Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby BusterMachine4 » Mon May 10, 2021 1:17 am

Sorry for continuing to resurrect this thread, but I feel like I've come to a sort of realization about this whole debate. Mainly, there is a sub-group in this whole debate that I hadn't even been considering previously. This sub-group is fine with sexualizing cartoon characters, as long as you're sexualizing the right cartoon characters. And that typically means that characters under 18 or whatever definition of "mature" you use are off-limits. In the Eva fandom, these people tend to manifest as Misato fans who will never stop reminding Asuka and Rei fans that their personal waifus are 14 years old.

I'm saying this because of a meme that was recently posted to the Eva meme subreddit. I'm not going to link the post, since the comments predictably turned into a complete mess, but in a nutshell the poster was a Misato fan saying that hentai of Asuka is pedophilia. He also said that post-timeskip Asuka doesn't count as an adult, since her body is still that of a teenager's. And, as I already said, the comments turned into a mess of arguments and name-calling.

One of the arguments that was often used against the OP is that Asuka doesn't even look like a teenager in the first place. But the OP and the users on his side said that she does look like a teenager, and the skintight plugsuit just makes her look more mature. Another argument used against the OP was that Asuka is a drawing, so it doesn't matter what age she's supposed to be. But the OP's supporters said that doesn't matter, since she was still drawn to look like a teenager. Which inevitably led back to the "she doesn't even look like a teenager" argument. Then the argument just went in circles until everybody gave up. Judging by the comments that got the most upvotes, though, it seems like most users were on the OP's side.

One of the arguments used by the OP's side, on the other hand, is the classic "Eva has an anti-fanservice message" argument, using the masturbation scene and the numerous scenes of intentionally awkward sexuality as proof. That might seem like it conflicts with the "fine with sexualizing Misato" part of the debate, but thinking about it, it actually kind of fits: Most of the scenes of entirely played-straight fanservice tend to be of Misato and occasionally Ritsuko. I still think the "anti-fanservice message" thing is mostly BS, but that part actually did kind of fit.

But I'm wondering if this is a valuable contribution to the debate. Does this add some new dimensions to the argument, or is it just completely irrelevant? I honestly have no clue.

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby baldur » Mon May 10, 2021 7:03 am

I don't think it's irrelevant, no. If nothing else it's an interesting observation, one that I hadn't really consciously thought about before. That being said, I don't think it's much of a mystery why there's a link between the two ideas.

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby C.T.1290 » Tue May 11, 2021 7:05 pm

View Original PostBusterMachine4 wrote:This sub-group is fine with sexualizing cartoon characters, as long as you're sexualizing the right cartoon characters. And that typically means that characters under 18 or whatever definition of "mature" you use are off-limits. In the Eva fandom, these people tend to manifest as Misato fans who will never stop reminding Asuka and Rei fans that their personal waifus are 14 years old.

That’s the issue I’m referring to here. Some people seem have no problems with sexualizing minors. Yes, people who do that are probably teenagers themselves. But when some grown guys do it and they’re in their 20’s or 30’s, that would just come off as creepy, which I’m sure the majority of people would agree on.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby BusterMachine4 » Tue May 11, 2021 8:07 pm

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:That’s the issue I’m referring to here. Some people seem have no problems with sexualizing minors. Yes, people who do that are probably teenagers themselves. But when some grown guys do it and they’re in their 20’s or 30’s, that would just come off as creepy, which I’m sure the majority of people would agree on.

I had suspected you were probably on the "fine with it unless it's minors" side of the debate. But I don't think "is it okay to sexualize minors" is the main crux of the debate: it's more "does it even matter since the "minors" in question are fictional drawings." A lot of people just laugh at the accusations of CP and pedophilia being thrown at the anime community, since it feels like it's establishing a false equivalence between drawing a hot-looking imaginary teenager and exploiting real teenagers through sex trafficking. For many people, drawings just don't hold the same amount of weight as real people.

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Zusuchan » Wed May 12, 2021 9:38 am

Sexualization of minors and real-life horrors are two completely different ballparks, but there's still the valid question of how sexualization of minors might be a part of a larger cultural landscape that might influence conscious and subconscious values that adds to unsavory societal effects-especially so when we look at sexualization from a larger perspective.

