The day before yesterday I discussed a wall scroll. I narrowly avoided getting into a sidetrack discussion as to why they’d make a nude scroll to begin with and the rules they seem to play by when creating-enticing entertainment.

The Japanese take a slightly different view of nooditty* than we do. That’s not to say that they’re necessarily a whole lot more liberal on the subject (though they may be — I only see a fraction of what they do), but they seem to follow different guidelines at least as it pertains to animation. It’s too easy to say that Japanese animation isn’t almost always aimed at kids the way that our animation is. Even stuff that seems to be at least partly aimed at younger audiences has nooditty and therein lies the more crucial difference. I don’t have a problem withholding adult material from my potential future children, but what do I do about the kid-oriented stuff? Wait till they’re too old to more fully enjoy it? Show it?

From as near as I can tell, Japanese animation is cool with bare brests with one major caveat: no human fully-female brests. When I look back at the kid-oriented anime that I have seen, they seem careful to present brests only of characters are such that you can’t get full pornographic enjoyment out of it.

For example, one series that shows brests quite frequently is Ranma 1/2, but they only show the brests one of major character, Ranma himself. Yeah, “himself”, the character is a boy. Or a boy that physically changes into a girl at any rate and girl-Ranma goes bare-brested far more often than boy-Ranma does. None of the genuine girl characters (as far as I can recall) show brest. Another example is Tenchi Muyo, wherein one major character, Ryoko, gets brest-play (though I can’t recall if they show nipple, the scene that comes to mind is in a hot tub of sorts). Ryoko, it’s worth mentioning, is a human-looking monster of sorts (think Frankenstein’s monster in origin, but without the scarrage). I can’t recall completely, but they might be a little liberal with Ayeka, too, but she’s a human-looking alien (and if they are liberal, they’re not as liberal as they are with Ryoko). This doesn’t entirely count because it is slightly more aimed at an older audience (but not much older), but the character they are most flesh-liberal with in the seminal Neon Genesis Evangelion is Rei Ayanami, who is… wait for it… not entirely human.

None of this is to say that they don’t play heavily on sex appeal of their human characters. Just like American adolescent entertainment, they do, but as also with American entertainment, they do so within certain guidelines. Panties and cleavage and all that. They also play on the sex appeal of their not-entirely-human-female characters such as girl-Ranma, Ryoko, and Rei. Girl-Ranma’s nakid upper-half is shown far moreso than boy-Ranmas. Ryoko and Ayeka fighting in a hot-tub wasn’t entirely a piece made for character development, and so on. Nonetheless, I sense that they have clear boundaries like we do, it’s just different boundaries that don’t make as much sense to us. They make a distinction between girl-Ranma and love-interest Akane, but we would be less likely to notice that distinction than the fact that Ranma (boy and girl) is a minor, as is the physical development of Rei (Ryoko, on the other hand, is 800 or so years old and I think is supposed to look like she’s in her 30’s)

And that’s how I ended up with a nakid Key Mima on my wall. Because she’s kinda-sorta a robot, it’s no big deal. Absent giving someone a link to this post, it is kinda hard to explain to outsiders. And to kids, so there’s one more post coming up to round up.

* – I’d rather this post not make me blackballed with webfilters everywhere.


Category: Theater

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24 Responses to Cartoon Breastage

