One of the key reasons for the boom of anime popularity in the west is how it deals with sexuality. It’s no wonder considering how, before shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop were aired on adult swim, we only had the seemingly asexual characters from Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z. Even shows for young girls like Card Captors were censored for Western television to the point that the homosexual relationship between Sakura’s brother, Toya, and Julian was cut out entirely. When more mature anime were aired (although at much later viewing hours) viewers were utterly fascinated when witnessing the first three-dimensional, animated characters that possessed realistic sexualities. Sure, we had witnessed it in the mostly one-dimensional and vanilla sense through tropes like the damsel in distress in Disney films, but nothing of the inner conflict that it creates in real life. The only problem was that we had absolutely no idea how far the Japanese culture intended to take this trend… but thanks to the internet, now we do.
Anime, Hentai and Ecchi
The sexual oddities of anime were brought into the open when the term ‘hentai’ became a word in the majority of anime watchers’ lexicons. For those new to the subculture, hentai is a word used describe any number of perverted people, thoughts or acts, but predominantly it’s used in the west for the large demographic of animated pornography. Before I make the readers feel anymore uncomfortable, let’s take a step back and put this into context. It all comes down to a difference in culture. Anyone who has watched anime for a while can perceive that what’s acceptable to be animated in Japan is much broader than that of Western cartoons. In fact, it’s not uncommon for stores in Japan to openly sell manga and animated series that depict any and every kind of porn known to man. But how does this impact anime?
Thanks to the internet, anime’s relation to sexuality has been somewhat skewed in the direction of the perverse. We all know that sex sells and nothing makes this more obvious than the insertion of ‘fan service’ into anime. Fan service has, to some, become the cancer of anime where nudity or sexually suggestive scenes are purposely put into an anime to increase their sales demographic by means of titillation. In other words, “Something for the Dads.” This became so popular that an entirely new genre of anime known as ‘ecchi’ came about for the sole purpose of developing plots around these raunchy scenes. A perfect example being Seikon no Qwaser in which the protagonist’s powers, and I kid you not, comes from consuming breast milk. One might think that having an entirely new genre would be enough to cordon off these scenes from other genres of anime, but unfortunately selling sex to teenagers is one hell of a cash grab.
How Fan Service has Blurred the Lines
Fan service is being placed in anime targeted at audiences both young and old with certain age demographics blurring the line of what’s acceptable. Anime like Sword Art Online and Kill La Kill are good examples not only of how fan service hidden in anime aimed at young people brings in more money for the studio, but also how controversies of it being pulled from the air in certain countries have made them even more popular. As with all things, someone could argue for either side in this debate. Perhaps these scenes apply the same realism to the characters as in the anime mentioned earlier and that the tentacle and incestuous scenes in them are just there for the deconstruction and parody of these genres of hentai. After all, the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion recently did just this in the short music video ME!ME!ME! which is now being studied by academics as a deconstruction of Otaku culture.
As shown here, the level of these scenes can differ for an abundance of reasons. So what’s wrong so with it? Two words: societal stigma. Would you be fine watching these kinds of anime with your family? With your friends or even with your lover? Different people would give different answers to these questions depending on the anime. With the nature of fan service blurring the lines between anime, hentai and ecchi, one can never be safe on what their parents might walk in on you watching. So to help out in this, using the anime you are already aware of as a guide, the continuum I made above might help give examples of where your comfort levels would be while watching them in the company these groups of people. A quick warning however, some of these titles are NSFW if you decide to google image them.
Yuri, Yaoi and Fetishism
As in the example given in the first paragraph about the homosexual relationship in the anime Card Captors, non-straight sexualities are more widely accepted in anime and other Japanese media, and have been for some time. Unlike much of the west, religious views on the nature of these topics hasn’t been as influential on the culture. Even now, yuri anime has become very popular in the anime community, the most resent example being the acclaimed romance anime Sakura Trick. Just to be clear, yuri is the genre of media dedicated to lesbian romance where yaoi is the term for media presenting gay relationships. The manga authors of Clamp, the creators of Card Captors and Code Geass, are well known for playing of this genre in anime such as X. With anime focusing on these non-straight relationships it allows anime to have more diversity in their audience.
