Just watched the first episode of 2003 anime Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto (Someday's Dreamers) and within 10 minutes the main character, Yume, has fallen over twice while trying to cross a road and tried to run away in fear from the sight of a man with no shirt on (he didn't even have his bits out). She later gets given a free pizza and only eats one piece before going to bed because she's so just so gosh darned dainty.
How, for either a female or a male audience, can this kind of feebleness be considered a desirable character trait in a female lead? I'm trying to think back over old anime and wondering if things were always thus or whether I should be blaming moe for this phenomenon. The girl-falling-over-when-running thing has been there since time immemorial, but the girl-falling-over-when walking-somewhat-briskly thing seems like a new extreme.
I know raging against this kind of insipid characterisation is pissing in the wind but this is just plain insulting to both men and women. It's even more insulting, of course, to the presumed target audience (male, no girlfriend) because the message it sends to them is, "You can't deal with real women. You are such sad losers that you can only cope with even the idea of women if they are presented as grotesque parodies of the most sexist ideals of femininity."
The setting of Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto is around Tokyo's hip and rather pretentious Shimo-Kitazawa district, which sets the scene for some gently amusing character conflict between the cringeworthily awful Yume and the laid back bohemian types she's likely to encounter there, with some semblance of character development presumably involving Yume being brought out of her shell somewhat (oh, but not too much, understand -- let's not get crazy here). This is the escape clause. The fig leaf of self awareness that the show flashes in front of its misogyny, that says, "Hey, I know she seems pathetic, but look how we acknowledge that fact thus proving that we aren't the sort of people who get a boner over emotionally retarded male fantasy chicks."
The representation of Tokyo is interesting, with actual real, recognisable shop fronts and billboard advertisements in the backgrounds, and it's always nice to see subculture districts other than Akihabara portrayed, but whatever good this show might have to offer, it's already lost me.