  1. Gannon says:

    By the way Trumwill, your information isn’t entirely acurate. In Ranma 1/2, it’s usually female Ranma who shows of her breasts, but there are a few occasions where Shampoo shows them off too. Nabiki’s breasts and Ukyo’s breats also appear in one occasion. By the way, you can also see Akane’s breasts in the first episode of the Anime. When Ranma walks into the bathroom, you can see Akane naked, and at the very end of the episode there is another scene where Ranma female walks into a naked Akane. Ranma is special compared to Tenchi and Sailormoon because it also draws the NIPPLES, so the breats look quiet real. Takahashi’s artwork can be quiet sensual. In the manga of Inuyasha at least in Japan at the beginning there is a very beautiful colored image of Kagome Higurashi, where she shows of her ample breast. In Ranma 1/2, in Manga 37 there is a very sensual scene between Ranma and Akane (with a catch, I won’t spoil it for you). Akane by the way is 16 and Kagome 15, so I like Takahashi’s honesty that girls at that age are in their prime. The question if a woman’s breasts are pornographic at all is interesting. In Argentina, age of consent is much lower than in the US, nevertheless the usage of real(not fictional anime characters people under 18 is strictly forbidden. Nevertheless, in Argentina there is a comercially available magazine which can be bought anywhere which features teen models. The magazine never shows actual sex scenes which would onviously be forbidden, and never shows pussies, but it shows the girls naked breasts. Also, the butts shown are essentially naked with only a literal cord as a Tanga. (all models are at least 14 years old by the way in that magazine). So apparently, legally speaking in Argentina the naked breasts of a girl aren’t considered Pornographic. How does that work in the US? What I really like about Anime is that it shows that the ideal relationship for a young man in his twenties is with a teen girl. For example, Samurai X is very popular in the US, but it seems nobody knows that Kenshin is around 28 whereas his gf is 15.

  2. Webmaster says:

    If I remember correctly, there’s a running gag in Ranma about Ranma getting hit with cold water, not noticing, and then getting informed by other characters to cover his (now-female) chest.

    Evangelion has a running gag with one of the characters promising “lots more fan service” in every next-episode preview.

    If anything, I’d think the major difference between anime and western animation is that (on the whole) the Japanese animators have a sense of humor about their shows and they’re also less likely to do stupid things. For example, the bath scene in Tenchi doesn’t show more than a glimpse if anything, yet Cartoon Network still airbrushed bikinis onto the girls… I’m sure making kids wonder why you would wear a swimsuit in your own home’s bathtub. Heck, Japan even has public bathing spots to go to, another favorite gag of the Ranma series.

    The other “trick” with anime is that oftentimes, you have the OAV (straight to video) series and the tv-run, and obviously the animators can get away with more in the OAV. Again, if I remember right, the Tenchi bath scene is in the OAV’s, which Cartoon Network then got rights to broadcast to the airwaves in America, and not the japan-aired TV series “Tenchi Universe.”

  3. trumwill says:

    Do they show the nipples for Akane and Shampoo, too? I think I vaguely recall scenes where they are bare, but I thought that I recalled the strategic placement of things like they sometimes do in the US. I’ve only seen the first three or four seasons (it just wasn’t the same after Sarah Strange left) It’s been years and years since I’ve seen it and for some reason I only recall Ranma ever getting the full bare treatment.

  4. trumwill says:

    If I remember correctly, there’s a running gag in Ranma about Ranma getting hit with cold water, not noticing, and then getting informed by other characters to cover his (now-female) chest.

    They do that on a couple of occasions, but they don’t limit the breastage to those occasions. On the other hand, there is an inherent gag in a male character with breasts and the comedic value alone might account for at least some of the difference between the treatments of Ranma and the other female characters.

    Evangelion has a running gag with one of the characters promising “lots more fan service” in every next-episode preview.

    Yeah, but the fan service was usually panty shots and cleavage and whatnot, as I recall. The one that they were the most liberal with was non-human Rei (though not really until the movie).

    For example, the bath scene in Tenchi doesn’t show more than a glimpse if anything, yet Cartoon Network still airbrushed bikinis onto the girls…

    I could be wrong, but my recollection is that the bath was a private-but-outdoor bath. The equivalent to a private hot tub, where in the US we do wear bathing suits, so I doubt that the bathing suits don’t really arouse much in the way of curiosity. When I first saw it, I was actually more surprised that they weren’t wearing some sort of bathing suit.

    Again, if I remember right, the Tenchi bath scene is in the OAV’s, which Cartoon Network then got rights to broadcast to the airwaves in America, and not the japan-aired TV series “Tenchi Universe.”

    Tenchi U doesn’t have any nudity from what I recall. In addition to being on TV, it was more kid-oriented on the whole, standing in between the OAV and Tenchi in Tokyo in that regard. It was the best of the three tries, though, IMO.