Speaking of diversity, gay and lesbian aren’t the only sexualities portrayed in anime. Fetishes in anime can stretch from furries (humans resembling other animals in anime like Spice and Wolf) to guro (amputations and gore in anime like Pupa) to fetishes based entirely around what the characters are wearing or exactly how old they are. Debates have arisen on whether or not there are risks to the nature of this free expression or if it effects people’s sexuality in real life. The Slippery-Slope is a common fallacy used: The belief that doing one thing inevitably leads to something worse. Although there have been cases where people have tried to play out harmful fantasies in real life, the statistics show that sexual assaults and child abuse have dramatically gone down ever since the proliferation of this media. As for the harmless fetishes it has, it’s my belief that the same liberal principles given to other sexualities should also be afforded to them.
Why There’s a Market for it
One might ask if there is a deeper meaning to these scenes or if it’s truly just a case of “sex sells.” Of course, this answer can vary depending on the anime. Certain anime have nudity or sex scenes that are either censored or vanilla enough to portray nothing more than an attraction or romantic developments between two characters. However, there’s no fooling oneself about the purpose of fan service or the ecchi genre. Adding the equivalent of a strip tease to every episode for those who find anime characters arousing or for those looking to buy a raunchy comedy is the same practice of supply and demand as any media based industry. Attesting to this is the fact that most of the censorship these shows have when released online is only removed in the expensive BlueRay editions which is where the studios make the majority of their money.
Some might think these practices have gone too far to the point that things considered illegal in most Western countries are not only legal but, to an extent, accepted in Japan. Even selling products that serializes young boys and girls in ways unconventional to Westerners is considered widely acceptable in Japan. Though there are many reasons, a major one is a history of Western influence in Japanese culture and its push towards capitalism, free expression and free market. These philosophies completely override the taboo nature of these products. This is why this phenomenon continues to flourish as where there’s a market there is money to be made from it. But why is there a market at all? Why do people desire these things? One reason might be the very fact that it is taboo, a forbidden fruit, but like with any human nature it is generally judged on a case-by-case basis and are questions best left to a psychologist.
Conclusion: Anime’s Stigma
Many people in the anime community complain about how hentai, ecchi or fan service perpetuates the stereotype that all anime is perverted. Although this is obviously not true, sexuality is a big part of this medium, and the more you deny its existence the less ground you have to stand on when defending your interest in it to other people. With anime directed at younger boys and girls incorporating these tropes and parodying these niches it is inevitable that this is going trigger some curiosities. I say all the power to them. Finding your sexual preferences is all a part of becoming an adult. Besides, of ALL the things that someone could be into, drawn images is one form of pornography that is very unlikely to harm actual people involved in its creation. From reading this essay I hope your knowledge of sexuality in anime has increased and you can grow as a fan of this medium in the safe circle of your own personal preferences.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
I’ve never really cared for the whole ‘something for the Dads’ mentality. As a thirty-odd year old Father, I can honestly say that I’m more likely to watch anime if it’s less fan service heavy. I think that, for me, the issue arises when one of two things happen:
1) the fan service becomes focal rather than something that sometimes happens. Personally, I prefer a good story with characters that evoke emotions rather than a full on plastering of echhi. I’m not entirely adverse to it being there, I just don’t care for it as a key selling point.
2) the fan service involves those who are under age. I understand that there are differences in ages of consent and so forth in different cultures, but for me it’s something that’s hard to stomach. I am fully aware that that is at least in part due to my own cultural upbringing mind you.
As a side note, while you are correct that drawn images do not harm those involved, it still shows an underlying desire. There are also certainly some laws regarding such things that outright include drawn material.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t ‘fan service’ also apply to non-titillating things too? Inside jokes and references for example? I cannot for the life of me remember where I read that.
