it was always that way. Though hey, that’s pretty much exactly what the entire series did in this season. There’s something called integrity, dear writers, probably good to look it up. But though Jack went through much of the decay in character, he got to recover plenty of times and got the spotlight quite a few episodes too, without any slapstick added into it. Aki never gets any kind of attention except perhaps to show her boobs off or show how much her and Yusei are in like with each other. So even when comparing her and Jack to each other, Aki still gets the short end of the stick here.

Oh, and the best part, the fact that the only reason she even /wanted/ to learn how to ride a d-wheel in the first place is because Yusei did and she wanted to ‘feel like he did’. Forget about thinking for yourself or doing something for your own personal reasons, it’s so much more healthy to imitate someone else in everything /they/ do. Dependancy is awesome. I know someone is has mentioned the WRGP on other sites as her getting better, because Aki duels in that arc. So I’ll get into that now. Let’s see if things really got better. Shall we?

Her ‘Big Duel’ In The WRGP
Screaming and wailing as she was… assaulted by Andore’s/Andre’s (phallic imagery) unicorn monster in their duel. A hologram to be more precise. A hologram like the numerous ones she happened to interact with during /all her previous duels/. And let’s not even go into the various psychic duels she was certainly involved in and the /physical/ damage from those duels along with the Dark Signer variety. And yet /this/ is what makes her start going into a fit of screams. The terrifying /unicorn/ hologram. This goes on for quite a while too, it’s not a brief thing. Since none of the male characters do this even once, at worst simply showing mild discomfort while bearing the brunt of attacks, I have to come to the conclusion that the writers have her do this for the sole reason of being a woman. Jack may have had an embarassing loss before her but not /this/ embarassing, not even close. I mean dear lord, up to eleven in making her seem silly and easily frightened, it’s like they looked up the hysterical woman stereotype and tried to shove every single trait of it into that one duel. I guess that’s a little impressive.

Oh and, to top it off, after losing she then breaks down crying like a small child. None of the guys do that, even after one crashed his d-wheel after losing and suffered serious injuries. Yeah, I’m not seeing any glimmer of hope here. Wherever that great respect for Aki is I don’t see any of it in this duel. The writers don’t take her seriously in the least, she is even more infantilized than she already was by the end of it. In the end her ‘big win’ was to get Stardust out for Yusei and then y’know.. get back on the sidelines where apparently she belonged (and has remained even up to the most recent episode, she has yet to duel again). /Shockingly/, it’s then Yusei’s job to beat three people in a row. Man, he’s so awesome, and Crow and Jack are too, but no one else.

And really, my more cynical side can’t help but wonder if Aki was only even allowed to duel as a convenient way to leave Crow’s record unscathed but still have the entire team lose so the writers could play up Andre as a threat. Crow exists as a walking card advertisement after all, more than all the other characters, and we can’t have the golden boy look /too/ bad or else sales might not be so good for his cards. I hope the writers weren’t expecting me to be grateful, this duel was insulting at best.

Coup De Grace
The last thing they had to strip away from Aki to complete the stereotype and make sure she didn’t have anything unique about her left. Aki’s psychic powers vanish inexplicably, there is no explanation for this gaping plot hole or any real time given to investigating this. The writers simply give Aki a throwaway line about it once she discovers they’re gone, which is pretty much that she’s happy about losing them and that she doesn’t need them. Which is a crock of shit. She used her powers /twice/ in this exact same season to save Yusei, first in the truck and then during the riding duel when she used Stardust to stop them from being crushed. She uses her powers with control and confidence in both these instances, they don’t hurt anyone and she shows no sign of being afraid of them, so that line makes /no sense/. Honestly, is it really that hard to remember that in the first season Yusei and Aki have two episodes focusing on the idea that her powers are /not/ a curse and that she doesn’t have to be a monster and that she needs to learn to accept herself? I guess they also forgot that she used her powers to save her father too, as clumsily as it was done you’d think they would remember their own writing. Oh well, guess we’ll just throw that out too. There is no follow up on this, her powers just vanish and it’s never brought up again.

Update: I’ve been informed that her powers actually were brought up again. So, I was wrong. I guess everything is back to normal now— Her powers /heal/ after they come back?! What is this, X-Men? Did she undergo a second mutation? And the woman on the team uses her powers to heal? I have no problem with women who are healers in a general sense, but this feels lazy and sloppy. This makes it come off like it’s just reinforcing a stereotype, especially when Yusei and Jack are basically blowing people up with their cards at this point (y’know, that thing Aki /used/ to do). There was no build-up or focus on her expressed interest in this, it just suddenly popped up out of nowhere. I guess as long as Yoshida can make her as least threatening as possible eh? What is his deal with making every heroine ineffectual and/or passive?

Final Thoughts
Why did I even call this development at the beginning? That’s way too positive for this character assassination, and I see that now. But y’know, in fairness, Aki is not the only one who has had her character maimed beyond recognition (Poor, poor Jack, Ruka, Rua.. and so many others. Though I’m still a bit annoyed at Rua, since he sort of stole Ruka’s duels over and over and over again because the writers apparently thought it’d be a better idea for /him/ to constantly be the focus. Gee, I wonder why.). A lot of other characters were horribly mischaracterized too (or just forgotten entirely and thrown into the abyss forever. Glad to see those ‘bonds’ stayed strong!) and it was nearly just as nauseating as this one. I simply chose to focus on her for my analysis because I really liked her character and hoped for a great heroine this time around. And if some fans think ‘normal girl’ = prop, then I’m never going to agree with their definition of normal.

