Hypersexuality of Female Images in Anime

There have been some studies done on the impact of manga and its derivatives like anime and visual novels on Japanese women’s cultural and sexual identity. Sean Boden’s introductory work notes the basic difference between US American animations and cartoons and their Japanese counterparts.5 The former cater mostly to young boys while the Japanese ones cut across both sexes and are consumed by wider age groups. The extreme popularity of manga in Japan and now in the rest of the world because of internet foregrounds women’s secondary status in Japanese society. Eri Azawa observed in her article that,

[There is] a growing pervasiveness of sexual themes in manga—all types of manga. This has gotten worse in recent years. Female nudity is everywhere in manga and anime, even children’s manga, and it’s expected (and even encouraged) that boys will drool at and try to look at naked girls .... Recently, with the introduction of Western comics... physical exaggeration is more prevalent than ever before—women with voluptuous figures, men with ridiculously huge muscles .... some manga depict women in sexually-tinged embarrassing situations.6

I am making a strong argument contra Boden who in turn claims that some conservative reactions from the West to the Japanese animation demonstrate ignorance of Japanese culture because the representations of women in contemporary manga such as Ranma /2 and Love Hina offer a cast of characters that serve to put women on equal grounding with men. While we see the adoption of empowered images of Japanese women as career professionals and socio-political leaders in contemporary manga, but such examples are few to fully establish that indeed Japanese women are treated better than what is shown in manga.

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