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Old 2013-08-01, 20:44   Link #1
Triple_R
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Homosexuality in Anime (How Believeable/Realistic is it?)

Watching the anime Free! has, somewhat ironically, caused me to re-evaluate my take on yuri anime. Free! has light bits of yaoi subtext here and there that vividly remind me of similar bits of yuri subtext in yuri anime. The thing with said yaoi subtext is that it strikes me as the least believable aspect of Free! - The show in general is pretty easy to roll with, but the yaoi subtext often seems strange to me. I just have a hard time imagining straight or gay guys talking like that, given the wider context within the show.

But then, I have to be honest, much the same is probably true for female viewers watching yuri subtext in yuri shows.


At this point, I should make clear that I don't want the focus of this discussion to be on how "positive" or "negative", in a general sense, are the portrayals of homosexual characters in anime. I think that most would agree that some portrayals are very off-putting, while others are much more positive.

What I want to focus on here is the realism and believability of homosexual characters (or characters widely thought to be that) in anime. Now, I admit I'm hardly the most well-versed person here, as I live in a very rural area. What I put in spoiler space sums up most of my personal experiences with gay people.

Spoiler for Triple_R's personal experiences.:


Anyway, all of the above raises a couple questions for me:

1. I wonder how common it is for two girls that were platonic childhood friends to later develop romantic feelings for each other? We've had debates over the heterosexual equivalent of this, and some hold that to be pretty uncommon due to the Westermarck Effect. Would two childhood female friends (both of a lesbian orientation) be the same way, or would the societal challenges faced by gays and lesbians actually make it more likely for such friendship to turn into romance (i.e. a young girl with a crush on another may be more likely to hide it until an older age than a young boy with a crush on a girl due to the young lesbian having greater social concerns and worries over "coming out").

2. The process of "coming out" can be a difficult one in and of itself. I'd think (but don't know) that doing that while simultaneously romantically confessing to someone who might not even share your orientation would be doubly difficult. Heterosexuals tend to presume that other people are heterosexual unless given clear reason to think otherwise, but homosexuals generally can't make such presumptions for statistical reasons. So this makes me wonder how gay and lesbian teenagers even go about finding each other, or rather if they simply take the plunge with those they develop a crush on and hope for the best? With this in mind, if we look at some of the more popular yuri pairings in anime, their relationships tend to be very dragged out with light hints scattered about. Is this unrealistic as teenagers are more likely to just take the plunge, or is this realistic as gay teenagers are more likely to be very careful and cautious in hinting at their attraction/feelings for someone they have a crush on?


At this point, I should confess I haven't really kept up on what modern life is like for today's teenager. I have no close relatives in that age category, and I myself haven't been a teenager since the 90s so things could be a lot different now than how I remember them.

I will say that I generally find yuri pairings in yet-to-be-adapted manga to be more believable than those in anime. A particularly good example of this is the main pairing in the manga Prism (HIGASHIYAMA Shou). However, I'm certainly not the best person to make this believability judgement, which is largely why I've made this thread. I'd love to get the opinions of people with a lot of gay/lesbian friends and/or family members, and especially members that are gay or lesbian themselves.

Of course, even if a particular pairing is pure fantasy, it can still be enjoyed at exactly that level. Still, I think I would find it particularly rewarding to read/watch yuri pairings that are "true to life", so I'd love to read some opinions on that (i.e. which yuri and/or yaoi pairings in anime strike people as the most believable/realistic).
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Last edited by Triple_R; 2013-08-01 at 21:41. Reason: Changed titled to better reflect thread aim.
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Old 2013-08-01, 23:21   Link #2
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I have to admit, it seems like every homosexual relationship I can think of was idealized or fetishized to the extent that I can't consider most realistic or satisfying. I did remember coming across Aoi Hana [same creator as Wandering Son) which seemed to be the best portrayal for 2 girls which was somewhat decent. After that you'd have to go to like hentai such as Sono Hanabira, and that's when you realize how fucked up things are when you have go to hentai for relationships. After that, I really don't know. Descendents of Darkness was at least somewhat credible with two dudes, but obviously that area isn't going to really appeal to me.

