Galaxy Railways 15: Gender Relations in the Leijiverse

Although apparently there are up to 20 platoons in the SDF, only three feature prominently in this series: Sirius, Vega and Spica.  The Spica platoon is all female, Vega is all male and Sirius is mixed.  Consideration of the three might give us insight into gender and gender relations in the Leijiverse.

Sirius Platoon

In this episode, Spica comes off as too careful.  Vega, on the other hand, is reckless to the point of endangering itself.  Sirius is just right, neither too hot nor too cold.  The lesson here seems to be that women need men and viceversa.

It’s probably just as important to note that Sirius is not even close to being gender balanced.  The crew consists of 4 men (Bulge, Bruce, David, Manabu) and 1 woman (Louis).  If you count Sexaroid Yuki then the ratio of males to females is still 2 to 1.  My understanding is that the elite SPG team is also composed of 4 men and 2 women.  So maybe the ideal setup in the Leijiverse is a majority of men with a minority of women.

Vega Platoon's Capt. Murase

We could link this setup to the Arcadia in SPCH: there the crew is overwhelmingly male, but it’d be really hard to see the ship accomplish anything without Miime, Kei Yuki and Masu.  The crew of the Yamato has Yuki Mori as its single female crew member, but when you factor in the crucial influence of Starsha (in the original SBY) and Teresa (in Arrivederci) then it’s clear that without women the Yamato would never have triumphed.

There is perhaps another way to explain this issue of success while bypassing the question of gender altogether.  I’m talking about focusing on the great heroes (or gods) of the Leijiverse as holding all the keys to success.  In the case of SPCH, Harlock and Tochiro; for Yamato, Starsha and Teresa; for GE 999, Maetel etc.  Following this model then every triumph in Galaxy Railways must be attributed to Layla Destiny, with the platoons fading away in importance.  And it’s impossible to notice that in this model it is the women that seem to be numerically predominant.

Spica Platoon's Capt. Reinhardt

Maybe the gender question is inescapable after all.  Maybe both models can operate at the same time.  Maybe neither is right.  But it’s interesting to ponder…

P.S. Is it me or does Capt. Julia Reinhardt look remarkably like another Julia from another (extremely popular) anime show???

P.P.S. I haven’t found any hard evidence of this, but it seems to me that the SDF must be structured into companies (which are then subdivided into platoons), and that Sirius, Vega and Spica belong to a single company.  This would explain why they work together so often.

~ by Haloed Bane on December 13, 2010.

10 Responses to “Galaxy Railways 15: Gender Relations in the Leijiverse”

  1. important note as well, slightly related to your last point — Spica is an all-communications/surveillance train, not a combat one, and I find it hard to believe that it’s a coincidence they’re also all women.

    • I think there’s another platoon in the second series that’s all-female as well. It’d be interesting to see if if they’re a communications outfit or a combat team…

      Anyway, yes, I think there are probably 6 companies in the SDF, each composed of 3 platoons. OK, my sources say there’s 19 platoons in all but roughly speaking it all works out. Of course, it’s a tiny force (and the SPG even tinier) but I guess that’s a tribute to the efficiency of the Galaxy Railways.

  2. My sense is that Spica Platoon is the second echelon, the girls are mostly about data collecting and rarely take part in real action, which is sensible. Sirius Platoon – well, that’s tricky. Under Capt. Yuuki’s command, Sexaroid Yuki was the only “female” crew member. If we regard her as a robot, then the crew may count as all male. Ok, it is too misogynoidic, I am sorry 😀 Yuki has already got that silly android complex somehow, what if she starts brooding over her female identity… Anyway, if we accept that Yuki is not quite human, then Louis is the only really female member of the male crew, which I believe emphasizes her determination, the idea that she has guts to do the tough job, etc. etc.

    I don’t remember another all-female team in GR2, but there was another mixed one, I think…

    About the Arcadia… well, piracy is a man’s job. Traditionally. Take Johnson’s General History of the Pyrates – the gender ratio will be about the same – 34m:2f. By the way, I’ve always admired Harlock’s willingness to take women aboard – there’s somebody who defies bad luck.

    Speaking of gods, the women of the Arcadia may also be seen as the Triple Goddess (not my idea, but as usual, I don’t remember the source).

    Anyway, I think only women in the Leijiverse have overtly superhuman, godlike powers, like Starsha, Teresa, Shula. Minor divinities also take female shapes. If Harlock is a god, he is a god in guise. Like the rest of the Big 4.

    • I can’t remember where I got this info that there was another all-female crew. It’s possible I might have dreamt it up!!

      Anyway, if you look at the ceremony that takes place in ep. 23, you’ll find the following platoons (in order of appearance):

      Antares – Red uniforms (all-male)
      Deneb – Blue uniforms (all-male)
      Arcturus – Purple uniforms (all-male)
      [???] – Blue uniforms (all-male)
      Vega (all-male)
      Ground Crew – 3 women, 2 men
      Spica (all-female)

      So evidently, as iskra suggests, all-male SDF platoons are the rule. According to Wiki, the Cepheus platoon in GR2 has 3 men and 1 woman, whereas the Mizar platoon (starring in a drama CD) has 3 women and 2 men. Anyway, I think my theory that there are three platoons to a company (with a Spica-like comm. platoon attached to each company) is obviously wrong. Spica seems to be the only platoon of its kind in the SDF structure.

      About the Arcadia, your point is well taken. Though I don’t think as a rule pirate ships had a woman as their third in command 😉

      On the god thing, I wonder about Maetel then. Is she to be considered on the level of Starsha and Shula? Because if she is, then Harlock starts looking like quite the candidate too. If you don’t add Maetel then that’s fine, but it’s so hard not to see Maetel as having all sorts of godlike powers and sensibilities sometimes…

      BTW, I used this link for the SDF platoon names:

      • Well, no, I don’t add Maetel. I look at it this way:

        There is a Yamato-GR model: 1) the superwoman, 2)lots of manly men 3) a woman or two who save the day. That’s how this part of the Leijiverse runs.

        And Maetel-Harlock model: a random set of characters that come across our heroes. Maetel is just like Harlock – a god in guise, and a divinity in guise is a very interesting figure – it is on a mission (now Gandalf comes to mind), traveling in the world of humans, acquiring human qualities. There may be occassional revelations, but the guise can’t be removed until the mission is complete. You know, I keep thinking about the suitcase. Both Harlock and Maetel receive a “mission suitcase” with their classical attire at some point (And Tetsuro too! 😉 ).

        Also, that great scene where Harlock and Maetel meet Tetsuro in GE999 film. I love it how they never exchange a word (I think I commented about it somewhere). They just know it all!

        (Yeah, they have already discussed it all at length in Harlock Saga :D)

        • Your model makes total sense. That’s it, I’m adopting it.

          I don’t remember any suitcases, though. Can you tell me where to find them?

          • Harlock gets his from Maya in AOMY. Maetel gets hers from Promethium in Maetel Legend. Tetsuro gets his from Maetel in GE999 Eternal Fantasy.

            Also, Queen Millennia does not fit in any of the models, does it?

            • OMG, I didn’t remember any of this. It’s an important motif then, this suitcase.

              Millennia is weird in oh so many ways. You’re right, Yayoi Yukino ends up having to work practically alone and she is not even near to being all-powerful… This doesn’t fit at all.

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