Mythology moe-ified: classical witches, warriors, and monsters in Japanese manga

Creative Commons License

Akgün B.

Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, vol.11, no.3, pp.271-284, 2020 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/21504857.2019.1566155
  • Journal Name: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Art Abstracts, Art Source, MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.271-284
  • Keywords: classical reception, feminist theory, Manga, moe, mythology, witches
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Through a gendered close reading, using classical reception studies as a springboard, this article discusses the reception and moe-ification of the female witch, warrior, and monster figures from classical mythology in Japanese seinen and shōnen manga at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It focuses on Flora and Schierke in Berserk (1990–); the Gorgon sisters in One Piece (1997–) and in Soul Eater (2004–2013); and Medusa in Witchcraft Works (2010–), all of whom are named and/or fashioned after Circe, the Amazons, the Gorgons, and Arachne. It points out to the intertextuality between these worldwide popular turn-of-the-century Japanese manga and classical mythology narratives. It discusses the moe-ification of these classical subversive monstrous female figures, formerly demonised and marginalised by the patriarchal discourse. It analyses how their reception in manga contributes to canonising the monstrous female. It illustrates how that offers the female readers of seinen and shōnen manga new ways of expressing and interpreting gender that liberate and restructure the female’s relationship to power.