blooming japanese eroticism article

So I guess this MSNBC article about anime erotic subculture has been making its way around, and it’s an interesting read.

(Shout out to Kadian1364 who sent me the link first.)

My top three favorite quotes from the article:

1. There is a good argument to be made, based on those characters alone, that we are all “turning Japanese” as the ’80s song goes — especially sexually.

I wonder if Brian Alexander, the author of the article, realizes that The Vapor’s Turning Japanese is about fapping. It’s one of the greats of 80’s songs about fapping, right up there with She-Bop. Brian’s either an accidental genius or a genius– I just don’t know which.

2. But sexually-suggestive and explicit anime like “Gurren Lagann” and “Legend of the Overfiend,” is finding an eager audience of adult Americans who are drawn to the post-modern, almost post-human mash-up of playful, blurry morality found in the genre.

Did he just compare Gurren Lagann to a demon rape hentai? Technically, I think all the sex in Urotsukidouji was consensual, but nonetheless, two very different ballparks. I also liked how he used quotes for the anime series names… would he have put “House” or “Mad Men” in quotes?

(Maybe he should have compared Minami-ke to Bible Black? Makes more sense. But I guess this brings up another pet peeve of mine when it comes to American media reporting on anime: do they even watch this stuff?)

3. “Among Japanese fans — the guys — it is a badge of honor to say, ‘We do not need real women; [these] figures are better, they do not talk back’” said Macias.

Mardaras would be happy.

Bonus. In otaku culture, gender is increasingly fluid and interchangeable.


Bonus. But in both cultures, Eng believes, the expanding popularity of otaku is a positive reaction to the problems of global alienation, mass culture’s assault on individual identity, changed gender roles, and “the lack of satisfactory grand narratives.”

If I got a call from MSNBC asking me to comment on an upcoming article, I’m not sure if it’s the greatest or worst moment of my life. I’m leaning towards “worst.”

Seriously, that’s one failing of Hollywood. Hollywood doesn’t tell grand stories. They either cut TV shows off too soon or they let them fester and rot and milk them to death. Anime, because production is planned out years in advance, can have a fully encapsulated story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Do you think a story as complete as Gurren Lagann could ever be dreamed up by Fox? I mean, “Hey, I have this great idea for a TV show. It runs for exactly 24 episodes, and, after that, the story is finished so we don’t have to make anymore!” Do you think that will ever get green lit over “Hey, let’s make yet another CSI knockoff! We’ll kill off hookers and druggies for the next seven years! We’ll make millions in syndication!”

(Needless to say, if Gainax did announce Gurren Lagann 2, I might stab myself with a fork.)

(I also think there’s more to anime than just visual stimulation. There’s a lot of genres and tropes that anime does differently. If you think anime is cliched, my gosh, primetime TV is even more of a cesspool. And even though Yoko does have a hawt outfit, her character grows substantially during the series and ends up being a stellar women– please, mass American media, watch the anime you’re talking about to its completion.)

42 Responses to “blooming japanese eroticism article”

  1. I think that’s one of the main things that seperates Anime from its other TV counterparts. At least we don’t have weird execs ordering season after season after season…look what happened to Lost. The poor plot got dragged out so long it feels like Bleach.

    Of course, in this case the Shonen Jump animes might as well be compared to Days of our Lives, considering the end is hardly in sight…


  3. (Needless to say, if Gainax did announce Gurren Lagann 2, I might stab myself with a fork.)

    your going to sooooo it that fork

  4. i mean “your going to sooooo get hit by that fork”

    you need a bloody edit button


  6. Interesting article, it had everything … apart from facts.

  7. This thing was all over /a/ yesterday. Yeah, they were having a good time.

  8. OH GEASS NO!!!

  9. Hang on, what? Just about everything anime produced for TV nowadays is designed to be open-ended specifically so they can make sequels ad infinitum. The more mainstream shows are stupidly long and drawn out to the point that they begin to rot, especially when Japan decides to pad them out with stupid bullshit filler. TV Anime is incredibly ratings-driven, if they don’t make their targets then they cut it off. Even when the ratings drop is due to shittastic filler. And it’s been that way for years.

