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Post Reply Sex & Sexual Content - Society's view, the Industry's view, & Your view
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Posted 4/18/15

PsychedelicFear wrote:


LoomyTheBrew wrote:

Can there really be no grey area?


There is a gray area, Seinen. The reason not much content is in the gray area its exactly because of that — it's a GRAY area. It's not black and white. It's much easier as a producer or creator to make something black or white, then to fret over where the boundary is drawn; Because in the end of the day the only audience that'll be enjoying the heavier shades of gray is the same audience that CAN watch hentai, not the ones that hentai isn't appropriate to.


He's talking about the black and white of "full-on porn" and "no kissing allowed". There's a lot of anime that seems to be afraid of showing teenagers/young adults kissing each other. If you don't have a problem with that, that's fine, but I think the crux of the argument is that this type of presentation is not exactly any more healthy than the other extreme.
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Posted 4/18/15
A good topic, Loomy.


LoomyTheBrew wrote:

Here's some basic questions to help get you thinking about the topic:
- For visual novels, is it too black and white? It's either All Ages with some times zero sexual content at all (including kissing) or an adult version with really graphic sex scenes. Is it not possible to have a moderate sex scene without going overboard?


I think several visual novels actually feature the option to toggle their sexually graphic scenes on and off, and that seems like a fairly good compromise as is. More visual novels should offer that option, though I personally wouldn't use it since I'm not troubled by graphic sexual content. Given that, I think it's fine to distribute "clean" versions which have had the graphic sexual content excised entirely, though I think removing fairly innocuous things like kissing and hugging would be going too far.


- In animes, some studios will avoid showing kissing despite the anime being a romance anime/having a fairly relevant romance subplot. Does this bug you? Why or why not.


It really depends partly on whether we're talking about a fairly innocuous kiss or full-on snogging, and further whether the work avoids showing kissing for some artistically meaningful or rational reason. I'd call into question a decision to avoid showing a peck on the cheek or lips for no meaningful artistic reason, but I'd completely understand the decision to avoid showing a make out session in order to ensure that one's work makes it onto nationally syndicated airwaves during a given set of target hours.

As an example of an artistically meaningful reason to exclude kissing of any sort (even pecks on the cheek) from a work, consider that doing so calls the audience's attention to its absence and establishes the importance of its presence for romantic social bonding. In essence, the absence of kissing is potentially jarring enough to remind the audience of how important such a simple gesture is, and how incomplete a relationship can feel without it.


- Why is violence allowed to be shown in its full glory and then something like consensual sex is frowned upon by the media and some times viewers (in both Japan and in the USA)? Is sex somehow worse than murdering someone?


I expect it's largely informed by a concern that such material might be exposed to people beneath an age where sex, its risks, its potential implications for relationships, and so on could be properly understood if they were simply laid bare all at once. That doesn't resolve the double standard between violence and sex, both of which can have very severe consequences, have the potential to significantly impact relationships, and so on, but I'm pretty sure that's the reasoning behind the sex thing.

I'm for age-appropriate comprehensive sex education throughout child rearing so that these ideas can be better understood and are already comfortable and familiar subjects once they begin to become particularly important (about the onset of puberty). Furthermore, I think it actually does children a disservice to disregard the fact that they are already genuinely interested in subjects such as where they came from, what differences between the sexes are (and why they exist), and so on. You don't tell them any more than they could understand at the time, but it does no good to pretend they couldn't understand any part of these issues at all. Kids are smarter and tougher than people often give them credit for.


- Why is sex so taboo? Is there a reason for this?


It depends on what culture you're looking at for the why of it (or if it's even the case that sex is taboo). Even then, the particulars of that taboo will vary widely. Ancient Chinese Taoists opposed masturbation because they believed that it depleted men of their energy and damaged their health, for instance.


- Is sex becoming more acceptable in society's eyes? Is our entertainment media including or referencing it more often? Are people getting more used to it?


That's a good research question, and I can't say I know the empirical record on the matter well enough to provide an accurate answer. Based on my personal perception, however, sex positivity seems to be on the rise.


- What are some examples of animes/VNs/mangas that use sexual content well? What are ones that use it poorly?


