Sexuality in Anime [Archive] - Xtratime Community

Sexuality in Anime

July 9th, 2005, 07:47
Why is there so much subtle sexuality in even innocent anime?

July 9th, 2005, 19:43
Because they are a different culture than western, not so touched by the catholic moral. So, their approach to sexuality is different.
Which means that teenagers already think about sex, so the innocent animes have a few of it.
Thinking about Rumiko Takahashi's creations...I can not even imagine Ranma 1/2 without the sexual references or Miroki , the monk of Ynuiasha (which i probally spelled wrongly) being a pervert and trying to grab girls without the sexual reference...but if you think well, he just acts like someone of his age (not saying that is how someone of his age should act with the girls, so hands down)...
Now, this is a steryotipe: There is not sexual references in several animes...Clearly childish animes like Pokemon for example. Or mature animes like Spirited Away...

July 10th, 2005, 13:18
Very nice response. I did some research myself on this thing, but even Pokemon has some subtle sexual references. Not overtly sexual, but in a subtle way.

July 10th, 2005, 16:42
Like the sidekick of the main characters who always asks for the girls to be his girlfriend ?
Then we must remember than Bugsy Bunny often dressed as a girl to lure his "enemies" ;)

July 11th, 2005, 13:15
no! I mean not overt sexuality, but in the way they dress, the way they act, the way their bodies are designed, etc. its very "sexually aware"

July 11th, 2005, 17:46
I am thinking about Revolutionary Girl Utena, an anime where sex is not only subtle, and the characters are designed in such odd way, unrealistic...
but Pokemon ?

July 11th, 2005, 19:12
It could well be a question of general stereotype more than anything ;) I've found the following article on the net written by a webmaster of an anime forum and it should provide a better insight on the sexual and violence content "commonly" associated with anime.

It seems to me a ton of fans groan with the fansubbing and commercial release of each harem anime title. Females I know show such violent reactions that they categorically refuse to watch anything in the genre because they say it's stupid and sexist. They view harem anime as if it were the Anti-Christ.

This is a particularly difficult question to address for two reasons. First, generally speaking it's not the entire "harem anime" genre that's unpopular in America. It's only certain titles within the genre that American fans often seem to disapprove of. Second, I think the common contemporary American reaction to "harem" anime is a part of a larger reaction to any and all anime that contains sexual innuendo.

As its name implies, "harem anime" are shows built around the theme of one young man living with or surrounded by several young women. (The theme also works when the gender roles are reversed, but for the purpose of this response I'll stick to the more common single male and multiple females.) Examples of harem anime include Tenchi Muyo, Love Hina, Hanaukyo Maid Tai, Girls Bravo, Sister Princess, Ai Yori Aoshi, Mahou Sensei Negima, Kanon, Da Capo, Koi Koi Seven, and Maburaho. Especially among hardcore American anime fans, there seems to be a significant backlash against this genre of anime. Based on statements I've heard from fans, I don't think it's mainly a political or sociological motivation that causes a distaste for harem anime. I think many American fans are simply tired of seeing the same cliché setting recycled so often. I hear fans complain about a lack of originality in harem anime far more frequently that I hear complaints of propagating sexism. I can't say, though, that the distaste for harem anime is universal among American fans because titles like Love Hina and Tenchi Muyo are still very popular and best selling titles in America. Likewise, the Negima manga is a best seller in America. So I don't perceive a universal dislike of all harem anime. I find more often that a number of American fans seem to dislike only recent harem anime shows.

My theory is that the backlash against contemporary harem anime is part of a larger recent trend toward criticizing "fan service" in general. During the 1980s and 90s, gratuitous nudity and sexual innuendo in anime was embraced and celebrated by American anime fans. During the 1990s Protoculture Addicts Magazine went as far as publishing three "Shower Special" magazines devoted to just cataloging scenes of nude girls bathing in popular anime series. And more recently AD Vision went out of its way to have fun with " fan service" by including a "jiggle counter" bonus feature on some of its more gratuitous anime titles. But within the past few years, the American fan opinion of non-sexual female nudity in anime has changed from one of playful appreciation to one of shame and abhorrence. I've seen numerous reviews that consistently cite Popotan, for example, as a show with unusually complex story and character depth ruined by excessive exploitive nudity. I think there are two contributing factors behind the contemporary objection over exploitive female nudity in anime: the rising number of American female fans, and the increasing mainstream exposure of anime in America.

