Anime & the Bechdel Test


I’ve been watching a lot of anime lately. And thinking about anime & the Bechdel test. Unfortunately, one of my favourite anime fails the Bechdel test.

First, the definition of the Bechdel test, in case some of you don’t know it:

The Bechdel Test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.

So, one of my favourite anime of this season is Haikyuu!! Check out the poster below before I point out the main issue with the Bechdel test failure:


Yup, the lady in white? Only female in the entire show. I’ve read ahead in the manga and still no women.

So, feminist me is upset that the Bechdel isn’t passed in this anime. Part of me is glad that at least Kiyoko isn’t a love interest for any of the characters–she is the team manager, done. I love the characters, how they get along but don’t. The guys have great chemistry but Kiyoko’s character is rather flat (at least, for now).

Then again, I am idly watching another moe anime that involves an idol group. There are zero men in this anime–none. Not even fans of the music which is basically the main target audience for the anime populated with cute girls.

The main thing I love about a really good anime is the complex characters and the reliance on subtext. It’s something I am not very skilled at in my writing so I enjoy seeing it done well, mostly without being able to rely on character thoughts to convey true meanings. The implications of history between characters in the way they interact gets me hooked every dang time.

Edited to add: It took over 50 instalments for two named female characters to appear in Haikyuu! who speak to each other about their own ambitions, not the main characters. I am very pleased that this is not entirely focused on relationships–so refreshing.

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One thought on “Anime & the Bechdel Test

  1. Roman

    The absence of meaningful female characters was the only flaw of the first Haikyuu season. That said, if you hadn’t yet watched the first few episodes of the second season — I’d highly recommend them! The second and third episode are focused almost entirely on the new manager girl, pass the Bechdel test and it can almost look like the authors try to fix this one problem they had in the first season. We can only hope that this trend would continue!

    However, I guess there won’t be much more episodes passing Bechdel test — as well as in other sports anime there surely would be a lot of matches that span multiple episodes and I doubt they could fit a lot of female characters’ interactions there. But, anyway, those first episodes. They made me cry for real.


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