[SFW] Let’s talk about hentai: Taimanin Asagi and the transcendence of love

For now, allow me to be irreverent.

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One of the lessons in Yotsuba& is to learn from everything. I’m trying to do just that.

No, I am still a Catholic. No, I still believe and hold my God sacred (despite everything). I pertain to the irreverence of discussing hentai (hello Mr. Krafft-Ebbing!). Hentai is often a word no one speaks of or talks about. It’s not a bad word, but it’s taken by most people to be perverse, evil, and stupid.

I have no qualms with those claims: for the most part, they’re not wrong. Hentai was created to be perverse and to arouse. It is the Japanese animated counterpart to live-action pornography (as if no one knew that, but still). It cannot be denied, however, that hentai is also anime.

I had trod this path before, albeit in a more humorous manner: I talked about The Rapeman as an underappreciated anime series, and its uniqueness from the more common negative and violent hentai series.

Yeah, I’m totally serious in this post.

Just a few days ago, one of my favorite series, Taimanin Asagi, ended. In typical Teruaki Murakami fashion, the series was filmed in the manner that Cloverfield was: it was shaky, fast-paced, violent, and of course, perverse.

I won’t wash my hands and say that I download and watch hentai for the advancement of science: on the contrary, I download hentai to be aroused (and to do whatever comes afterward). I just don’t like stopping there, as in my spare time I also like to dissect plot, even in hentai. The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau is a fin-de-siecle classic, yet it is also a novel replete with depravity and perversion. Depravity and perversion, I argue, does not connote stupidity. Also, meaning, after all, is infinite.

The final episode of Taimanin Asagi, along with a plethora of sex scenes (as is given in any hentai series), disappointed a lot of people (including me, at first): it had a ‘happy’ ending in the sense that Asagi and Sakura triumphed over sexual bondage despite being imprisoned in a bordello of blood (and other bodily fluids). This was a point of contention among many avid fans of Asagi: quite a few people desired the tragic ending for both Asagi and her sister. They believed that the ‘experiences’ that the sisters have undergone should have broken them as people.

They have stated good points, but they have disregarded the fact that Asagi and Sakura were ninja (despite Naruto, and whatnot). They have also understated the power of love. (Yes, I said it.)

At first I was also disappointed: there was an obvious lack of sensual scenes when compared to the previous episodes (lecherous boy!). After some thought, however, their decision to flesh out the plot was very admirable; it was a decision that rebelled against the status quo endings of hentai, and this decision was what set Asagi apart from most hentai series: I don’t often see endings where the protagonists triumph over the inexplicable and overwhelming evil that they are challenged with. It was a fresh breath of air.

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Because we can never have too much cuteness. :3

Whether in hentai or in anime, I’m always fond of the endings that focus on, if not magnify, the power of love: it is no coincidence that one of my favorite quotes in life comes from Ren in DearS: ‘LOVE POWER WILL SAVE THE UNIVERSE!

The transcendence of true love is a spectacle I could never get bored of: it is also no coincidence that Honey and Clover, Tsukihime, Maison Ikkoku and Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru) are my most favorite anime series. Despite the brutal spectacle that Asagi and Sakura had to face, it was their love and forbearance despite the mishaps that have happened to them that have allowed them to persevere despite odds nigh insurmountable: it must also be observed that Kyousuke (Asagi’s boyfriend) in his moment of lucidity (for he was about to become a totally sex-crazed man-monster) sacrificed his life for the sake of Asagi.

Of course it was a bad ending if viewed from the perspective of hentai anime: there were no milky explosions; there were no broken women; the heroes endured. Taken as a harrowing story, however, I believe it had wonderful closure.

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19 Responses to “[SFW] Let’s talk about hentai: Taimanin Asagi and the transcendence of love”

  1. IKnight Says:

    So it simultaneously succeeded (or at least exceeded your expectations) as a story, but in some sense failed as hentai? An interesting result. I’m also fascinated to hear that this series had fans who argued over what shape the ending should take.

  2. Michael Says:

    Since I’m a /d/eviant and all, there were quite a lot of fans talking regarding the ending. This series has a notable following. I just didn’t expect the series to be decent as a story, but fail in its ending.

  3. TheBigN Says:

    Interesting concept. Also interesting to see a person who’s willing to say that he can watch porn both for the plot and the… well… porn. 😛

  4. Extrange Says:

    Well, I don’t see hentai anime because the FACT most ofthe times it has the typical pizza delivery plot:

    “Hi madam, here’s your pizza!”
    “Good, now give me your cock!”

    And that’s why I prefer reading visual novel Eroges. It has the plot I love AND it mixes with some sexual content which has meaning. It’s not surprising then that I prefer stuff like Kanon, Tsukihime or To Heart than “Midnight Nurses”…

  5. lelangir Says:

    Extrange: do a google search for “big sausage pizza” and proceed to laugh thoroughly.

  6. korosora Says:

    Michael.
    We have the same hentai tastes.
    /me touches Mike
    :O

  7. Michael Says:

    TheBigN:

    I always believe in the thinking that one should not lie to himself.

    Extrange:

    Yeah, that’s very understandable. Plus, you ALSO get some. 😉

    lelangir:

    OH U

    korosora:

    /me touches korosora

    THAT’S BECAUSE WE HAVE GOOD TASTE!

  8. digitalboy Says:

    I have been goddamn waiting for someone else to talk about hentai! i will definitely watch the series you mentioned. In the meantime, if you haven’t seen it, definitely watch Moonlight Lady if you like good, quality hentai. Also, you’re also an Ocean Waves fan! Glad I found this blog.

  9. Michael Says:

    digitalboy:

    I won’t be doing this most of the time, haha! But whenever I’m inspired, I’ll be irreverent some of the time. By the way, yes, I also liked Moonlight Lady. And Ocean Waves just rocks.

  10. astrobunny Says:

    Moonlight Lady was good. You should try Immoral Sisters and Body Transfer too. Decent art in those, and Mnemosyne if you are so inclined.

  11. Perversions Revisited at Rainbowsphere Says:

    […] MIKE HAS ADMITTED TO THE MAJOR FAULT OF HUMAN LUST! […]

  12. lolikitsune Says:

    Need I mention how incredibly disturbing it is for me to see Yotsuba& images in a post about hentai?

  13. Michael Says:

    Yotsuba& explores the world! I try to explore mine, and not just in saying that I like it or I hate it. 🙂

    It is pretty weird, but I write in an SFW site. 😀

  14. Camario Says:

    Asagi’s not exactly my cup of tea as far as porn content is concerned, but this was an interesting read to say the least, since most hentai doesn’t really lend itself to such analysis.

  15. Notes on G’s Girls « The Animanachronism Says:

    […] the final battle ends with that memorable Sekiha Love-Love Tenkyoken attack: in this case ‘LOVE POWER’ really does ‘SAVE THE UNIVERSE‘ (or at least the Earth Sphere). This is unusually romantic for Gundam, and unusually upbeat […]

  16. shinobi vega Says:

    I’ve never watched a hentai film and I certainly don’t plan to begin anytime soon. It’s the rampant rape. I’ve never found the raping of women to be very appetizing and I find it everywhere in hentai. I find it rather nauseating, actually, and seeing the screen shots of cum forced down these beautiful women’s mouths churns my stomach in ways I don’t ever want to imagine.

    But stumbling upon this article did make me think about the ending. I never knew so many hentai films were so damned cookie-cutter with their endings. So, at least, I was introduced to something different here. If I ever decide to give hentai a try (which I doubt, but still) I’ll give your recommendations a shot.

  17. Slawek Says:

    Sweeeeeeeeet

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