  5. Gannon says:

    No no no:
    In Tenchi Universe Ryoko as well as Ayeka show off their breasts, which don’t have nipples by the way. Remember the episode where Ayeka gets captured by that spacepirate?
    Problem is cartoon network censors out a lot. For example, during the first anime episode of Inuyasha there is that lady monster where the digitized a blue bra on her breasts.
    Akane shows her nipple covered breasts during the first episode of Ranma 1/2 two times, during the middle and at the end (check out in youtube if you don’t believe me).

  6. Webmaster says:

    I could be wrong, but my recollection is that the bath was a private-but-outdoor bath.

    Actually, it’s a “private outdoor bath inside a pocket dimension only accessible through the bath-house door and not viewable from outside”…

  7. trumwill says:

    I believe you. Like I said, it’s been a while since I’ve seen the program so I’m going mostly off memory. You’ve obviously seen it a lot more recently or remember a lot more of it than I do. I’ll have to dust off the first episode of Ranma to jog my memory.

    Interesting about Tenchi U. For some reason I specifically (mis-)remember that series as being rather bland in that regard.

  8. trumwill says:

    Hmmm. Not sure what the US protocol is for bathing suits in that scenario, Web.

  9. Gannon says:

    Yeah, but Tenchi has no nipples, so it’s rather balnd in that regard. My three secret passions in life (besides teen girls over the age of consent) are videogames (Nintendo), Anime/Manga and high altitue mountainclimbing. As I have said before, the Japanese make no secret out of the fact that women in their midd to late teens are very attractive sexually. Is it true btw that in the US they are trying to criminalize Hentai, even soft core?
    If you like soft core high quality anime, watch Ikki Tousen.

  10. trumwill says:

    Is it true btw that in the US they are trying to criminalize Hentai, even soft core?

    If it is, I haven’t heard anything about it, but I’m kind of out of the loop (as evidenced by the stuff I mention being a decade old). I can tell you that back when anime boosters were excited about the prospect of it going mainstream, I remember thinking to myself that it could spell the end of hentai. So far it doesn’t seem like it’s really on the radar. If it really becomes big I imagine that they’ll try to do something. They have in the past tried to ban representation of underage nudity and sex (ie an 18 year old actress pretending to be 15 or an animated 15 year old) but they have difficulty with it on first amendment grounds since the rationale they use to ban the kiddie stuff as exploitation of the performers. They’d have to find some other way around to discourage its use into oblivion.

    If I were interested in stamping out Hentai, what I would probably try to pass some law saying that people convicted of sexual crimes can’t watch it. Then I’d force the sellers to collect identification on the buyers so that they can be run against the sex crimes watchlists. Once people have to attach their names to erotica that they’re renting (especially if it features young animated characters), things would start drying up pretty quickly, but it would still be available to anyone (without a sexual criminal record) who wanted it enough. Plus, there’d always be the underground stuff. I don’t think that they’d ever be able to convict somebody of possession the same way that they can with kiddierotica.

  11. Gannon says:

    The real difference is obviously the usage of minors. Usage of minors in porn is a crime around the world. You can have sex with a 16 year old girl but you can’t film her. I don’t think the usage or fictional characters can constitute a crime, because no harm is done. Other wise, you would have to ban a lot of books, even the bible. By the way, what’s your opinion on age of consent for heterosexuals? 14 I think is fine, but I guess you will say 16.

  12. trumwill says:

    By the way, what’s your opinion on age of consent for heterosexuals? 14 I think is fine, but I guess you will say 16.

    That’s a rather involved question that’s kind of beyond the traditional scope of this site (or if I do write about it, I’ll want to write a long explanation of my thoughts and whatnot). Assuming that you left a legitimate email address in your comment, I’ll share my thoughts there.

  13. logtar says:

    Twelve comments and all you had to do was to post about bareness in toons…

    From my limited knowledge the whole Japanese bareness extends from the sense that it was one of the only mediums of expression for quite sometime. Manga is not a kids only thing like most of main stream thinks of comics… I think that opens the door for content to be varied. As far as kid content in anime being a little playful with sex, it is not something just from Japan… the only place I have ever known to have such a problem with sexuality is here in the US.