Overall though, a good post. As a personal preference, I don’t object entirely to fan service, but I have my boundaries 🙂
I used ‘something for the dads’ more as a figure of speech for the layman but I see where you are coming from. I did mention the legality of it in certain countries but where the harm is concerned I have no trouble with the underlying desire so long as they keep it a fantasy don’t act on it. Fan service may well be considered those things but I was obviously not considering that in the focus of this post. Thank you for your comment.
There’s no worries there, I figured you were just using the term because it’s a fairly well known thing. I just never understood where the idea that a Dad won’t watch something without titillation comes from is all.
I don’t completely agree that seeing these sexual tropes in anime gives ‘more power’ to younger boys and girls to find their sexuality. If anything, it reinforces gender stereotypes. At the same time, for older people, I think that anime with fan service, ecchi and hentai should be less stigmatized because as you said, it is not really hurting any of the people involved. Real porn can be truly sickening.
As for my own anime preferences, I tend to avoid fan service heavy anime because it seems like many studios are strapped for budget. I would rather see them spend their money on good animation or good writing. I feel like two exceptions are Kill La Kill and Bakemonogatari, which mostly hit the sweet spot for the right balance of good art, writing, and fan service. The only disappointment with those two series is that while they try to parody aspects of today’s fan service, they fall victim to those tropes in the process. How many times (especially in later seasons) do we need to see Araragi’s near sexual relations with his little sisters? How many times do we need to see Ryuko transform and striptease in the process?
With such a wide variety of anime around, for every example that reinforces gender stereotypes I believe someone could give contradictory examples. However, with the examples of fan service you gave, I can agree that both of those anime increase in fan service further into the series.
Thanks for the read!
Thanks for the comment!
I don’t have a problem with fan service as long as it’s not to the level of say Eiken where insteed of being light and fun it crosses into gross and uncomfortable. I rather like anime like Blue Gender and Rumbling Hearts that aren’t afraid to to show characters (more or less) doing the deed I wish that more series were like these. Nudity is one the highest forms of beauty, it’s art really and nudity in in anime is art within art or rather composite art.
Yes! Blue Gender was exactly what I was thinking of when I wrote, “Certain anime have nudity or sex scenes that are either censored or vanilla enough to portray nothing more than an attraction or romantic developments between two characters.”
Anime has influenced my sexuality choices.
If you’re talking sexuality like Kinsey scale, then no. If you mean in a fetish-developing way, no comment.
You say it best when you say nothing at all….
Previous comments have doubted your link between sexual tropes in anime empowering boys and girls to explore their sexuality within a safe space. From my own experience I find that to be true – especially with yaoi and yuri anime. Having a non-heterosexual sex scene within the anime I watched allowed me to come to terms with my own homosexuality, as it seemingly normalised it. While I realise that anime, and especially hentai or ecchi anime, can be heavily stigmatised, it felt reassuring that homosexual acts were actually APPEALING to some consumers, rather than just tolerated.
Now that I am older, however, I can see that there is a disturbing side to erotic yuri/yaoi anime, as homosexuality itself is fetishised. It seems that a large proportion of those who watch yaoi anime especially are young women and, while anime is certainly a form of entertainment and escapism, I feel that it can over-sexualise homosexual relationships for those who aren’t in one themselves. Often the plot or story arc hinges on a physical act rather than an emotional connection and, whilst I understand that titillation drives sales, I am often left uncomfortable by the message this sends.
Funnily enough, I bemoaned a similar thing regarding bisexuality on my main site (mattdoylemedia.com). The way relationships are portrayed in any form of popular media can have a fairly large outreach with regards to how they alter piblic perception. Realistic, at times mundane portrayals of non heterosexual relationships are sorely needed I feel.
Sexual escapism is the point of ecchi and hentai. If you’re uncomfortable with the message it sends then don’t watch it and stick to the many anime out there like No. 6 and Loveless that don’t over-sexualise it.
