It’s February. You know what that means; Black History Month, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Bob Marley and Ronald Reagan’s Birthday (Same day – Feb 6) and Oscar Season! So in honor of the very last thing on my February List I decided to treat you all to to a 2-fer. So this week it is my pleasure to present to you Berley’s Favorite Female Non-Literature Steampunk Stock Characters. Why non-literature? Two reasons, authors, like all artists (me included) have fragile egos and the last thing I need are a bunch of people emailing me about how their stock characters should be on my list. And second, there are waaaay too many Steampunk novels out there that I need to read before I can make an informed decision about those characters, let alone make a ‘favorite’s’ list about them.
The reason why this comes as a 2-fer is because I was originally going to pick one (male or female) for each category but I decided its’ best to have (like the Oscars) a category for the ladies and then in next week’s post (hence 2-fer) have one for the gentlemen. And since because I am a nearly well-behaved gentleman of Steampunk, ladies first.
Favorite Female Mechanic: Winry Rockbell (Full Metal Alchemist)
She’s beautiful. She’s blonde. She’s sexy. She has a love for mini skirts. And she has a bit of a temper. She’s Winry Rockbell, an automail mechanic in Full Metal Alchemist and main love interest to Edward Elric. This decision was difficult especially when there are other female mechanics working on airships as opposed to metal arms and legs. However, Winry takes the cake, not just from her beauty, brains and everything else in between, it’s her personality. I’m serious. It would’ve been easier to write her a stereotypical blonde airhead and gotten away with it but they made her an intelligent woman, with genuine fire and an unhealthy obsession with taking things apart and putting them back together just to see how things work. Perhaps in a few years I can put an airship mechanic in her place, but for now, it’s all about Winry.
Favorite Female Air Pirate: Captain Dola (Castle in the Sky)
She’s not young, but the fact that her entire crew are composed of her sons (think like a Steampunk Beagle Boys from Duck Tales), some guy obviously found her attractive at some point in her life. What I love about her is she’s tough, feisty, smart and even at her age with a crew full of men, she easily maintains her role as Alpha and no one dares question it. Captain Dola of the Tiger Moth is the real reason why I keep rewatching Castle in the Sky.
Favorite Female Aristocrat: Princess Sophia Forrester (Last Exile)
Vice-Captain of the ‘Kill em’ All’ Silvana, as well as Princess of Anatoray, this woman’s double life would make Princess Zelda’s Sheik seem tame by comparison. But that’s just me. The thing I love about her is that she’s a born leader (even more so than the captain she serves under) and she stands her ground against her male counterparts. She lets nothing, not even her good looks get in the way of her duties. She’s what I imagined Captain Dola to be, before she had all her kids.
Favorite Female Navigator: Lavie Head (Last Exile)
If you haven’t notice a pattern by now, you should. I love my women (especially my Steampunk women) feisty and independent. You never know when you’ll be caught up in a dogfight and the last thing you need to think about is how the hell am I going to save the damsel in distress? Sorry ladies, but that kinda thinking can get a guy killed. With that said allow me to introduce you to Lavie Head. She’s tough, like the rest, but unlike the rest she’s young, inexperienced and believe it or not, that only adds to her character. She learns how to be a better navigator and mechanic as the series progresses and she holds her own in a profession that is dominated by much older men, especially in her world. So if you need a great navigator to get you where you need to be, Lavie’s your girl.
Favorite Female Inventor: Gadget Hackwrench (Rescue Rangers)
This one was hard. I used to watch Chip n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers, back when after school and Saturday morning cartoons were still a thing, and this show I would watch religiously. And if there was one character I loved the most, it was Gadget. She was a blonde-haired, blue eyed mouse mechanic. The only thing I loved more than her was Chip and Dale half killing themselves trying to get her attention. Her genius knows no bounds. Her inventions, such as the Ranger Plane, have helped the Rescue Rangers on more than a few of their adventures and they’re almost always made out of junk! If that’s not Steampunk, I don’t know what is. With her iron will nerve to fly a toy plane, she built herself, made from junk parts only gets her the title of Favorite Female Inventor. As for Favorite Female Pilot…
Favorite Female Pilot: Tatiana Wisla (Last Exile)
Anyone who has watched the series knows that that Tatiana is such a bitch, but man does she make it work for her! She’s not a bitch in the mean-highschool-cheerleader sense, but a woman who puts flying first and everything second, including breathing. She treats everyone like garbage, even her own navigator, Alistor, who’s also her best friend. Hell, even Alistor can’t stand being around her all the time. I wanted to choose Gadget and some other worthy Steampunk female pilots but Tatiana’s dedication to the task at hand is unmatched by any other female Steampunk pilots I can think of, so there you have it.
Favorite Female Gunslinger: Lady Eboshi (Princess Mononoke)
While not a ‘gunslinger’ in the Wild West sense of the word, she does hold a gun and she definitely knows how to use it. The thing that makes her so special, is the fact that she’s so damn calm. She’s not really the bad gal of the movie, nor is she a good gal either. In fact, when compared to all the other women on this list, whose places in their stories are very black and white, she’s the most gray of all of them. True, she pisses off the tree-hugging gods of the forest (who live there and that’s why they’re tree-huggers) by chopping down their trees and destroying their homes. At the same time, she buys up the contracts of women who would’ve been forced to be prostitutes and sex slaves in the city. So she’s bad but not all bad. She reserves most of her animosity for the creatures of the forest, supernatural or not. To be fair, Red Monika is more a gunslinger and so is Captain Dola in many respects, but sometimes (most times in my opinion) its more important that the character know how to use a gun as opposed to just shooting for the sake of wasting bullets.
Favorite Female Femme Fatale: Red Monika (Battle Chasers)
This one was surprisingly easy. Then again if you’re chest is bigger than Pamela Anderson on silicone steroids and your bra can double as two football helmets (if she ever wore one) being pegged as a Favorite Femme Fatale would be easy too. Battle Chasers didn’t have that many issues, but if there is one female comic character from the last ten years that fans LOVE to draw and redraw, it’s her. And boy do they take love to take liberties with the amount of clothing she’s not wearing. (Not complaining, just an observation.) While Red boasts an impressive resume of pirate, bounty hunter, gunslinger and mercenary, her gorgeous face along with her um, ‘wits’ almost always help her get the job done. A staple of a true Femme Fatale
Favorite Female Soldier: Riza Hawkeye (Full Metal Alchemist)
Last but certainly not least is Riza Hawkeye from Full Metal Alchemist. She’s Roy Mustang’s right hand woman, a high ranking, non alchemist soldier in the state military, beautiful (naturally) and a crack shot to boot. She’s a gunslinger, who, like Lady Eboshi, thinks and then pulls the trigger. True she’s more of a gunslinger than Eboshi, but gunslingers don’t always operate inside the law. Hawkeye’s a soldier, so all her shootings are by the book. Which is why she gets the title of Favorite Female Soldier.
See you all next week where I will announce my Favorite Male Non-Literature Steampunk Stock Characters. And thanks for reading.