As anime has become more recognized in America especially within the past five years, an increasing number of female viewers in America have begun watching anime. Rather than considering female nudity in anime a celebration of the beauty of the female form, or recognizing "fan service" as an innocent method of gratifying male viewers, female American anime fans and those they influence appear to have politicized anime with a socio-sexual agenda. Female nudity in anime is now considered sexist and shameful because it reportedly fetishizes women as sexual objects. Such a narrow view, though, doesn't allow for the possibility that competent, independent women illustrated nude in anime may reinforce a pro-feminist ideal that women can be sensual and beautiful without becoming mere objects in the service of men. Expanding this political stereotype, I think that male and female anime fans in America now often denounce any semblance of sexual exploitation in anime as a method of validating their own feelings of inferiority. I suspect that many contemporary American anime fans subconsciously feel insecure about watching "cartoons," so they feel a need to separate themselves from sexist, childish animation by denouncing objectionable elements in anime. The theory may be, "It's okay for me to watch cartoons because I only watch intelligent, mature cartoons; not ones full of gratuitous, unintelligent ones full of sex and nudity." But ironically, while there does seem to be a significant backlash against exploitive female nudity in anime and manga, the yaoi genre is increasing in popularity in America exponentially. I find it personally rather hypocritical that female nudity is now frowned upon by many American anime fans, yet male sexuality in anime and manga is not only accepted, it's the fastest growing trend in the American anime community.

So, if I'm correct, much of the contemporary backlash against harem anime among American fans isn't exactly a reaction to harem anime itself; it's a rejection of sexual innuendo. The reaction to harem anime among American fans isn't universal, and doesn't apply to all shows. But a significant percentage of American hardcore anime fans seem to be rejecting contemporary harem anime as a reaction to an over saturation of the theme, and as a method of positioning their own status as anime fans. Many fans are tired of seeing the same basic plot over and over again. And many of these same fans feel a need to distinguish themselves as discriminating, cultivated viewers unlike the typical, cloddish viewer that enjoys lowbrow entertainment.

For what little it may be worth, in my personal opinion, anime series are intended to be entertaining, and therefore should be judged on that basis. It's fair to point out an anime that's derivative, and it's responsible to point out an anime that advances a harmful gender or sexual stereotype. But the fact that an anime happens to include nudity or happens to be based on a cliché doesn't automatically make that anime bad. Prejudging a title based on appearances or superficial characteristics denies the original artists any opportunity to exercise their creativity. Even a cliché can be interesting and appealing when its presented in a unique and creative way.

July 11th, 2005, 19:15
Ilgenio's post (taken off of somewhere, source not shown) recognises what im saying.

Im looking at the psychological reasoning behind it. I can see the logic in using sexual innuendo in anime or mange targeted to teen or older audiences, but in shows targeting preteens or young kids who dont even know what it is, there seems to be no logic in using it. Thats what doesnt make sense to me.

Im not saying they should or they shouldnt, I'm just trying to find out the reasons why.

July 11th, 2005, 19:28
The way they are draw are actually univeral way of drawing for the TV shows. I can not imagine how showing Jesse (if I recall her name correctly) 's belly button or such clothes (when the duo in question are clearly deviants) can be a rule of sexual appealling - No more than Pocahontas or Yasmine (was that the name of the princess in Alladin)...If you look the other females in the show like Misty (the girl who is always with the leading character, she is rather tomboyish and without any appeal)...
Actually the draw of pokemon is so rough that not a single character have any excess of curves if we think of the obvious "Sex Symbols" in anime like Shampoo, Urd, Pirotess or even the Sailor scouts who are indeed more "round", or too much big (as how Shampoo's breasts increase in the second Ranma movie)...
I mean, if that is the maximun of sexualit present in Pokemon then I can not even imagine what to think about Wonder Woman or any X-girl...Again the animes do not seem as "sexual" as talked about, much more a matter of how the perception of the very few titles that got there in west, who are often seen by the "differences" with western titles (i.e. , long plots, more open sexuality, violence)...
I still think that since Japan have another culture and never had a "Code of conduct" to censor comics (or movies, etc) in the 50's if i am not mistake, they are indeed more open, but not so far from it as wester comics/animation are not exactly blind to the fact teenagers think about sex.

July 11th, 2005, 19:32
Ilgenio's post (taken off of somewhere, source not shown) recognises what im saying.

Actually his post talk about the steryotypical view of americans. He does not say anything about sexuality in innocent animes, even because the list of animes are far from innocent (Tenchi Muyo have nothing innocent about it) or FanService (which Love Hina have everything to do with that)...

July 11th, 2005, 19:42
Your right. It does seem to be a cultural difference. Plus, over there I guess perverts are not considered threats to society like in the US. :D

July 31st, 2005, 09:42
Quite perplexingly, if you talk about sexual innuendos in normal anime (since we're not talking about hentai here), a lot of it are more for jokes and the 'actual' sexual content can be pretty much almost nil. So IMO it has to do with how the Japanese are very much about hints and subtlety rather than actual depiction (just generally speaking). The hints are often treated as harmless jokes to them.

