This subject has been discussed to death, but fear not, for I am not a faggot who flaunts around his monocle and wizard hat. This is not some scholarly film-school-esque commentary on the “degeneration of decadence” and this is certainly not something that seeks to sway opinion in one way or another. On the contrary, this is a the impassioned rantings of a slightly irate anime fan who likes to think he knows what he’s talking about.
It has come to my attention, that an obesely large amount of anime these days employ elements of incest (some even have it as its premise). Needless to say, the Kornheiser in me wants answers. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers, all I have are more Kornheisers in varying degrees of extremity.
This is not a new phenomenon by any means; incest as a literary device has seen its fair share of discourse since the advent of text. Powerhouse manga-ka and grandfather of anime Osamu Tezuka brought the topic to manga in 1972’s Ayako. The first episode of the 1984 OVA Cream Lemon also features an incestuous relationship between two siblings, and get this, the parents are actually against the whole thing. I know! Absurd! How dare they! All joking aside, Cream Lemon was especially important in the grand scheme of things as it marked the starting points for many famous directors, animators, and voice actors (also among them is rumored to be Hideaki Anno of Gunbuster and Evangelion fame).
At the turn of the century, very few studios dared to make use of the incest element. When it was used, it was used primarily as a character study of sorts. Shows such as Onegai Twins! use the element to create a source of angst or uncertainty in the main protagonist. Other shows, such as Koi Kaze, sought to capture the dramatic elements emotional struggles of societal taboos. Revolution Girl Utena dealt with the very nature of sexuality. Not only was it a great show, it also managed to be provocative with its plot.
What exactly has changed since then? Was there ever a change to begin with? I’m not really sure myself as I wasn’t around during the “old times.” But one need only to look at various “current” series to see that something is most definitely awry. The entire concept of incest has taken the comedic route. And no, I’m not talking about satire or dark humor, but SLAPSTICK and FANSERVICE of all things.
Fullmetal Panic: The Second Raid. Kyoto Animation oh so “cleverly” changed the evil twin brothers to evil twin sisters solely for titillation purposes. Everyone rejoiced and Kyoto Animation went “fuck yeah.” This became a minor trope, eventually seen again in Shakugan no Shana some years later.
In comedic shows, incest has become a running gag of sorts. Shows such as Oreimo and Onii-chan no Koto make use of the brother/sister complex as a means for slapstick comedy. Take out the sister figure, and the show suddenly becomes a generic harem series. Some shows even have the audacity to highlight the moral ambiguities of such relationship by lampshading the “not blood related” excuse (which is more a cheap annoyance than anything else).
Why Japan? Why do you do this? Incest has literally become a plot device used to “enhance” the comedic atmosphere of a story. What was once a taboo and touchy subject that only those with a clear goal in mind would touch, is now nothing but a means of fanservice and shipfaggotry being tossed around like a hackey sack. I hate to say this, but if you look past the blatant fan pandering, Yosuga no Sora can be viewed as a deconstruction of sorts (depending on how you view the ending). WHAT’S MORE ALARMING, THE FACT THAT A DECONSTRUCTION EXISTS IN THE FIRST PLACE.
And then theres always that one guy who says “Well dude, you can always just like, not watch those shows, because there are people who really do enjoy them, stop sucking the fun out of everything.”
So you’re telling me. That out of all the things anime has to offer, you choose Onii-chan no Koto. First of all, you, and people like you, need to watch the following: Apocalypse Zero, Odin: Starlight Mutiny, and Seikon no Qwaser. If you genuinely enjoyed any of those, than you and I are not on the same page. Good day sir, and good luck on your future anime endeavors. Secondly, for those “sane” people who are genuine fans of aforesaid shows, this is exactly the type of thing that is detrimental to the anime industry.
Though it may not seem like it, the fans control much of the industry’s output on the basis of capitalism alone. You get studios and producers who only cater to one niche group of fans. That’s great right? They have their fans, no one cares. The problem becomes apparent when EVERYONE starts catering to that niche group of fans. This is most evident in the pseudo-genre known as “moe.” Suddenly, the niche becomes the norm, and the norm becomes the niche. How does it make you feel that these days, anime intended for “general audiences” (such as noitaminA) are becoming “niche?” I’m not saying it’s true or false, just interesting food for thought.
Look at Infinite Stratos. For fucks sakes, he’s got an entire harem swooning over him, and he doesn’t fuck one, not one bitch (to quote black man loves pokemon). And then this happens:
Yeah yeah. People laugh, shipperfags rejoice, and everyone moves on. But what are the implication? Little things like that just grinds my gears to no end.
My ultimate plea to the anime industry: Stop it. It’s enough that everyone is hopping on the moe/eroge bandwagon, no need to add incest to that list. If you must do it, then do it right. There was a time where incest was a legitimate literary device that when used correctly, could create a masterpiece of storytelling. Watch the Korean movie Old Boy, based off the manga of the same name to get an idea of how said element is correctly handled. The way it is handled nowadays is an affront to everyone who appreciates good storytelling.
To quote Coach Hines, “IF YOU DIDN’T WANT SO MUCH ATTENTION YOU WOULDN’T WASTE ALL MY TIME YAMANASHI, I’M ALREADY SICK OF IT YAMANASHI! I’M SICK OF IT!!!“