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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
On the use of seinen manga (a.k.a. hentai manga). 
19th-Jul-2005 11:27 am
For silverr, who was brave enough to request it. ^_~

Okay, before I start--some terminology:
-成年 [seinen] - "adults-only"
-成年コミック [seinen comic] - adults-only manga, most commonly known among English-speaking fans as "hentai manga"
-エッチ or H [ecchi] - indecent, lewd
-変態 [hentai] - abnormal, perverted
Please note that the last two terms ARE NOT identical. "Ecchi" refers to things with vanilla sexual content, whereas "hentai" means kinky stuff.

Anyway, back on-topic. There are two basic competing ways of understanding the use of seinen manga:

1. That it works like all other porn aimed at heterosexual males. The turn-on lies in the objectification of the female on the page; the reader imagines acting upon the female and deriving pleasure through the *use* of her body. As such, the male presence is barely there, a hand or erect penis at best, leaving as much room as possible for the reader to fantasize himself into the action. Pretty straightforward. Reader as subject, girl on the page as object.

2. The second theory is a bit more complicated and hinges upon the popularity of certain hentai tropes such as tentacles. Though a practical conceit in Japan to foil the censors which otherwise look much like ecchi manga (a.k.a. lots of the girl looking...err...transported with pleasure and next to nothing of her partner), some critics note that it is rather difficult to project oneself into the position of "raping tentacle." After all, it's one thing to imagine that the erect penis might be yours, another altogether to imagine that the ten warty tentacles wrapped around the heroine are your appendages! Not to mention that it becomes exponentially more difficult imagining deriving sensual pleasure through them. So, some advance an alternative theory: That the male reader in this case becomes caught up in the pleasure of the female. Perhaps not empathy per se, but a voyeuristic pleasure, to say the least.

So, either the reader imagines interacting with the female himself (#1) or takes passive, perhaps voyeuristic or empathetic, pleasure in the female's pleasure/degradation/whatever (#2). Take your pick. ^^; (Interesting to note, however, that the second use of seinen manga is similar to the female use of BL. No wonder, perhaps, that tentacles are popular in BL and yaoi, as well.)
19th-Jul-2005 03:58 pm (UTC)
Completely and totally not on-topic for this entry, but I'm dying to hear your opinion on this article.
19th-Jul-2005 04:29 pm (UTC)
*sighs* Well, I know I've said it before; I don't think Harry Potter is especially good reading, and I'm dubious as to how much many lovers of truly great literature it will create. (Let's not go into what I was reading at these kids' ages.) I likewise do not believe in the virtues of reading books for their own sakes; being able to read is of course important, and being literate is good, but there are other means to accomplish those goals. If all you read for is escapism, you might as well play another round of Mortal Kombat. :P

(I don't always trust US News and World Report, either. They have a very conservative agenda.)

Although there have been no comprehensive studies of the effect of the books in the United States, the U.K.-based Federation of Children's Book Groups just released figures showing that 59 percent of U.K. kids think the books have improved their reading skills and 48 percent say the books are why they read more.

The kids *think*. But is it actually true?

At Denman's Florida middle school, peer pressure even motivated remedial English students, who originally couldn't handle the Potter books.

Peer pressure. If reading weren't cool, they wouldn't be doing it. Let's make Shakespeare or Toni Morrison cool!!!

Incorporating books into pop culture, rather than separating them into something refined and rarefied, can make literature more accessible--the way Harry Potter is.

Why don't "popular" and "high-quality" ever seem to go together?

It's what Allington calls the "good reader" effect. Kids who are already proficient readers or who have parents with enough time and energy to help them with problem spots are enjoying the Harry Potter books, but other kids don't get the opportunity. (And they arguably need the books the most--kids from lower socioeconomic strata tend to have the lowest reading scores.) "My fear is that this is another case of the rich get richer because they're the ones most likely to experience it," Allington says.

*snorts* Couldn't have said it better myself.

"The assumption is that it's easy to read, and kids will never grow as a result. But there is a sophistication to Harry Potter in terms of wordplay and puns," he says.

This guy's standards of sophistication must be abominably low...
19th-Jul-2005 04:36 pm (UTC)
This guy's standards of sophistication must be abominably low...

No kidding...maybe it's the british slang? "Snogging" is pretty damn sophisticated, isn't it? ^_^;;
19th-Jul-2005 04:37 pm (UTC)
*snorts* Except he was probably reading the American version...and didn't they edit all of the British slang out for us idiot Americans?
19th-Jul-2005 04:21 pm (UTC)
Berserk is considered seinen manga, is it not? So, all that plot and characterization is just a framework to hang the orgy scenes on?

Who knew?
19th-Jul-2005 04:30 pm (UTC)
That's a different designation. In Berserk's case, seinen means "young man." In the case I'm using, it means "adults-only."

But, yes...of course the two genres overlap. ^^
19th-Jul-2005 04:23 pm (UTC)
also .. er, it was more curiosity than bravery. I know how porn works; I wanted to see what you had to say.
19th-Jul-2005 04:30 pm (UTC)
Have you heard #2 before? I think it's an interesting theory, though I'm not sure I believe it.
19th-Jul-2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
Hm...2's certainly an interesting theory; I'd always wondered why the Japanese liked to insert rather grotesque monsters into their seinen manga/anime and such, always thought it was just another creative form of degradation. Or maybe the artist getting tired of just human bodies ;;; I remember hearing that in an late night interview on the culture of adult entertainment in Japan.
19th-Jul-2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
I believe, as I mentioned, that the original reason was to evade the censors. An erect penis = BAD, pointy tentacle = well, okay, we guess. Yeah, whatever. :P

Of course, since then, censors have become more lax, and I really don't see as much ero-grotesque in adults-only titles as I used to--now you see it more in the *non* adult titles, perhaps once again to evade the censors. ^^;; (For some reason, I can't help thinking of Yami no Matsuei...)
19th-Jul-2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
Whoops, should skim a little closer ;;; But I was also thinking of really oddball alien creatures with like...multiple penises, or the like. I don't remember what hentai anime it was from, but it gave me a real WTF moment.

OMG That scene in YnM XD! My eyes were as wide as saucers, since I was sure they wouldn't put anything that errr racy in a non-adult title O_O;
19th-Jul-2005 05:12 pm (UTC)
Hmm...sounds like a Maeda Toshio title. Like La Blue Girl or Urotsukidouji. :P

OMG That scene in YnM XD! My eyes were as wide as saucers, since I was sure they wouldn't put anything that errr racy in a non-adult title O_O;

A special "tankoubon-only" scene for the fans. :P Can't wait to see what Viz does with it...
19th-Jul-2005 08:32 pm (UTC)
*grin* Oh really, you've been publishing? Can I see some of your work?

Wow, I get to put my ego to use today... XDDD

Most Studio news is here: http://gynocrat.org

I have two stories in two anthologies coming out next month, a doujinshi for Gay creator Patrick Fillion, also next month-with my artist Kheelan, and our list of fan books can be found here: http://catalogue.studioplugnplay.com

19th-Jul-2005 08:42 pm (UTC)
Ooooh that's very lovely ^_^. You are Stryzga? Or Monaco? Either way, I really envy your CGing <3 and just the fact that you're an American-based doujinshi group...hard to find very many good ones of those around.
19th-Jul-2005 09:03 pm (UTC)
No I am Anderson. The one no know one cares about. The one who writes the stories that Stryzga or Monaco draw. Yeah. That's me.

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