This doesn't mean I don't see any good same sex pairings though. However, the ones that had potential were either butchered or the writers are too much of a fucking pussy to make it real. So umm... fuck. :/

So unfortunately, it fails to believability test most of the time.

But honestly, I think that even a lot of traditional hetero pairings are stuck in the mud thanks to wishy-washy bullshit or crappy chemistry, so when decent relationships that actually go through in the first place tend to be rare, this might be part of a larger problem.
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Old 2013-08-01, 23:35   Link #3
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Personally speaking, I could care less. Realism isn't something I'm looking for in anime. Anime is a form of escapism for me, so more exaggerated and over the top the better as long as it is entertaining. Of course, I'm not speaking for everyone, but I know I don't watch anime for how close to reality it gets. As long as the show can sell me on the idea or the thematic approach, I'm more or less accepting to the over-the-top atmosphere. Fiddling with realism can also backfire when it isn't done in a consistent manner and that always leads to tediousness. Reality is boring. I should know. I live in it.
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Old 2013-08-02, 00:48   Link #4
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Manga usually does a better job than anime at trying to be realistic on the subject. They try to address the social stigma of it even despite everything flowing smoothly. Octave immediately comes to mind and strikes out any expectations of "hawt yuri action" in the first few chapters (sex scenes are matter-of-fact instead of being hentai still-shots). Most of Morinaga Milk's non-erotic works are also like this.

Anime is more tongue and cheek on the topic. The tension is more about will they or won't they instead of wondering why they were born a certain sex. But the success rate on heterosexual ships becoming couples is proportionally higher than homosexual ships becoming couples AFAIK. And I'm talking about legitimate possibilities, not Haruhi fondling Mikuru.

Then again, some anime treat romance casually while others make a big deal no matter who is in that couple.

Yuri and yaoi realism is mostly on the manga domain. Or at least they try to acknowledge the complications of their relationship. Anime...I don't think I can even give them an "A" for effort.
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Old 2013-08-02, 01:04   Link #5
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Most yuri-goggle-friendly anime have nothing whatsoever to do with homosexuality, really. A show like Yuru Yuri deliberately plays with this and lampshades it with the character of Chitose. I find it telling that Maria sama ga Miteru included a lesbian couple just to highlight the difference between goggle-friendly relationships and the real thing (it's not meta, really; there's a cultural background, but someone who knows more about this can probably explain it better than I, so I won't bother trying here).

Archon Wing mentions Aoi Hana. That one was good. I also thought that the gay relationship (male) in No. 6 (did I get the number right?) between Shion and Nezumi was it's most interesting aspect; the SF was mediocre. I'm not sure I'd call it realistic, but at least it wasn't in-your-face offensive.

The worst offenders are aggressively homosexual comic characters (e.g. in Akikan, where the inclusion of such a character made an already pretty bad show terrible). It's come to the point where a homosexual character is good if s/he doesn't make me cringe. And that's sort of sad. I can't imagine what it's like to be a homosexual anime fan.

Personally, I can't distinguish between subtext that's targeted at homosexual and the wink-wink stuff targeted at hetero voyeurs. Take last season's Yuyushiki: if you'd ask me, I'd say Yuzuko is the only lesbian among the cast, but if you ask me to substantiate my intuition I couldn't (all I have is a segment featuring her talking about liking only the concave puzzle pieces...). I sure as hell hope it's not sterotypes that make me think so, but who knows?
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Old 2013-08-10, 15:03   Link #6
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
What I want to focus on here is the realism and believability of homosexual characters (or characters widely thought to be that) in anime. Now, I admit I'm hardly the most well-versed person here, as I live in a very rural area. What I put in spoiler space sums up most of my personal experiences with gay people.
We can probably cut to the chase and ask whether or not dating and sexuality in anime series are true to reality, including heterosexual pairings. I would venture that some real-life relationships follow your classic anime love story, but in most cases it doesn't mimic reality. Working off of that, why should homosexual pairings be any more life-like?

