Taboo Topics In Anime: Child Bait and ‘Overprotective’ Siblings

Within anime, there is the stereotype that many shows depict either pedophilic undertones or even incestuous implications. And while the vast majority of anime do not depict these themes, it is the ones that do that garner attraction.

Though pedophilia is often not explicitly depicted, there is a trope of characters (typically female characters) that appear as small or child-like but are beings that are hundreds to thousands of years old. It is easy to see how this trope can be seen as “pedo bait,” a term coined to mock actual pedophiles. Unfortunately, because the trope has become so normalized there are anime-watchers who defend the oversexualization of child-like charaters because “They’re a thousand year old god! That means they’re legal!”

But that is not the only taboo topic. Incest is also a trope that is stereotyped within anime. Typically depicted with a brother being obsessive or overprotective, to the point where he wants to be the only man in his sister’s life. This becomes another trope that also gets heavily defended, by saying that it’s normal for a brother to act that way (even if it is clearly unhealthy and more than just a sibling relationship).

However, with the case of both tropes, even though there are defenders of the tropes it is becoming increasingly taboo and looked down upon. And with time hopefully it becomes a trope of the past, seeing as shows rarely depict such topics now.

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Mint Bunhey

3 thoughts on “Taboo Topics In Anime: Child Bait and ‘Overprotective’ Siblings

  1. I think that in certain cases, these tropes are definitely not okay especially considering that anime is just what kids are able to stumble upon (because it is a cartoon). They might mistaken some actions to be okay because it’s depicted in a funny way like in anime often times perverts are a comic relief rather than something to be seriously punished, but I don’t know where to draw the line really.
    In the US, we have a cartoon called Family Guy and I remember sitting on my couch watching it as a college adult. My dad, a Vietnamese immigrant who does not know the cartoon very well, asked me “aren’t you too old to be watching this” without knowing that Family Guy was rated for adults. I think people should have a freedom to write and create whatever they feel to, and in Japan it is just very popular for underage looking girls to exist. I think the best approach to it would be to educate people right from wrong rather than just expecting them to know or completely ban something because this has been a long time trend in Japan.

  2. People don’t understand this enough, just because something can be distinguished as real and fantasy does not make it okay. Anime has many representations of childlike looking characters but give them an unrealistically old age otherwise known as lolis and those that are into these characters are called lolicons. It’s really unusual how many people joke about things like body pillows of these child like characters but it’s even more unusual how many people secretly enjoy such items. Sure the character is cute, but for people to actively make comments that they would enjoy sexual intercourse with such is quite disturbing. A popular character around 2017 was from an anime called Kobayashi san no Maid Dragon where it showed this cute young childlike dragon named Kanna. People were gushing over her appearance especially considering her age was 300 years old but her appearance was of a 9 year old child. A game by the name of Genshin Impact have a lot of these childlike characters that have old ages such as Klee who is an elf which are fantasy characters known to be hundreds to thousands of years old despite their appearance, a ghost child name QiQi who died hundreds of years ago but died at the age of 8, and practically a god named Nahida that is 500 years old but has the appearance of an 8 year old. So many people have these affectionate feelings towards these characters whether it’s a parental instinct or for some a sexual one. These kind of tendencies are especially scary when you take it into a public place. For example, Studio Ghibli land Japan is a theme park with very popular animated films such as Totoro, Ponyo, Spirited Away, etc. This theme park is supposed to be extremely difficult to get into and is known to be family friendly. However, some terrible people have been seen taking sexual photos with the statues of underage female characters of these animations. Even if you think that “it’s not real so it’s okay”, it’s still a mentality that people are interested in underage children which is visibly shown to the youth that witnessed this incident. These tropes are very bad for the brain as it could potentially lead people to pedophilic disorders.

  3. I found this article interesting because it reminded me of the first class discussion, where we gave opinions as to what should and should not be legal. Given that pedophilia is a serious label and crime to engage in, the fact that there is media out there that indirectly encourages such behavior could have people argue that it should become illegal for morality sakes and retribution.

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