I think in the Western world there is also a stigma attached to the fact that the nudity is through animation-an art form used in the Western world where the audience is either children or adults for comedic purposes. To animate nudity is often a more social taboo because Western audiences are used to seeing animation as a tool for children, which creates a clash of senses and a social disdain akin to a betrayal of cultural norms.
Yup, different culture generally means different values, even with things like what audience animation is intended for.
Great article! Fan service in anime, and in entertainment in general, is only as bad as who blatantly someone does it. For example, In the first season of Fairy Tale, there was a swim suit contest that all the female character competed in. Why? Because of fan service, thats why! It can be insufferable when they hammer in fan service into the plot; basically killing the momentum in the show.
Yeah, there’s like a mandatory swimwear episode in a lot of anime to point that they don’t even need to go to the beach to have it like in Code Geass. Another example was the final episode they made of High School of the Dead which isn’t even in the original manga which is purely dedicated to fan service.
I think I’ve become so used to fan service that I’ve become desensitized to it. However, Shokugeki no Soma’s fan service surprised me, but I got used to it and focus on other aspects of the anime. Too much fan service is cringe-worthy, but I’ve accepted it as part of Japan’s culture.
I agree but some times, be it who you’re watching it with or whatever, you just want an adult anime without fan service and they’re getting harder and harder to find.
I would agree with most of this, but Kill la Kill’s fanservice isn’t exactly hidden.
Hell, I’d say that it’s an integral part of it’s analysis of the culture.
See this chart for more detail:
The theory in that chart is interesting but doesn’t justify fan service like Satsuki getting fingered by her mother in the bath. I fail to miss how the ‘male gaze’ is relevant then. But you are right, it’s not really hidden in the sense that you mean it. I was talking more in genre respect: Action, comedy-drama, magical girl doesn’t generally imply ecchi attributes.
Okay so I’m a teenage guy and I can say through seeing people at my school turning into likeing anime they are obsessed with fighting anime like if you were to force them to watch spice and wolf they would just get bored I know this would be different for different people but I just found it interesting that literally everyone on them are addicted to watching these characters beat the shot out of each other
I thought they taught sentence structure in high school.
Masculinity is fragile.
This is an interesting article. I haven’t really watched anime much, and I wasn’t really aware that there were specifically porn-related animes out there, though I’m not surprised that there are; even the regular anime characters are sexualized in their big eyes, small waists, and other features. As a feminist, I agree that gender stereotypes are often reinforced by these shows and stories, but honestly, as the mother of teenagers, I’d rather they “occupy themselves” with suggestive anime than find them experimenting with real-life sex at this stage of their lives. I’m also not a fan of violence in TV or other forms of “entertainment,” but it is very hard to escape in US culture, for sure, but also in anime, violence seems a predominant feature. So anyway, thank you for enlightening me to this whole genre. I learn something new every day reading here.
“As a feminist, I agree that gender stereotypes are often reinforced by these shows”
Wait, who are you agreeing with? At no point in my post did I make this claim. In fact, I argued against it by saying that employing the slippery-slope is a fallacy and effects only those who can’t distinguish fantasy from reality.
I didn’t say that you said gender stereotypes are reinforced; someone in a comment had said that, and I agreed. I’m not sure why you’re taking offense here. I was complimenting your article after all; but whatever.
Why would you equate someone asking a question and clarifying their point as offence? In the context of this comments section your comment had no connection to this other comment so I believed the question “who are you agreeing with?” was natural as well as to make sure my own views were clear. I believe you have imagined a tone of voice behind my writing that was not intended, so I apologize.
Thank you for your compliment.
Well… if you read the other comments.
Really enjoying these anime studies.
Thanks, I’m enjoyed other written as well.
