the_sun_is_up: A lovestruck Tamamin from Girl Friends making a boob-grabbing gesture. (gf - grabby hands)
Today I was taking a walk, and I got to musing about the fighting shonen genre. Now in Western culture (and I glean that Japanese culture is somewhat similar), we have this trope called A Man Is Not A Virgin, in which it's taken for granted that all post-pubescent male characters have already had sex at some point in the past, because if they hadn't, then it would be like soooo embarrassing you guys.

With that in mind, why are so many fighting shonen protagonists virgins? And not just regular virgins, but naive, oblivious, pure-as-the-driven-snow virgins, grew-up-in-a-male-monastery virgins, still-thinks-babies-come-from-the-stork virgins.

I realize that most fighting shonen series are minimal-to-nil on the romance subplot front, because teenage boys are not interested in reading about soapy relationship drama, or so I'm told. However I do seem to recall teenage boys being very interested in sex. It's one thing to have a shonen protagonist who has no steady girlfriend or hasn't noticed his female friend carrying a torch for him; it's quite another to have him be seemingly unaware that girls even exist and to completely avoid any sort of fooling around with the opposite sex.

Let's run through some examples: Ichigo — no girlfriend, and the only time he displayed interest in girls was when he freaked out at Yoruichi being a nudist; Goku — thought marriage was a type of food; Naruto — unusual in that he has a very loud crush on a girl, and his invention of the Sexy Jutsu demonstrates his interest in naked women, but since he raised himself, he still seems pretty naive on the birds-and-bees front; Sasuke — borderline asexual; Train from Black Cat — borderline asexual; Luffy — canonically asexual; Sousuke Sagara — okay his series isn't really fighting shonen, but I think he deserves a mention because he's a teenage action hero who is (you guessed it) borderline asexual. Light from Death Note is at least perceptive enough to notice the effect he has on girls and to exploit it for his own non-sex-related gain, but he's still another one for the borderline asexual pile. This pattern even shows up in GioGio's Bizarre Adventure — early in the arc we see Giorno at a restaurant with a bunch of girls swarming around him and offering to buy him food, but he tells them to go away because he'd rather be alone. Then when Trish shows up, out of the six boys, Giorno has the least amount of sexual/romantic tension with her. And from what I've heard, Allen from D Grayman, Natsu from Fairy Tail, and Juudai from Yugioh GX are all similar cases.

Even some fighting seinen series adhere to this trend. Guts and Vash are hardly oblivious to sex and romance, but they're still staunchly celibate for most of their respective series, despite Guts having almost every single female in the cast crushing on him.

In Mahou Sensei Negima, there's this arc that introduces aging pills, and the two male characters use them to age up from 10 to 15, which gets all the 14-year-old harem-ettes into a tizzy, because they keep crushing on the extremely bishie 15-year-old Negi and Kotaro, but then they'll belatedly remember that the boys are still only 10 years old on the inside. I remember someone on Fandom Wank quipping that aged-up Negi and Kotaro were like the quintessential shonen heroes: physically teenagers, but mentally children, especially when it comes to girls/sex/romance. (Kotaro in particular is still very much in the "girls have cooties" phase.) And I think that F_W person really nailed it. So many fighting shonen heroes have a mentality toward girls and sex that doesn't match up with their age, to the point where I start to wonder if they all have hormonal imbalances or something. Or they really are asexual. Or they're gay.

Speaking of which, this trend of the Chaste Shonen Hero is a major reason for why there's so goddamn much HoYay in the genre. A lot of these guys seem to be disinterested in and/or unaware of the opposite sex because they're too busy pouring all their energy into their intense obsessive rivalries and friendships with their male peers. I don't know, I have trouble picturing most real-life teenage boys being like, "No, I don't want to stare at boobs all day and get fawned over by sexy ladies, because I'd rather go daydream about rolling around on the ground, sweatily grappling with my arch-rival. Who is a dude." But that exact line of thinking is quite common in fighting-shonen-land.

This trend becomes especially bizarre when you look at the other side of shonen, the rom-com/harem/magical girlfriend/fanservice shonen, because those protagonists tend to be the exact opposite. Either they're gleefully unrepentant lechers, or they're accidental perverts who feel guilty about falling into cleavage all day long but nevertheless are keenly interested in making it with the ladies. Either way, your average rom-com shonen hero spends a lot of time thinking about boning. I don't know, maybe it's some kind of "I don't like to mix the flavors on my plate" kind of thing; teenage boys like fist-pumping action, and they like titties, but they don't like having both at the same time? Although the existence of the Panty Fighter genre proves that theory completely wrong.

