A look into the 2D complex
The ides of March are understandably coming, and it’s hot as hell. Tomorrow marks the start of our final examinations, but here I am doing nothing about it and being absolutely comfortable. I wonder if my id finally dominated over my ego, but I’ve realized that I just couldn’t study â€“ even with the electric fan at its highest setting, the temperature still makes me perspire as well as sleepy. It’s very annoying, but I’d have to deal with it.
Anyway, since yesterday I’ve been pondering about the 2D Complex, and how most of us anime fans fall victim to it. This has been elaborated by Madarame in Genshiken in that anime otaku, for the most part, see what is idealized in the two-dimensional art and animation â€“ something that they could not even imagine to exist in real life.
The Book of Disquiet and sublimation
This reminds me of Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet: the persona in that book is an aesthete, and he notes in an entry (as the novel is somewhat a compilation of disjointed entries) that he likes to appreciate beauty from a distance. He likes to view human beauty (in women, most especially) from a distance, because if he tried to interact with the woman he appreciates his image towards her shatters: there is inevitably something flawed in that lady, and since he doesn’t want his ideals to be destroyed he remains distant; he sees human beauty as he sees art’s beauty â€“ perfect and untouchable.
I guess most of us anime otaku are that way. Although there are occasionally some who break free, or just aren’t so in the first place, most of us often see the women or men in real life to be flawed and too trite as well as bland, and so we try to regress to the ideals we have always appreciated â€“ the ideals of what we deem is perfect in our eyes. Because oftentimes what we deem perfect or ideal in real life is morally unacceptable, we sublimate what we like and just see it in another universe that is anime. In that universe, nothing is morally unacceptable because there are no people in it; it merely is a collection of moving pictures and occasionally outstanding art, but it contains our deepest desires that we cannot legally perform in society. Before I get too technical, though, I’m going to try and give an example.
A lot of hardcore anime fans (at least, those I’ve been exposed to in the Internet), like lolitas. If one hasn’t been buried under a rock, one can very much tell what these are. But for the convenience of anime fans who aren’t that hardcore enough, lolitas (or lolis) are girls under the age of maturity but quite near it. Girls in the age of 12 â€“ 17 often qualify for this category. Now in real life, we all know that it’s illegal to have sex with girls under the age of ‘maturity,’ (18 for a lot of countries, but that differs from country to country) but a lot of men enjoy these kinds of girls â€“ I’m not among them, though. Instead of being a real-life sexual pervert, however, most of these men simply enjoy the innuendos of anime which contains these types of girls profusely. It is socially acceptable, and does not bring with it the label of ‘pervert.’
Another example would be those who appreciate more mature women (among them would be me, I guess). In real life, most women and men past the age of thirty slowly degrade in their looks as they grow older. Some rarities still maintain their sultry and sexy bodies, but age often still decreases their attractiveness. However, most of those like me don’t go saying these things in real life, because we’d also be branded as another form of a sexual pervert as most of these more mature women are either married, with kids, or just don’t look as nubile as those ripe in age. To avoid being labeled deviants, I guess we sublimate with anime again. The ideal can be found in anime â€“ even women with children (Akiko from Kanon, Yuuji’s mom from Shakugan no Shana, Junki’s mom from Reideen) look mature enough to be nubile women, yet are much older. I’d say that we’re fixated by beauty that is not marred by age, by beauty that lasts â€“ and this is epitomized by the passage of time which is proven by the presence of children and of a more mature way of thinking.
Because, however, these types of women are impossible to possess in real life unless one breaks societal standards and because these types of women rarely exist, most of us transfer what is socially unacceptable or something that is impossible to obtain into something that can be obtained, albeit in a 2D form which is anime.
I still had more things to say but I guess I’ve forgotten all about them. Future edits may rectify this, or when commentators add something iridescent to the article that I’ve forgotten about. Until then, cheers.