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What Is Anime Sexualization, Really?

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What Is Anime Sexualization Really 1 | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

“Sexualization is reducing a person down to only their sexual appeal, and ignoring or downplaying other attributes.”

The topic of anime sexualization goes back many years in the anime community.

I wrote about it from a different angle a few years back.

The topic itself started to pick up steam in the 2010s specifically.

Why around this time?

Because:

  • Anime started to gain more mass appeal and got closer to mainstream status.
  • Particularly in the West where this is an issue, “feminism” has become prominent online.
  • The #metoo movement indirectly influenced this conversation.
  • Controversies involving “sexy” women became more of the norm.
  • The female body in anime and manga became an issue for many.
  • Countless forum questions (especially on Reddit or Quora) popped up about anime sexualization.
  • Fanservice became more noticeable to Western audiences (especially non-anime fans).
  • The rise of double standards between genders, more so around fanservice.
  • Western outlets like CBR, and Mary Sue, among others, chimed in and fueled the fire of “sexualization”.
  • Streaming platforms like Crunchyroll being hypocrites with certain shows (Shuumatsu No Harem, etc).

Not to mention  Journalists in the modern day who grandstand and gaslight when it comes to supposed female issues and the female body.

These ideas and events over the 2010s and beyond played a role in anime sexualization and the conversation surrounding it.

Mostly in WESTERN circles.

Now let’s dig deeper.

 

What anime sexualization is NOT:

 

1. Showing sexually attractive women

 

This is the biggest mistake I always see when people argue, cry, moan, or point out that anime is somehow this “sexualised” medium unlike any other.

Which is false in reality and hypocritical as I’ll explain later.

The problem today is people’s views of sexism, sexualization, and many topics are skewed, deluded, warped, and not at all the definition of what it originally was, making words lose their meaning.

 

Tsunade blondie | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

I’ll use Naruto as an example since it’s so popular and people still seem to get it twisted.

The obvious character to mention is Tsunade from Naruto. She’s an attractive woman in a stereotypical sense, and many fans consider her one of the “sexier\” characters.

They also believe she’s sexualized and that she is one of the examples of “fanservice” in an anime that doesn’t even have any.

 

hinata hyuga naruto | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

This is also true when we start talking about HINATA from Naruto. Fans will even use her attractiveness as an argument as to why they prefer Hinata over let’s say, Sakura.

Speaking of which, nobody says this about Sakura Haruno who ironically doesn’t have “big breasts” and a big booty.

 

naruto women e1714759998690 | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

The same can be said of some other female characters.

Do you see the hypocrisy here? Not to mention the skewed view of sexualization in this case.

Tsunade being sexy, or the camera angle in ONE scene or two doesn’t prove or imply sexualization.

It only proves that you as a viewer are sexualizing the character based on sexual attractiveness, as opposed to the character sexualizing themselves or the author doing that to the character.

Anyone who can’t see this distinction and is unable to comprehend it because they’re too reactionary for their own good is only one of many examples of why people today are dumbed down.

Comprehension skills are lacking, and that has led to a lack of contextual understanding. Or arguing from people who think “sexy” means sexualisation because certain women said so.

 

2. Having cleavage or “assets”

Orihime Inoue and rangiku cleavage | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/
Unoriginal image from wallpaperflare.com/bleach-orihime-inoue-rangiku-matsumoto-wallpaper-bagos

In the real world, when a woman has cleavage, the same men (or boys) not to mention “women” in comment sections don’t have anything to say about it.

No negative comments, no berating, criticizing, demonizing, or anything of the sort.

When an anime character like let’s say, Orihime Inoue from Bleach has cleavage, or Rangiku Matsumoto from Bleach, this becomes an argument of “sexualization”.

This is why today’s words don’t mean anything if you can’t use them in their proper context like it was intended.

 

konosuba girls | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

This can also be shown with anime shows like Konosuba, which yes, it’s a parody series but the point still stands.

You have Darkness Lalatina, Wiz, Yunyun, Goddess Aqua and a few others, and then there is Megumin.

With the way the sexualisation argument and projecting is, Lalatina, Wiz, Aqua or Yunyun would be the scapegoats when discussing characters in this series who are being “sexualised”.

When you realize it’s because they’re sexually attractive in a stereotypical kind of way, it becomes disappointing and downright silly when you think of the mental gymnastics people go through.

Or in the case of some women who strangely feel insecure seeing these fictional characters on screen.

The women with small breasts or otherwise are NEVER criticized for being “sexualized”. And that alone is very telling.

 

3. A thing that only happens to female characters

 

When you further analyze the topic of anime sexualisation, you start to see how hypocritical and sexist a lot of the thinking is behind it.

The idea that sexualisation is synonymous with women tells you everything you need to know. As if to say men can’t be sexualised with no logical explanation as to why.