    I’m glad that I’ve got NBC around to tell me that Gurren Lagann is sexually explicit. I’d never have guessed that otherwise. :V

  10. I like how the people who write these articles know NOTHING about Japan’s sexuality, otaku culture, nor have ever even taken a look at a website like JAST…

    I also love how they completely missed what lolicon means “lolita complex” is it really that hard? jeez reporters are going down the drain.

    Oh, how I could completely rewrite that article if only I wasn’t far too lazy…

  11. The links the article provided were hilarious:

    “Click for related content
    Embracing Japanese pop culture
    How to get your girlfriend into gaming
    Science proves that bikinis turn men into boobs”

    And since I want to avoid getting into a long winded response to the article, I’ll just point out that an episode of the Simpsons has more sexual content then a season of most anime.

  12. Really? The kid with the dirty hands that’s f’ing up the manga and is too cheap to ever put down $10 is going to usher in a new (sexual) age of man? Rawr, rawr, fight the powa.

  13. I was refering to this quote “When you see a kid sitting in Borders reading a manga, he’s not just reading a comic book,” Macias said. “There is something really powerful going on there.”

  14. i didn’t quite get that gender is interchangeable part when i read it, one thing came to mind but i hope i’m wrong.

  15. Gender-changing isn’t exactly new. Ranma ½ came out early 90s by my reconing. ;P

    Either way, I’m too lazy to read that article. Gurren Lagann is playful in how they do it; in the beginning I was groaning (hur hur :B) over all the obvious innuenda and phallic symbolism, but I just stopped paying attention to it after 5 or so episodes. Gurren Lagann just feels extremely Gainax; after Evangelion there’s been very little that they’ve done (to my knowledge) that isn’t somehow either sexually symbolic or just plain about sex (Ebichu springs to mind).

    Then there’s shows like Strike Witches, which I assume was a pet project that somehow got turned into an anime. But it’s okay, because they’re not wearing undies, they’re wearing PANTS. They even say so themselves.

    Do these guys even know why tentacles came to be in the first place? To be honest, there’s a LOT about japanese erolture (rolls nicely off the tongue) that I’m thankfully not too knowledgeable about, but that one I know. And it’s funny how a simple attempt to get past rule-abiding censors became a joke in itself.

    If the west is becoming sexually repressed and frustrated, I’m not sure I want to know. Let me fap to my hearts’ content and I’ll accept whatever explanation you give. ;3

  16. Let me tell you this, i was actually born in Argentina. Since moving to the US I have found american’s standarts of morality and sexual repression either laughable or sad… either way I believe the otaku culture and anime is refreshing and liberating at best…

  17. mako-cakes no!

  18. Bonus. In otaku culture, gender is increasingly fluid and interchangeable.


    That was hilarious.

  19. wow… just wow…

  20. I can’t think of any shows on FOX that don’t have any sexual contex in it at all.

  21. I hate talking to non -anime fans about things like this… they always seem to sum up anime as anime-porn (cuz they don’t know the proper term for it I guess)

    They don’t seem to understand that “anime” isn’t a freakin’ genre on it’s own – it’s a style. They see an anime, and they think all anime is like that, when any anime-fan knows that anime is as varied as regular “American” television (probably more varied and diverse). Lumping Gurren Lagann and Legend of the Overfiend together smacks of a person who didn’t do any research.

    Well, obviously as an anime-fan (or “otaku” which is probably used out of context and all) I’m going to be strongly protective…

  22. Interesting read to a point. And yes, I felt just a bit insulted when they started comparing Gurren Lagann to Legend of the Overfiend.

  23. >>> They don’t seem to understand that “anime” isn’t a freakin’ genre on it’s own – it’s a style.

    I’d even argue Anime is even broader than a style; it’s a storytelling medium. It can only be most precisely defined as ‘animation from Japan’. That article was about as ignorant as saying, “I hate Music because rapping is offensive,” or “I’m generally opposed to Movies because I don’t like superheroes.” Just another blathering idiot given a platform to spread his misinformed ideas to unwitting readers.

