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Old 2009-03-21, 10:35   Link #1021
ZephyrLeanne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
Asia and the West are equally superficial; so are cuteness and sexiness, skin whitening and tanning, etc. One good thing about the last dichotomy is that Asian women who protect themselves from the sun tend to look young for longer (and it's not just genetic, since tanned Asian Americans and Singaporeans often look a lot older than their counterparts in China/Japan/Korea).

On a completely different topic...

What is the demographic appeal of light novels such as Toradora and Suzumiya Haruhi in Japan?

According to what I've read, manga has a much wider demographic appeal than anime such that it is completely normal for businessmen to read "bishoujo" manga whereas someone who follows the same story in anime form would be labelled an "otaku".

Hence, the Suzumiya Haruhi anime is considered an icon of "otaku" culture but do the original novels have a much broader appeal? In other words, are they something the average teenager would read on his/her commute to school?
Consider it Otaku Lite.
Really, I haven't seen anyone reading such things on the train. Then again I usually only take JR.
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Old 2009-03-21, 10:38   Link #1022
Yukinokesshou
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Originally Posted by ShimatheKat View Post
Consider it Otaku Lite.
Really, I haven't seen anyone reading such things on the train. Then again I usually only take JR.
Haha... what, do otakus have an ingrained preference for non-JR railway companies or do they tend to cluster in areas not served by JR?

Last edited by Yukinokesshou; 2009-03-21 at 10:49.
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Old 2009-03-21, 10:46   Link #1023
ZephyrLeanne
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Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
Haha... what, do otakus have an ingrained preference for non-JR railway companies or do they tend to cluster in areas not served by JR?
I dunno really. I've never taken a private railway for some time now. Except for city subways/metros.
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Old 2009-03-21, 10:49   Link #1024
Yukinokesshou
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Speaking of which, is something like Toradora more mainstream than Suzumiya Haruhi or does it still fall into the "otaku" category?

Honestly, if you only look at plot and themes (i.e. ignoring the attractiveness of the female characters and the original medium of the story), the line between "mainstream" and "otaku" is quite fine. Clannad, especially After Story, would suit a mature female audience, and Toradora would not be out of place beside Kare Kano on a bookshelf.
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Old 2009-03-21, 11:27   Link #1025
Rembr
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Depends on what you consider mainstream.

Haruhi falls under otaku category. Midnight shows like Toradora, or anything that comes on during any other time than prime time (+ maybe some morning shows) is pretty much all otaku culture. The only reason things like Haruhi garners some recognition is because otaku culture itself is pretty large.
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Old 2009-03-21, 11:46   Link #1026
Yukinokesshou
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Originally Posted by Rembr View Post
Depends on what you consider mainstream.

Haruhi falls under otaku category. Midnight shows like Toradora, or anything that comes on during any other time than prime time (+ maybe some morning shows) is pretty much all otaku culture. The only reason things like Haruhi garners some recognition is because otaku culture itself is pretty large.
What I consider mainstream is just that: mainstream, what the average student, businessman and housewife would read or watch.

The point I was trying to make in my last post was a hypothetical one: if something like Clannad's Nagisa/After Story route, for instance, were transposed to live action, it would probably enjoy a rather large demographic appeal. Similarly, Toradora could potentially be marketed to the readership of shoujo manga such as Kare Kano.

In other words, if you remove all the fanservice and ignore the fact that the female:male ratio is a little distorted, the stories in many "otaku-geared" anime series are actually quite appropriate for the average housewife or student. Thus, I wonder why the production companies have not sought to broaden their audience.

[Edit] Haruhi, on the other hand, has very deep roots in otaku culture so it's not a good example of something that could be targeted to the general public. (To de-otaku-ise Mikuru, for example, would require changing almost everything about her character and relationship to Haruhi.)

[Edit2] Point of note: Just look at the AnimeSuki community (especially the newbies) and anime fandom in general outside Japan. Shows like Clannad draw significant numbers of ordinary teenage - including female - anime fans who are unaware of the stigma against "otaku-geared" shows in Japan. After all, I was one of them, and so were my female friends who introduced me to Key/Kyoani productions in the first place.