 

anime free | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

The anime FREE is a classic example of a series where fanservice is blatant, in your face, and is designed for the female audience in question which no man would care to complain about.

That’s just not a thing to be concerned about in this age of imaginary problems.

 

Fairy Tail S2 19 08 | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

In the anime Fairy Tail, where this is treated equally, all the characters get the same treatment.

Natsu, Jellal, Gray, Leon, and many male characters are clearly designed and even put into situations to please the female audience.

 

mha fan service guys | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

We see the same thing playing out again in shows like My Hero Academia.

Kids essentially who are buffed up, muscular, strong, and have 6 packs?

 

kill la kill male fanservice | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

Kill La Kill does it as well. But people being reactionary would only recognize the female character being dressed a certain way, and NOT the male characters.

Even though the latter (male characters) are seen naked and half-naked in various scenes. Even if the camera angle is being clever about it.

In the end, if it does happen, it doesn’t only happen to female characters. And remember, sexualization is reducing a character to their sexual parts as if that’s all they are.

None of the anime examples I gave even do that because they all have personalities and relevant roles to play (even FREE I’m sure).

 

4. How you interpret vs how it is

 

In the world of Twitter, YouTube, news outlets, and TikTok, it seems that most of this is based on how it makes a certain person feel about the female characters in question, and nothing more.

When you lift up the carpet and find out what’s underneath it, you realize quickly that it’s all psychological projection or just a misunderstanding from many who lack comprehension skills these days.

Opinions have their place, as do facts, but when it’s based on how something makes you feel insecure, that’s a personal issue for you to deal with and not the fault of the anime that never intended to.

 

What anime sexualization actually looks like:

 

1. Blatant Ecchi

dxd fanservice scaled | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

The relevant argument here is ECCHI is supposed to sexualize its characters. I mean that’s what it is.

The definition of Ecchi translated is “pervert” in Japanese, so all those wild fantasies people have are depicted in these types of series.

High School DxD shows us women who are devils, but look anything like you’d expect from a devil.

They’re all ideal, hot, big boobed, ass, whatever. It’s by design and it sells the fantasy of ONE guy who doesn’t even have much special about him attracting all the best girls he could dream of in a fantasy setting.

 

Senran Kagura anime fanservice | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

Senran Kagura, which is adapted from video games, is another Ecchi series where boobs, ass, fanservice, and all that good stuff is seen right from the first 5 minutes.

One of the main blonde girls starts feeling up the other girls’ boobs and everything else that takes place from there.

Sexualization is a legitimate argument for a series like this. But even then, it can still be debated by those who know the Senran Kagura universe better than I do.

 

how not to summon a demon lord girls | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

The anime How To Summon A Demon Lord is another example of blatant ecchi and what you’d call “sexualization” in legitimate form.

Not all the female characters are reduced to nothing but attractiveness or sexual aspects, but a lot of the characters can be seen this way.

This includes Shera the blonde girl who’s stereotypically dumb and cute.

Even then though, are the characters being sexualized down to their body parts without offering any form of personality, characteristics, or attributes whatsoever?

The answer is a soft “no”. This only shows that the sexualization narrative is mostly exaggerated since few examples can be truly given where it’s 100% the case without exceptions.

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2. Anime characters who use their sexual attraction

Ishuzoku Reviewer girl | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

The anime Ishuzoku Reviewers could legitimately be called sexualized. In this anime, you don’t even know the character’s names and they’re not made prominent for you to remember either.

If you do remember their names, the average person will not because again, they don’t make this a point of focus or importance like the average anime does when setting up a story.

You have descriptors like “slime girl”, and elves over 500+ years old that men have fetishes for, as well as Loli’s, and every other fetish that the imagination can stir up in a person’s mind.

The women in this anime are prostitutes at the end of the day, with the guys visiting their brothels to fuck so it’s the epitome of a sexualized anime series.

 

Keijo girls | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

Keijo is a good but interesting example. The anime is based on sports where girls use their asses and big and medium-sized booty to participate.

It’s more like fighting with their asses than it is anything else.

By definition, they’re using their sexual appeal in some facet, even if it’s not to win the game but to appeal to the person who’s watching the series.

I imagine that was the author’s blatant intent.

The scenes in this anime are so ridiculous and comedic though that “sexualization” not only wouldn’t matter, but it still can’t be assumed to be 100% since each character is different.

Again, sexualization is reducing someone to nothing but their body parts, which is a form of being objectified.

That could only be 100% true if the characters never shared who they are, and it was just pure entertainment like watching naked girls fight in a ring, going to a strip club, or something extreme of the sort without caring about their names or identities.

The latter happens in real life.

