Anime likes to push boundaries, there is no denying that. But I would like to share some of my thoughts on the way anime entertains many of its fans with highly sexual and perverted imagery and character behavior which would in real life be often viewed with at the least a sense of anxiety and unease and at worst viewed with great scorn and the urge to hand down great condemnation.
From Rosario + Vampire we have Kurumu Kurono first up to bat! One of my favorite female anime characters and she is designed primarily for erotic themed action in the show. As a succubus it's in her very nature to be sexy and seductive to the Nth degree and will stop at almost nothing to convince Tsukune to have his way with her. As you can tell from the above image, there is no attempt made to be subtle or clever about this. Throughout the show she's very overt in her pursuits by offering to show her panties to climbing sexily on him in bed when they're alone together to busting into his house during vacation wearing lingerie. It's absolutely shameless!
I for one am very much entertained with these enticing shenanigans and it's one of the aspects of anime that I find most amusing when I'm in the mood for more lighthearted stories. But I sometimes find myself pondering the psychological and social implications of these themes we often see in anime.
On the face of it we might simply classify this as a shallow technique to grab ratings...after all why bother doing all that work to writing a captivating story with relatable and compelling characters when we can effortlessly nab thousands more viewers with a few pairs of big boobs and some panty shots!?
Even Code Geass: One the most mature and thoughtful anime's I know is guilty of at least a few pervy shots...
There's an abridgement of Code Geass on youtube called Code Ment that I find to be very funny. In one of the episodes the maker has the characters repeatedly refer to Kallen Kozuki as the fan service to which she replies: "Why do you keep calling me that?".
I was asking the same question in my head and it's gotten me thinking. I've always thought it was very progressive that anime has a multitude of female characters in lead roles that keep up with the men but what if the writers only write female leads as an excuse to give plenty of screen time to hot female bodies? Is that possible?!
It's important for the plot development I swear!!!
In my opinion this is likely driven at least in part by the shear entertainment value, people enjoy the perverse shot and so demand more of them and the writers and animators duly deliver the goods. Now many modern feminist minds might object to this debauchery, decrying fan service as objectifying and degrading women. You know, the same old feminist song and dance. I will concede that they have valid concerns with regards to such material, but I would like to argue for a more optimistic and pragmatic outlook.
Humans are sexual beings...there I said it. Sexuality is simply a part of who we are as creatures on this planet and it represents a huge part of all of our lives. There is not a person who lives now or a person who ever lived who didn't get here through some love making. I think anime is just giving us an outlet where we can comfortably face and indulge in this R-Rated aspect of who we all are.
Terrorists need love too!!
My point is I don't think that fan service is demanded and supplied because of some sick conspiracy to put anyone down based on their sex or sexuality, fan service is exactly that; service to the fans!
We've come a long way as a species. Back in the day you pretty much had to pretend the sex didn't even exist and you just figured it out as you went along if you ever figured it out. Now we at least have it in us to admit that sex is a thing that exists that real people actually do on a regular basis, but there are still plenty of taboos about it. Hell, sexual harassment is the most abused charge in our country. Meaning that over sensitive fools will accuse you of sexual harassing them based on the most gentle and innocuous behavior. Just complimenting the wrong girl on her blouse can get you called out on the carpet now a days. I've even mentioned repeatedly that I myself was shamed and reprimanded for being "too friendly" whatever the hell that means.
The issue with sexuality in my opinion is that sex in and of itself is an extremely powerful as well as a personal and intimate force of nature. It can make and break people in quite the literal sense and has been doing so since the first mates were chosen and babies made. With this great power you of course have those who wield it for the sake of good, for love and pleasure and procreation. Then you have those who would do harm with it by the devastating pursuit of domination for sexual abusers and the selfish pursuit of someone else's body for your own enjoyment with no respect for the persons needs and wants.
Don't worry he did the right thing and covered her up. ;)
I believe that anime let's us get in touch with this forbidden side of who we are in a context that is both safe and nonjudgmental. We all have these desires in us for the close and shall we say, energetic contact of people we find attractive. It's a part of being human and it's a part of what makes life worth living to begin with. It allows us to think about and deal with our sexuality and that of other people by making it a normal thing to see and talk about as we watch our favorite anime's.
I think, in truth that fan service actually does provide a legitimate if blush inducing service to the fans. It shows us that finding someone attractive and longing for the company of somebody you like is normal and natural and while we have to be respectful we need not repress ourselves.
I also think that this particular subject of sexuality that anime loves to play with is key to addressing the question of how we should live a more free, exciting, and genuine life as inspired by our favorite anime's. One of my best friends is female and though we are of the opposite sex to each other we have no trouble discussing sex and sexuality with one another. We unlike many people I know have confronted this elephant in the room and dealt with is so that we can let it be a valuable and enhancing part of our lives as opposed to an obstacle that constantly gets in the way because we constantly refuse to acknowledge that it's even there.
In order to live with maximum freedom and power we have to deal with the issues that cause the most discomfort and distrust between us as people and I think sexuality with all of it potentially dangerous power is a great place to start. I have put this into practice myself by addressing this with close friends both male and female and I've achieved relationships that have begun to mirror those we see in our favorite anime's with ridiculous characters bantering back and forth and ladies smacking the crap out of guys for stepping out of line.
I would totally give her swimming lessons, I admit it!!!
So as I close this up I will make both a confession and a declaration. The confession by itself might shock and disturb readers, but I hope that combined with my declaration your minds will be put at ease and you will in fact come to know me as a trustworthy man.
Here it goes:
I am a heterosexual male of 23 years of age as of the time of this writing. I find females physically attractive and I enjoy fan service in anime. I like breasts, legs, butts, and soft smooth skin with a pretty face. When I notice a pretty lady out in public I will sometimes try to very slyly check her out as much as I can without being noticed. The main reason I like the beach is because of ladies in bikini's and finding a mate takes up a good portion of my brain parts to try to make it happen. The goal of attracting pretty ladies influences many of my life decisions both big and small from my body posture and odor to my career path and philosophy on life. Ladies bodies and possible opinions they may have of me are always on my mind!
That's my confession and now here is my declaration. To all the ladies of the world I declare this, even to the ones that will never read this post. I say to you, I have the utmost respect and love for all of you regardless your looks or your body type. Though I may find some of you to be rather appealing in a variety of different ways, the fact that you are human beings with your own thoughts and feelings is certainly not lost on me. I care very much for you as people and I want you to be happy and healthy. I hope to find one of you that suits me very well and when I do succeed I will work to make her as pleased and she is sure to make me. Don't think I don't know that you ladies have the same urges as the guys have, so ladies let's get along and enjoy each others company to the utmost. When we recognize the forbidden and scarier parts of who we are, they'll get less scary and become useful to our health and happiness. Let's talk and communicate fully and learn how to live well together and give pleasure to each others lives!
Let's rock each others worlds!!!