That said, I think only unnecessary fanservice that doesn't really add anything to a work even aesthetically and can pretty much be stated as being "just for the eyes" really deserves to be criticized, though I am aware of how subjective "unnecessary fanservice*" is/can be, which means that one would need to prepare for a debate when proclaiming something unnecessary (not even just in terms of fanservice, but purely in terms of anything introduced in an artwork). Sexualization of course goes beyond just "art", but I think only "art" deserves the benefit of a doubt and discussion (even the blatantly commercial art should have the benefit of the doubt at first)-the rest, after all, is largely just the after-effects of consumerism. Granted, in many cases what is "unnecessary sexualization" is the after-effects of consumerism, too; that does not mean that at first the artwork should not be looked at on its own merits at first, with findings of unnecessary sexualization then talked about as signs of this or that and results of consumerism or cultural beliefs or whatever after that.

*Unnecessary fanservice would be any kind of unnecessary fanservice too-I'm not that sure that sexualizing grown women without aesthetic or thematic reasons is somehow better than doing the same with minors simply because of the age difference.

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby baldur » Wed May 12, 2021 12:50 pm

Well said, I agree on all counts.

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Zusuchan » Thu May 13, 2021 5:59 am

Zusuchan wrote: *Unnecessary fanservice would be any kind of unnecessary fanservice too-I'm not that sure that sexualizing grown women without aesthetic or thematic reasons is somehow better than doing the same with minors simply because of the age difference.

I should probably state that in this context, "unnecessary fanservice" is really just a synonym for "unnecessary sexualization"-there are of course other forms of fanservice, but their problems and merits require different discussions due to their different natures IMO.

Oh, and thanks, baldur!

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Lavinius » Sat May 15, 2021 5:09 am

There's no need for an artist to sexualize a depiction of a beautiful girl, or a beautiful boy. If the depiction depicts their physical & spiritual beauty well, this will incite admiration & desire in the receptive viewer by itself. Because a sexy entity of the desired sex will naturally be sexualized by the not-asexual beholder whether they're prompted to or not by an overt PANTY SHOT or what have you.
The resort to trite, trashy fanservice techniques, which are inelegant and disrupt the rest of the character/æsthetic flow, is most likely to indicate that the artist thinks that their character isn't sexy enough. Eva has no need for such things, and they're thus odious when they are used.
This is why, for instance, our perpetually cucked computer girl Naoko makes for a suitable side-dish even though she (regrettably?) gets absolutely no ass shots. Because she's an attractive & intriguing woman depicted as such; Anno doesn't need to accomplish any more than that to give a Red-Blooded Lilin Male or Blue-Blooded Adamid Colony Entity the opportunity to get all bothered about her.

The only way to get persons not to be attracted to Ritsuko, Rei, Kaworu, Naoko, Kaji, Shinji, Misato &c. would be to make them shoddily written and/or ugly. And there are cases where even doing that doesn't work.

And for my part, I don't see being attracted to the human creatures one is naturally attracted to and fantasizing thereabout in moderation & taste as particularly, or even inherently, wicked, even if the hypothetical actual realization of sexual relations with them would involve situations rightly condemned or outright impossible.

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The appeal to beauty is the best argument against pæderasty as far as I'm concerned. All the others are either being patently absurd & dehumanizing (the idea that teenagers somehow can't consent), can be easily flipped the other way (imbalance of experience is the basis of all educational relationships, after all, as the immortally glorious teenage-boy-raping old Grecians would point out), or are generalizations about social/psychological consquences which will inevitably have exceptions (just as not all gay relationships lead to AIDS, it's not like all teenage girls fucking men twice their age are going to end up the worse for it).
But that it's far more beautiful when a beautiful young girl lies with a beautiful young boy than when either lies with a foul old lecher or old hag is self evident as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Zusuchan » Sat May 15, 2021 8:09 am

Well, when I talk about "sexualization", I talk about the work pointing out and bringing attention to the sexual and the attractive in a character and "unnecessary sexualization" would then be doing that without any thematic or aesthetic reason. Of course people will be attracted to attractive characters even if those characters are not actively sexualized. (I'm also not so optimistic as to think that "trashy fanservice techniques" are simply attempts to make characters sexier as much as simple appeals to the general audience by some members of the general audience.)

As far as the wickedness of fantasizing about fictional characters is wicked or not, I state that it's not wicked/evil as much as just escapist, wrong and immature, ultimately playing a part in mankind's collective escapism and refusal to recognize the issues of the world.

