Symbolic Armor: Erza Scarlet

This weeks WCW post is a bit of a throwback to the woman that brough about my WCW posts to begin with. Erza Scarlet is one of top favorite heroines, and her name is byfar my favorite anime character name; so much so that I use it every chance I get when given the option to name my character in a game. I like it because it’s feminine sounding yet also gives off a strong fiery presence.

In my previous post about her found in Day 4: Favorite Female Character Ever of my 30 Day Anime Challenge, I really focused on her backstory and her overall personality. This week I’m going to recap on some of the points that really stuck out to me and will hopefully try to expand on those a bit more.

Erza’s armor is one of the most defining characteristics of who she is. Her signature magic though is a spatial magic in which she can “requip” her armor at an amazing speed. She’s also known to be one of the few mages that can requip during battle; and it’s rumored that she has about 100 different types of armor in her posession. This type of specialization of “requip” magic is often called “The Knight.” Erza is known throughout the entire kingdom of Fiore for this type of magic giving her the nickname “Titania.”  Although she may have over a hundred pieces of armor at her disposal, I find her armor to be symbolic through two lenses. One lens is how her Armor represents an emotional state and the second lens looks at Erza’s femininity.

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Erza has stated on the anime that she found herself to be weak when she was a child. When she was a slave on the the island of “The Tower of Heaven” she had lost her eye due to being tortured. During her time as a slave, Erza cried a lot over how powerless she was, and when she was finally able to escape she cried because she still couldn’t save those who were important to her. When she left, I feel like she decided to lock away her emotions inside her armor to never expose how weak she really feels. She has also mentioned that without her armor, she feels insecure and uncomfortable. With her armor she’s able to use it to emotionally and physically protect herself from harm. Her armor represents the walls around her heart she’s had to keep due to all the heartbreak she suffered growing up. She only has one outfit in her arsenal that isn’t armored, her “clear heart clothing” which is essentially a white sarashi around the upper chest and a red hakama with a gold flame-like pattern at the bottom with black highlights, tied by white strings. This is the outfit represents her shedding or armor and opening up her heart again, and while armor often denotes defensive properties, this particular outfit allows her to focus on her offense.

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Erza Titania Scarlet by artist: LucidSky

Erza’s femininity is also expressed through her armor and choice of clothes. On one hand, her revealing outfits can be considered to be fan service, but I think it’s more than that. Erza is a strong, independent and capable character. She doesn’t need to rely on her looks for anything (unlike Lucy who likes to use her looks to get her what she needs). But I think that her armor is much more than that. Alongside this tough exterior she projects with her armor, it also exudes a high level of sex appeal. While most women will hide that, Erza celebrates it. It also shows that she’s comfortable in her body no matter what she’s wearing. Despite her being a woman by sex, she sees all her friends as equals, not placing gender and sex higher than the other. I interpret this in how she treats Natsu and Gray; the two boys she grew up with in the guild. They respect her and she respects them; and more often than not the two probably respect her more than she realizes because of how powerful she is rather than what her gender is. She’s also quick to include the boys no matter what the activity; even if it means bathing, which comes as a complete shock. Erza grew up like one of the boys, but even so she was still able to find her femininity and embrace it.

Again, I think Erza is just such a great female lead in the show: brains, beauty and brawn. I would say Erza is definitely one female characters I can relate with the most and one that made a huge impact on me as an anime viewer as of late. So much so that she was the sole inspiriation as to what made me want to create the Women Crush Wednesday series, which I’ve found to be incredibly successful so far thanks to everyone’s support!

 

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