Sex and sexual desires are as natural as the sun and the moon. Yes there can be a bit too much sexual material for any one show not designated for the sole purpose of sex, but there’s nothing WRONG with it. I LOVE a good panty/cleavage shot, I love onsen episdoes (mainly because i know the main male character is going to get hurt), and I am not afraid to admit that I can be and usually are, attracted to anime women. As long as you realize they are an animated or pixelated depiction of a real-life human being, why not enjoy some good eye-candy?
I’m pretty sure there are no disagreements between us so I will reply with an uneasy HEAR-HEAR!…?
Sexual themes and sexually suggestive material sells very well to young male audiences. This has been a staple of the entertainment industry since it was invented.
What about selling to the adult male audiences, though? In Japan, not a lot of people have time for relationships because of the high encouragement to work – so couldn’t most of the fanservice and ecchi be some kind of a relief for most of the male Japanese demographic?
We should also consider anime like Free! and Kuroko no Basket. These anime are aimed specifically for the female audience, even if not quite ecchi.
So yes, I believe sex sells but not just to young males.
As they say the squeaky wheel gets the most grease. If I thought selling sex to adults was seen as an issue I would have brought it up but don’t. Also as the post explains, I don’t really see selling sex to young males is an issue either, just that we shouldn’t fool ourselves that fan service and ecchi isn’t doing that.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think you should watch more anime. I wouldn’t say most anime is sex related. There aren’t many sexual themes in Studio Ghibli films (at least the ones I’ve seen). There’s virtually none in Samurai Champloo, Blood+, Eureka 7, Death Note (keep in mind this is just what I’ve seen and it’s my opinion).
Yes, alot of anime contains sexual themes, and yes, sexual themes (not sex alone) sells. Unfortunatley that’s kind of how our culture is. Welcome to life on Earth.
Well, I’ve watched all the anime you mentioned in that comment, still think that? There was a continuum in this post expressing the different amount of sexual situations in different anime or did you not spot that?
And I think you should watch more anime of different demographic, I’ve watched all of the anime you have mentioned, but I doubt you have watched all the anime I have in this post.
The audience is bigger than just that little fraction.
Interesting read, I find it perplexing how the majority of westerners associate anime as a whole with the concept of lewdness. Not only do they shame the genre as a whole for what makes up only a portion of the actual medium, but they usually don’t bring into question the mass amount of sexuality presented in western television and movies which I think is an unfair double standard.
Indeed, anime is a medium with almost as much variety as western film and television yet it doesn’t get the same leeway as far as acceptance content because of the western values of the intended audience of animation.
I think this is needed. Most people get the wrong idea when someone says they’re a fan of anime and immediately jump to the conclusion that they’re weird and are just confused on who they are (believe me I’ve had my share of those thoughts and sometimes I’ve been proven right) but this clears up a lot of things that people commonly think about anime. Yes, there are variations of anime, but we all have our preference right?
Yeah, I stated “thanks to the internet” twice because I think that in the froffing mixture of the internet, lewdness generally floats to the surface. I think anime is the same in this respect and this why it gets that reputation.
Lovely piece here.
I want to make it clear that I do not equate fan service with sex. Yes much of fan service involves images of those physical features that men lust over, but they are just teasers to add a little extra appeal. Most anime is good enough that it doesn’t need fan service but I think including just makes it better for those people who like it. Sex, in a romantic sense is not fan service since that usually requires viewers to have a higher maturity level than most anime (even ones with fanservice) is targeted at.
As shown by the table in the post there is a graying area between the different types but yes fan service doesn’t generally show the sex. Although like in the HIgh School of the Dead OVA and Testiment OVA, the fan service may pan out when sex is implied.
What is interesting to me is that animated sexuality is real enough to pique the interest and imaginations of many viewers. It seems to reveal something about human nature (don’t get too excited here Freud); ‘sex sells’ is perhaps the shortest and most concise way of simplifying our life’s meaning to our biological reproductive necessities. I love the point you raise about social stigma, however, which seems silly at this day in age. In a lot of ways we are still ‘Victorian’ in the level of appropriateness we allow sex to have beyond ourselves.
