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There are several types of gender-bending characters, but only 2 are common in the Detective Conan universe. I'm going to talk about some ground rules for proceeding for both of them, and cover them both individually.

The Detective Conan story has plenty of female characters, but they are mostly side characters. Th main actors are almost all male, so genderbending them female is a very understandable urge. In fact, I think it's pretty cool. The two main types of genderbending that I see in the Detective Conan fanfiction zeitgeist are:

1. Genderbent from birth.
2. APTX4869 (or similar evil organization drug) switches one's gender, instead of turning one into a little kid.

But, there are several important things to keep in mind:

Gender Identity has very little to do with one's personality. Women aren't more emotional; men aren't all perverted creepers. Don't change the character's personality. What does change is the way society acts on the character. If a woman is emotional, it's expected, but if a guy is emotional, he's ridiculed. If a guy is a perverted creep, it's usually brushed off as "boys will be boys", but if a woman is a perverted creep, she must be a whore - or the victim, because women don't actually have sexualities, right? You get the picture: toss the sexist stereotypes.

Some examples:

Heiji is hot-headed, brave, and self-sacrificing at the drop of a hat. He values saving lives over punishing people. He's incredibly intelligent and has very good intuition, and capable of laying complex traps for criminals. If you write Heiji as female (and labeled such from birth), she'd still have all of those qualities. Looking at her mother, she'd probably have been trained in polite, traditional Japanese lady-like behavior, but if someone might be in danger, she'd charge in to save them no matter what. She also might not be given quite the access to crime scenes, even with her father being Oni-Heizo.

Ran is caring, competitive (she's some kind of karate champion, after all), extremely brave, and slightly introverted. If someone is in trouble, she'll charge in to save them, no matter who they are. If you write Ran as male from birth, he'd keep all those qualities. He'd still end up taking care of his useless father, but he'd probably speak a lot less politely, picking up his father's rough speech, and probably be a little faster to react physically, as it's more socially acceptable for him to as a guy. As a female, Ran's violent outbursts are contained for a few seconds more, before concrete starts crumbling. He'd still be terrified of the supernatural; and he still would beat the crap out of a random pervert on the subway who groped Sonoko.

The main point out of all of this is that when you genderbend these characters, they need to still be recognizable as those characters.

Which leads into what is probably my most important point:

Gender identity, sex, and sexual orientation are not the same thing.

None of them are binaries either; they're sliding scales.

Gender identity can be girly girl, uman-uman (giving Vermouth a section of the scale all to herself), Tom-boy, female, male, genderfluid, genderqueer, fem, butch, manny-man-Mc-manface, and on and on and everything in-between. One's gender identity is in one's brain. Since it develops at a different time from the genitalia, it's possible that what the brain thinks ought to be down there and what is down there could end up different things.

Sex is the what the doctors assign at birth. It has to do with what genitalia are present. But, this is a sliding scale, and it is possible to have genitalia so ambiguous that the doctors can't decide, which makes the label Intersex put on one at birth. So, sliding scale, yet again.

Sexual orientation is what parts of the gender identity sliding scale one is attracted to. You could be attracted to the most feminine far end of the scale, or the entire scale, or a large chunk towards the end of the masculine end of the scale. I'm pansexual, and am pretty comfortable with the entire scale, as long as they're a gentle, talented, intelligent, and a nerd, like my spouse is. See this essay on being Bisexual/Pansexual for more details. My spouse, however, is only attracted to the more female end of the spectrum. Even people who are "straight" are attracted to different sections of the gender identity scale.

Now you've got Shinichi force-fed a poison that transforms his physical sex, while leaving his brain untouched. His gender-identity and sexual orientation are left unchanged, because they are in the brain, not in the genitalia.

There are so many things that could be explored here, that I haven't seen even touched upon, other than what society defines gender roles as being. Shinichi is still in love with Ran, but now pursuing her looks like lesbianism, and that could lead to some pretty fierce discrimination and bullying at Teitan High. Does Shinichi suffer from Gender Dysphoria, or discover that his gender identity wasn't as masculine as he thought it was? Does he conceal his poison-induced sex, or does he use it to hide?

Whatever roads you take - do a ton of research. There are a lot of people from all over the gender identity, sex, and sexual orientation spectrums, and many of them have blogs. They are only a google search away. Go find out what they have to say about themselves, and don't make assumptions based on popular media stereotypes. You could end up sounding incredibly ignorant and bigotted if you don't, and the research you do may change your own perspective on yourself or on someone you know. Have fun researching!

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I really haven’t been keeping up with my weekly writing regimen, but oh well. I’ve been swamped with homework and barely been able to breathe at all this semester. As I write now, we are in Seattle for SakuraCon - our yearly Spring Break adventure. Trevor (my husband) and I watched the premier of the Dragon Age animated movie. The creators of Dragon Age worked with Funimation to put it together, so we were pretty stoked. Right after that we went to a panel about sexism in the geeky-nerdy community and how we can fight it – so that definitely has colored our review of it. After the feminism panel, we went to a fantastic Indian restaurant called A Taste of India. As we waited in the incredibly long line to get in, we discussed the movie at length and jotted down notes for this article. Therefore, it really is from both of us. This will be heavy in spoilers.

 

Spoilers! )

 

Voice Acting

It was kinda obvious that there hadn’t been much in the way of directing of the voice actors. They were supposed to be so-totally-not-French accents, but the voice actors’ accents were all over the place. Many of the actors ended up blending accents or going back and forth between three or four different accents. Some actors gave up and just went British or their American accent. Other than that it was pretty good.

Animation

Definitely a low-budget production. The motioncapture looked great, but there were a few times that they didn’t use it which ended up looking really bad – especially with the horses. They cut a lot of corners, including almost never animating facial expressions. In fact, Cassandra’s face was left in a blank, emotionless state for most of the movie, which jarred with the voice acting often. The design of the scenes went for wow-they-were-in-a-hurry to Oh COOL!!!!, and there’s a lot more cheap shots than nice looking ones.

The animation of the magic was sometimes awesome, and sometimes lazy. The fire spell was really, really cool. The fight scenes – not so much. It basically consisted of throwing balls of light around like water balloons. We’d thought that the magic they’d use for fighting would involve making the environment fight for you, since the Templar can shrug off magical attacks with ease. Things like making the ground turn into quicksand to impede their movement or making lightening strike them or pieces of buildings fall on them. That would have been so cool! But, we get magic glowing water balloons instead.

In Conclusion

The cheapness doesn’t bother us near so much. Cheap movies can be awesome if the rest of the movie is well done, and this wasn’t. It really feels like a lazy, last-minute slapped together project built to cash in on Dragon Age – but it could have been a lot cheaper and a lot more offensive as an addition to the canon. This was mediocre, but at least it had a great main character and an a few admittedly awesome fight scenes.

July 2015

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