Last edited by Yukinokesshou; 2009-03-21 at 12:18.
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Old 2009-03-21, 15:17   Link #1027
Ryuou
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Quote:
Asia and the West are equally superficial; so are cuteness and sexiness, skin whitening and tanning, etc. One good thing about the last dichotomy is that Asian women who protect themselves from the sun tend to look young for longer (and it's not just genetic, since tanned Asian Americans and Singaporeans often look a lot older than their counterparts in China/Japan/Korea).
I know but it's kind of weird in Japan. I can't really explain it. The point I was trying to make was that you have to be sexy in the West in order to get the masses after you in that way. That isn't the case in Japan. If you have the cute vibe around you, then you could still obtain a large amount of popularity. That cute thing would not work out at all in the west.

Along the same lines is the use of “hot/sexy” in the States and then “cute/good looking” in Japan. For the States, that seems to be the most frequent compliment or evaluation given. Although the occasional “cute” or “good looking” is there, it’s all about how sexy or hot someone is. (probably has to do with the various industries selling that mindset, and how sex-driven the American society is) Over in Japan though, it’s the opposite. When a girl evaluates a guy, it’s all about how good looking his face is, and then maybe the “cool” aura he might have. His body, rarely comes into play. And then for evaluating a girl, it’s the same thing with how cute her face is, and then whether she has a “cute” aura around her. Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t comments about sexiness here and there. I guess what I’m trying to point out, is that the attraction focus in Japan is the face, while in the States and probably most of the West, it’s the body.

Quote:
In other words, if you remove all the fanservice and ignore the fact that the female:male ratio is a little distorted, the stories in many "otaku-geared" anime series are actually quite appropriate for the average housewife or student. Thus, I wonder why the production companies have not sought to broaden their audience.
They probably decided that they couldn't make much more money that way. There isn’t a group out there more willing to spend their money than the otaku group.
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Old 2009-03-21, 15:54   Link #1028
Yukinokesshou
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Originally Posted by Ryuou View Post
I guess what I’m trying to point out, is that the attraction focus in Japan is the face, while in the States and probably most of the West, it’s the body.
I guess I'm rather Asian, then? For me, the face of a girl is much more important. The body is important to the extent that I don't think I'd be attracted to an overweight girl but I really couldn't care less about curves and protrusions. Similarly, I've thought to myself, "ah, I wish I had a nicer face", but never, ever had any desire to tone my body.

I've given my objective opinion: face or body, both are superficial. My subjective opinion is you can learn more about a person by looking at the face than the body since the face carries expressions and emotions.

Quote:
They probably decided that they couldn't make much more money that way. There isn’t a group out there more willing to spend their money than the otaku group.
Point taken. Nonetheless, I still find the line between Toradora and Kare Kano, Hana Yori Dango, etc. to be extremely fine and I wonder why Toradora couldn't be marketed as-is to a mainstream shoujo audience in addition to its otaku fanbase. I had a look around online forums of lower calibre than Animesuki, and non-Japanese girls of the "typical shoujo fangirl" type seem to absolutely adore Toradora... so why wouldn't cross-demographic appeal succeed in Japan itself? (This is just one example; I'm sure there are others.)
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Old 2009-03-23, 01:04   Link #1029
Ryuou
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I guess I'm rather Asian, then? For me, the face of a girl is much more important. The body is important to the extent that I don't think I'd be attracted to an overweight girl but I really couldn't care less about curves and protrusions. Similarly, I've thought to myself, "ah, I wish I had a nicer face", but never, ever had any desire to tone my body.
It's the same for me too. When it comes to body, my range of what I find attractive is much broader than with the face. I'm not the same on the toning my own body part though. Although I don't do it enough, working out is important to me. I want the strength and muscle. Probably my half-American influence.

I'm not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with art style. Shoujo does have its own distinct style. Maybe story type isn't enough to market it that way.
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Old 2009-03-24, 13:59   Link #1030
aohige
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Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
According to what I've read, manga has a much wider demographic appeal than anime such that it is completely normal for businessmen to read "bishoujo" manga
No.

Absolutely not.

I don't know who told you this, but if you're caught reading bishoujo stuff in a train, regardless of it being manga, trust me majority of people will think you kimoi.
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Old 2009-03-24, 14:19   Link #1031
Vexx
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aye, *MANGA* is almost universally read.... but you shouldn't be seen reading the "wrong kind" (something not targeted to you).

Yes, its silly.... but despite otakudom, harajuku fashion and all the other eccentric stuff -- most of Japan prefers square pegs in square holes very strongly.

That's why in Toradora, the simple act of Kitamura dying his hair was horrifying to the establishment and his friends. Its why it takes a government directive for office workers to loosen their ties in the summer when by all sanity people should be wearing yukata 24/7 in 100F heat.