Girl Friends is a fine example of a yuri manga which addresses the matter of lesbianism respectfully and believably, and so I would strongly recommend it. I'd also point to Ai Yori Aoshi for a harem series which, while nevertheless chock full of sexual content which doesn't serve any purpose other than being fan service, at least constructs an interesting and engaging set of main protagonists for us to follow and gives them meaningful encounters as well.

Najica: Blitz Tactics is an interesting example of an ecchi anime in that I actually suspect it's reasonable to call the series a parody of the genre's staple tropes. There's sufficient time and thought devoted to getting upskirt shots to appear as much as possible that it's reasonable to have this suspicion.

Visual novels which have cardboard cutout characters and break down these characters' relationships to little more than one sex act linked to the next by a bit of inconsequential dialogue are what I'd call a poor use, while those which actually put in the work to build up relationships between their characters and make them out to be people instead of living tropes are what I'd call good since this makes their sexual interaction meaningful. It's always a shame when a poor one pops up, but especially when otherwise interesting premises are wasted on them.


- Do you not like sexual content: sex, kissing, hugging, etc? Do you wish it was shown less?


It's simply another part of the story to me if it's used well. I neither object to its presence nor encourage its increase. Of course, works using sexual content poorly as I've defined it have a right to exist as well, and still offer at least some artistic merit. It's just not as much.


- Fanservice: Do you like it? Hate it? Depends on how it's used?


It would depend on how it's used. As I said earlier, fan service is used to great comedic effect in Najica: Blitz Tactics. It's what makes the work stand out.


- Fanservice vs sexual content? Is there a difference?


Sexual fan service is always sexual content, but sexual content isn't always fan service.


- Can there be no such thing as "eroge anime" without completely going into hentai level of stupidity in the plot and characters?


Sure there can.


- Do you find it strange that a lot of ecchi-harem shows have no actual sex? Not even implied?


Some people prefer works to keep things strictly softcore, with no intercourse. The works you describe take that preference into account.

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Posted 4/18/15

imaginarycreatures wrote:


PsychedelicFear wrote:


LoomyTheBrew wrote:

Can there really be no grey area?


There is a gray area, Seinen. The reason not much content is in the gray area its exactly because of that — it's a GRAY area. It's not black and white. It's much easier as a producer or creator to make something black or white, then to fret over where the boundary is drawn; Because in the end of the day the only audience that'll be enjoying the heavier shades of gray is the same audience that CAN watch hentai, not the ones that hentai isn't appropriate to.


He's talking about the black and white of "full-on porn" and "no kissing allowed". There's a lot of anime that seems to be afraid of showing teenagers/young adults kissing each other. If you don't have a problem with that, that's fine, but I think the crux of the argument is that this type of presentation is not exactly any more healthy than the other extreme.


And as I said, there are things that fall into every shade of that gray scale.
Posted 4/18/15 , edited 4/18/15
I am not even going to dignify this aggressive approach of yours since it doesn't help to further the discussion in any way. All the parts I didn't address are things I talked about in one of my previous two posts, so go back to them if you're interested in my opinion.


PsychedelicFear wrote:

You quoted me then proceeded to say, the above, "Nobody is talking about..." the continued to say exactly what I was talking about. I wasn't talking about a moderate display of affection — I wasn't even talking about sexuality in terms of preference or whatever. I was talking about plain and simple sex. In my post I said "having it overly sexual wouldn't do it any favors for either mass appeal or simply being comfortable talking about it." and I don't think how I can be more clear about the fact that I wasn't simply talking about " the bond that two people share by having them kiss, hug and go to bed with each other" as you suggested.


You clearly misunderstood who I was referring to when I used the word "nobody". I was simply talking about the person who started this thread and other people who might share the same mindset, which includes me. I read your post, don't worry. It's just a saying. Should have probably been "Nobody is asking for ..." instead, sorry for the confusion


PsychedelicFear wrote:

And you said violence isn't something we encounter in our daily lives. You know that's bullshit, right? Everywhere from slang, to television, to ancient texts, to new novels, to several career choices (military, police, security) to SPORTS violence is a thing that's everywhere. Not only that, but people are violent to each other. Bullying, mugging, etc. I don't know if you live in a suburb where everything is perfect, but to me, at least, it's a very real reality, even in the extremes — I live in New Jersey, if you're wondering.


