Thursday, 16 June 2016

No Shinji don't get inside the fucking robot! (Rant)

NOTHING SEXY TO SEE HERE YOU CAN SKIP THIS!

I've been watching the anime Kuma Miko (Girl Meets Bear) and while I enjoy most of the cast, one of the characters, Yoshio, is pretty much intolerable.

It got me thinking about the point of characters like that, and how they can be tolerated if the situations their behaviour brings about are enjoyable. Basically they serve the same function as regular villains - they give the main characters something to struggle against so that the viewer can empathise with the latter and become engaged in the story. In this sense a villain that is truly threatening would be crucial for a story that focuses on the hero's growth as he goes into battle and faces untold dangers, but in one where the focus is the lighthearted friendship of the main cast the villain can be an outright incompetent moustache-twirler as long as foiling his plans brings the group together. In porn scenarios the vile, faceless mob tying up and fucking the innocent girl serves the same purpose - if the point is to get to see rough sex then the mob facilitates that very efficiently, while it couldn't play the same role under any other circumstances.

Here's where some dissonance occurs, because if someone is reading one type of story but expecting a different type they will interpret the characters in ways not intended by the author. An example of this would be Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Someone watching/reading it expecting a harmless show of giant robots beating up giant monsters where the characters are merely vehicles to make that happen might wonder why Shinji doesn't just "man up" and go punch the bad guys, while the actual point of the story is the soul crushing abuse that a broken boy with no sense of self-worth suffers at the hands of people who only view him as a tool to use for their own gain. The point of NGE is the people, not the robots, but viewers who only wanted robots didn't care about the people. Shinji serves the purpose of the psychological-abuse genre perfectly but not the robot-punching genre.

Likewise if someone is watching porn expecting their favourite fetish but getting one that turns their stomach instead. They don't see the sexual appeal so it reads like a different genre of story to them. This is why some fetishes (like netorare and vore) receive so much derision - people not into them become offended by what they read as the story's moral implications instead. Meanwhile the author probably did not even consider the story from a moral perspective because they were writing in a genre where that didn't matter, much like how action movies can be offensive as all hell but still enjoyable if all you're looking for is explosions and gunfire.

Yoshio of Kuma Miko is completely oblivious to/dismissive of the feelings of those around him, especially Machi (the titular girl), yet constantly manipulates and pushes her until he gets his way despite her obvious objections. His purpose in the show (the way I watch it at least) is to force Machi into different situations that challenge her.

In real life that's emotional abuse, but this is fiction, where only those wounds that the author decides to show actually happen. If we don't see Machi suffer from her experiences we shouldn't assume she is psychologically hurt, meaning that Yoshio's behaviour is not as bad as it would be in a different genre.

The problem is that the show actually focuses on Machi's inner struggle as she tries to handle the various situations that Yoshio forces her into, and she is very clearly shown to be traumatised by having to basically humiliate herself in public over and over. If the viewer is supposed to sympathise with the little girl (hard not to) one would expect Yoshio to receive some sort of karmic retribution or come to understand the impact of his behaviour, but that never happens. He basically has "plot armor" and that makes him insufferable.

TL;DR: Characters that are awful people can be good for a story but you can't mix genres, I guess?

6 comments:

  1. All art is selling something. I've never watched the anime shows mentioned here. Sounds like the Shinji and Machi experiences are meant to normalize that kind of experience for the viewers.

    As for fetishes: most people think my main fetish (castration) is too bizarre for words. I personally can't stand scat and I find foot-fetishism to be ridiculous and boring. Vore just leaves me cold.

    I can get into cuckolding/netorare, especially cream pies. In general, I've found it to be a very common and very powerful fetish.

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  2. You're probably becoming/maturing too much into a top/alpha to be able to really empathize with bottoms/betas, Mr. NiP.

    There are a lot more betas than alphas so the anime producers pitch them to the betas. And the whole Alpha/Beta thing is an unavoidable aspect of modern life.

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    1. Well, the thing is I do empathize with the characters that are being mistreated, I just also want to see the bad guys punished for their behaviour, which I think is a pretty universal desire for audiences. It's cathartic to see a bad situation resolved.

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  3. Yeah, it's been more than 20 years, and there's still people complaining about a broken 14 years old "not manning it up" ...

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  4. Eeeeeveryone in NGE (besides penpen), is on some level or by some interpretation, a scumbag. It's a show about awful people and the approaching end of the world, but they're the "heroes" we've got, so they go about their attempt to "save the world" in the way you'd expect from those kinds of people, not in the way people should.

    Gundam Thunderbolt is also great for this, in that the line between protagonist and antagonist is super blurred, as it's more about a small series of conflicts and the people in those conflicts, than it is about good vs evil.

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    1. Yes, although I think the original pilots (I've only seen the original anime and End Of Evangelion, and it's been a few years) are the only arguably innocent people there, Asuka being the least so of the three because she takes her anger out on others.

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