Some examples I can think of:
1) Doraemon. The only sexually-related content that I can think of is how often Nobita accidentally enters Sizuka's bathroom when she's in bathtub when he's using that door that leads to wherever you want (dunno what the coined term for that is in English). However this is just treated as insignificant scene for the most part. There's never anything more serious than that.

2) Inuyasha - well this one is targeted more at teenagers and no longer kids I think, due to the, uh, violence content? :pp
That monk is Miroku. And he's portrayed as a perverted monk in a hilarious manner. You see, he likes to rub women's butt and whenever he encounters any female his first words are "Would you like to bear my child?" This seems rather sexual isn't it - while at the same time, through the 160+ of episodes you can count with one hand how many kissing scenes there are, let alone something more. Also regarding Miroku itself - despite the supposed pervert label, he's never shown to do anything else beyond that.


There are also quite a number of anime which to my memory does not have an iota of sexual hints -
1) Ironfist Chinmi (Tekken Chinmi)
2) Astroboy (none that I recall, correct me if I am wrong)
3) My neighbour Totoro (Tonari no Totoro; this one is an animated movie).

And I shall refrain from mentioning yaoi-ish anime ;)

July 31st, 2005, 17:51
One good example I can think off is Card Captor Sakura. The target audience is very young, it is a Clamp work (they are a bit famous for some short of "kinkyness") and in the story there is actually a lot of couples because several characters profess their love for another and many couples are far from "standard", such as Tomoyo - Sakura, Sakura -Yukito, Yukito - Toyo, The teacher and Eriol , etc (meaning, lot's of "homosexual couples" and huge age differences) but the entire anime is in such level of inocence (there is not a single kiss, the best they got are constant blushing or other effects such the character's faces turning in the "cute" version, etc)...

August 2nd, 2005, 00:43
I'm going to come out and say it but the Japanese are among the more sexually focussed ethnicities in the Pacific. Don't get me wrong, all humans like to be sexually focussed but you can see it is apparent in their anime.

Ps. if this is offending to anyone, I did not mean for it and I apologize.

August 3rd, 2005, 12:16
I'm going to come out and say it but the Japanese are among the more sexually focussed ethnicities in the Pacific. Don't get me wrong, all humans like to be sexually focussed but you can see it is apparent in their anime.

Sorry for going a bit off-topic here but can you explain this a bit more? I'm quite curious towards Asian cultures. As I am towards the Northern-American of course ;).

I'm quite interested in sexual education. Not that I know too much about the global approach, but I did find out that my Australian and Canadian friends had issues me and my Belgian friends didn't have.

It's my guess we're all equally sexually focussed -passing the genes is basically the most important thing any living organism needs to do after it's been able to protect its genes -, I just think our approaches are different.

August 3rd, 2005, 16:03
No one feels offended here I think, but at the same time I think that statement doesn't say much - I shall not elaborate on what kind of potions the Chinese supposedly have :D Truly though, I wouldn't describe Japan as such. In fact it can be seen as quite the opposite in some ways. The key here is just a different perspective, what is deemed as 'sexual' in a serious way and what is deemed as 'harmless jokes'. If you see sexuality (what is more sexual, what is less) from a 'western' point of view then yes, but that'll be missing the point I think.

Of wolf and Man
August 4th, 2005, 19:26
Anime Fanboys (Otaku)
Encyclopedia Wolfica

Anime-Fanboys clothes and territory are both marked with screaming, adorable creatures and cat-girls. they can often be found dressing up like their favorite fictional characters at gatherings. however, this species is unique to say the Star-Nerds species in that it’s not unusual for fully grown males in their culture to dress not only as a cartoon character, but as a female cartoon character. this carries no stigma among their people, as their sex organs have long since been removed. biochemically, they can still achive stimulation through animated television, but it requires the indescribable (and tentacles). Anime-Fanboys take double emotional damage from any reality-based attacks to their culture, such as the realization that no one outside their club knows what the hell Go Go Panda Detective is.
some of the sexuality in anime is indeed humor based and can be very essential to the story, GTO for example, but in a lot of cases the sexuality, especially the jiggles, in anime is nothing but fanservice.

August 4th, 2005, 19:37
Fanservice ? Are you talking about Love Hina ? :tongue:

I think there is sexual references of course. But my point that is not different from us. Britney Spears - a teenager girl - showing up singing using school uniform. And while she grow up, she kept her audience with several gratuitous sexual references. And well, in her case it is only fanservice because her music means nothing.

Here in Brazil for since the 80's the leading TV host woman for children is a former playmate that in her first album used a see-thru shirt and oten hosted her show with minimal clothes and kept to help her a squad of young teenagers, all of them selected and "nymphs" like that used very short shorts. This just to host shows for young kids to teenagers.

There is nothing expectional with the anime/manga expect perhaps the fact this industry there is perhaps "bigger" than ours (or more developed, or with a more diverse public, etc) , therefore we can find more examples than in our culture...