Now, again, you clearly misunderstood what I meant when I used the term "daily life". I'd never include such things as the intake of fiction into the term "daily life", since that is a thing we specifically do in order to escape said life. And as you probably read, I was referring to most people. Sure, there are people who work a job that requires dealing with violence as there are people that are forced to face such things on a daily basis thanks to poverty, bad luck and so on, but when looking at the viewer base for Manga, Anime and Visual Novels, such people are a pretty small minority.
And no, I don't live in a suburb. I live right in the center of a city filled with two million people. And I don't encounter violence on a regular basis, neither do most people I know. I know nothing about New Jersey and if you have to deal with such things, I am sorry for that, but I'm pretty confident in saying that to most people, who tend to consume the media we're talking about, violence is a far more fictional and unrealistic thing than sex is.


LoomyTheBrew wrote:

You nailed it, absolutely nailed it.


You stop this, we agree so often lately, it's getting creepy
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Posted 4/18/15

PsychedelicFear wrote:


imaginarycreatures wrote:

He's talking about the black and white of "full-on porn" and "no kissing allowed". There's a lot of anime that seems to be afraid of showing teenagers/young adults kissing each other. If you don't have a problem with that, that's fine, but I think the crux of the argument is that this type of presentation is not exactly any more healthy than the other extreme.


And as I said, there are things that fall into every shade of that gray scale.


I'm guessing, but I think he was being hyperbolic to make a point. Obviously not everything is one or the other.

To use one example, Clannad is heavily built around the relationship between two young people that fall in love, get married, and have a child. The extent of their romantic interactions is a kiss, and they hold hands a couple of times. While showing the two of them actively engaging in baby-making is neither necessary, nor dramatically appropriate to the story, it is a little weird that interactions are more similar to a couple of elementary school kids playing house than a married couple in love with a baby on the way. The chastity of the relationship is a little discordant with the what the story wants you to believe.

At least in my opinion, that type of all-aging actually hurts the storytelling. It makes their relationship seem childish. You don't need nudity or sex, but the extreme level to which their relationship is made "kid-friendly" isn't necessary either.

So, yes, not everything *is* black and white, but there is enough stuff out there that is white-washed at the expense of the actual story that it is a topic to explore.

Perhaps it is rewording the question originally asked, or maybe this is me asking a new question, but: To what degree do you think sexuality should be portrayed in a work aimed at...let's say an audience of 12 or older? Is kissing okay? Making out? Laying in bed together? Implicit references to sex having occurred off-screen?
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Posted 4/18/15

- For visual novels, is it too black and white? It's either All Ages with some times zero sexual content at all (including kissing) or an adult version with really graphic sex scenes. Is it not possible to have a moderate sex scene without going overboard?


Don't read VN's so no comment.


- In animes, some studios will avoid showing kissing despite the anime being a romance anime/having a fairly relevant romance subplot. Does this bug you? Why or why not.


I can't really say it bugs me though in some cases I can say I would've preferred to have kissing if the scene calls for it.


- Why is violence allowed to be shown in its full glory and then something like consensual sex is frowned upon by the media and some times viewers (in both Japan and in the USA)? Is sex somehow worse than murdering someone?


Cringe factor and adjusting the main point of a work. On the latter point implied/heavily implied sex can fix it since the main focus is still on the story rather than whether you're getting to see T&A. Also certain types of sex (rape) are just wrong to even come close to putting in a service-y light.


- Why is sex so taboo? Is there a reason for this?


Again cringe-factor and it having the effect of taking away from the focus on the main plot. I'll take an implied sex scene over a detailed one because with the prior the focus will still be on the plot.


- Is sex becoming more acceptable in society's eyes? Is our entertainment media including or referencing it more often? Are people getting more used to it?


Not sure, though I'd hope that even if it does become acceptable it has boundaries. I don't want to see a good romance story turned into a sex (fanservice) p.o.s. that revolves around how many scenes they can put in. Romance is about more than sex, last thing needed is to push the image that it is.


- What are some examples of animes/VNs/mangas that use sexual content well? What are ones that use it poorly?