    I don’t doubt there’s some less savory aspects of anime fandom, but taking a niche subculture as a representative aspect of a great big group of people is inexcusable. Does Escaflowne = Bible Black now?

  24. Odds of anime being integrated into America have dropped…yet again. OTL

  25. Did they seriously just say Gurren Lagann is sexually explicit? Yoko probably was the reasoning behind it, and Wonder Woman dresses almost as badly as her.

  26. “Did they seriously just say Gurren Lagann is sexually explicit? Yoko probably was the reasoning behind it, and Wonder Woman dresses almost as badly as her.”
    maybe the guy is sexually repressed or a virgin, either way, I dont pay much attention at articles like this. just ignore them, as long as they leave us alone, we should be happy…

  27. Agree with K.K. This article just perpetuates the stereotypes that have plagued anime’s and manga’s struggle for more mainstream interest.

  28. What ever happened to needing credentials to be able to write an article? Or do they give those out like candy in the U.S.?

  29. I think I stopped reading shortly after I saw the words, “otaku expert”. And that bit about a “no-moral zone” and making lolicon that large a portion of that editorial?


    This sort of piece feels like fodder for the stereotypical Midwest suburban WASP parents to raise a hullabaloo about how American youth is being corrupted, even if it wasn’t intentional. Bottom line is that this is not the sort of attention necessary or wanted.

  30. People are working themselves into a frenzy over something about which they know next to nothing.

    Having lived in the Bible Belt, I find that this does not qualify as news. At all.

  31. Although I get a good laugh out of it nowadays, the whole loli thing is still kind of sketchy to me. Then again, I’m in the buckle of the Bible Belt. I get these inclinations by osmosis.

    BTW, ever since a couple of posts ago, the font in the blog entries is all out of wack and not aliasing properly. Anyone else getting that?

  32. You’d figure that people at this point would just stop trying to expect a fair and honest article about anything anime/video game-related.

  33. Phuong, it’s the internet for Truth’s sake.

  34. Seriously, why do people want Anime to go mainstream anyway? Anything that goes ‘mainstream’ usually ends up ruined. Anime has been going strong for 50 years, lets not fuck it up now.

  35. American reporters constantly look at the surface of things and report on the things that jump at them on the surface (i.e. Lulu’s flaming homsexuality).

  36. …if only they knew simply how inaccurate and foolish their article really is. Okay, there’s a fact or two in there (I wouldn’t push three), but… have any of them really sat down and WATCHED the very shows they named? What did they do, just waltz up to a couple of random otaku and get their entire article on the opinions of a select few??

  37. >>Anything that goes ‘mainstream’ usually ends up ruined.

    Mainstream anime is crap already.

  38. @Avenger, whose numbers I’ve taken the liberty to convert to letters for all our sakes:

    American reporters? Clearly, you must mean all reporters. To this rule, there are No Exceptions.

    (I clearly recall idiotic reporting on otaku from many countries, the most inflammatory and misleading from Japan, itself.)

    Don’t blame America, blame humanity.

  39. Well said. This is why I stopped watching CSI and HBO shows for the longest time– not enough time to come up with actually good episodes… hell, they’re crappy most of the time. In Hollywood, they can fanservice Eroticism… geez, what jerks…

    And I loved Gurren Lagann. Give me a chainsaw so Brian Alexander can kiss his head goodbye.

  40. Yeah, the Urotsukidouji = GL was a bit of a stretch, but I guess he was talking about that underlying thread of eroticism in many anime, not making a straight up 1:1 comparison.

  41. My favorite quote is:
    “or visit a “maid café” (now available near Los Angeles and Canada)”

    As if ‘Canada’ were one city or something… oh gosh.

  42. He’s got invalid points but then he’s got some valid ones. Americans are just as sexually repressed as the Japanese. If not more so. So, of course, we’ll agree on the sexual play and visual stimulation in our anime and cartoons. That’s evident in the cartoons on for little kids now (Nick shit and Dreamworks, Pixar crap). They’ve got adult humor and jokes running rampant. Just not sexual situations because that would be too obvious. But, yeah for harem, hentai and hello kitty sex toys!

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