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Spoiler for Triple_R's personal experiences.:
I suppose stereotypes may differ between regions, but the relationship that you described fits the stereotype that I've heard on both coasts of the USA perfectly. You have the "butch" type and the "feminine" type. I've seen one lesbian pairing that didn't follow this, but it's the only one that I can think of. Most have seemingly followed the stereotype (although one could argue that defining someone as "butch" or "feminine" is subjective, and that I am subjectively defining people in order to fit them into the stereotype).

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Would two childhood female friends (both of a lesbian orientation) be the same way, or would the societal challenges faced by gays and lesbians actually make it more likely for such friendship to turn into romance (i.e. a young girl with a crush on another may be more likely to hide it until an older age than a young boy with a crush on a girl due to the young lesbian having greater social concerns and worries over "coming out").
I've read a bit on self-described sexual experiences and fantasies from various women, and the sexual activity behind such relationships seems to occur. It's difficult to gauge how rare it is, though. Since most people would respond to such a scenario with shock (or great interest, if that's your thing), I think it's safe to assume that it's pretty rare.

As to whether or not it would turn into a romance, there's probably less of a chance of that happening as compared with the heterosexual scenario. While it's true that facing great diversity can make people bond more strongly, based on relationship statistics and factors behind why relationships fail I would say that such stresses are more likely to break the relationship. As in the case of a friendship, it's likely that it would keep it from going farther. This also partly gets into your mentioning about "coming out" and the difficulties associated with that.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
So this makes me wonder how gay and lesbian teenagers even go about finding each other, or rather if they simply take the plunge with those they develop a crush on and hope for the best?
I've wondered about this, as well. Having been hit on by a member of the same sex before, I get the impression that maybe it's not so different from how it works for homosexuals. To expand, a guy can see that a girl is a girl, but there's no guarantee that she'll be interested in you just because she's of the opposite sex. You can make outright advances, or you can get closer to them and then confess when you feel it's relatively safe to do so (which is what happened in my case). So a homosexual individual may not know whether someone else is homosexual, although strong suspicions can be raised based on behavioral and appearance stereotypes, association with the LGBT community and matters pertaining to them, and so on... and of course, they don't know whether their person of interest is interested in them, but the process is the same. The difference is that asking someone of the same sex out has the potential for greater blowback, given that homosexuality is still not fully accepted as being "normal" by society.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Of course, even if a particular pairing is pure fantasy, it can still be enjoyed at exactly that level. Still, I think I would find it particularly rewarding to read/watch yuri pairings that are "true to life", so I'd love to read some opinions on that (i.e. which yuri and/or yaoi pairings in anime strike people as the most believable/realistic).
In my opinion, anime doesn't portray relationships very realistically in general. As far as I've seen, romantic relationships between individuals of the same gender aren't any different in their dynamics. Anime I've seen tends to portray yuri relationships as being ultra-pure and as close to true love as you can get, but lesbian relationships in reality seem to function the same as relationships between a man and a woman. The male-male relationships that I've seen in reality tend to be a bit more peaceful than your average relationship, but I've seen fewer male-male relationships than female-female and can't really make a generalization from that.
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Old 2013-08-10, 16:04   Link #7
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Realism isn't something I'm looking for in anime. Anime is a form of escapism for me, so more exaggerated and over the top the better as long as it is entertaining.
I'm exactly the opposite at the moment. At the moment I'm looking for more realism and maturity when it comes to anime.

When it comes to homosexuality, I think Texhnolyze and Shigurui both depict homosexual relationship with maturity you rarely see. With both series, homosexuality per se is not a focal point in the story, but it's handled in a way I found very refreshing.

