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Despite Ellen's obvious certainty, the question of whether or not the modern anime style originally represented a caricature of Caucasian racial features is debatable. Many people will assert that the large eyes are simply for emoting, and the outlandish colours of hair and eyes originated to differentiate characters in a medium that doesn't allow for the subtle cues of skin tone and facial curvature we use to identify each other in real life. After all, Donald Duck has giant blue eyes and a paper-white face, and no one accuses him of being a caricature of anything... nothing ethnic, anyway.

Of course, many of the major anime that became popular in America outside of the enthusiast subculture - Sailor Moon, Naruto, Dragonball Z (not, you will note, Dragonball or Dragonball GT) - have specifically blonde-haired blue-eyed protagonists, but that could be viewed as a chicken-and-egg thing. Which came first, artists pandering to Aryans by drawing their good guy characters with Aryan pigmentation, or Aryans demanding bleached protagonists and inserting that esthetic expectation into popular media? White artists and audiences influencing Japanese artists and audiences or vice versa? The white washing of characters we're supposed to like goes back millenia - Jesus being a prime example.

Jamie's right, though. It isn't a negative thing. Whether it's a caricature of us or not, no white person has ever been offended by the fact that Sailor Fucking Moon is evidently of hearty Norwegian stock.


(Sunday morning, INT: EB and JH's apartment)

(EB is showing JH one of her translated doujins)
EB: There you go - exaggerated caricatures of your genetic characteristics. You're being racisted at. How does it make you feel?
JH: I dunno. I'm not sure what I'm feeling here, exactly.
JH: I definitely see what you mean about these characters being white. I mean, if I had no pre-existing knowledge of the correlation between this particular art style and Japan, and I didn't see the kanji sound effects, I'd certainly be hard-pressed to identify this big-eyed six foot blond guy as having anything to do with Asia, let alone being Japanese.
JH: Still, it's not really insulting to me. I mean, everyone's drawn like that. And this guy's the protagonist! It's hard to be upset about a depiction of someone like me when he wields a giant sword, he defeats a shadow demon, he gets the girl...
EB (looking over his shoulder): That would be a boy he's getting, actually.
JH: Well, regardless.