Evolutionary psychology explain how we evolved to be sexually excited by certain visual stimuli. Steven Pinker has an interesting book on this. As for the stigma, I believe accepted social norms and why it’s connection shame is something that slowly being explored in various subcultures.
I’ve seen the sexuality heavily present in anime but have always left it off to the side when discussing animes with friends. Although it is heavily present and there have been some references passed between us, I feel that anime has left its original shock at the door and now the big thing that is focused on is how the plot unfolds and whether or not the fans enjoy the direction the anime is taking. True, many just joining the anime community may be fascinated by the depictions of characters, especially depending which anime is their first, but eventually the initial fascination turns towards how in the hell are they going to defeat the enemy? Or how will this relationship grow between the people or group. While watching any type of yuri or yaoi, I was very uncomfortable in the beginning because I wasn’t sure about the cut off parts that “strip-teased” but after sticking to it I found my attention sucked into the relationship between the two characters and if their love would work or fail. Being in the world we are now, where LGTB is starting to be a more accepted or at least out in the open thing, the sexuality in anime can be seen as an early stance of acceptance and satisfaction into understanding the struggle of those relationships in the real world.
It all comes down to what you are watching of course. That’s why I put the chart in the post. Most people used to watching anime in the red will have different reactions to watching anime in the purple area than those who watch anime in say the green area. But I agree other sexualities are being accepted into anime in the red area as well, just not as blatantly.
Overall, I don’t mind fanservice scenes because I’ve resigned they’re always going to be there. I find I react differently to fanservice depending on the anime I watch. If it’s something that has nothing but fanservice, I’m more likely going to be rolling my eyes. There’s a point where one could become desensitized to fanservice and I know I’ve reached it.
If that’s your response I would not recommend you ecchi anime.
I watch ecchi anime, surprisingly.
You must roll your eyes a lot then.
It honestly depends on my mood of the day. Most of the time, I’m just laughing at the ridiculousness of it and other times, I roll my eyes – but it also depends on the show itself.
I always find myself cringing when it comes to overt sexual content in anime. Romantic themes are alright, and while I wouldn’t judge someone for liking something with a bit “more,” it’s just not to my taste.
I would judge them. Generally our minds do it without permission whether we fully register it or act on it, whether we deem the judgement negative or positive. I don’t really think we can help it.
I’ve been into anime for many years and I noticed how fanservice is increasingly growing for non-plot-related purpose. For example, I’ve just watched the first episode of “K: Returns of Kings” and I noticed how the plot, that was already weak in the first season, is even weaker, but I still watch it, and I still want to go on with the next episodes. Why? Because there is this implicit homosexuality of bishounen characters. (They actually did more than this. Among a majority of male characters there are two big-breasted girls who often find themselves half naked for no reason. So now they jave fanservice for everyone and they can sell even more)
As you said, this is all for money, for selling an anime. I find it sad, many anime has potential but instead of working on it, it seems that producers prefer to put some nudity. Everybody tells me that I should watch Kill la Kill but I am honestly distrubed by the amount of female nudity in that anime. The feeling I get is that they don’t trust the plot enough, that only fanservice can make the difference, and I personally don’t like that.
Yeah, Kill la Kill balances the fan service to meaning tightrope where the shame of the male gaze is an issue, but then there are scenes where a main character gets fingered by her mother in a bath which has nothing to do with ‘male gaze’, being there for sake of titillation.
I feel like a lot of the fan service I’ve encountered in recent anime has been at best something to sit through and overlook, and and worst something that detracts from experience of watching the series or, as you had pointed out, limits who you can watch a show with/around. Very good article over all, especially appreciated the spectrum you’ve outlined.
Thank you. The points you pointed out were the points I was trying to point out, I just thought some context would help those who were not very knowledgeable to the topic.
