So, this seemed a pretty popular topic in the anime thread, so I thought, “This deserves its own thread.”
To get discussion started, let’s talk about the so-called “rape” of Ryuko in the first episode. Did this bother you? If so, how much? Do you think people are getting a little too butthurt about it?
To fill you in, when Senketsu first met Ryuko, some people thought that the way it played out felt uncannily like a rape scene, with both parties using language that you commonly hear during unwanted sexual advances in anime.
I won’t deny that the rapey scenes are troubling, but they didn’t really bother me nearly as much as I expected, given everyone’s squawking.
In my experience, most rape in anime tends to fall into one of 3 categories:
- Hentai rape, designed to cater to a rape fantasy.
- Soap-opera drama rape, designed to add moe points to a character, making you feel sorry for them. An example of a character who was a victim of this type of rape is ROT13:Nenfuvxb Lhhab from MM!. She was date-raped by a boyfriend, causing her to ROT13:orpbzr naqebcubovp, as part of her backstory.
- Shoujo masochist rape, which is related to but distinct from both of the above. Like hentai rape, it glamorizes and fetishizes rape, but rather than asking, “Wouldn’t it be hot to rape someone?” it asks, “Wouldn’t it be hot to get raped?” Anyone who knows anything about rape knows that this is not how rape works. Shoujo masochist rape often portrays the rapist as an abusive, but internally conflicted and worthy of pity. Often, the victim ends up falling for the rapist, which is about as realistic as it sounds.
Ryuko’s “rape” at the hands (er, sleeves) of Senketsu falls into none of the above categories. Furthermore, Ryuko is a badass. I have yet to see an anime where a badass gets raped. She’s not the type of character that gets raped in anime.
I won’t deny that the whole situation is disturbing, but if you think about it, how else is Senketsu supposed to get Ryuko to don him? The whole “clothing” theme means that there are going to be uncomfortable situations like that. Isn’t Ryuko being forcefully made to wear Senketsu similar to how Shinji is forcefully made to pilot EVA 01, only with the twist that instead of piloting a mecha, the protagonist must wear clothes? Later, there is the whole episode about the agent from Nudist Beach demanding that Ryuko strip and hand over Senketsu. Personally, I think it’s quite clever. You’ve seen movies where a member of a secret organization confronts the protagonist and demands that they hand over a macguffin, right? Well, this takes that concept and puts a twist on it: What if that macguffin were the very clothes on a character’s back?
You’re going to run into uncomfortable situations.