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In my opinion, anime doesn't portray relationships very realistically in general.
I feel this is very true.
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Old 2013-08-10, 16:04   Link #8
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We can probably cut to the chase and ask whether or not dating and sexuality in anime series are true to reality, including heterosexual pairings. I would venture that some real-life relationships follow your classic anime love story, but in most cases it doesn't mimic reality. Working off of that, why should homosexual pairings be any more life-like?
That was basically my thinking when I saw this thread last week, along the lines of what monir was saying that fantasy is often the point. Romance in anime is, well, "romanticized", and I think that applies across the board. They way they're romanticized tends to depend on the fantasies of the target audience, and also on whether they're trying to portray an actual relationship, or just to provide fodder for shippers.

Providing fodder for shippers is basically about portraying intimacy between characters that can be imagined to go deeper than shown, and the main game here is to keep up the "tease". They're less concerned with portraying accurately how a relationship between the pair would work, but to plant the suggestion that there could be something more there, which is enough to get the shippers' imaginations going to fill in the blanks. And, actually, the shippers may have little idea of how a romantic relationship between the couple may work, but use the suggestions and their own biases to infer. It could very well be completely unrealistic, but that doesn't really matter all that much. And in some ways, as monir suggested, the more fantastical/idealized the better.


Along the lines of the last paragraph, I might also note that I think the "yuri-teasing" shows are often not actually about "homosexuality" all that much, but rather more about displacing the traditional male protagonist and creating an all-girls (or predominantly-girls) environment for the sake of the usually-male reader/viewer. These shows are obviously fertile ground for shippers, but I don't think they're ever really concerning themselves with any sort of realistic portrayal of homosexuality. They're just about the tease to appeal to fantasies. Perhaps you could argue that Free is the same thing in reverse, which would explain the comment in the opening post.
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Old 2013-08-10, 19:03   Link #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
We can probably cut to the chase and ask whether or not dating and sexuality in anime series are true to reality, including heterosexual pairings. I would venture that some real-life relationships follow your classic anime love story, but in most cases it doesn't mimic reality. Working off of that, why should homosexual pairings be any more life-like?
This being fiction, it definitely requires a suspension of disbelief and arguably most stuff in fiction doesn't apply to real life. But as these stories often feature things that resemble people and have some of the ideals, I don't really find it unreasonable to find that any kind of relationship should at least be internally consistent with the context.

Furthermore, just because anime handles heterosexual relationships in an overly idealized or unrealistic manner does not mean it's not reasonable to expect something that applies to all types of sexuality.

And finally, considering the large amount of discrimination associated to various smaller groups, this is an issue of value that deserves to be discussed and I don't really think it's unreasonable for some to find offense with certain portrayals.

In other words, Triple R and others probably don't expect anything to mirror reality. But as with all fiction, a certain sense of credibility is needed to maintain suspension of disbelief. So it's not really more of an issue of reality as it is to translate it back to our world and our ideals. Otherwise, the concept itself has no meaning and would be no better than random noise.
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Old 2013-08-10, 19:47   Link #10
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Providing fodder for shippers is basically about portraying intimacy between characters that can be imagined to go deeper than shown, and the main game here is to keep up the "tease".
now consider that a bunch of those idol groups are all about this, except with real people you're supposed to "ship" (while actual homosexual relationships are, of course, almost as disapproved of as in the US, Japan in general being a solidly conservative country)

the japanese pop culture approach to commercializing relationships between human beings is pretty fucking screwy, is what I'm saying
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Old 2013-08-10, 19:59   Link #11
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In other words, Triple R and others probably don't expect anything to mirror reality. But as with all fiction, a certain sense of credibility is needed to maintain suspension of disbelief. So it's not really more of an issue of reality as it is to translate it back to our world and our ideals. Otherwise, the concept itself has no meaning and would be no better than random noise.
I don't think there's an expectation within this thread, but the idea behind it was asking about how close to reality the series' portrayals are. I'm not trying to dismiss the question or any further discussion, but I think it's valuable to not pigeonhole ourselves into exclusively considering homosexual relationships. Recognizing how anime distorts heterosexual (or "standard") relationships, we can tell what we're getting ourselves into.

