I'm currently reading the eleventh volume of the Vampire Knight manga, and unfortunately, heroine Yuki Cross reminds me a bit of Twilight's Bella Swan. They're are both rather plain, are seemingly helpless, are always being rescued by the men-folk, are rather submissive to the males around them and are deeply loved and fiercely protected by two attractive men (minus her adoptive father).
While the story is okay so far, it's really badass-vampire-hunter-turned-domesticated-Headmaster-turned-badder-ass-vampire-hunter, Kaien Cross, that keeps me coming back for more. In fact, I love his character so much, I think I'm going to write a fic that pairs him with a kick-ass black woman. (Ooooo...the fandom's going to get me.)
I've really developed an appreciation for the genre, particularly the deep and complex storylines, beautiful art work, and dedicated fan base. Cosplay is huge in these fandoms, and while it's not necessarily my cup of tea, I can definitely understand the allure. Hey, maybe I'm just looking for any excuse to fly my geek flag, but if someone is willing to go this far to pay homage to their favorite character(s), I can dig it.
So far, the anime I've watched have pleasantly surprised me. More often than not, a POC character that I wasn't expecting to see is not only introduced into the storyline reasonably quickly, but then actually sticks around for the rest of the series in a fairly meaningful role. It's both gratifying and amazing to see.
Anime/Manga: Outlaw Star
History: Aisha Clanclan (エイシャ･クランクラン, Eisha Kurankuran) is an 18-year-old Ctarl-Ctarl officer with a considerable ego and superhuman strength. She is also far more durable than any human; in episode 5, Gene shoots her at near-point blank range with a Caster shell that mimics a lightning bolt-type spell leaving Aisha merely stunned, while in episode 23 she is shown comfortably bathing in what seems to be molten lava. She also claims to have the best ears in the universe. While it is unknown if they are the best, she is shown to be able to hear small noises that no one else on the crew can. In episode 5, she claims to be immortal, but it is unknown whether or not this is based in fact or is merely Aisha's immense ego and racial pride. (Wikipedia)
Anime/Manga: Naruto: Shippūden
History: Karui (カルイ, Karui) is a kunoichi of Kumogakure, and a member of Team Samui. The team was sent to Konoha by the Fourth Raikage to inform them that they would be taking care of Sasuke Uchiha and Akatsuki. She, along with her team-mate, Omoi, is Killer Bee's student. She is also a member of the Second Division of the Allied Shinobi Forces.
Karui is also quite outspoken and allows her emotions to come out, as she angrily yelled at Team Kakashi to allow the renegade Sasuke to run loose. She came to a violent point when she took out her rage on Naruto Uzumaki and beat him without hesitation. (Naruto Wiki)
History: [Miyuki Ayukawa is] Dan's childhood sweetheart who moved away from his neighborhood when they were children. She returned in the first episode as a well endowed teenager and a skilled mechanic. Upon her return she gives him and teaches him how to pilot a BigFoot. She cares for Dan and his team's Big Foots, something she does happily, as it gives her more work to do (and get paid for).
She also has been shown as having deep feelings for Dan even though he doesn't notice them. Later, she redesigns the team's BigFoots, making them move much faster and smoother than before, enough to create an afterimage. Though she is not a basquasher, she is still an irreplaceable part of the team, constantly fixing and upgrading all of their BigFoots. (Wikipedia)
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Happy Holidays, and again, a special thanks to everyone for your suggestions!