  14. Gannon says:

    Sure, the e-mail is legitimate. After all, 14 year old girls can consent in my country, so defending that position just means defending the standards of my country.
    @Logtar: I completely agree, a lot of Aime is targeted at adolescents and young adults, and not at children, a concept difficult to grasp for some US citizens. Computer games and toons are for children!!!! (sarcasm)

  15. trumwill says:

    Manga is not a kids only thing like most of main stream thinks of comics…

    As mentioned, that’s definitely part of it. But that’s not all of it because even in the US stuff aimed at teenish audiences doesn’t have what Japanese stuff has as far as nooditty goes (though it does have a lot of sexual situations). A lot of that comes down to American attitudes towards the bare human body.

  16. Gannon says:

    Thanks for your e-amil, it seems pretty common sense but still to strict in my opinion. I don’t really know why you don’t want to publish it.
    Your Spam protection is quiet annoying.

  17. trumwill says:

    The spam protection on this site? Less annoying than the alternatives that I’ve found.

    I may post about ages of consent at some point.

  18. Peter says:

    By the way, what’s your opinion on age of consent for heterosexuals? 14 I think is fine, but I guess you will say 16.

    Well Gannon, as I’ve said before, you’re welcome to come to America and start romancing some 14-year-olds. It will be most amusing to see what happens.

  19. Gannon says:

    Peter man, you are like the pest. I have really no desire to insult you. If you are interested in an honest and rational discussion, that’s fine but in general you are just pestering around.
    “Well Gannon, as I’ve said before, you’re welcome to come to America and start romancing some 14-year-olds. It will be most amusing to see what happens.”
    Romancing and dating isn’t a crime, by the way, even in the US. Argentine girls are cuter anyway.

  20. Barry says:

    If Gannon believes 14-yr-olds are mature enough to handle adult relationships (sexual or non-sexual), he’s got a lot of growing up to do himself. Sounds more like he’s wishful thinking when trying to defend it.

    Definitely not in America. Probably not anywhere else that’s much less complicated a culture.

    Loggy, as for the American “hangup” toward noodity… I wouldn’t really call it a hangup when it’s a moral choice brought on by societal and religious norms established and nurtured by the majority for 200+ years. It’s only a hangup when you don’t agree with it.

  21. Gannon says:

    @Barry:
    remember that in Europe, the age of consent also varies between 13-16, the median being 15. Do not underestimate the maturity of young 15 year old women. They are ready to marry and form families. That’s also whi Japanese Manga portarys them as sexually very attractive. Most heroines are between the ages of 14-17. Akane is 16, Kagome 15, Ayeka 17, Ryoko in her early twenties (not thirties), Kenshin’s girl 15, Rina Inverse (the slayers) 15, Amelia 13, the Enagelion girls 14.. and so on.

  22. trumwill says:

    Maybe at some point in the future I’ll write up a post on the subject, but for now let’s not turn this into a debate on Age of Consent laws.

  23. logtar says:

    I still call it a hangup because as far as true puritanical communities, main protestantism has a dual moral standard towards a lot of things… I think you cannot call breasts immoral to the point that a woman cannot breastfeed… that is just ridiculous and happens here… or the whole Janet Jackson also ridiculous… a breast is nothing to be offended by, religious standard or not.. genitalia that is something else, but then again, anatomical correct sculptures were in many textbooks that I saw when I was around 9… around 8 I had already had sex education and in here that would have been outrageous.

  24. pimpmastahhanhduece says:

    You mentioned neo genesis evangelion, you forgot to mention the scene where the guy was insane because a girl on the show was in a coma from some crazy fight. He shook her hard and by accident ripped the shirt exosing her tits. Next scene shows was i can only guess semen on her bare chest. Hey, dont think i’m weird, i ran into this on adult swim when they used to show anime. But Tenchi is good for the silliness and the ultra lucky generic fantasy of a young boy just starting to really like girls but tenchi is like completely oblivious until some point where he slyly outsmarts people and no one knew when he kinda went from bumbling to too wise for even the crazy aliens that blew his mind 1st. Harem animes have been blown way out of proportion and the degree of lewdness isnt justified by the humor. Also people use SD(super deformed:drawn like an emote kinda) entirely too much. If you want a really good anime that doesnt show nipples but occasional fondeling but is really funny with no magic element, Love Hina.

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