In preparation for my epic 'awesome kdrama women' post, I present to you "My Favorite All-Time Drama Heroine".
Who is it? It's Shan Cai from Meteor Garden/Makino Tsukushi from Hana Yori Dango.
(Taiwanese and Japanese adaptations of the same manga, respectively).
Shan Cai/Makino does not have special fighting skills, a police uniform, or a private army to back herself up. She is nothing more or less than your average college/high-school girl.
Or is she?
The only poor student in a school for spoiled, useless, sociopathic rich kids, Shancai/Makino stands up for an acquaintance (that's right - she isn't even a friend yet!) against Dao Ming Si/Domyouji, the richest, most violent guy in school - the one who not only rules the school and who, as she knows before she gets involved, is not only capable of making her life hell (and I do mean hell - hazing, taunts, beatings, anything else that goes) but would certainly delight in doing so if thwarted.
And all of that happens - she gets hazed in a manner that would bring on lawsuits in the States and only comes back for more - she simply won't back down. In fact, in the midst of all it, she declares war back on him. And you know how she does it? In public she tells him everything she thinks of his uselessness (as he is only living on his parents' money) and punches him in the face
, knocking him down. He is a violent nutter with fighting for a hobby and she does not even pause.
And that is only the beginning! She continues to be pure awesome. She refuses to have anything to do with the guy (who, being pretty unhinged and with a completely screwed-up background, falls in love with her after this incident). He may offer her money and she throws it back in his face. He may threaten to get her expelled and she still won't say she likes him. He may get himself close to killed protecting her (the best drama shipping scene ever!) and she won't fall in love with him just for that - she can be grateful, but she is sane enough to know gratitude is not equal to love. She is clear-headed enough to refuse to take him on any terms until he (slowly, painfully, and by bootstraps) actually learns to become a human being.
When in the Taiwanese version, she is at one point punched out by a gang of men, all way heftier than her, she doesn't do anything but get up after every hit and tries to fight them back until she literally passes out. And even borderline unconscious, when Dao Ming Si carries her out of there, she demands to be put down, because dammit, she can walk! In both versions, when kidnapped as bait for him, tied up and helpless, as soon as her gag is removed she tells the leader (who is trying to get her sympathy by dwelling on his wrongs) exactly what she thinks of that sort of thing, unflinching even when slapped, even when a knife is to her throat.
Nor is she subject to social humiliation - in the Taiwanese version, rich bitches fake being friends and invite her to a party intending to humiliate her by giving her the wrong dress-code and implying she's a whore? Oh, she gets back plenty at them, without a shred of embarassment. While not demonstrating quite this degree of sangfroid in the Japanese version, she's still pretty disdainful of social slurs and also generally relationship-smart, deciding that she may love someone but if it can't happen, being able to move on.
She stands up to Dao Ming Si's/Domyouji's terrifying mother without a shred of fear - invited to perform on the piano at a fancy party by Momster as a means to humiliate her, Shan Cai/Makino has no problems just dicordantly banging on the keys in cacaphony of sound without any embarassment or pause.
Oh, did I mention a minor but awesome point that she is capable of lasting friendships with both men and women and both loves her shiftless family and sees them clearly for who they are? That she works half-a-dozen jobs to support herself on her own?
That is why I see red when I see people post things like this manga is anti-feminist or whatever - you have GOT to be kidding me! But not as much red as I see when people comment that Shan Cai/Makino is 'scary' and how could any guy love her? She is my hero.
Have a shippy, S2 of Hanadan vid to conclude this post:
I think the violent dork and practical commoner are my favorite drama OTP ever.
I feel a rewatch coming on...
Oh, and for the record? Makino punches out a freaking BEAR!
Beat that, ladies and gents!