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Postby Lavinius » Sat May 15, 2021 8:58 am

View Original PostZusuchan wrote:As far as the wickedness of fantasizing about fictional characters is wicked or not, I state that it's not wicked/evil as much as just escapist, wrong and immature, ultimately playing a part in mankind's collective escapism and refusal to recognize the issues of the world.

Individual humans are essentially powerless (save for Napoleon and a few others, perhaps) except while submitting to broader social orders or historical tendencies. Escapism isn't the reason persons don't recognize the issues of the world, it's their rational reaction to it.
I suppose after sampling & cycling through ideology after ideology*, and realizing that my own experiences were far from universal, and that my own beliefs even more so, I very much doubt that humanity could ever even reach a collective consensus on what the issues of the world are and how to treat them (except through a broad-tent league of fools violently imposing it on everyone else)- and even if they did, I'd probably disagree vehemently with it.
I don't see anything wrong with finding pleasure in fantasy. I have no regard for puritanical, dour, Platonistic ideologies which see the need to place æsthetics as merely the servant of Serious matters like Reproduction and War for the Good of the State (which isn't what you're saying, I think, but it could come across like that), rather than in their proper place as the goal of existence.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby Zusuchan » Mon May 17, 2021 12:43 pm

Lavinius wrote:
Escapism isn't the reason persons don't recognize the issues of the world, it's their rational reaction to it.

Mayhaps-but rational reactions don't have to be right. My issues with escapism are, to be fair, more related to what I consider its overall implications and societal/cultural consequences. It's not that I find fantasy wrong per se and I'm certainly not against fantastical doses of imaginary escape from the real world nor do I dislike aesthetics (oh no, I have a strong affinity for aesthetics to the point I'm able to find something aesthetically interesting even in the stupidest stuff I've consumed and most of my favorite artworks/artists tend to have prevalent aesthetic sensibilities-I might even go as far as to say I love aesthetics), it's more that the kind of symptoms of wide escapism I see consists of people constantly escaping from the real world and ignoring all that's wrong, both with the world and with themselves, in favor of imaginary escapes that won't actually provide real solutions, while also contributing to the popularity of spoon-fed nostalgia material prevalent in the contemporary culture while some more interesting artworks are left somewhere on the bottom of the barrel (not that there aren't masterpieces that are also more popular, but over-all, I think the picture is pretty clear).

In terms of world issues, I agree that some sort of objective consensus on what all the problems are and how to solve all of them is out of the reach, especially due to the ideologies people prescribe to being ofttimes more a result of individual personality traits than deep thoughts. That said, I think there are enough problems that most people consider to be some sort of problems most of the time (such as war, poverty, criminality, waste of natural resources) that there's still room for some things to be given more attention to if most people were to stop engaging in escapism and become more interested in trying to fix the problems that they see in the world while being mutually respectful to each other. I don't want everyone to adhere to my ideas, but simply to actually get seriously invested in the issues they see.

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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby FryMeTuhDehMuhn » Sun May 23, 2021 3:04 pm

Absolutely yes, it's weird and creepy.

I'm 15, and while me and my friends have never liked the sexualization (I've been involved with Eva since 11 by the way, never liked it from the start). One thing I would like is a version of Eva without the unnecessary sexualization (Lookin' at you, thermal expansion) because that would make Eva much, much better for me. Stuff like the thermal expansion and the Asuka bed roll in 2.22 honestly devalue otherwise great works for me, so it would be nice to see those bits go.
wait waht

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Postby GendoBus » Mon May 31, 2021 5:37 pm

Maybe someone has already said what I'm going to say, but @FryMeTuhDehMuhn I think that some of the fanservice in Eva is used to explain or expand a character's backstory.
For example, in the episode thermal expansion Asuka was flexing about how she was smart (she said that she obtained a degree) and that her boobs were finally growning (something that she already stated at the very moment she met Shinji and co. for the first time). At first this scene seems pointless, but then in the episode 22 there was Asuka that wanted desperatly that Kaji noticed her as suitable partner, indeed she said something like: "look at me, I'm a woman, I've grown up!" while showing her bra.
This shows how she in general have some serious problems and more specifically how she wanted to be seen as an adult/attention (we can go even deeper about this subject, but I don't that this is the right thread) and something similar can be said about Misato.
Obv there are scenes that are there just for the fanservice without an underlying meaning, like Ritsuko in the first episode or Asuka in 2.22 (even though when she was going to pilot unit-03 she said something like that this plugsuit was exposing her body too much while staring at the audience, maybe it was a way to make fun of the fan that sexaulize her?), but I don't think that they detract a lot from the series.