Good: Horimiya (manga), Cavalier of the Abyss (manwha), Shin Sekai Yori (anime), Psycho Pass (anime), Ghost in the Shell: SAC (anime)
Poorly (or more in a fanservice way): Shin Sekai Yori (manga), Wolf Guy-Emblem of the Wolf (manga), Fate Stay Night-Deen (anime), and some others I probably can't think of atm maybe will add more later point.


- Do you not like sexual content: sex, kissing, hugging, etc? Do you wish it was shown less?


I'd rather not have detailed sex scenes (there's hentai for that), but if its an implied sex scene I welcome it. Kissing & hugging imo shouldn't be put in the same category at all.


- Fanservice: Do you like it? Hate it? Depends on how it's used?

Depends on the context, genre, and amount used. If a person is fighting against whatever and their clothing is damaged during said fight then that's fitting and logical thus no issue. If its only a few shower scenes with actual dialogue going on then okay. If its every episode has +5 or more upskirt shots then we have an issue.


- Fanservice vs sexual content? Is there a difference?

There is a difference but usually the two are connected at least 1-way anyway. If someone is having sex then they're most likely nude thus showing service shots, however fanservice doesn't need sex thus the '1-way' type.


- Can there be no such thing as "eroge anime" without completely going into hentai level of stupidity in the plot and characters?


I don't see why an eroge anime can't have a good story and characters. Can you have an anime where its filled with detailed sex and not call it an eroge? For me, no.


- Do you find it strange that a lot of ecchi-harem shows have no actual sex? Not even implied?
Really depends on the context of the show and if while watching it I get the feeling that it should go there. I rarely if ever think 'those characters should totally be having sex'.
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Posted 4/18/15
I liked the Kaichou wa maid-sama anime, not sure if that qualifies as a good romantic work. I get the feeling it probably doesn't, but it was entertaining and had a kiss in it.
And I didn't watch through Please teacher because I found the characters infuriating. Like, if you're going to kiss, kiss, don't try and wave a kiss scene in front of me when I know it isn't happening.


Perhaps I don't understand something here, but to me it sounds like he's being used for sex and happens to be inferring a relationship from that despite her saying it means nothing.
I can think of at least one irl conversation I overheard a girl have about sleeping with a guy and being annoyed because he thought it meant something.
Besides, don't guys like to sleep with girls and then get annoyed when the girl assumes a relationship? Isn't this a thing? I mean, pardon my lack of experience, but to me it sounds like he's being used, so he turned yandere stalker for senpai or something.
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Posted 4/18/15

Nobodyofimportance wrote:

I liked the Kaichou wa maid-sama anime, not sure if that qualifies as a good romantic work. I get the feeling it probably doesn't, but it was entertaining and had a kiss in it.
And I didn't watch through Please teacher because I found the characters infuriating. Like, if you're going to kiss, kiss, don't try and wave a kiss scene in front of me when I know it isn't happening.


Perhaps I don't understand something here, but to me it sounds like he's being used for sex and happens to be inferring a relationship from that despite her saying it means nothing.
I can think of at least one irl conversation I overheard a girl have about sleeping with a guy and being annoyed because he thought it meant something.
Besides, don't guys like to sleep with girls and then get annoyed when the girl assumes a relationship? Isn't this a thing? I mean, pardon my lack of experience, but to me it sounds like he's being used, so he turned yandere stalker for senpai or something.


I was describing the story in vague details to avoid going into spoilers, but if you want to know:

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serifsansserif wrote:

I think this is honestly getting waaaaaaaaaaaay too analytical for something that's really simple.

Some people are for more sex, cause they still want to see fucking, and for some reason, do not turn to porn or their partner like the rest of us, and some people are ok with with sex as long as it's treated like a seasoning or a special "treat", and think the media has saturated itself much like adding 3lbs of salt to a pot of soup, and then there's the third puritanical point of view that wants everything to seem like disney.


Yeah pretty much, it is as simple as how much you approve or disapprove. I try not to fall in any, but at the end of the day you like it or dislike it a certain amount and have a limit how much of it you want or can tolerate. It is just those two variables, how intense and how much/frequent.

Okay now my general thoughts for everyone.

