In addition to writing about the anime industry for J-List’s blog and email newsletter, I do a lot of posting on Twitter and Facebook as a way of promoting the J-List brand and connecting with fans. When I want to unwind at the end of the day, I sometimes share the (very mildly ecchi) anime images and GIFs I’ve accumulated to Imgur, an image sharing community that’s sort of related to Reddit. It’s a general image board rather than fans who’ve gone out of their way to follow an anime company, I sometimes get blowback from “normies” who whine that anime today is all sexual in nature, and “anime was a mistake” (something Miyazaki didn’t actually say). Truth be told: I post to Imgur specifically to challenge the biases of these casual fans and maybe change a few minds along the way. But are these fans correct? Is anime perverted?
But first, a short Japanese lesson. When you aren’t used to kanji characters, they can look like jumbles of meaningless information, but they’re actually highly organized, with most characters containing other kanji (called radicals) that help group meaning and aid in looking them up in a dictionary. For example, the character for rain (雨 ame) is embedded at the top of related words, including cloud (雲 kumo), snow (雪 yuki), and lightning (雷 kaminari). A lot of kanji have the word heart (心 kokoro) on the bottom, like thought (思 omoi) and anger (怒 ikari). This “heart character on the bottom” grouping is called 下心 shita-gokoro, which is also a slang for “lower heart,” describing any kind of sexual intent. Which does describe more than a few anime studios, who aim to snare fans with pantyshots, jiggling boobs and intense sexual situations.
One important concept to understand is how confirmation bias always affects how we perceive things. A quick check of My Anime List shows no fewer than 132 new and continuing anime series in the current season of anime. (This number doesn’t count OAV or theatrical releases.) Perceptually, this season has been quite fanservice heavy, with sexy isekai elves and catgirls, busty apartment caretakers, beach volleyball butts, supernatural ghosts, hot-and-bothered swimming boys, and girls literally raining down from above through a hole in the ceiling. So, anime is perverted, right?
Not so fast. There are 132 series airing this season, but only a handful based completely around sexy and titillating situations. What if someone said there were too many sports anime on the air? I counted nine currently airing shows. There are several straight adventure shows with almost no fanservice (like Attack on Titan), several shows aimed at extreme gamers and MMORPG, and no less than seven idol series. The bottom line is, people will see what they expect to see (e.g. anime is too sexy these days), when in reality there are plenty of quality shows that don’t fall under this umbrella.
So is anime perverted? Or is it “too” perverted too much of the time? Or just right? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter!
Stress is bad. It can make you grouchy and make it hard to sleep. J-List can help manage your stress with the amazing dolphin polishers and other ero goods from Japan we stock. We’ve been on a tear, posting lots of new products to the site, including four today. See the new ecchi toys here!