Thursday, June 20, 2013

Swimming Anime - A treatise on double standards

If you pay much attention to anime blogs/tumblrs/various social media outlets, it is likely that you have come across the phrase "Swimming Anime" at some point in the last three months or so.  Here is a brief summary of the events that sparked this strange set of circumstances.

Apparently, this actually started in April of 2012, when Animation Do, a property of Kyoto Animation, announced an untitled project about a boys' swim team.  Two splash images were posted, discussions were had, but the company remained silent about the topic until almost a year later.  On March 6, 2013, Animation Do released a promotional trailer- and the internet promptly exploded in fan blogs, shipping wars, and yaoi.
 Gosh, I just can't imagine where all this yaoi is coming from

A fantastically hilarious flash game dating sim was posted on deviantart, which is still updated regularly.  (I am 99% certain that the parody dating sim will be better than the actual show, and I am totally okay with this).
It eventually became evident that "Swimming Anime" was just a concept piece, and the company had no designs to make it into an actual anime -the trailer was made to showcase the animation studio.  Thousands of fangirls wailed in agony as the "manime" was torn from their grasp!

But lo and behold!  So great was the fan reaction, that on April 26th, Kyoto Animation announced that the newly named anime "Free!" would be airing in July of 2013.  O frabjous day!  Fangirls rejoice!

But alas...that would be too easy.

"No!  Kyoto Animation can only make cutesy moe-moe things!", the male otaku cry out.  "Where is more K-ON! and gratuitous moeblob anime?!"

Really?  Fujoshi money?  I'm sorry, your moe-moe fanboy money is more worthy?  Suddenly, women are infringing on your territory of cutesy moe shit, and your male otaku-ness is threatened?  Goodness gracious, I guess we should all just get back in the kitchen and make up some fucking moe sandwiches for you.
Oh goodness, I'm sorry- I don't think this is the sandwich you're looking for  (since it is a hot dog)
In one blog post I read, the male otaku fear that women are, and I am paraphrasing here, turning KyoAni into a BL paradise.  I, for one, welcome our new fujoshi overlords.

And while we're at it, let's just clarify: women =/= fujoshi.  In fact, let's just leave the whole "fujoshi" thing out of it for the time being.  There is more anime out there that objectifies women than there are pixels in Lara Croft's high definition breasts.  Why, then, can't we enjoy some male objectification as well?  Why is it that, when a company so well-known for moe suddenly does something equally objectifying in the opposite direction, the backlash is tremendous?  Somehow, KyoAni branching out to a different demographic is offensive to you?  Reading forum posts (which is a terrible idea), I have gathered that there is a large proportion of people (men) who honestly have no idea why this show might make money, or who would want to watch it.  Really?  No idea at all?  Not even that whole bit where 50% of the population is made up of women?  No?  Okay then.
Here, have some Captain America ass!  (I still can't believe this gif was relevant in a blog post)
Male gaze has been around for as long as advertising has existed.  Women are used in advertising to sell a product- not by virtue of the product itself, mind you, but because of their sex.  The viewer is put into the shoes of heterosexual men (even when the product or movie is geared towards women)- camera angles and clothing choices are all indicative of a heterosexual male perspective.

Female gaze, or reverse male gaze, is less often encountered in media (although it's prevalence has been on the rise in recent years).  Men are often uncomfortable watching things that involve female gaze, because many men are pussies.

And this isn't just about anime anymore. The fairly recent "Zesty Italian" salad dressing commercial that features female gaze is quite popular, for obvious reasons.

But wait, wait.  Let's not get off track here.  Let me get to my favorite argument against "Swimming Anime." One of the many male otaku outcries against this show centers around the argument that "Free!" gives women unrealistic physical expectations for men.

I'm sorry.

What was that?

I can't hear you over the sound of hypocrisy.

This can be our protest chant:
When do we want it?!  PORN

I won't make you a sandwich on principle, but here's a nice pie you might enjoy


  1. this blog seems intersting .. im going to follow it :) .. rare to find any good blog like this :D

    1. Wow, thanks! I didn't actually think people were reading it, it mainly serves as a venting grounds for my crude vitriol. I'm glad someone else enjoys my sarcastic ranting.

  2. LOL yes this is very true.

    Just. At least when speaking to the genuinely less homophobic fanboys, drop the double standards. I mean, so much of the fangirl population has accepted Swim so quickly, they forget how much they've been complaining about the objectification of women. While the argument is still effective against those douches who fail to comprehend them droolworthy abs, once you've gotten your male fanservice, you shouldn't be complaining about female fanservice lest one seeks to become a hypocrite.

    1. See, now you're reading something into this that isn't there (and getting defensive in the process). Did I say anything about hating female fanservice? I just want equal opportunity fanservice - tits and ass and abs for everyone! And yes, Free! is a step in the right direction, but that is still only one show in a sea of many. Until the entire industry changes its tune, shows and video games are still heavily geared towards men.

  3. I don't mind the show, I think the funniest thing is Japan is the most misogynist country but at the same time you get more anime objectifying men, it's fascinating that its both the problem and the solution to this whole sexism problem going on.