Personally I think a leather manga book protector would be a wise thing....
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Old 2009-03-24, 16:38   Link #1032
Yukinokesshou
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
aye, *MANGA* is almost universally read.... but you shouldn't be seen reading the "wrong kind" (something not targeted to you).

Yes, its silly.... but despite otakudom, harajuku fashion and all the other eccentric stuff -- most of Japan prefers square pegs in square holes very strongly.
Haha, I see, and apologies for the misconception

Is there no "happy medium" like that which exists with the majority of anime fans outside Japan? Within Japan, it seems as if one is either an otaku or a run-of-the-mill square peg in a square hole. Are there even people in Japan like you and me: engineers and fathers or medical students with a normal, healthy appreciation of various anime genres? Or, ahem, junior doctors on call exhausted after an emergency operation and plumping down at 2am in the doctors' mess to watch the otaku-geared anime airing at that time, only to be called back to action by the annoying beep of their pager.

... Would these otherwise ordinary people be labelled "otaku" in Japan? ... "otaku" being a word I associate with obsessed and constantly fantasising beings out of touch with the realities of life (like the main character in Densha Otoko and his friends)

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Originally Posted by Ryuou View Post
Maybe it has something to do with art style. Shoujo does have its own distinct style. Maybe story type isn't enough to market it that way.
That's rather funny, don't you think? Art style demarcating a barrier between a popular and accepted mainstay of Japanese society, and a genre restricted to a subculture scorned by the rest of society.

Last edited by Yukinokesshou; 2009-03-24 at 17:03.
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Old 2009-03-24, 17:32   Link #1033
Vexx
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From what I've gathered, there are a lot of "normal" people who do like the anime fan scene -- but they wear masks in public or go to a fair amount of effort not to be labeled. Watch those "street dance moments" where a bunch of people break into dance -- most of them have face coverings for anonymity. Anime tends to be watched solo by these folks or with thoroughly trusted peers.

I suspect there's a bit of practical frugality lurking in lack of approval. Fans tend to "waste" a lot of money on impractical collections (figures, etc). There's probably a number of people who have done master/doctoral theses on the sociology behind the whole thing -- because people will give public reasons for shunning anime, sometimes not realizing the actual underlying discomfort they're trying to rationalize.
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Old 2009-03-24, 18:46   Link #1034
aohige
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Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
... Would these otherwise ordinary people be labelled "otaku" in Japan? ... "otaku" being a word I associate with obsessed and constantly fantasising beings out of touch with the realities of life (like the main character in Densha Otoko and his friends)
If you're caught reading something anime or game related, they'll probably label you otaku.
But if you're caught reading bishoujo stuff, you'll probably be labeled kimo-ota.

kimo-ota (キモヲタ) = The bottom of the barrel, lowest breed of perverted otaku, who reads 2D porn.

Like myself. (hey, but I read 3D porn too!)
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Old 2009-03-24, 21:01   Link #1035
Yukinokesshou
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Originally Posted by aohige View Post
If you're caught reading something anime or game related, they'll probably label you otaku.
But if you're caught reading bishoujo stuff, you'll probably be labeled kimo-ota.
Funny that Honestly, I don't read porn though and by "bishoujo", I meant stuff like, well, Chobits, Toradora or Shakugan no Shana... nothing more, nothing less.

How about a doctor in a white coat engrossed in one of these titles, startled by the sudden entrance of a patient into his clinic? What would that patient think, conflicted between the usual Japanese respect for doctors and natural tendency to label certain people "kimo-ota"? Or would such a doctor even face investigation from Japan's equivalent from Japan's equivalent of the General Medical Council on suspicion of being "unfit to practise"? Because I can imagine myself potentially becoming a doctor like that if I were Japanese and in Japan... -.-

(Actually no, I wouldn't. The "hidden nature" that Vexx described is not too far from my actual behaviour: anime and manga are things I enjoy in solitude and wouldn't take into public. But, just hypothetically speaking...)
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Old 2009-03-24, 21:05   Link #1036
Tri-ring
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Like myself. (hey, but I read 3D porn too!)
Read porn??
I thought they were view only type media.
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Old 2009-03-24, 21:12   Link #1037
aohige
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Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
Funny that Honestly, I don't read porn though and by "bishoujo", I meant stuff like, well, Chobits, Toradora or Shakugan no Shana... nothing more, nothing less.