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Postby FryMeTuhDehMuhn » Mon Jun 07, 2021 3:56 pm

View Original PostGendoBus wrote:Maybe someone has already said what I'm going to say, but @FryMeTuhDehMuhn I think that some of the fanservice in Eva is used to explain or expand a character's backstory.


I think this is true, as sexuality is a pretty big part of the show, but I meant more when it's not got a deeper meaning and is kinda just there. I do like your analysis of thermal expansion, that has made me look at it differently, so thank you for providing an interesting take I never thought of!
wait waht

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Postby GendoBus » Tue Jun 08, 2021 6:13 pm

I think this is true, as sexuality is a pretty big part of the show, but I meant more when it's not got a deeper meaning and is kinda just there.

Yes, sometimes there are scenes that don't add anything, like the ones related to Asuka in 2.22, indeed I cringed a lot the first time I watched it.
I do like your analysis of thermal expansion, that has made me look at it differently, so thank you for providing an interesting take I never thought of!

Oh thanks! I think that is one of the strength of evangelion; it has many layers to analyze (sometimes) and it's fun to discuss/discover them, indeed I'm looking forward to 3.0+1.0 just for analyze it!

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Postby Sefirot Tree Of Life » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:26 pm

To be honest, I don’t see the point in getting mad at the supposed “otaku” for sexualizing the characters. The fault and blame lies on Anno and the creators. They wrote the sexualization, then profit off of it. They are completely and totally hypocritical if they they are trying to criticize the audience, because at this point they are trying to criticize an abstract idea that can’t be stopped unless you control the entirety of human thought and actions. Anno and creators could have just...not sexualized the characters.

Ultimately, in the context of the original show, all the fan service moments USUALLY tend to mean something, give insight to the characters, and showcase the shows themes of sexuality and relationships and all that. To remove it, at least some/most of it, would be to damage the series. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s realistic, and it’s Eva. It could certainly be worse, and in the end, it’s not as if we can change that - all we can do is understand WHY, and do our best to divorce and disassociate ourselves from the fan service.

No excuses for the Rebuilds though, the Rebuilds are ass.
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Re: Is no one bothered by the sexualization of the characters in EVA?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:26 pm

While I full agree that it's weird and creepy for a grown adult person to have sexual fantasies over teenagers, and therefore teenage sexuality depicted in anime is likely to feel weird, gross and creepy for a lot of adults in the audience, is it wrong for teenagers to find other teenagers sexually attractive? Evangelion's targeted demographic is teens and tweens, after all. NGE even pulls in the teen demographic in Japan to this day, and that generation of teens weren't even alive when the show initially aired. (And many of those teens are also excited for NTE, which is still resonating with that same demographic to some extent.) In my opinion, a show targeted to teenagers dealing with the sexuality among teenagers can be a good thing, but what do you guys think?
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Postby Blockio » Sun Jun 20, 2021 12:00 pm

Hard agree. People tend to forget that the primary audience of anime is not some 30 year old dude in his basement, but people broaedly the same age as the characters in the show, who in the case of most anime are going through puberty themselves.
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Postby GendoBus » Wed Jun 23, 2021 5:25 pm

I think that the problem isn't the fact that a teenager has sexual fantasies about a character, but the fact this thing could be perpetuated when they will grow up. I mean, for example pokémon's target are the children, but most of the people that play pokémon now are adults who grew up with it and this is something similar that happened with Evangelion; it's an old series, so the teens that watched it when it aired now they're adults (more or less in their 40s) and some of them had sexual fantasies about Asuka/Rei/Shinji and maybe a few of them still have some of this kind of thoughts, so something that was normal now has become something gross.
Obv this isn't the problem of the series itself, it's a problem of the people who have sexual fantasies towards teenagers, but I think this is the core point of the entire threads; grown-ups that still has sexual fantasies about teenagers and this is widespread significantly in the various media of Evangelion like in manga (there's a reason if Shinji ikari raising projects lasted so long), action figures and ecc.
Anyway, I think that the show analyze the sexual aspect really good, it showed and talked about it very well and in a realistic way, but people want to see what they want to see at the end of the day


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