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Old 2015-05-02, 02:11   Link #1
Sonicfanx1
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Join Date: Jan 2015
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Exclamation Thoughts on the sexualization of anime characters

I don't know if this thread can be considered NSFW, but yeah, you're here so you know what you're getting yourself into.

Several days ago, my friend who hates anime (or simply does not like and does not enjoy it), asked me a question:

Why does Japan sexualize "cartoon characters" so much.

He goes on to ask the same thing in regards to hentai (as in the "genre", not the word), adding that he won't actually fap to said material because "it is basically a drawing of a naked girl, basically pedophilia" (to which I replied with: The legal age to have intercourse in Japan is 13). This gave me the idea for this thread and I wanted to know why people...fap to drawings of naked girls.

My other friend had an interesting explanation. He said that it was more "realistic" compared to other cartoons such as Sponge Bob and Simpsons. He said said that people do sexualize those franchises as well and that anime, they way the characters are drawn are more realistic compared to others.

I commented with cloppers but we won't have a MLP war in here.

So, my small story is done here and I want to hear your thoughts on the matter. I want an answer on at least one of these subjects:

1) Why can people enjoy hentai.
2) What makes hentai fappable.
3) The difference between anime sexualization and (other) cartoon sexualization
4) Does Japan over do their fanservice?
5) Drawn VS Real Life

Note: When I say other cartoon sexualization, I can refer to fanservice in general or fan-made art that depicts intercourse between two characters.

Thanks for remaining civil about this, I know that this might be a tough topic to talk about but whatever happens in this thread, stays in this thread.

Or it might outright be deleted and get me banned. In that case, it has been a pleasure talking with you.
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Old 2015-05-02, 03:41   Link #2
relentlessflame
 
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This topic, the way it's laid out in the opening post, is way too flammable and loaded as stated to promote a balanced discussion, so I'm afraid I'm going to lock the thread.

But rather than just banish it outright, I figured why not give you some of my own answers, as someone who has collected an ungodly amount of eroge over the years and isn't absolutely ashamed of the sexual aspect (though I don't really like most "hentai anime", personally).


First of all, the most important thing to keep in mind is that this is fantasy, and anime characters aren't real. A healthy, developed adult is able to properly distinguish fantasy from reality. Just as people can play violent video games but not have any desire or inclination to kill anyone in real life, people can enjoy erotic anime-style content without ever desiring to live out the same fantasies in real life or even being sexually-attracted to real-life equivalents that might exist. Unhealthy people who would commit crimes in real life may also seek out fantasy material, but correlation is not causation.

Aside from this, you might as well start by asking why people seek out porn in the first place, no matter the style. It's a way of feeding a part of the brain that seeks and finds pleasure in sexual fantasy/imagination. No matter whether the characters are real life, animated, static drawing, or simply a text description, it's just a level of abstraction for the fantasy/"dream" in your head. And the fantasies you seek out can build upon past experiences and create patterns/connections in your head that progress over time. If you encounter something once and find it attractive/intriguing, you might continue to seek it out until it forms a bit of an imprint in your head. Over time, you may begin to find that sort of stimulation much more appealing/exciting than other kinds. So, if you were exposed to anime and it clicked with your brain, this could easily extend branch into sexual fantasies too as you get exposed to that, and cause you to continue to seek out that form of fantasy. For some people it will click, and for others it won't, and I'm not sure if there's really a simple explanation for it beyond just the way we're wired and the various factors that influence our development.

People can develop all sorts of arguably "abnormal" sexual fetishes, because it's just related to the various connections that occur in the brain. The main difference is that there isn't necessarily an entire culture that grows to support/extend that particular connection. There's an entire porn industry for real-life porn because it's probably the most common/literal connection people make. But enough people have made the connection with anime-style art that a niche industry has formed around that too, and this takes many people by surprise. Part of the reason is that some cultures have a bit more of a "shame culture" around porn, so it's something that people just don't talk about or show in the open. But Akiba culture is very visible and "out there", and this makes some people uncomfortable. If it were just some hidden thing that nobody ever saw and only those in the know could partake in, it's more likely that most wouldn't care so long as no one gets hurt -- after all, this is generally how it is with other "private" fetishes. But the fact that people can see it so visibly, not understand it, and feel vaguely troubled by it (since it's "not normal") is what results in some of the consternation.

Some forms of artistic expression aren't legal in all parts of the world due to differing cultural standards/viewpoints, and this too plays into some of the angst on this topic. Some cultures restrict the sort of fantasy life their citizens can partake in, in an effort to preserve the "greater good of society" (according to their own definition). When we're in this melting pot of a world, it can be difficult to reconcile these different views and come to some sort of understanding that what one group deems bad for their society, another group deems okay for their society, and neither view is necessarily purely right or wrong. That being said, some people feel very strongly about the subject and in some cases may feel a genuine sense of concern about it, so this makes it extremely difficult to have a balanced conversation, even on a forum like this. (Of course, to be clear, we're talking only about pure fiction/fantasy here, and not cases where actual human beings are involved or hurt in the depicted story.)

Whether Japan overdoes its fanservice is entirely subjective, and I think there's no good answer. The degree of sexual expression in anime and its related media are part of what make the overall industry/scene unique compared to other cultures and industries. I personally believe that artists should be free to express themselves, and that if people feel that there's too much of one thing and not enough of another, it's an opportunity for others to rise to the challenge and provide what's lacking. Perhaps that's a bit idealistic, but I think this is preferable to any attitude that seeks to restrict creative freedom by force, since it often results in rebellion and a push further underground. (Note: Sometimes some of the pressure that's exerted is precisely to force a certain "undesirable element" deeper underground and make it less visible, so that it causes less of stir. But this also can have a side-effect of impeding artistic freedom by making it less likely that certain projects/ideas get funding or are able to find an audience.)


So all this to say... I suspect that why Japan "sexualizes cartoon characters so much" is just because a connection was formed in the minds of enough people that demand was created, and Japanese society created the sort of culture and situation where this demand could be met in a visible, organized way. If that connection was never made in someone, they probably won't understand it and may well find it weird. Some may even find it disturbing, particularly if they try to convert and understand it through a lens they're more familiar with (i.e. the lens of real life). But fantasy isn't always designed to be converted into reality, and that isn't necessarily the intention. Many of the tropes, archetypes, and constructs in anime culture are obvious exaggerations and distortions that could never exist in real life -- nor would people be attracted to them if they were! It's just an abstraction for a dream that exists for its own purpose; enjoying the dream doesn't preclude most people from waking up and living their life.


---

Well, you wanted a study, and you got my editorial. I'm not necessarily opposed to having a discussion about this topic, but I'm not sure that an open forum like this one is the best way. I think there's room for opinions on both side, but past experience shows that it will degrade into flamebait in no time. Perhaps we could find some way of having a moderated conversation where posters/posts need to be approved or something. I'm open to suggestions if people would like to offer it (send me a PM or VM). But for the time being, absent a better solution, I'm going to close this thread.
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