How about a doctor in a white coat engrossed in one of these titles, startled by the sudden entrance of a patient into his clinic? What would that patient think, conflicted between the usual Japanese respect for doctors and natural tendency to label certain people "kimo-ota"? Or would such a doctor even face investigation from Japan's equivalent from Japan's equivalent of the General Medical Council on suspicion of being "unfit to practise"? Because I can imagine myself potentially becoming a doctor like that if I were Japanese and in Japan... -.-

(Actually no, I wouldn't. The "hidden nature" that Vexx described is not too far from my actual behaviour: anime and manga are things I enjoy in solitude and wouldn't take into public. But, just hypothetically speaking...)
Well then, you probably should rethink the usage of the word "bishoujo".

By bishoujo alone it simply means beautiful girl, but as a genre, it's used for pornographic (or adult) anime/game.
It started when adult game magazines started calling the adult game genre bishoujo game, instead of just eroge or 18kin game.
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Old 2009-03-24, 21:46   Link #1038
Yukinokesshou
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Well then, you probably should rethink the usage of the word "bishoujo".

By bishoujo alone it simply means beautiful girl, but as a genre, it's used for pornographic (or adult) anime/game.
It started when adult game magazines started calling the adult game genre bishoujo game, instead of just eroge or 18kin game.
Ah, my bad, my bad... I've caused quite a lot of misunderstanding, then. The connotations of "bishoujo" (美少女) are a lot more innocent in Hong Kong, where it still evokes collective memories of Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon) from our primary school days . Even so, that wasn't the genre I was referring to either. I suppose "shounen romantic drama/comedy aimed at an otaku audience" was what I was getting at.

Speaking of connotations (time to change topic, maybe?)...

It seems like a number words that are completely innocent in Chinese have taken on perverted connotations in Japan. In Hong Kong, a gaggle of giggling airhead girls might pass by, and we'd jokingly call them "bishoujo" (美少女, pronounced mei-siu-neui in Cantonese). Someone does something silly but adorable, and we'd call it "kawaii" (可愛 ho-ngoi). But my Japanese friend once told me that she'd take offence to being called "kawaii" in Japan...
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Old 2009-03-24, 22:55   Link #1039
Vexx
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That may have just been your friend.... first time I've heard of a Japanese female being offended at the idea of being called "kawaii". May depend on the age group or professional level in question or the context? Yeah, I'd certainly not call a vice-president of marketing "kawaii" in a business meeting, but if we were all acting like idiots at a karaoke booth afterwards and she put on silly rabbit ears to sing a tune about the moon --- "kawaii" it is. Context....

Last edited by Vexx; 2009-03-24 at 23:17.
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Old 2009-03-26, 00:29   Link #1040
Ryuou
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Second Vexx's kawaii statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
Is there no "happy medium"...

That's rather funny, don't you think? Art style demarcating a barrier between a popular and accepted mainstay of Japanese society, and a genre restricted to a subculture scorned by the rest of society.
Well, I would consider myself the "happy medium". I enjoy anime but I'm turned off by a lot of the otaku stuff.

Well the art style thing can have something to do with people reading what they're "supposed" to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
Funny that Honestly, I don't read porn though and by "bishoujo", I meant stuff like, well, Chobits, Toradora or Shakugan no Shana... nothing more, nothing less.

How about a doctor in a white coat engrossed in one of these titles, startled by the sudden entrance of a patient into his clinic? What would that patient think, conflicted between the usual Japanese respect for doctors and natural tendency to label certain people "kimo-ota"? Or would such a doctor even face investigation from Japan's equivalent from Japan's equivalent of the General Medical Council on suspicion of being "unfit to practise"? Because I can imagine myself potentially becoming a doctor like that if I were Japanese and in Japan... -.-
Maybe you're mixing up bishoujo with just shoujo. Of which Shakugan no Shana is not one. Chobits and Toradora! could be argued as being shoujo due to the story style and creators behind them, but they're aren't like your normal shoujo titles.

I could actually see that doctor getting at the least reprimanded if word got around.


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Originally Posted by aohige View Post
Well then, you probably should rethink the usage of the word "bishoujo".

By bishoujo alone it simply means beautiful girl, but as a genre, it's used for pornographic (or adult) anime/game.
It started when adult game magazines started calling the adult game genre bishoujo game, instead of just eroge or 18kin game.
Although that's kind of what it primarily is these days, not all bishoujo has to be porn.
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