I am I am one of those perverted souls that like the fan service, but I’ve only hit the High School of the Dead spectrum so I can’t say for sure what is gratuitous in anime. However, I do agree wholeheartedly on how homosexual relationships being included helps young adults come to terms with their sexuality in a culture that tries to edit out any mention of it in western versions. Though they do a horrible version of covering it up sometimes, in Sailor Moon I knew as a kid that those two weren’t “just cousins”. Anyway, good article what are your views of fan service in shoujo anime though?
I would suggest ecchi if you like fan service. When it comes to shoujo I do find that that much of the fan service focuses on Yaoi relationships or what has been called ‘man service’. Being that the target audience is the female demographic it only make sense that the male figure would be the focus of it.
I believe just like any industry, Anime has its varied states. Sure there are a lot more romance and sexual themes in most anime now but there are still some ones that are innocent and cute to a sense as well as those that are about fighting or just normal high school life (which is one of the biggest trends of most anime). What I find most interesting is the anime that have 300 or more episodes, to dissect and see what it is that makes them so popular over the 1 or 2 season anime. I personally loved Darker Than Black and Plastic Memories, two anime that only had a handful of seasons but overall I think they were rather great overall. They had meaningful dialogues and fighting as well as a real story behind them. I think a lot of anime now streams towards the youth of Japan since many of their young teens tend to be single and not want anything to do with relations. This is of course my opinion but I feel this trend has been so strong lately due to the fact of Japan’s decline in population.
I was really glad to see a writer address this topic because it is one of the main reasons I am not as open about my passion for anime with others. I remember when I first delved into the realm it was with Naruto (pre-shipudden on Toonami), and it doesn’t even have that sexual element to it, but I’d always change the channel when my brother or parents walked into my room. Even though I was young, I got this feeling that there was a stigma and when I got older, I recognized the sexual elements being part of this.
Sometimes I get a little annoyed with fan service, especially when a piece of work is so good that it seems like ‘you don’t need this, it’s so good on its own’, but I understand it sells more. Usually, I object to it from a literary standpoint, though, rather than condemning it for being a bad thing.
The titillating anime that is now more commonly directed towards more adult males rather than the female perspective. Although I am fully aware of the pornographic scenes in most popular anime, I do not want to watch one of these shows where the whole show is depicted around these scenes. I feel that a truly good anime consist of a balance of romance, action, adventure, and some adult-based scenes.
I agree with your perspective of the topic, but I don’t really agree with stereotypical picture stating, basically, that most new comers to anime, or a certain series of anime, only came for stuff like nudity or make out sessions, where some people come just because its an anime they may have wanted to try out, or just because some one told them it was good. But again let me say again I still agree with your perspective of the types of anime starting to exist.
I liked this article in how it handled its topic and in all fairness, the point about titillating anime is true and, granted, it has definitely become a common “the lulzs for lulzs sake” cliché associated with anime.
HOWEVER, some anime actually handle the darker aspects of titillation and its associations exceptionally well. Especially when they integrate the sexuality in the context of the anime’s in-universe explanation.
I’m referring to two specific examples here: Ghost in the Shell (the original, although I personally prefer Ghost in the Shell 2.0: Innocence) and Shigurui. Now, BOTH, have titillating aspects in them. They’re brilliantly animated, which also makes them stand out. But where they are successful in making both social commentary as well as being innovative as anime, is why I cite them here.
Ghost in the Shell (as well as Ghost in the Shell 2.0: Innocence) have nudity in them, with the former having a very famous opening sequence especially using nudity (and to good effect in my opinion). It succeeded to share some very interesting themes and perspectives (especially in the Japanese version with English subs), and with 2.0, it dealt with very dark themes (I think 2.0: Innocence had moments of child prostitution in it too, as well as child kidnapping).
In contrast, Shigurui. Hyper-realism, gore, and VERY dark means to describe abusive relationships. I cannot overstate how Shigurui handles titillation to tell its story (which in the context of the anime, is actually well told. The manga, however, takes it many steps further. Its really cool).
All the same, I just feel that the West shouldn’t be too hypocritical about Anime. I mean… George RR Martin makes incest look normal (as if his world is Alabama or something).