This isn't limited to anime, either. Television shows, movies, novels; these all distort reality as well. The only shard of reality that is needed for a love story is the idea that one person is romantically attracted to someone or something. Feelings of attraction and the desire to pair off are so basic to human psychology that even a poor love story is still recognized as a love story, and not as "random noise." There have been many, many works of fiction that explored various love scenarios and experimented with them. The notion of attraction is the only real-world ideal that is needed.

Getting back to the topic of the thread (and at the risk of repeating what I said in my earlier post), anime takes an unrealistic view of homosexual relationships in a similar manner as it does with heterosexual relationships. I feel that many series view female-female pairings as being exceptionally pure, ultra-ideal relationships, perhaps even beyond the way that heterosexual pairings are treated. While this is subjective and anecdotal based on what I've seen and heard, I'll offer that as a whole, lesbian relationships in reality are no more "pure" than heterosexual relationships. They still fight, they still break up, they still cheat on each other, they still get back together after a break-up, they still feel insecurities about the relationship. It's possible that certain series push the bounds of what people would accept as feasible because to many people, homosexual relationships are a great mystery that they haven't thought much about.
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Old 2013-08-10, 20:20   Link #12
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It's certainly true that heterosexual romances in anime often have some of the same weaknesses that yuri and/or yaoi ones do. For example, the main pairing of Kimi ni Todoke would be a match to even the most "pure" of yuri pairings.

On the other hand, I can think of some het pairings in anime that struck me as "comprehensive", involving pretty believable and steady development, and a believable mixture of romantic love and lust (yuri tending to be only one or the other). Good somewhat recent examples of this would be the main pairings in Ano Natsu, Mashiro-iro Symphony and Mysterious Girlfriend X. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any yuri equivalents to these in anime.

It would be nice if some yuri pairings where comprehensive like that, in the sense of showing a gradual buildup and some degree of actual confirmation/consummation. Probably the best example of what I'm talking about here would be a well-written VN route, which are very comprehensive and tend to fully encompass every aspect of a serious romantic relationship. It's largely for this very reason that I've taken my all-time favorite anime show and translated it into a VN-styled yuri-fic called Madoka Magica: Pure Pink Pretty Lovers (the name itself inspired by the full name of Mashiro-iro Symphony: The Color of Lovers). My thinking is that if I can't find this in anime, I might as well write it myself.
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Old 2013-08-11, 01:01   Link #13
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Probably the best example of what I'm talking about here would be a well-written VN route, which are very comprehensive and tend to fully encompass every aspect of a serious romantic relationship.
At least that clarifies what you're talking about. If you had asked me, I would have said that a lot of even the more story-driven VN games tend to have an extremely romanticized view of relationships, particularly something like Mashiro-iro Symphony (which is basically designed to kill you by the sweetness/cuteness of the puppy-love portrayed). But, by the same token, it does track the relationships from the encounter, through the "courtship" phase, becoming a couple, consummating the relationship, and then figuring out what happens next, and that's really the core progression of most romance-driven visual novels. I guess it's true that this flow is less common in anime, which definitely seems to focus more on the tease than anything else. I still wouldn't say the relationships portrayed, or even the way the flow goes, are all that realistic... but there's broader development that leads to a clearer destination, even it they do it by offering multiple routes.
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Old 2013-08-11, 06:29   Link #14
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At least that clarifies what you're talking about. If you had asked me, I would have said that a lot of even the more story-driven VN games tend to have an extremely romanticized view of relationships, particularly something like Mashiro-iro Symphony (which is basically designed to kill you by the sweetness/cuteness of the puppy-love portrayed). But, by the same token, it does track the relationships from the encounter, through the "courtship" phase, becoming a couple, consummating the relationship, and then figuring out what happens next, and that's really the core progression of most romance-driven visual novels. I guess it's true that this flow is less common in anime, which definitely seems to focus more on the tease than anything else. I still wouldn't say the relationships portrayed, or even the way the flow goes, are all that realistic... but there's broader development that leads to a clearer destination, even it they do it by offering multiple routes.
It's true that Mashiro-iro Symphony's main romance is significantly sappier than most real world equivalents, but to go back to Archon_Wing's earlier post on this thread, it at least has a certain credibility to it for me. I don't mind a sappy romance - In fact, I'll admit that's what I tend to go for - But it's particularly good when it's one that's not perpetually locked on 1st base, to use the well-known love/baseball analogy.

