At least, that's always been my opinion when it comes to dogs. My father, given his current love affair with English bull terriers may disagree, but I'll put the Beagle/German Shepard we had when I was kid up against them any day!
But that's not really what this post is about. This is a post about half-breeds and their seeming superiority, especially as depicted in animes. I can already tell I'm going to get myself into trouble with this one.
It's a trend I've noticed (or think I've noticed) that the most powerful character often tends to not be entirely human. In many cases, it's a situation where one parent was human, and the other demonic. D from Vampire Hunter D, InuYasha from, well. . . InuYasha. Naruto and Gaara are, as best I can figure, children with demons sealed inside them, but the kids are able to access the power themselves. Ditto for Kurama and I think Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho. In each case, the person is generally shown to be stronger than just about everyone else, or at least much stronger than they should be, given their age (Naruto). InuYasha, for example, is able to kill a dragon that his father (a full-blood demon roughly the size of a mountain) couldn't finish off.
The reasoning there I can sort of figure. The argument is probably that having that human aspect makes them able to love and care about people, have desires and fears, and all the sorts of emotions that can routinely drive humans to actions that should be beyond there capabilities. In this way, these characters with mixed descent are superior to those who are just human, or just demonic. This could be the argument used for the effectiveness of the Vampire Slayer, seeing as their power is also of demonic origin, or of Bloodrayne, a half-vampire. The human emotions add something critical to it. It's the same sort of argument I've seen for depicting the JLA-Batman as super-smart and competent, because it tells us that ordinary humans can keep pace with nearly god-like beings, that there are things only they can contribute.
But there are also quite a few where it's case of human/alien interaction, and those I don't understand as well. Throughout Dragonball Z, Saiyans are shown to be vastly superior to ordinary humans in terms of their fighting abilities, and their upper limits of power are generally shown to be considerably greater. It's one of my gripes with the series that for the majority of it, Yamcha, Tien, and Krillin - the regular humans - are relegated to the Red Tornado/New Warrior roles. Yet Gohan is able to possibly exceed his father in power, despite being half-human. In the Tenchi Muyo OVA, Tenchi himself is only about 1/16th Juraian, but he seems to be able to access power greater than his grandfather, who's half-Juraian. Given that Tenchi's dad (an Earthling) shows no extraordinary abilties, one would assume that his power comes from his Juraian heriatge. So how come he's strong enough to go into a black hole and come back out, but his grandpappy isn't (at least, he never demonstrates that level of ability)? Tenchi is able to access the source of their power to a much greater extent. It's cool, but the biologist in me can't quite figure it out. Comics-wise, the only examples I could come up with where Cassandra Cain, which may be more a factor of her upbringing and not her parentage, and half-machine types like Vic Stone (Cyborg), but in those cases, it rarely seems as clear-cut that they character is the best. Cass has lost a few times, and so has Vic. Would Jade have qualified? I'm a bit unclear on her parents' lineage.
This isn't to say it's always like this. Seras Victoria (Hellsing) is turned into a vampire, but tries very hard to retain her human qualities, generally rejecting offers of blood that would make her a full vampire. As a result, she often seems significantly weaker and less effective, even compared to Walter, an human entering his autumn years.
I suppose the thing that makes this noteworthy to me (here comes trouble), is I have this notion of Japan as a country that's very much about homogenity, and not too much about mixing things up. That's why the frequent portrayal of the power that seems to come from mixing of people from different ethnic backgrounds seems so odd to me (hmm, Politically-Correct Sense Tingling!). This notion, however, is severely undercut by the fact it's based on only a few things I've read here and there and no actual experience with being in Japan.
Which is why I'm posting this. One, to just get it out of my head so it'll stop bugging me, and two, to get some feedback from other people, hopefully some of whom have much more knowledge of Japanese culture and can shed some insight.
So that's probably it for me until Monday. I'm leaving town to attend a wedding, and I just really had to get this out there before I left. Might be able to do a post this weekend, just have to wait and see.