- "Sore Ga Otoko Da!" -

Understanding Leiji Matsumoto Universe

Definition of "Manhood" in Matsumoto Universe

"Sore Ga Otoko Da" simply translates into "That's the man" or rather "That's what being a man is all about". In Matsumoto Universe, manhood has its' own special meaning.

Matsumoto works, especially his comics might not be very suitable in this recent trend. As a matter of fact, many of dialogs in Harlock comic would anger women's rights activists. For instance, when Daiba discovers that he is placed under a female combat officer Kei, he becomes quite upset. Harlock's comment was: "Is Daiba upset? I can see that, to be placed under a woman.... Well, he will understand eventually." Later on Kei nearly risks her life to boost up Daiba's male ego. Harlock notices, and thanks Kei for her doing. Mime states: "A woman should never put a man into shame...never." When Harlock speaks to Mazone Queen, he says: "Of course you don't understand. You would never understand Earthman's heart...a real MAN's heart." These few example alone are quite enough to ban Matsumoto anime off the TV broadcast for modern-day society.

Please don't jump onto the conclusion that Matsumoto is a sexist male-chauvinistic pig, though. Let's look at Matsumoto women in his universe. Maetel is almost a perfect being - in her personality, and also in her physical ability. Emeraldas is a lonesome space traveler, ruthless killer, but also a very warm-hearted being for those whom she trusts and accepts. Kei Yuuki and Mime never make mistakes compared to reckless Daiba. Matsumoto creates so many "queen" figures, but no "king" figures to take a major role in his stories. In comparison to the many Matsumoto stories where a boy strives to become a man, most Matsumoto women appear to be more mature and nearly perfect beings from the very beginning. Yes, women are treated rather differently in Matsumoto Universe, but they are very respected most of the time, more so than men.

Matsumoto universe is based on very old-fashioned concept where a man and a woman have very distinct roles. Neither is better or worse than the other. A man and a woman are simply different; that's the bottom line.

Being born as a man, he has a task. He is to pursue his dreams and ambitions. "If you are a man, sometimes you must go even when know you would lose. Sometimes you must fight even when you know you would die. That's the MAN." That is the dialog Harlock speaks when he joins Tetsuro to destroy Machine Empire. Tochiro/Arcadia's computer also speaks the similar dialog when Arcadia goes to rescue captured Daiba. Similar statements are made all through his entire creations. These scenes clearly draw out Matsumoto's belief on how a man is supposed to be. Call me a conservative, but I personally love his point of view. Yes, supposedly women are more respected and treated better in society in these days. But where are these men we used to have back in the old times? Look around and tell me if you see any men with that kind of ambitions and determination nowadays; the ones who believe in themselves, the ones who are not afraid of challenges and failures, simply the ones make we women to desire to follow and support. They are very rare kind now. So before you conclude that Matsumoto is a sexist, please think twice. Strangely, these Matsumoto "sexist" male characters always appear to be very attractive to me.

I will add the very recent comment from Matsumoto regarding his characters:
"My work is drawn from men's point of view. Women are an eternal mystery to me. We men don't understand women at all. That's why women are so wonderful."


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