Sexualization in anime: a short reflection

I discovered the flash game Mario is Missing! about a few weeks ago. The game should not be confused with one of the rather boring Mario games on the NES with the same name. It probably won’t, since the former supersedes the latter in a Google search. In contrast to the lofty target of education in the NES game, the flash game is a debauchery and a more plausible reality: when the cat is away, the mice will play. Unlike the virginal and pure Princess Peach most of us have grown up with, however, the Princess Peach in this game is quite a whore. Is the game any less fun?

Hell no. It’s one unique flash game, and one of the few I have played in the past few months. Even in this simple exercise in sexuality there is a dynamic alteration of gender roles and a catharsis of prurience that has not been widespread a few years ago: one has never seen Princess Peach save the kingdom all by herself, and one has especially not seen her do it through sexual intercourse. In this game, however, she does.

Yes, that's dripping.

Yes, that's dripping.

Amagami SS can be mentioned in the same vein as this game. It was jarring, even to me, because of the little plays of sensual affection Haruka’s arc showed. In retrospect, I still wouldn’t call Junichi and Haruka cretins: being idiots (of which we have a lot of in society, and which we are sometimes, whether we would like to admit it or not) in high school isn’t abnormal at all. It is relatively tethered and sequestered in good schools, displaced by positive feelings of creativity and the forging of one’s identity (especially effective in good students), but is fostered and made fecund in a lot of bad schools not because of instruction, but due to the relative absence of it. Do I see their actions stupid? Of course, I do. Do I see these as unrealistic? No.

In fact, these little games of theirs are rather tame compared to what I see in some high schools I’ve been to. The ending shows us of them being together with much love ten years into the marriage. Their relationship has been more enduring and more loving than most relationships between high schoolers: a lot fall apart some years, or some months into it.

I just believe that the more modern sensibility demands a shift from conservatism and austerity, towards liberation and sexuality. Amagami SS has been relatively successful with its viewers because it is one of those series that vanguards that shift: it admits of sexuality as a key component in relationships, and sex as one of its factors of coalescence, so long as it is done in the context of deepening the relationship and not mere debauchery. Those little games are as important in the development of their love as their confessions toward one another at the end of the arc. It is indeed crass, but that’s what human beings sometimes are. Yet sometimes, even this crassness is beautiful.

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18 Responses to “Sexualization in anime: a short reflection”

  1. linger Says:

    Dude, it’s a freaking eroge adaption.

  2. RyanA Says:

    Simple sexy and hints of attraction. It might be silly, but it’s likable.

  3. Michael Says:

    linger:

    Some people expected more from it. Not I.

    Ryan A:

    It is! And that’s the thing. I’m not saying it’s good, but it rides the tide of change, and that’s all right.

  4. Ronin AnimeLover Says:

    Isn’t that “flirting”? Haha

  5. Anonymoose Says:

    You’re an episode behind and the next storyline is nothing like this one. Just saying.

  6. Michael Says:

    Ronin AnimeLover:

    Haha. Yeah.

    Anonymoose:

    I already caught up. Heh. Thanks!

  7. vendredi Says:

    I’m unsure if I really can call Amagami SS a “vanguard” in a particular shift – it certainly is riding the change in sensibilities, but I’m unsure if it’s really leading or just following suit. Eroge has been around since the early 90s, after all, and there have been plenty of adaptations before Amagami: even Kimikiss from a few years earlier was based on an eroge from the same company, if not adapted by the same studio. The only difference that really strikes me here is that the sexuality is just stated rather than inferred/implied, which doesn’t strike me as that great a change.

  8. Michael Says:

    vendredi:

    The omnibus is something new! I’ve never before seen a romcom execute their story like this. The stated sexuality is still something novel, although I do agree that it isn’t that great a change.

  9. MeoTwister5 Says:

    I’m almost absolutely sure that while Amagmi SS is indeed a Dating Sim, it isn’t an Eroge.

  10. Michael Says:

    It’s not. But those scenes, sir! Those scenes!

  11. Erte Says:

    Mary Bale the cat lady reminds me of one of Bladerunner’s replicants – straight after the ‘entre of boiled dog’ query in the Voight-Kampff test; “You find a cat alone in the street. You pet it, and then what?”

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    Hello by reading blog posts like this, I have come to realize that I must enhance my game. Later.

  13. Colin Dente Says:

    Great post, I feel as if I play games too much now.

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