The people who say oh this sort of thing hurts anime ect. It isn't necessary or it doesn't add anything. Okay so personally when I think of any part of a anime, you can almost always say was that necessary? It is necessary to whatever your target audience is. if you wanna get those people who like that stuff to watch it you better put it in. The vn market is very harsh on non r-18, Fate/stay night took a long road from vn to the anime it will be/is today. How come they didn't start with no r-18? simple the vn market is just like that, less risky. Now that they are in the anime market they feel like it would hurt them more than help simple. The non r-18 change was made at the console port phase, where you have to be successful without 18+ stuff. It made it over that hurdle and many others and ended up as the anime it is today. They set it up so that if would be successful in multiple markets/demographics. I am assuming there is quite a bit of moe cut from the anime, can't say for sure though since I didn't read the vn, cause they seem to be targeting the action group and not the moe crowd as much. The deen anime was much more moe if I remember correctly.
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Posted 4/18/15

BlueOni wrote:

A good topic, Loomy.




Wow, this was a really well thought out response. Thank you for that! I want to respond to the whole thing, but I don't even really know where to start..... I'll respond to these two points for now:

It really depends partly on whether we're talking about a fairly innocuous kiss or full-on snogging, and further whether the work avoids showing kissing for some artistically meaningful or rational reason. I'd call into question a decision to avoid showing a peck on the cheek or lips for no meaningful artistic reason, but I'd completely understand the decision to avoid showing a make out session in order to ensure that one's work makes it onto nationally syndicated airwaves during a given set of target hours.

As an example of an artistically meaningful reason to exclude kissing of any sort (even pecks on the cheek) from a work, consider that doing so calls the audience's attention to its absence and establishes the importance of its presence for romantic social bonding. In essence, the absence of kissing is potentially jarring enough to remind the audience of how important such a simple gesture is, and how incomplete a relationship can feel without it.


This is an interesting point. Seems like you and I agree that if there isn't a good artistic reason to not include the kissing then we'd raise an eyebrow and could possibly consider it awkward/strange. However, if there's a good reason then I could understand, I would say Nagi is a good example of a show having no kisses for good reasons (though one relationship should have had it towards the end, but oh well). Nagi's whole purpose was to focus on why we love people and how we deal with it internally, not so much on the relationship itself. It was about finding love and respecting it. So if it's because of a reason like that then I can be ok with it.

And it it's because of the time it's airing and what station it's on, then I guess there's no helping it. Still, there's ways to work around it: Look at Evangelion with Misato and her sex scene with Kaji.


I expect it's largely informed by a concern that such material might be exposed to people beneath an age where sex, its risks, its potential implications for relationships, and so on could be properly understood if they were simply laid bare all at once. That doesn't resolve the double standard between violence and sex, both of which can have very severe consequences, have the potential to significantly impact relationships, and so on, but I'm pretty sure that's the reasoning behind the sex thing.

I'm for age-appropriate comprehensive sex education throughout child rearing so that these ideas can be better understood and are already comfortable and familiar subjects once they begin to become particularly important (about the onset of puberty). Furthermore, I think it actually does children a disservice to disregard the fact that they are already genuinely interested in subjects such as where they came from, what differences between the sexes are (and why they exist), and so on. You don't tell them any more than they could understand at the time, but it does no good to pretend they couldn't understand any part of these issues at all. Kids are smarter and tougher than people often give them credit for.


Ya, I think you have a point when saying that a part of it has to do with protecting the young (at least in America). But like you said, I think it's a disservice to kids because shielding from a reality like sex isn't going to help anyone. I really appreciate my school because they taught us sex ed in 5th grade. Granted, I was already watching porn in 4th grade , but I still respect they introduced it to us as a unit at a relatively young age.

Shielding I don't think helps anyone really. It's best to explain in a way that they can understand, like you said, kids are tough.

PS: I put some of those shows and that manga on my to do list.
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Posted 4/18/15 , edited 4/18/15

Okocha119 wrote:

You stop this, we agree so often lately, it's getting creepy




Saber is still better than Sakura


Okocha119 wrote:

And no, I don't live in a suburb. I live right in the center of a city filled with two million people. And I don't encounter violence on a regular basis, neither do most people I know. I know nothing about New Jersey and if you have to deal with such things, I am sorry for that, but I'm pretty confident in saying that to most people, who tend to consume the media we're talking about, violence is a far more fictional and unrealistic thing than sex is.