Anyway I'm not sure why so many shonen protagonists are adorably clueless virgins, but I find this pattern interesting.
the_sun_is_up: A Stormtrooper making pelvic thrust motions. (star wars - unf unf unf)
So I was on TV Tropes this evening, and my wiki walk went something like this: Zero Punctuation -> Metal Gear Solid -> MGS HoYay -> I ended up on Youtube watching a cutscene from MGS 4, specifically the fight scene between Raiden and Vamp.

I've never played any of MGS, nor had I seen any of the cutscenes prior to now, and for that matter, I don't play video games period (except Minecraft, bawww). With that context established, I have a few observations:

1. I'll be honest here, I spent most of this cutscene laughing my ass off. I say this as someone who has watched a large amount of extremely weird and/or stupid anime: this is possibly the most ridiculous fight scene I have ever seen. When Raiden started his little breakdancing thing, I completely lost it, and it only got sillier from there. What is up with their shoes? Why does Vamp keep making those flamboyant poses? Why is there so much acrobatic flipping through the air? Why does Raiden feel the need to twirl his katana (I'm assuming it's a katana because they're Just Better) around in the air for about 5 minutes before sheathing it after the fight is over? (Okay I'll admit that Vamp shoving the dagger through his chest to retrieve it was pretty cool. And I like all the sword/knife sound effects and the music.)

Actually, thinking back over other ridiculous fight scenes I've seen in the past, I think this one would be a lot less giggle-inducing if it were done in traditional animation rather than realistic CGI. Which brings me to...

2. This cutscene reminded me of one of the reasons why I've never gotten into gaming: I can't stand the trying-to-be-realistic CGI art style of so many current video games. It just falls straight into the Uncanny Valley for me. I kept being distracted by how Raiden's hair swished in a way that screamed CGI and how Naomi (?) and Otacon's facial expressions looked unsettlingly off. I remember a while back when I got on /u/'s Fang/Vanille bandwagon and googled up some shippy fanvids of them, but found myself completely repulsed and unable to enjoy the LesYay because the characters looked like moving plastic dolls with eerily glossy skin and very limited facial musculature. I guess one gets used to the art style if one plays these sorts of games a lot, but personally it creeps me the hell out.

3. I am amazed, nay, impressed that so many straight men are able to enjoy this game series. I mean, don't gamer fanboys have a reputation for freaking out when presented with anything remotely feminine or homoerotic? By which I mean to say, THIS IS THE GAYEST SHIT I HAVE EVER SEEN, YOU GUYS. I knew MGS had a reputation for large amounts of HoYay, but good lord!

Let's see, we have a pretty white-haired bishonen who appears to be wearing skintight latex and high heels; we have a guy who seems to be the gender-flipped version of a Lesbian Vampire and who also dresses in very tight clothing which reveals most of his hairy chest; we have a fight scene in which the vampy guy ties up the bishonen guy and proceeds to gleefully and sadomasochistically stab him several times with a phallic symbol knife that he keeps in his crotch, and then he licks the bishonen guy's white blood off of the phallic symbol crotch-knife, and then there's the end of the fight which... I don't know if I can properly describe, but I'll try: Vamp jumps behind Raiden and gets him in a chokehold, so Raiden takes his katana and stabs himself through the torso and pushes the blade through so that it also stabs Vamp through the torso. And then they're stuck like that, in the upright spooning position, joined by the katana that's impaling both of them, and they're like struggling around and grappling with each other and grimacing at each other and they're doing this for a good twenty seconds.

...

Actually forget what I said about the creepy art style and the silly fight choreography — I should definitely play this game. It seems relevant to my interests. It seems relevant to most fangirls' interests.

Also, the main character's default outfit is a skintight latex suit that makes him look like he's wearing a corset. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall in the costume design meetings for these games.

4. What's up with Raiden's jaw?
the_sun_is_up: A lovestruck Tamamin from Girl Friends making a boob-grabbing gesture. (gf - grabby hands)
I'm skimming some Shugo Chara eps to snip transformation sequences from them, and I keep being struck by this one observation:

Ikuto's Magical Boy outfit is hilariously stripperiffic. Like even when he's not actively trying to seduce the audience — sometimes he'll just be standing there in his Black Lynx duds watching a fight or listening to someone talk and I'll be like "Ikuto you are SO NUDE." It's not just the midriff top, it's also that his pants are riding awfully low, and the animators make a point of outlining his hipbones in a way that is... extremely distracting.

Heck, it's so distracting that I'm having difficulty finishing this post in some sort of coherent fashion. I keep trying to type things, but my brain just reverts to a constant stream of "MIDRIFF MIDRIFF MIDRIFF ABS HIPBOOOONES"

So yeah, I guess there's no point in trying to continue this post. I may as well just go stare at his midriff some more.

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the_sun_is_up: Panty from PSG wearing glasses. (Default)
Sing me a bawdy song, make me merry

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