My basic thought is if two characters romantically love each other, at some point their emotions will lead one into a confession and the other into an acceptance.
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Old 2013-08-11, 09:27   Link #15
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Genshiken, although still ongoing in the manga so we don't know the resolve yet, seems to take it pretty seriously and explore it beyond the normal "lol it's just a character typecast" most manga/anime uses it for.

I can't wait to see where Hato finally lands, as not only does he have sexual disorientation issues (even though he denies), a near-schizophrenia likely caused by the denial and nonacceptance. Kio didn't leave Ogiue's suicidal tendency alone to a cop-out character trope, and actually gave resolve to her character growth and facing trauma. So I'm looking forward to what he does with this one.
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Old 2013-08-11, 10:12   Link #16
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in anime And Other Sources of Entertainment is a just a Genre I do not care for I do not hate it I do not think it's Wrong I just do not care
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Old 2013-08-11, 12:42   Link #17
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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I don't think there's an expectation within this thread, but the idea behind it was asking about how close to reality the series' portrayals are. I'm not trying to dismiss the question or any further discussion, but I think it's valuable to not pigeonhole ourselves into exclusively considering homosexual relationships. Recognizing how anime distorts heterosexual (or "standard") relationships, we can tell what we're getting ourselves into.
Sure, but even off anecdotal experiences, it seems easier to find more meaningful heterosexual relations regardless of how badly it gets distorted. So my point is that even if many heterosexual relations in anime are not congruent with reality, I can say with certainty that a homosexual relationship hasn't been portrayed with the same light as say 5cm per second has, so it's not comparable, in fact when held to the same standard, it's clearly behind. Sure, obviously less mainstream lifestyles aren't going to be focused on in any media, but that's to answer your question of why people would want homosexual pairings to be more life like.

Quote:
This isn't limited to anime, either. Television shows, movies, novels; these all distort reality as well. The only shard of reality that is needed for a love story is the idea that one person is romantically attracted to someone or something. Feelings of attraction and the desire to pair off are so basic to human psychology that even a poor love story is still recognized as a love story, and not as "random noise." There have been many, many works of fiction that explored various love scenarios and experimented with them. The notion of attraction is the only real-world ideal that is needed.
Sure, my point is that it does need to somehow intersect with a real ideal at a meaningful point.

Quote:
Getting back to the topic of the thread (and at the risk of repeating what I said in my earlier post), anime takes an unrealistic view of homosexual relationships in a similar manner as it does with heterosexual relationships. I feel that many series view female-female pairings as being exceptionally pure, ultra-ideal relationships, perhaps even beyond the way that heterosexual pairings are treated. While this is subjective and anecdotal based on what I've seen and heard, I'll offer that as a whole, lesbian relationships in reality are no more "pure" than heterosexual relationships. They still fight, they still break up, they still cheat on each other, they still get back together after a break-up, they still feel insecurities about the relationship. It's possible that certain series push the bounds of what people would accept as feasible because to many people, homosexual relationships are a great mystery that they haven't thought much about.
The reason why lesbian couples are considered pure is most likely to allow it to pander them for the consumption of male audiences, especially in a nonthreatening manner. This doesn't mean only males can appreciate such a thing, but it's definitely with that in mind. And certainly that's not really wrong in itself, it could certainly be more than that.

