The Free! bonanza taught us two things:
- Both sides of the Free! spectrum are right and wrong for the wrong reasons. And they don’t realize it.
- People like to be victimized.
I like to focus on the latter as CureSumika has already tackled the first part himself. The rant is composed of a series of facts and truths. Instead of propaganda, misled readers will find out how much they are wrong. For example, KyoAni is composed of mostly girls. How hard is this for people to realize this fact?
But I feel the latter is worth talking about. While CureSumika has touched on it shallowly, it is worth going into this psychology field deeply. And how it all happened. It’s not a simple case of misogyny; I am also attacking the fujoshi community for this too. Let us not lie: both sides are acting they’re the victims. They try to cloud that fact by badmouthing each other. Sadly, their immature actions made it worse.
This essay is a discourse on how the (mis)information has caused fans on both sides to say, “I’m the victim here, not them!” And how every piece of faulty evidence in their reasoning suck.
The Ladies’ Side
Take the females’ side and you’ll realize you’re carrying the weights of a very strange case of feminism. I am a feminist myself but I find myself alienated when you have aniblogs writing really weird shit.
When Free! wasn’t announced and the Swimming commercial was still the rage, FoxyLadyAyame wrote a blog post arguing that females watch anime and manga too. A noble cause. I have female friends who love Tamako Market like I do. Their visibility is weak.
But then, her arguments are filled with bizarre reasonings.
Of all the websites you can go to, she clearly picks out the most sexist: Sankaku Complex. There she quotes:
Please don’t become some creepy rotten homo anime studio!
No homo stuff please. At least put one girl in there!
They’re even shaving their armpits…
Tamako was pretty awful too, so now they’re aiming at women?
A comment by a random sexist does not characterize the whole male anime watchers. Yes, sexists exist. But one crazy opinion by a mentally ill do not speak for us all.
(The last paragraph dedicated to the “Swimming incident” is, while off-topic, worth mentioning. She argues that “objectification isn’t something abnormal,” meaning she must have never researched. Anyone reading that post might be confused what she is arguing for.)
But the real chunk that I am going to discuss is her second “incident.”
Shingeki no Sarkeesian.
I believe Anita Sarkeesian is a TVTropes user who sees the world in a negative view just to be popular. Her infamous “Tropes v. Women in Video Games” is a hysterical example of self-victimization in video games. She argues how video games sexually objectify people but the problem is: her examples are bad. Maybe it is true and I am a simpleton. But a feminist critique on video games released almost 30 years ago is frankly surreal. For our culture has changed quite a lot in 30 years.
But alas, FoxyLadyAyame plays the victim card for Sarkeesian here:
The fact that female gamers face discrimination, even more the lady-like ones, by being interrogated, judged, ridiculed as ‘fake’ and shunned, has been lying around for some time now, but never before was a single person targeted that heavily. Sarkeesian calls it ‘cyber mob’ and underlines how the whole assault was staged as a ‘game’ where the internet was the battlefield, the players were male gamers not only teens but men in their 30s as well, and they casted her as a villain.
This is partially true. She is indeed attacked for these purposes but FoxyLadyAyame has ignored that Sarkeesian’s arguments suck. I would question what Sarkeesian has against 30 year old video games in a polite fashion. For example, why are you criticizing an old game in 2013?
FoxyLadyAyame, with her faulty evidence, concludes her blog post with:
… Women are attacked when they enter what was considered initially a ‘male space’. Atop of that there are very few products that cater to the needs of female nerds. The situation is more clear-cut when we talk about video games, comics and western forms of entertainment, but what about Japan, manga and anime?
In the case of anime the scales tip toward males – you can see how the industry has been moefied the last decade and by that I mean both the cute designs and female characters that are clumsy and dumb and therefore ‘cute’. That’s definitely the influence of men.
Statistics show this is not always the case. About 40% of the massive K-ON! fandom are females. And this is a seinen anime. If we take the faulty reasoning to the extreme, females have crawled into men’s spaces since the beginning of time. And vice versa.
And let us not forget that mahou shoujo animes exist. The Precure and Ojamajo franchises are filled with kawaiiness, but they’re aimed at the most innocent of all the demographics: little girls. And Precure especially is influenced by tokatsu shows, aimed at boys. That’s why HeartCatch Precure has its GAR moments. And these franchises have a good male following as well. The mutual affection is apparent.