This is very true. I live in a college town and go to college. I can say, I don't see too much mugging, cars exploding, people getting stabbed, or limps flying off, too often (aka I never see it lol). Sports can be violent, but it's something that's controlled and monitored so we feel ok watching it. Sports I think is a good example how we get used to some violence since it's held so highly, but sports-violence is a lot different than say police-violence. Generally, no one is going to get shot in a football/futbol game.

But as a college kid you know what I encounter a lot? Sex and sexual activities. It is everywhere and is talked about by almost everyone. I engage in it, my roommates do, and the people living across from us do too. You go to parties, meet some girls, get their numbers, and sometimes in the same night you can get lucky. It happens every weekend whether you go out or not, someone is engaging in it and it's easy to get involved in it. Sexual activity is all around us, I see couples holding hands throughout campus and even see them making out. I'm not seeing people getting punched in the face when I walk around campus. Even back in my high school town (small town btw), it was going on. Young people are exposed to sexual deeds all the time, it's a completely normal thing in the majority of people's lives. So you are correct on that Okochan.
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Posted 4/18/15

imaginarycreatures wrote:

I was describing the story in vague details to avoid going into spoilers, but if you want to know:



Ya, that would definitely hurt the story by taking out the sex. Also, the girl's problems kind of sound similar to how Emi was in Katawa Shoujo.
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Posted 4/18/15 , edited 4/18/15

LoomyTheBrew wrote:


imaginarycreatures wrote:

I was describing the story in vague details to avoid going into spoilers, but if you want to know:



Ya, that would definitely hurt the story by taking out the sex. Also, the girl's problems kind of sound similar to how Emi was in Katawa Shoujo.


It's actually quite similar to Emi's route from Katawa Shoujo. (Odd side note: Emi was my grandmother's name. It isn't a super common Japanese name, at least in fiction, so that weirded me out a bit at the time. Still liked the story.)

Overall, If My Heart Had Wings is one of the better VNs at using sex scenes to develop the character's relationships, which is probably why it was so loved by fans in Japan. Unfortunately, you need a patch to the English language version to put them back in, and, well, the translation is pretty rough, if comprehensible.

Other VNs that integrate sex well into the plot/characterizations: ef- a fairy tale of the two, Cross*Channel, Yume Miru Kusuri, Shuffle!, and some of the routes in Grisaia no Kajitsu.


Okocha119 wrote:

Now, again, you clearly misunderstood what I meant when I used the term "daily life". I'd never include such things as the intake of fiction into the term "daily life", since that is a thing we specifically do in order to escape said life. And as you probably read, I was referring to most people. Sure, there are people who work a job that requires dealing with violence as there are people that are forced to face such things on a daily basis thanks to poverty, bad luck and so on, but when looking at the viewer base for Manga, Anime and Visual Novels, such people are a pretty small minority.
And no, I don't live in a suburb. I live right in the center of a city filled with two million people. And I don't encounter violence on a regular basis, neither do most people I know. I know nothing about New Jersey and if you have to deal with such things, I am sorry for that, but I'm pretty confident in saying that to most people, who tend to consume the media we're talking about, violence is a far more fictional and unrealistic thing than sex is.


I can do you one better than this. When I first moved to Reno, I was pretty poor, and lived in a gang neighborhood. The kinda place where the police would occasionally be around warning you not to leave your apartment. The kinda place where people were scared to visit...and I still saw far, far more groping, making out, and even public acts of sex than I even heard gunshots, much less saw people getting shot.
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Posted 4/18/15
Honestly, I prefer stories without sex, and without much fan-service for that matter.

Hunter x Hunter, Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist, Silver Spoon, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Psycho-Pass, Baccano.

All the best animes are almost completely void of sex or sex appeal.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not a prude. I just think that the idea of sex actually takes away from a story. It's nothing more than a distraction most of the time.