 

The double standards of anime sexualization

Why is it that when a male anime character like Gray Fullbnuster, Natsu Dragneel, Jellal Fernandes, and many others are naked or half naked, no one outrages or debates about it?

Why is it that when JOJO characters, which have been around since the 1980s, does some gay shit or implied gay shit (male fanservice basically), no one gets on their high horse about sexualisation?

When guys in beach scenes boxers almost fall off, or they do fall off, or their pants fall down a little (Rokudenashi), and countless other anime, how come nobody screams and shouts about it?

Double standards are the standards.

This is the case with “anime sexualisation” and how many people seem to moan, bitch, complain, and wrongly label it onto so many anime without context or the ability to comprehend in the first place.

We saw this with the likes of Goblin Slayer.

The first episode was of course brutal, but when you have anime like An Angel Flew Down On Me that laughs at a woman with pedophilic fantasies towards children, you know damn well the game is rigged and hypocritical.

More accurately, we see the specific double standards of sexualisation with Kill La Kill when people moaned about Ryuko Matoi, and yet never about the male characters who were equal, sometimes worse, as far as the physical body goes.

Or any Shounen you can think of where people debate about nonsense from recent memory.

 

Why anime sexualization has its place (and is NOT a bad thing):

 

1. The medium or the message

Redo Of Healer was clear in its messages. Besides the anime being about revenge, there were also clear sexual aspects to it where the MC sleeps with his harem while on the road travelling.

Redo Of Healer is an extreme example because of what the anime involves, but the point stands that the message makes sexualisation relevant and not a bad thing in context.

You can say the same for anime shows like Keijo, which I mentioned already, where the message is clear to anyone watching.

The same applies to SOME Shounen shows, but not many, and of course many Ecchi series like Queen’s Blade.

You can’t watch and then moan about it, but people do it anyway.

 

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And then there is HENTAI. This medium goes without saying.

You can’t watch or want to watch Hentai and not understand that sexualisation will be part of the message, even if it’s not down to the exaggerated degree that people try to blame anime for doing.

Hentai is porn, and you know what you get before you even dare to open the front door.

 

2. The intentions of the author

 

The author’s intentions matter a lot. If they don’t intend for the anime to be 100% sexualized, which is most often, that’s all that matters.

The opinions of Westerners, mostly, those who lack comprehension skills don’t matter in the conversation because their opinions aren’t genuine or informed.

If they were, it would matter more, but that’s not often the case unless we’re talking about someone in the anime community who’s a creator, honest, not politically correct, and doesn’t have a narrative to push to stay on the safe side.

How many of those guys or women exist?

 

3. The context of fanservice or sexualization

 

Context always matters. Anyone saying it doesn’t just wants to talk their shit without being challenged for their shaming, insults, guilt-tripping, and the need to be right.

Kill La Kill as mentioned is an anime with context. Its hidden message is about empowering women, literally, but those who see things black and white will give a reactionary response instead of using what’s between their ears.

Saekano is also an Ecchi with context. The same with Keijo, But admittedly, not every anime is this way.

When there is context, quality follows. When there is NO context, the quality degrades. It’s the latter that people dislike the most, even if those people disagree about other things.

Related: 20+ Of The BEST Anime Fan Service Characters That Aim To Please

 

4. Giving people what they want

 

At the end of the day, if you give people what they want and you cook it well, they won’t complain once it ends up on their plate and they start feasting.

People love DxD, and they love Date A Live.

Do I love these anime? No, but do my feelings matter? NO. Because the authors gave the people what they wanted, and they added context, even if people don’t like how that “context” plays into the story, or how the story is told (including how the fanservice is shown).

Sexualiation is not a bad thing in these scenarios no matter what moral mental gymnastics people play.

It would only be a bad thing if the intention was bad from the beginning, which it’s not.

No one is being harmed, nothing is being harmed, no harmful messages are being pushed, and no one is lacking in common sense the way people patronizingly try to assume.

 

amakano shots scaled | https://animemotivation.com/nsfw/anime-sexualization/

In the end, sexualization by definition is a hypocritical stance that women and white knight men take on Twitter, where views are extreme as it is, and on various news outlets that take pride in gaslighting, shaming, and accusing fans of being incels, losers, and every other buzzword to fill their quota.

These are the same people who praise women on Instagram for being half naked or doing booty shots (Sexy Red, Megan The Stallion, etc).

They’re also the same people who sing the praises of ONLYFANS women who sell their vagina for $5 dollars a month and call it “empowering”.

The point? Don’t be a hypocrite.

Anime celebrates women better than any other medium, so you can’t say it “sexualizes women” because it’s fiction, and then praise women for the same thing in the real world when they objectively do worse or even whore themselves out in some cases.

Be honest about your dislike for anime (or how it makes you feel insecure), or honest about your intentions instead of scapegoating and playing the childish game of double standards

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