Would it be too much to ask for a same sex relationship that's more closer to what you described (fighting, breaking up, cheating, insecurities)?

I guess in my opinion, I feel that the problem with same sex relationships is that often it's handled the same as heterosexual relationship, but they just play the exact same role as their heterosexual counterparts. In other words, it's just a straight person's imagining of one. I suppose we can't blame people for that, but that's just how it appears to me.
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Old 2013-08-11, 13:54   Link #18
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... but that's to answer your question of why people would want homosexual pairings to be more life like.
I agree with you, but I didn't pose that as a question. I've been stating that they aren't life-like. The thread topic inquired how life-like or realistic they are.

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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
I guess in my opinion, I feel that the problem with same sex relationships is that often it's handled the same as heterosexual relationship, but they just play the exact same role as their heterosexual counterparts. In other words, it's just a straight person's imagining of one. I suppose we can't blame people for that, but that's just how it appears to me.
I am not claiming that I'm the expert on homosexual relationships, but based on what I've seen and heard, that "straight person's imagining of one" isn't too far from reality in terms of what "roles" are played. The break from reality occurs with how smooth the relationships are and how perfect the character chemistries work. As I mentioned previously, this flaw isn't limited to anime portrayals of homosexual relationships, but to romantic relationships in general. It isn't just anime, either, but many forms of fiction.

When we're discussing the "roles" in a relationship it's also worth keeping in mind that traditional gender roles in relationships have really become a bit more chaotic. The idea that the man dominated as a source of power and control in a relationship or family is an older view that I would guess started to fall out of style around the late 1960's to the 1970's, at least in the USA. I'm basing that off of declining marriage rates and increased divorce rates, which should coincide with the rise of economically-independent women. Your modern-day, heterosexual relationship usually sees both genders working together as equals, allowing the member with a particular strength to take the lead in situations where that strength can be applied. The old roles of "aggressive leader" and "docile supporter" can be found in homosexual relationships, of course, but we need to be careful to make sure that we're not simply trying to arrange the relationship to fit our expectations.

To me, this thread really seems to be asking two questions. One is curiosity about homosexual relationships in reality, and the other is about how realistically anime portrays them. The reason I keep coming back to how the relationships are in reality and why I keep bringing up the lack of realism surrounding relationships in general is in an effort to address both questions.
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Old 2013-08-11, 14:33   Link #19
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I am not claiming that I'm the expert on homosexual relationships, but based on what I've seen and heard, that "straight person's imagining of one" isn't too far from reality in terms of what "roles" are played. The break from reality occurs with how smooth the relationships are and how perfect the character chemistries work. As I mentioned previously, this flaw isn't limited to anime portrayals of homosexual relationships, but to romantic relationships in general. It isn't just anime, either, but many forms of fiction.
That's the point of contention. It's fine to say that a problem associated is also associated with other things meaning that it's a medium wide or society wide issue. However, there are heterosexual relationships that are portrayed fairly realistically in anime such as 5 cm per second I brought up previously. In other words I don't really focus on exclusively what hasn't been done, but what has.

So this is why I don't think it's sufficient enough to say that this "flaw" (subjective) applies to other types of relationships. Because there are ones that do portray heterosexual relationships in a realistic manner. So there is still some kind of difference that exists, and I find the better topic of discussion is to think about why. And does it really matter in the long run?

Still, I would say that is interesting how this influences our viewpoint of all relationships.

