The Deal With the Ecchi Situation.

Why does this topic get people so heated?

There are a few topics that make anime fans go crazy. One of them is the ever popular ecchi genre. The politics surrounding ecchi can be an interesting and complex affair. On one end, you have the people who love it so much they defend it in all its entirety and ignore the problematic content that can be featured within these types of shows. On the other end, you have people who write the entire medium off as misogynistic and refuse to see any good in this genre. You have people in the middle somewhere who either like the stuff, don’t care for it, or the people who get a kick out of me (I plead guilty to this one). Even so, what about ecchi makes us go crazy?

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The first obvious answer: it can be sexy! People like what makes them feel “good” in a sense and they don’t wanna feel bad cause they may get off to a problematic concept. It can be rather difficult, but people tend to take criticism of something they like as a criticism of themselves. Why? Multitude of reasons. We’ll never pinpoint why, but let’s be real here. No one wants to give up something that meets a desire they have. Ecchi can meet some wants, whether those wants be comedy or something sexy.

So if it’s just sexy…. What’s the issue?

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Unfortunately, the problem with ecchi (and sexy things in any type of genre) is that there tends to be a lot of problematic concepts within them. Well? So what? You may be asking. Who cares if there’s issues with consent and some of the characters are humiliated? They’re not real! That is a valid criticism to the argument, but for one to completely understand where this argument is coming from one should put themselves in the shoes of the victims. It is not uncommon for women to be the victims of sexual assault. These type of shows can be a rather unfriendly reminder of how real life can be. The counter argument could be don’t like, don’t watch, but the issue still comes with these shows sometimes seem to promote unhealthy behavior. These things can be presented as just “normal.”

It’s fantasy though! No one gets hurt! That is true. However, I do not believe that media exists outside of reality. We create fiction based on things we may want to experience, things we may wanna see, even things we may possibly believe. Media is not exempt from social norms and issues. Basically, what I believe is that ecchi and some of its elements are just a product of the societal expectations/norms for these populations. Maybe these things are even desires of the creator. The thing is, one cannot make this a definite assessment. Sometimes people just want to explore something. I don’t blame them for that! I too enjoy some problematic content, but I am always critical of what I consume. That is why I’m writing this article. I feel like people refuse to be critical on either side and quickly write off each other’s arguments. Instead of having a healthy discussion on how some concepts of ecchi can be rather irksome, we are quick to argue and get mad that the other side won’t see our point.

Now I’ve spent a lot of time defending those against ecchi, but what about those who enjoy the medium? As stated earlier, I do not believe ecchi is the problem. I think certain social norms and stigmas are what promote certain thinking and that can affect the media we consume.

So what makes a good ecchi series?

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Well that’s completely subjective! Rather than have a question of what is a “good” ecchi series, maybe the question should be what would be considered a healthy ecchi series? Unfortunately, there are not a lot of examples of that. Also, even the “healthier” series are still littered with bits of problematic material. Something like the Monogatari series is a good example of how to characterize and sexualize your female characters, but it also has non-consensual scenes and some incestuous matters as well. Despite that, the series does a good job treating its female characters as not only sexual beings, but also characters to grow and explain. There is also the shining beacon that is Monster Musume. The anime was basically just dumb, sexy fun. Who could complain about it?

Is ecchi worth getting angry about? I think not. Should people get upset cause someone criticized their soft-core porn for being rapey? No. These criticisms and assessments exist for a multitude of reasons. What it comes down to is knowing what you like and avoiding what you don’t.

There’s plenty of problematic content for everyone to go around! Let’s address the real world concerns of where these series may draw inspiration from rather than some drawings on paper.

*Note: I am not saying that author’s make these things because they want to see them, but sometimes real life can mix with fantasy. It’s not every case, but there can be an overlap sometimes.

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