I’ll probably be waiting a long time before I get a good, effective woman hero from this series though the looks of things. At this point it almost seems like outright contempt for women. I don’t want to settle, I want her character to be just as cool as the guys. In the end I don’t want the Black Rose Witch, though she was a good villain, or this Aki right now. No, this isn’t me indulging in some RWDWD behavior. It’s me refusing to keep sitting by and quietly accepting it everytime it’s asserted that women’s place is to be constantly overshadowed in the stands while men are the ones who go out and get to do big epic things, be in the spotlight, and take action (and when the women do take action in this show, they’re often shown as inept at it or at the very least not as good as men). I’m sick of being told ‘that’s just the way it is’. I want a female hero, hell I want an /actual character/. I want someone who isn’t a sexist stereotype, and no one should have to be grateful for scraps (especially when two other series have come /before/ this).

To the people who want to say ‘it’s just an anime’… well I’m glad /you’re/ satisfied with sloppy, confusing, plot hole filled, awful, sexist writing but that doesn’t mean everyone is. Lying down and accepting it is just asking them to keep shoveling it down your throat. It’s just asking for bad things to keep being made and I won’t do that. It’s the audience’s job to praise things when they’re good and harshly judge them when it’s not. Criticism, whether you like it or not, is what helps us grow as people and see our own mistakes. Hopefully it will make us improve ourselves as well and actually change. Treating the people behind the show like saints who should never have a negative word raised against them… is Not Progress, especially when the critics have entirely legitimate reasons for their criticism and the people running the show have shown that they care more about selling cards than building a story or making good characters.

I’ll acknowledge that the show is supposed to sell cards too, that it was always a vehicle for that, the anime was always about selling cards obviously. But now it’s reached such a point where everything else falls to the wayside and they just don’t seem to actually care anymore about providing good entertainment while setting up their advertisements. It feels like a half hour long commercial to me by now if I’m being honest. They’ve shown that they don’t really care about the audience beyond what they can sell to them and constantly insult the intelligence of everyone who watches it by giving them sub par writing that looks as if it belongs in a child’s fanfiction. The writers are not doing their job well enough, and we should be able to demand they do better. Because otherwise it’s allowing someone to lower the quality of work and then find that, when it’s accepted, they’re free to continue doing this. I refuse to applaud for mediocre, offensive, and harmful writing.

The sad thing is.. I loved this show in the beginning. I continued to hope it would recover and do better, a small part of me still wonders if it could. The first season arc, the Fortune Cup, blew me away and I was hooked. I stopped caring about the admittedly weird concept of duels on motorcycles, I went from someone who condemned the idea to someone who embraced it (Yeah, I could even ignore things like the garter belts on Aki. I mean.. at least she’s not wearing breast-shaped armor or wearing the heels in physical combat right?). The character development, the character interaction, the mythos, the plot, and the duels. I loved them all back then, it was all so solidly written with so few flaws that I was willing to completely ignore them. Because they didn’t matter, they were few and they weren’t big enough to eclipse all the good. I was in denial when things started to sour, I hated it when it happened and I still do. It’s because I look back at where it all started and wondered where it all went wrong and why it can’t ever be like that again. I want it to be but it seems like that’s never going to happen, and that’s surely an unfortunate thing. But while I hope, I will also point out how it gets worse, because criticism is valid. This /should/ be better, it’s shown it’s potential. As I said above, it is the audience’s job to criticize a work, especially when it’s gone from something so great to something so… not.

And lastly, though you certainly already know this by reading through, I’m getting pretty of sick seeing the same thing play out time and time again. This is the third series, in a row, that this has happened to female characters in Yu-Gi-Oh, whether it’s intentional or not I can definitely see a trend. It’s definitely not just this series, but it doesn’t stop it from being so frustrating when it plays out in yet another one. And it’s not just japanese culture, so please don’t start with that because that brings with it the disturbing implication that all japanese people are ‘just sexist’ by nature or something and supposedly always will be seems pretty offensive to me. Xenophobia and all that. It’s plenty of other cultures too that have this kind of sexism imbedded into it, and I mean a lot.

You’d think people like these writers would catch on that women tend to get sick of being reduced to the equivalent of some guy’s fan club, sexualized props/decorations/trophies, ineffectual and infantilized benchwarmers, or plot devices so often instead of getting to be fully fleshed out characters. And no, it doesn’t matter if Aki or any other female character started out well, because each of them still landed in the same pit of stereotypes and on the sidelines just like the rest in the end. It was also always the women who who had their roles reduced first, as if it was some kind of natural conclusion (No, I still don’t believe JACK got his role reduced as much as Aki, not even close). You don’t get points for dropping the ball and making a half-hearted effort. Gee, thanks for the Sherry duel, too bad it has no conclusion and she never duels again except as an antagonist (can’t have golden boy Yusei lose to a woman now can we?), and oh thanks for the Aki duel.. too bad she screams half the time and ends up losing and then crying on the side of the road. Almost doesn’t count. And no one should have to stop watching to get away from this or ‘make their own company’, the writers and all the other higher-ups managing things should be the ones to change and, y’know, write better and fix their issues and actually be mindful of it for more than one season. And if they can’t do that maybe they should quit and go find other jobs if they can’t stop sucking so damn much.

I guess the Yu-Gi-Oh anime series is still stuck in the traditional format when it comes to women and their roles, especially when Shin Yoshida is around.