Quote:
When we're discussing the "roles" in a relationship it's also worth keeping in mind that traditional gender roles in relationships have really become a bit more chaotic. The idea that the man dominated as a source of power and control in a relationship or family is an older view that I would guess started to fall out of style around the late 1960's to the 1970's, at least in the USA. I'm basing that off of declining marriage rates and increased divorce rates, which should coincide with the rise of economically-independent women. Your modern-day, heterosexual relationship usually sees both genders working together as equals, allowing the member with a particular strength to take the lead in situations where that strength can be applied. The old roles of "aggressive leader" and "docile supporter" can be found in homosexual relationships, of course, but we need to be careful to make sure that we're not simply trying to arrange the relationship to fit our expectations.
Ah, that's actually interesting too, since I never brought it up. Of course, Japan's situation is very different, but the fact that we can instantly image certain concepts is very telling to what messages are being sent out through all forms of medium.
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Old 2013-08-11, 17:45   Link #20
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That's the point of contention. It's fine to say that a problem associated is also associated with other things meaning that it's a medium wide or society wide issue. However, there are heterosexual relationships that are portrayed fairly realistically in anime such as 5 cm per second I brought up previously. In other words I don't really focus on exclusively what hasn't been done, but what has.
I agree with you on the more "realistic" take on relationships that 5 Centimeters Per Second used, but that's one movie amongst thousands of anime titles. I'm sure you can give me a few more, and I might even be able to think of another one or two on my own. That's not the point, though. There is an exception to everything. I'm not trying to say that every single anime or work of fiction ever created is completely unrealistic. I'm speaking about series in general. If you don't think it's true, I suppose we could go season by season, examining the romantic elements in the various shows and tallying which ones were realistic and which ones weren't. If you lived near me, I would wager money on where the overwhelming majority of tallies would end up

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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
So this is why I don't think it's sufficient enough to say that this "flaw" (subjective) applies to other types of relationships. Because there are ones that do portray heterosexual relationships in a realistic manner. So there is still some kind of difference that exists, and I find the better topic of discussion is to think about why. And does it really matter in the long run?
I don't fully follow what you're getting at here. I'm glad that you put "flaw" in quotes and stated that it's subjective, because I wouldn't call it a flaw at all. These are works of fiction, not documentaries or studies. So the relationship isn't realistic - so what? It's also unrealistic that a nerdy guy could have multiple women craving his affection, but that doesn't stop harem-type series from stroking some sort of innate pleasure in most male viewers. It's a form of entertainment.

There are varying degrees of expectations and desires for realism in entertainment, but most people like to "get away from the world" for a bit with their entertainment forms, and a bit of fantasy is the perfect way to do it. That's one possible answer to the question of why so many works of fiction break from reality.

(As an aside, the idea of entertainment forms that don't break from reality reminds me of the film The Invention of Lying. It's a comedy that isn't terribly great, but it was an interesting concept. People who are interested may want to check it out.)

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Ah, that's actually interesting too, since I never brought it up. Of course, Japan's situation is very different, but the fact that we can instantly image certain concepts is very telling to what messages are being sent out through all forms of medium.
It goes both ways. What we see influences us, yet we're also perceiving things based around our own expectations. Authors of fiction are also presenting things from their own biases and expectations, although again there's no guarantee that the viewer will interpret or perceive it as the author intended.

As far as Japan goes, I don't know enough to say what's really going on. I've heard about how the woman tends to dominate within the family and that she handles the finances, yet occasionally you hear statements from politicians that make it seem as though the country still views women as being beneath men. Then consider that's all mainstream Japanese society, yet anime and the otaku culture are clearly not mainstream. Many anime series (or at least, series from around the mid- to late-1990's) favor strong, dominant female characters and roles to a degree that would probably be rejected by many even within mainstream western society (which arguably has more equality for women than Japan). The glorification and near-worship of femininity could be attributed to otaku themselves, who harbor desires for intimacy and yet may be too shy to actually go out and get it. Now link that into the yuri franchise, and...
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