Friday, April 9, 2010

The Cheerleader

They can cheer to their heart content. Rarely on the battlefield doing any real fighting. Some of their favorite pastimes is making sure that their friends and love ones are content and possibility mental stable. Maybe the ultimate supportive character. They are...

The Cheerleader

 This isn't an example of the Cheerleader character type. More like Moe but that is a different post all together.
"The background support character. She cheers on the main character or other active characters in their endeavors. They cheer whatever it be on the battlefield or in affairs of love. Sometimes both."
-Hisui and Narutaki from Reverse Thieves 
That is basically the Cheerleader character type in a nutshell. They really don't see much action unless they are watching it from the sidelines. Cheerleaders in anime don't always wear cheerleading outfits and are loud. If that was the case then they would be much easier to spot. To find the cheerleader character you have to look at their actions. Do they don't take part in the battles? Do they seem motherly? The first ones to join the hero after a battle? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have yourself a cheerleader.

Take Tea (That is Tea spelled T-E-A, not T-I-A) (Yu-Gi-Oh!) here for instance. She is one of the main characters of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series and is in almost every episode of the show. So she is kind of a major player. The thing is that most of the time she is just there cheering on Yugi or Joey in whatever duel they are in. In the first episode, Tea did a speech about friendship to help raise the hopes of her friends when something serious was about to happen. It was nice and all when I first saw it but when you step back and think about it for a minute. You wonder if that time spent could have been used in running or something. Then this 'sign of friendship' that she drew on their hands is never seen again. It has been referenced but that is all. Still what do you expect from a show that is about 'The Heart of the Cards' and friendship?

To Tea's defense (and other Cheerleader type characters), it all depends on how the writer uses the character. There are a few times where Tea does do something to help out as in dueling to help inspire a dishearten Yugi. It ties into the character type that she mostly displays as in helping out a friend. Still the anime writers made sure she got lots of action time during non-canonical story arcs. Those are my favorite moments of Tea to see since she did more then just watch the game from the side. She was actually playing the game. This could be said for most character types to tell the truth. It just kind of annoying to see such a good character reduce to doing the same thing over and over again.

 One of them is a cheerleader. Can you guess which one?

So what is wrong with the Cheerleader character type? I may be a bit nice here but I don't think there isn't really nothing too bad. I never really had too much trouble with Tea when watching her in Yu-Gi-Oh! except for the fact that I wish she would do more. That seems to be the same thing with most characters that hold many of the characteristics of a Cheerleader. If they were able to do more then that would be perfectly fine but really most of the time they just end up being in the background cheering the main character on. Something kind of common in Shonen type shows. 

I really can't decide if the cheerleader is a good or bad image for women. I want to say they are harmless but this character type is kind of pushing women to be 'background' characters. They can be outspoken a bit but they are just there most of the time. You are not saying "What *insert character name here* is going to do next?" or "I hope *insert character name here* is going to so beat that person's butt" when you watch these characters. Really you are not really watching them since the focus is on the hero that they are supporting.

So I guess I am trying to say in that last paragraph is that do we want (women or men) to be background characters? Just there to support us and pick us up when we are down. That is basically what the cheerleader character is. So if we basing the idea of the cheerleader character type as bad then yes. They are a bad image for girls. It's a misrepresentation of what women can and are possible to do. Why support when you can be out there doing the fighting?

So what you guys think? I am mixed on this one but I think I just put the Cheerleader character type in the 'bad image' bin.


  1. Being of the cheerleader type can be both good and bad depending on the situation. If you're just standing back and not doing much of anything, then you're just there for show. I think a true cheerleader should be able to do more, just like your opinion on Tea (being a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan). Women having the ability to help out in any way shows that women are definitely capable to handle a lot of situations rather than not being able to do anything at all, like how some girls are portrayed to grow up with their parents doing everything for them their entire lives. Really, cheerleaders being good or bad really depends on what "kind" of cheerleader they really are.

  2. I think the cheerleader character is necessary in a lot of situations. Unless you have a hero that is invincible, they're going to need someone to support them (either physically or mentally).

  3. Question, does the cheerleader have to be female?

  4. @Elfa
    Nah. I guess/know it can also apply to males. It just that I can't think of any at the time (now and when making this post). Also I was more focus on writing about females when I was making this post.