Sailor Fuku: The Long and Short of It

Despite or perhaps even because of its prevalence in anime, the traditional sailor-style school uniform, or sailor fuku, is one of the more misunderstood articles of clothing out there, particularly by those viewers who may watch anime only now and again or have little to no direct knowledge of Japanese daily life. I must admit, even as someone who consumed anime voraciously prior to my actual move to Japan, I was still surprised by some of the things I discovered firsthand, especially when it came to things like school-specific rules around sailor fuku and what students could/could not get away with. Continue reading “Sailor Fuku: The Long and Short of It”

A History of Hentai: The Super Abbreviated Version

manga magazine lemon people
Way back in February 2016, after wading through my computer for a good old fashioned spring clean, I ended up editing and posting some history material that never quite made it into my PhD – mostly due to length and relevance issues. Continuing my adventures of delving into the folder helpfully labelled ‘UNUSED WRITING’, here’s another piece that’s been repurposed for my blog after a period of deep hibernation. Enjoy!

Note: I have gone out of my way to exclude any visually explicit content in this article. However, the topic itself obviously may not be considered child-friendly, and possibly won’t be to everyone’s taste regardless. Please proceed with this understanding. Continue reading “A History of Hentai: The Super Abbreviated Version”

The Old, The New, The Frank, The Untrue: Changing Faces of Japan’s Sex Industry

Prostitution may be (technically) illegal in Japan – it has been since the 1950s – but the sex industry itself is very much alive and kicking. Want to be chatted to by beautiful women or pretty boys over some pricey drinks? The hostess and host clubs have you covered. Feel like being bathed by an attractive lady who uses her naked body to apply the soap? No problem, that’s what soaplands are for. Got a highly specific itch you want to scratch? Get your cosplay and setting fetish needs met down to the last detail at an image club. Some institutions are a bit odder or less infamous than others, however, and Japan’s sex industry is in many ways quite different than it was in the 80s, 90s, or even early 2000s. Continue reading “The Old, The New, The Frank, The Untrue: Changing Faces of Japan’s Sex Industry”

Exploring Enjo Kosai

enjo kosai

In a previous article here on Otaku Lounge discussing gyaru street fashion and subculture, I made brief mention of something called ‘enjo kosai’ – translating roughly to ‘assistance relationship’, but probably better understood by the term ‘compensated dating’. Today I’d like to expand on this by taking a brief look not only at the background behind the term, but also how it’s been viewed by Japanese media and the general public. Continue reading “Exploring Enjo Kosai”

Love in the Moe Realms – A Concise ‘Dere’ Guide

45. picture1The moe phenomenon has been around for a couple of decades now – long enough to see many sub-trends come and go, and for copious amounts of manga and anime to be based on almost nothing else. Small wonder then that moe as a whole has spun off into numerous different types and categories over the years, each of them catering to its own particular brand of fetishized cute: glasses moe, maid moe, and bandaged moe, just to name a few. Another distinct evolution of moe (or rather, several evolutions closely related to each other), are the ‘dere’ varieties, all of which have seen widespread fan usage since the early to mid-2000s. This article aims to loosely explain the four most common of these – tsundere, yandere, kuudere, and dandere. Continue reading “Love in the Moe Realms – A Concise ‘Dere’ Guide”

5 Decent Yaoi Anime

23. picture1
Ah, yaoi. The bishounen. The angst. The creepy I-love-you, rape-as-romance themes. While still considered a niche genre in comparison to more mainstream anime, yaoi has gained a significantly larger following than yuri and has an extremely passionate fanbase. There are also copious amounts of anime titles that don’t specifically fit into the yaoi genre, but which nonetheless either imply or leave the possibility open for male/male pairings – often as a kind of female-orientated fanservice. Every now and then though, a yaoi title comes along that manages to break the mold and present a genuinely thoughtful, creative, or (somebody pinch me) realistic love story. Continue reading “5 Decent Yaoi Anime”

5 Decent Yuri Anime

22. picture1
I’ve been meaning to write an article like this for a while now – not because I like yuri more than any other genre of anime, but because it’s such a niche genre in comparison to most others. Sure, you can find yuri pairings in any number of pornographic works, but anime that depict lesbian relationships in more genuine, realistic terms are actually incredibly few and far between. [As an aside, I think this has in large part to do with the general fanbase; when not overtly or explicitly sexual, yuri is a genre that’s often targeted towards women, not men – yet there are far more yaoi fans among women than yuri fans, and so the amount of anime being produced to cater to them are similarly low. Of course, this is not to say that there aren’t any men who also enjoy watching yuri anime, but this can actually become more of a problem in the long run, since it’s further complicating an already very fractured audience.] Having now watched a fair few yuri titles, many of which I will never, ever be watching again, I decided it might be a good idea to celebrate those that managed to stand out due to their intelligence, innovation, or sincerity – especially if, like me a few years ago, you have a curiosity in the genre but have absolutely no idea where to start. Continue reading “5 Decent Yuri Anime”