Friday, February 26, 2010

Jenny Kangasvuo: Erotic Anime (a lecture)

A lecture at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, belonging to the series Cinema and Sexuality arranged by the Film Society of the Helsinki Students' Association, 26 Feb 2010.

Jenny Kangasvuo gave us the big picture of the huge phenomenon of the Japanese sex industry, one of the biggest industries in Japan and one of the biggest sex industries in the world.

In Japan the term is usually "ero" with the proper suffixes. In the West the term "hentai" is widely used, but in Japan it has the denotation of "strange, perverted".

Erotic anime is an organic part of Japanese popular culture, including manga, games and action figures. Even non-erotic characters may get "fan service" meaning erotic extra scenes or figures. In sex clubs the customer may have a date with girls dressed as characters from non-erotic anime.

Legally there is a strict censorship. 1) The Penal Code of 1947 bans the dissemination of obscene public matter, anything that violates the feeling of shame as it is commonly understood. 2) The import of obscene matter is more strictly monitored. 3) The interpretation of free speech has been changing. Until the 1970s it was not allowed to show pubic hair, and pubic hair was removed from magazines manually, or via pixelizing in the 1980s.

A Japanese specialty is the combination of sex and violence, not restricted by law, in stories and games like RapeLay. The real breakthrough of erotic (pornographic) anime was the first Lolita video series (1984), depicting rapes and torture of young girls.

In the same year, another Lolita video series (1984) was produced, with a completely different approach: it is a warm and tender depiction of a young girl's sexual awakening.

Another landmark anime series of the same year was Cream Lemon (1984) depicting incest between a sister and a brother. This series has spawned many spin-offs, and Cream Lemon has become a watchword for erotic anime.

The Urotsukidoji series (1986-) introduced fantasy to erotica: sex demons take possession, and in later episodes, hybrids of humans and demons appear. The most famous feature of the series is tentacle rape. In this series, erotic aspects are more strange, disturbing, shameful, and nauseating than arousing.

Nowadays internet is the major dissemination media of erotic anime. It enables more and more specialized distribution.

A big issue is that of the subordination of woman in anime. In anime, as the woman is subjugated, her sexuality awakens. The figure of the woman who enjoys being dominated is widespread in Japan. Fantasies with women enjoying piercing and entries by snakes are common.

In Bible Black (2005) there is the figure of the powerful Amazon woman, who is also a Futanari, a woman with both a vagina and a penis. In this generation, sexual acts are graphically portrayed, with sexual organs in extreme close-up and in full detail.

On the other side, there is the stylized current of erotic anime: the cat girls, tender and cute, always interested in play. The men may be mere Peeping Toms, Haruka boys, who are little, completely crushed figures, who cannot stand the company of women.

Porn is produced not only for heterosexual men but also for Lesbians, etc. There is also gay anime for girls, more romantic than erotic, without genitally explicit love scenes.

To sum up, erotic anime is a part of the Japanese society and media. It may be suggestive or explicit; lately, graphic explicity has been more popular.

No comments: