#1 Posted by AzHP (156 posts) -

So recently Jeff, Ryan and Patrick have been playing some Japanese fan service laden games like Dead Or Alive 5 and 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors, and they without fail remark that the material is creepy or unsettling. As someone who hangs out with a lot of people, both men and women, who are into Japanese video games and anime, I find it weird when people call it creepy. I feel like American culture sexualizes things in similar ways, but they don’t really get called “creepy” for it. Sure, women call the designers and creators misogynistic, but clearly there’s a market of people for it who don’t think it’s weird or creepy or it wouldn’t get made.

Are girls as guilty of being weird or creepy for liking suggestive entertainment as guys? (Source: AzHP Photography http://www.facebook.com/AzhpPhotography )

I mean, a lot of my female friends really like the character designs of these sexualized characters, and even cosplay as them and pose for pictures for complete strangers. Are they creepy and weird for liking sexualized characters? Or is it a kind of double standard where it’s acceptable for women to appreciate female characters, but not men?

Anyway, I’m hoping this sparks some discussion and we can all get a better understanding of why there’s a stigma of creepiness behind sexualized Japanese entertainment.

#2 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19158 posts) -

So you're saying this isn't creepy?

#3 Posted by Video_Game_King (34619 posts) -
#4 Posted by Jams (2956 posts) -

Maybe it makes them unsettled because they're actually turned on by it Is that girl not wearing any panties? IIIIIIIIIIIII would like to findddd outttt. What were we talking about? Panties right?

#5 Posted by TooWalrus (12978 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ: @Video_Game_King: I'll be back in an hour, I'm liking the direction this thread is taking!

#6 Edited by believer258 (11048 posts) -

The difference between Western fanservice and Japanese fanservice is that Western fanservice involves girls that are obviously over 18.

I do, indeed, understand that this is coming from a guy with an anime avatar. And I do understand that not every anime and Japanese video game is laden with skimpy 16 year olds - but sometimes they are and it's very unfortunate-looking.

EDIT: I guess I should also mention that it's almost always horribly tasteless. Fanservice in more Western stuff can be, but... all right, you know in Dr. No, when what's-her-face-in-the-bikini comes out of the water? That's much better than anything, say, High School of the Dead tries to tittilate you with.

#7 Posted by Milkman (16228 posts) -
#8 Posted by Jams (2956 posts) -

@believer258 said:

And I do understand that not every anime and Japanese video game is laden with skimpy 16 year olds - but they should be.

fixed that

#9 Posted by MildMolasses (3194 posts) -

I think it has to do with the very childlike look and voices that make it seem creepy.

#10 Posted by InfiniteGeass (2041 posts) -

Different strokes for different folks.

#11 Posted by Encephalon (1178 posts) -

Never seemed all that mysterious to me. Different cultures have different concepts of propriety. Whatever inherent creepiness exists in fanservice, it's exacerbated by those very differences.

Like, a lot of people are creeped out by the manifestation of moe in some Japanese media, and it's their cultural lens that makes them sensitive to the more predatory aspects of moe, rather than the "I'm your big brother and I'mma protect you and feel good about myself" aspects which wouldn't be out of place in, say, The Walking Dead.

#12 Posted by Phatmac (5686 posts) -

It's just sort of creepy to me. I won't judge you if you like that stuff though!

#13 Edited by TheVeteran13 (1197 posts) -

Because American fanservice is a hot model in a bikini eating a cheeseburger. Nice and wholesome-like, something the whole family can enjoy.

No sick Japanese filth here
#14 Posted by AzHP (156 posts) -

@Milkman said:

Because of stuff like this. And this. And this:

That's...hm. I have no words for that.

With regards to the age thing, alright I can see that side of things. But I don't know that the outfits that female superheroes in American comic books are really any more tasteful.

And yes, thanks for all the NSFW stuff. That stuff is definitely the extremes rather than the norms, and I'm sure if I wasn't at work I could find niche American art that could be just as tasteless...

#15 Posted by JasonR86 (9379 posts) -

Every culture has weird sex shit going on. It's just easier to say the weird sex shit is creepy when it is from a different culture.

#16 Edited by OtakuGamer (1182 posts) -
#17 Posted by wrecks (2125 posts) -

I think its mainly that Anime is basically cartoons, i.e perceived as being for children in the West. Does not help that a big chunk of Anime characters are actually children dressing and acting in sexual ways.

#18 Posted by Mesoian (1570 posts) -

@AzHP said:

So recently Jeff, Ryan and Patrick have been playing some Japanese fan service laden games like Dead Or Alive 5 and 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors, and they without fail remark that the material is creepy or unsettling. As someone who hangs out with a lot of people, both men and women, who are into Japanese video games and anime, I find it weird when people call it creepy. I feel like American culture sexualizes things in similar ways, but they don’t really get called “creepy” for it. Sure, women call the designers and creators misogynistic, but clearly there’s a market of people for it who don’t think it’s weird or creepy or it wouldn’t get made.

Are girls as guilty of being weird or creepy for liking suggestive entertainment as guys? (Source: AzHP Photography http://www.facebook.com/AzhpPhotography )

I mean, a lot of my female friends really like the character designs of these sexualized characters, and even cosplay as them and pose for pictures for complete strangers. Are they creepy and weird for liking sexualized characters? Or is it a kind of double standard where it’s acceptable for women to appreciate female characters, but not men?

Anyway, I’m hoping this sparks some discussion and we can all get a better understanding of why there’s a stigma of creepiness behind sexualized Japanese entertainment.

Because the average age of the girls shown in fanservice is 13.

#19 Posted by No0b0rAmA (1490 posts) -
#20 Edited by Athadam (638 posts) -

I think you're laying the argument above and further away than where it's really coming from. Yes, Western culture has fan service too - but at the core of it, the reason why Westerners consider Japanese fan-service "creepy" is because the content is mostly animated - as opposed to being lifelike.

Sure you can say that some of Japanese fan-service relies too much on underaged girls or what not, but even if it had older women, I'm sure that most Westerners would still get freaked out by it.

In the end, it's a question that delves into the aspect of human sexuality (strictly things that we find attractive, not our sexual preference). Is our sexuality socially constructed or purely natural? Maybe both? Excuse my vulgarity, but are we turned on by the familiar and the normal? If so, what if the norm changes depending on where we live?

I think that in the future, this question will be asked very frequently and everywhere. Today we have preposterous rape simulators like RapeLay that are easy to target. People find it creepy that you are sexually abusing animated-fake video game characters. But in the years ahead, what if these sex games were more grounded into reality - relationships, hook ups, and without the rape? Not what if - but when video game characters start looking truly photorealistic and believable, is it still "culturally wrong" for us to find these characters sexually attractive?

Maybe not - and maybe the current Japanese fan-service is a sign of the evolution of human sexuality in the years ahead.

#21 Posted by PenguinDust (12414 posts) -

@InfiniteGeass said:

Different strokes for different folks.

This. I don't think it's worth arguing about especially on this site which has a preponderance of anti-fan service viewpoints.

#22 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

Because America is sexually repressed. We have violence as our fan service.

#23 Posted by Itwastuesday (850 posts) -

NOTHING CREEPY ABOUT SEXUALIZING 16 YEAR OLDS

#24 Posted by Hunter5024 (5175 posts) -

I think creepiness is one of those very subjective things like humor, where we will kind of never understand the points where people differ on the subject, and we just have to be kind of okay with their opinion.

#25 Posted by Mesoian (1570 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Because sometimes, it really can get creepy. (Probably NSFW.)

I really like Bakemonogatari, but I had to stop watching season two because of how deep it goes into the pedophilia and incest stuff.

#26 Posted by JasonR86 (9379 posts) -

@JZ said:

Because America is sexually repressed. We have violence as our fan service.
Reptile The Pit Fatality
Mileena Fatality
Scorpion vs Sub-Zero
#27 Posted by Video_Game_King (34619 posts) -

@Mesoian:

Same here. It's probably not a good idea to open your show with your protagonist molesting an eight year old girl.

#28 Posted by crusader8463 (14321 posts) -

Sex scares some people, and for some reason cartoon sex scares some people a whole lot more. I think it must be some kind of traumatic childhood event involving a paper cut that causes the fear of cartoon sex.

#29 Posted by Bocam (3554 posts) -

999 had fan service? I remember it being pretty tame.

#30 Edited by Jimi (1126 posts) -

It's subjective, I don't actively look for it in anything but if somebody is gonna send some boobs my way I'm not going to complain.

There's not really any point arguing over stuff like this, people have their own preconceived versions of what is right and wrong. If you don't like it you always have the option of not playing/viewing said media, saying THIS IS WRONG over and over isn't going to stop it existing. Sex sells. Whether it's pixel ladies or real ladies.

#31 Posted by Mesoian (1570 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Mesoian:

Same here. It's probably not a good idea to open your show with your protagonist molesting an eight year old girl.

That stuff always felt funny because it never got too serious. But man, in season 2 the incest stuff is laid on sooooo thick, entire episodes devoted on why he wants to cheat on his girlfriend with one or both of his little sisters...

It's a trope that happens in anime a LOT. And most of the time, it's just gross.

#32 Posted by Athadam (638 posts) -

@Itwastuesday said:

NOTHING CREEPY ABOUT SEXUALIZING 16 YEAR OLDS

Westerners sexualize 16 year olds very frequently too - what's even creepier is that you can't tell that they're 16.

#33 Posted by Itwastuesday (850 posts) -

@Castermhief117: Exactly! Western video games are ALWAYS trying to sexualize high-schoolers! happens all the time!

#34 Posted by Video_Game_King (34619 posts) -

@Mesoian:

Most of the time, I can usually ignore it because there's more to the show than that. (Or at least that's what I tell myself :(.)

#35 Posted by AzHP (156 posts) -

@Castermhief117: @Itwastuesday: Examples? (I swear I'm not going to look them up, I just couldn't think of any examples and am wondering what you guys are referring to)

#36 Posted by vorpalparasite (259 posts) -

@Bocam: I'm thinking they were referring to Lotus' attire. The only other sexual thing I can think of is one of the options to misunderstand what June is worried about with the elevator.

#37 Posted by Itwastuesday (850 posts) -

@AzHP said:

@Castermhief117: @Itwastuesday: Examples? (I swear I'm not going to look them up, I just couldn't think of any examples and am wondering what you guys are referring to)

Well, off the top of my head (the top of this thread)

@Milkman said:

Because of stuff like this. And this. And this:

Unless you're talking about my comment about Western games doing this, with which I was being sarcastic.

#38 Posted by Bocam (3554 posts) -

@Mesoian: @Video_Game_King:

#39 Posted by twigger89 (275 posts) -

It's definitely the fact that scantily clad characters in a lot of anime and jrpg's look like they are 12 years old. Regardless of the context that shit is creepy and unsettling. That's not to say western sexualization has a higher moral ground, it's just that it is more patronizing and insulting than creepy and pedophilic like Japanese sexualization.

#40 Edited by Athadam (638 posts) -

@AzHP said:

@Castermhief117: @Itwastuesday: Examples? (I swear I'm not going to look them up, I just couldn't think of any examples and am wondering what you guys are referring to)

He's being sarcastic. But I wasn't - there are many examples of teenagers (or actors who are supposed to resemble teenagers) being sexualized at beauty pageants, on billboards, television, and movies. It doesn't happen to video games and cartoons though, because there's still a cultural divide at that point.

Two examples from movies that I recall: American Beauty and Romeo and Juliet (1960's version).

#41 Posted by NegativeCero (2927 posts) -

I was not aware that fan service could be used in this context. And I don't think creepiness is exclusive to Japan, so I wouldn't worry about it.

#42 Posted by AzHP (156 posts) -

@Jimi said:

It's subjective, I don't actively look for it in anything but if somebody is gonna send some boobs my way I'm not going to complain.

There's not really any point arguing over stuff like this, people have their own preconceived versions of what is right and wrong. If you don't like it you always have the option of not playing/viewing said media, saying THIS IS WRONG over and over isn't going to stop it existing. Sex sells. Whether it's pixel ladies or real ladies.

I'm with you on that. I think that Twilight is teaching girls to be vapid personalityless people who will have men fawning over them and are defined by the people who like them, but good luck telling people who like it that.

#43 Posted by Spoonman671 (4375 posts) -

"Fan service" is creepy regardless of its country of origin.  The Japanese are just particularly skilled at crafting it.

#44 Posted by Aronman789 (2674 posts) -

I think it likely stems from the cultural differences revolving sex. All cultures have different types of porn, this is a fact, so when one gets exposed to a different kind, it might not be stimulating, and instead comes off as off-putting. The sexual content doesn't hit it's mark, so instead it gets judged by a non-sexual criteria, which ends up showing all it's faults and imperfections. For example, many people experience disgust while watching porn after they "finish", because their brains aren't clouded by the need for sex anymore, this is a sort of the same phenomenon.

#45 Posted by AzHP (156 posts) -

@twigger89 said:

It's definitely the fact that scantily clad characters in a lot of anime and jrpg's look like they are 12 years old. Regardless of the context that shit is creepy and unsettling. That's not to say western sexualization has a higher moral ground, it's just that it is more patronizing and insulting than creepy and pedophilic like Japanese sexualization.

I wonder if some of that is due to the fact that (at least from my experience anecdotally and a general stereotype) Asians typically look and sound a lot younger than Westerners. I have a whole lot of friends who are in their mid 20s and get mistaken for teenagers constantly. I'm not saying all Japanese sexualization is not pedophilic, but it might be a factor.

#46 Edited by AzHP (156 posts) -

@Castermhief117 said:

@AzHP said:

@Castermhief117: @Itwastuesday: Examples? (I swear I'm not going to look them up, I just couldn't think of any examples and am wondering what you guys are referring to)

He's being sarcastic. But I wasn't - there are many examples of teenagers (or actors who are supposed to resemble teenagers) being sexualized at beauty pageants, on billboards, television, and movies. It doesn't happen to video games and cartoons though, because there's still a cultural divide at that point.

Two examples from movies that I recall: American Beauty and Romeo and Juliet (1960's version).

Oh god, now I'm having horrible flashbacks to watching Toddlers in Tiaras. They dress up and make up 7 year old girls to look like they're 20.

#47 Posted by Inkerman (1448 posts) -

I was under the impression that even the Japanese thought it was fucking weird, and many of the people who like this stuff are stigmatised for it.

#48 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19158 posts) -

@Inkerman said:

I was under the impression that even the Japanese thought it was fucking weird, and many of the people who like this stuff are stigmatised for it.

I think that is correct.

#49 Posted by IzzyGraze (838 posts) -

I watched a bit of an anime where all the characters were like...13? Maybe younger. Except they had boobs. It was cleavage and panty shots everywhere. I will agree that most of the fan service is with 16 year olds since most animes take place in high school. Not much better though. At least in those ones it's physically possible that they have DDs.

If the cartoon characters were over 18 years old then it would be more like western fanservice. I agree that in North America 16 year olds and stuff are still sexualised. I watched the movie Push and it was kind of awkward because Dakota fanning was wearing a mini skirt the whole time and it was an action movie. Yeah, I still find it creepy in western culture. But hey at least they didn't have an intentional panty shot of Dakota Fanning in that movie.

It's not because they're cartoons. It's because it's creepy. I find Japan is generally creepy with sex stuff though. They have no groping signs on the subways and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

#50 Posted by MEATBALL (2788 posts) -

The examples you mentioned don't bother me at all, really, I'd probably feel a little self conscious if I were playing it, but wouldn't really think anything of anyone who enjoyed that stuff, really. It's the "moe" and lolita type stuff that seems creepy to me, anime boobs or bikinis don't typically bug me though (unless they're attatched to underage girls or whatever).