Category Archives: REC

Anime Porn Is a Wild Goose Chase

This is probably a lesson I’m learning in constructing an audiovisual narrative. People who go to film school probably learn this as well. I say “probably” because, well, it’s kind of a thing that I just think up and talk about with random people on the internet.

[Just imagine how difficult it is to have a straight-faced discussion about the effect of inserting various explicit sex acts in a film or a TV series or an OAV series. It just doesn’t happen unless you get lucky with someone who can do it and is willing to do so.]

To cut to the chase: sex is just like anything else that happens in an audiovisual narrative. In that how the typical ero anime is terrible aside from the way one enjoys a B-movie or like any other kind of porn, it is constructed in such a way that it does what it sets out to achieve. However, when we’re talking about inserting a sex scene as a coda or conclusion to a relationship, it just seems to be a poor choice.

In some ways you have to be a bit of a psychologist. Sex in media is a divisive topic especially in the more prudish parts of the world, but even in audience groups who are less fidgety about it, explicit sex acts draw reactions from the audience on a per se basis. This reaction can be distracting, and it’s uncertain how it furthers the point of the story when it has already been resolved to that extent (think of a romance story that has nearly ended).

A good distraction can be a useful tool. REC, for example, does a wonderful job with that as a hook, and they didn’t even have to be explicit about it. Looking back at it, REC is a story about reliance of people, so having a sex act by itself was a good thematic stake that pegs one corner of the bigger context and frames the issue in a distinct way.

But that’s still kind of shameless. It’s a shock tactic. Is it really fair to say that sex or fanservice, when used per se, is of a “lower” use? It may distract some people from looking at the underlying narrative, but what if the show isn’t about that?

To look at the typical TEROGE, it’s a wild goose chase, and sex is the golden egg to get the player’s bodily organs pumped with blood? Yet do people lay acclaims to these TEROGE’s virtues through the geese? I mean, the characters within? Or the chase itself?

I suppose in Fate/Stay Night anime’s case, it was a wild dragon chase.

The point is this: if we abhor poorly and cheaply pandering fanservice and sex scenes, do we have a rational foundation to make our claims credible? Obviously it doesn’t make sense to complain about having sex scenes when we’re talking about a porn piece. But is it true in the inverse, that pornographic scenes are inappropriate in non-pornographic works? And I phrase this not in the artsy-fartsy context, but even in popular, mass media. We definitely can have implications of sex, and even actual depictions of sex acts when it is fairly or even critically relevant to the purpose of the show (Rahx, Eva, Berserk, just to name a few).

Do you like it? Do you hate it? Is this really, killing the goose to get the golden egg?

REC Is No Wreck


In a lot of ways REC fits in line with a history of short, excerpted anime series adopting from manga and other mediums to present us with something heart-warming. The historic example of it is Android Ana Maico 2010. I think because how close this (and amusingly, it’s really not close to the original manga at all) adaptation has to do with the entertainment industry, I bet the creators felt it had to be somewhat uplifting.

And it is uplifting. Long story short REC is drama between a man and a woman, both with their drastic failing and reconciliations. The focus is the definition of their relationship; the hook is being a seiyuu, the setup, cuteness, and Audrey Hepburn; but ultimately it is warm, fuzzy fun. The drama is a little serious sometimes, and to its benefit despite the surreal fantasy that it kicks off from, there’s a lot of appeal to realism within the subsequent struggle between the main characters.

It’s good to know that nine episodes and 9*12 minutes later, we get our satisfactory ending. It’s probably no better than Cosprayer the Movie, but it really makes you want to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s or something (which probably has a longer runtime).

Canvas 2

Hiroki Irony

I’m probably jumping the gun because I haven’t finished watching the show, but at episode 22 out of 24 (plus some vaguely mentioned continuation/oav/type thing) I’m rather enjoying it. Perhaps it is just formulaic, continuing the tradition made popular by the adaptation of Kiminozo (Rumbling Hearts as its official English name), where drastic drama and difficult dilemma pump the viewers from episode to episode. It is a recent trend that by taking a lot of girls and girl angst, whirling them into a foundue of a trainwreck? Mai-Otome Destiny (and much of Mai-Hime), the Da Capo series, and the popular Shuffle are just some of the key pieces that grabbed various fanboys by their balls.

But more succinctly I think what kept me interested (so interested, in fact, that I marathoned all 22 episodes in less than 3 days) was the character acting. Instead getting annoyed and bothered as I would with the likes of Ed Elric or Miaka Yuuki, the adolescent drama was realistic and sweet, as opposed to extreme or hackneyed. The hard-to-like Elis Housen (I love the name!) was truely hard to like only because of her character flaws that were explicitly drawn and defined over the course of the series. Slowly she defined her complex, drawn the lines, and walked out of it. By this point in the game I’m totally on her side, despite what lurks beyond in episodes 23 and 24. Raws here I come!

Of course, the show just won’t work if we don’t spend the rest of the narrative on older, better characters like Hiroki and Kiri. Not even I could tolerate Elis for that long. It’s safe to say that these two made Canvas 2 what it is–a notch above the the average bishoujo adaptation crowd. The two of them form the diagonal in Canvas 2’s love quadrilateral (lol like a canvas) and are the backbone to the narrative. Kiri, especially, seems antithetical to Elis in so many ways that it made the drastic drama deliciously available in the meta, rather than the foreground of the narrative. Keeping things serious as Canvas 2 does means you have to also keep the drama tucked away, avoiding the trainwreck (at least till the very end). I think that’s really what made the show work–being just subtle enough that it doesn’t bother the heck out of your serious viewers, yet obvious enough that people have an easy time figuring out what’s going on inside people’s heads.

Of course, Canvas 2 scores major points for being fresh, taking that old-school narrative, polishing it, and inserting it in a modern bishoujo game adaptation. That’s also a boon for me personally–the illustrations and design perspective is hawt! I’m so sold over the ending sequence… Come to think of it, the way the show was written is kind of similar to Koikaze. There were some major differences, of course, but the writing seemed to be “fresh” in the same way. Definitely something worth exploring.

Well, enough leching over half-French-half-Japanese high schoolers. Despite Elis’s whacked complex and Hiroki’s unseeming inability to grow up…what’s wrong with Kiri again? What would a reasonable, fertile young woman of the proper social, economical, and emotional stature do in a case like this? She can’t deny her feelings, that much is clear. But she really stands to gain in the long run by actually befriending Elis seriously. Elis may be her student and a “child” in a lot of ways (which ironically is something Kiri explicitly sympathizes with Elis), but there’s so much of her “wisdom of age” that can be passed down. I mean, as someone who is single and over 25 I’m pretty sensitive to that, so it goes. Surely if I am serious about this girl, I’d try pretty hard to bond with the girl’s brother. Well, that’s just me. Is that the moral of the story? :)