The one exception to this is Kangoku Gakuen / Prison School. The reason for this is though, that series is sex incarnate. It's not a distraction to some further plot, it is the plot. I mean the story is friggin high-school boys going through weird hot S&M torture while doing stealth tactics that would make Solid Snake proud just so they don't get expelled and can participate in a wet T-shirt contest with a school made up 99% of girls.
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Posted 4/18/15
I just realized that, even though I've responded to others, I haven't really set my own thoughts out.

First off, I'll start with some basics. I'm in my mid-30's, I was active in the rave scene in my teenage years, and, well, I've "seen some shit". I honestly don't view sex as inherently being precious, meaningful, or romantic, since I've seen enough, positive and negative, to fill a book. So take my views with a grain of salt.

I don't know that there's enough consistency in how expressions of sexuality are executed to say for certain how "the industry" treats it. Overall, I'd say that there's this weird mix of puritanical representations of romance in most shonen series, a sublimation of sexual urges into violence in a lot of series aimed at older audiences, and use of sexual imagery in a somewhat vapid manner primarily for titillation. None of these are inherently bad, but they're probably over-represented in the overall anime space, and I think sexuality should be more honestly expressed in all media, in which I'd include anime.

It's a hard discussion to have, because if you say that you think sexuality should be more honestly expressed in media, people tend to assume you mean more "titty shows". That's not what I mean, however. What I mean is that stories that are of a nature where sex would naturally be a reasonable direction for the story to go, I would prefer that they deal with it in a manner closer to how actual human beings deal with it.

Too often, especially in fan service shows, male characters are often portrayed as either oblivious to or downright terrified of feminine sexuality. I know that the reason why is because the story would be straight-up pornographic if he started boning every girl that's throwing themselves at him. At the same time...if you've created a scenario where the rational behavior of the character literally makes the story impossible to exist in its current form, there might be a problem with your story. If you want to make porn, that's fine, but creating a story like Sekirei where there is pretty much no reasonable explanation for why he *wouldn't* be having sex with at least one of the characters (if not several) is kinda ridiculous.

At the same time, the shows do exist as mindless entertainment, and can be fun in their own right. And, quite frankly, getting upset at the fact that the show is all about panty shots and breasts is counterproductive, since that's pretty much what the series exists to do. It would be like me going into a "Saw" movie and freaking out about all the torture. I personally hate seeing scenes of torture, but, well, if other people want to, at least they have someplace they can do it.

But we're not really here to talk about ecchi shows and fan service specifically, so....

To use an example that is one of the executions of sexuality in anime/manga in my opinion, and is not graphic, there's NANA. The series starts with a character travelling to Tokyo to maintain a relationship with a married older man, who is obviously using her for sex. As the series continues, it deals with sex in a variety of ways, from long-term, committed relationships, to a character essentially prostituting himself to women, to marriage and pregnancy, to discussions of birth control. The manga has a little bit of nudity, but it definitely isn't the focus of the story. It's sort of my ideal vision of how sex should be dealt with in anime.

A more graphic example that does this well is the visual novel School Days (the anime does as well, but in a slightly...different way). This VN has a lot of different branching paths, many of which involve sex, but they are tremendously varied in their contexts. Some of the scenes are transactional, some are designed to provoke jealousy, some are about love, some about guilt, some about revenge. Some end with pregnancy, and some (infamously) end with murder. It's tremendously melodramatic, but in a manner that's still somewhat believable. What I think makes it so strong is that it doesn't apply a "one size fits all" rubric to all sexual encounters, and it portrays the physical act of sex in a much more believable way than almost any other story of its type I've ever seen (there's actually a scene involving premature ejaculation, a situation that's very realistic for a virgin about to get laid for the first time).

Neither of these are necessarily the only types of romances that need exist. The actual contents of the work should dictate the level of sexual content that is present. For some stories, it shouldn't move past kissing/making out. For some, a simple "fade to black" as the characters move to the bed/futon would suffice. For others, maybe it makes sense for actual act of foreplay/sex to be shown; some stories are actually *about* sex, or have sex as a major plot point, after all. It's entirely based on the situation.

That said, if some measure of ecchi content is in a story, and it makes sense in the context of the story, I honestly don't care. And if people do care, and get offended or disgusted or repulsed...it's probably a good thing. Art should always make somebody uncomfortable; if everyone is satisfied, there's probably something wrong.
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