Another line of logic can also dismantle this argument: not all men like cute things. I don’t see how this makes any sense when you get people excited to play Escha & Logy their first Atelier game because it finally “has a male protagonist.”
The argument finally devolves into a complaint about the lack of anal sex in yaoi. Because that matters.
Men may have their boobs with nipples and their uncensored c*nt thrusting, but we aren’t allowed to revel in a detailed scene of anal sex…
FoxyLadyAyame takes a well-intentioned argument (females watch anime too) and destroys it by playing the victim card (MENNNNNN!!!!). Instead of arguing for that noble cause, she manipulates readers that the men are the reason that caused this problem to happen. Using beautiful generalizations (that contradict each other — note the lack of organization on my part to make sense of her post), she says men are the worse. Females should have their share of porn too. Or something.
This is bullshit.
Self-victimization causes people to misinterpret facts and truths into their own arguments. It’s cherry picking at its finest. This is apparent in FoxyLadyAyame’s post when she only cited two things: Anita’s TED talk and random Sankaku comments. For a serious subject like this, she is lazy in formulating an article fighting for the visibility. Instead, it’s just a stupid rant that incites hateful comments for the male gender.
The Males’ Side
The males have great, equally confusing comments on their side. The ‘classier’ version of Sankaku Complex, SeventhStyle, has this to say:
Kyoto Animation today revealed their next upcoming work, a fujoshi swimming anime dubbed “Free!” – yet that peculiar name actually first belonged to an entirely unrelated slice of life based around cute girls…
…Whatever the truth behind the matter, the single released volume of Free! was well-received, a very modest work which offered a lovable, lighthearted adventure of schoolgirls involved in various club activities.
In contrast, Kyoto Animation’s own “Free!” regurgitates an excess of half-dressed men exuberantly flashing their bodies repeatedly at a swimming pool.
I will like to introduce a new word to everyone’s vocabulary section in their brain. It’s called “truthiness.” Coined by the comedian Stephen Colbert and adopted by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it explains this hilarious comment.
Say you believe the recent earthquakes are caused by Obama because you felt it in the “gut” and that it “feels right.” And you say, “No need for evidence. I’m sure Obama did it.”
(A related example is the Crunchyroll’s Change.org petition, where the company fooled everyone that they made Free! happen despite doing jack shit. Petitions don’t do anything as written on my Tumblr.)
You might also realize FoxyLadyAyame has examples of this too (for example, not citing shit); it goes well with cherry-picking. But this SeventhStyle post is colorful enough to illustrate the fallacy of truthiness.
You see, truthiness has no direct correlation to the truth. What Seven has posted is a conspiracy theory that links a 4koma manga to a swimming anime just by its names. Titles are not in fact copyrightable. The lack of research seems to be a common flaw on both sides, it seems.
I enjoy this part the most:
Whatever the truth behind the matter, the single released volume of Free! was well-received, a very modest work which offered a lovable, lighthearted adventure of schoolgirls involved in various club activities.
Note the “whatever the truth behind the matter” part. In comments, Seven writes, “It’s never said that they are, it’s said that they may be.” He acknowledges this argument is retarded but he needs some leeway if it was proven wrong by, say, the mangaka GAN herself. Just in case he was 100% wrong.
And unsurprisingly, GAN responded saying this is not true. As of this writing, Seven has not posted a correction.
But the damage has been done. The power of truthiness is strong and it misinforms people that KyoAni has done something terrible. A minority seems convinced this is real. You also get denials where commenters write, “Looks like KyoAni is keeping her quiet…”
Because we all know KyoAni has its own mafia. Filled with moeblobs and the such.
Of course, we cannot ignore the hilarious (and wrong) comments that have nothing to do with this manga. Stuff like bashing on KyoAni and the decadent anime industry:
OMG the anime industry is really going down…seems like now i have the time to to graduate from college
fanservice for girls? dropped.
This may probably be my favorite of butthurt reactions:
What is up with these HORRIBLE decisions that KyoAni that has been making, are they realling saving Haruhi as a last resort or something? this pisses me off.
they could’ve even made full metal panic, but nooo! let’s make a generic fujoshi anime instead
though with their animation skills, they could easily net lots of sales, since Fujoshi follow an anime like a cult
CureSumika has already written a lot disproving all this crap. It’s so good I need to link it twice. Also, Kadokawa is a bitch and you need to ask them to let KyoAni make anything FMP/Haruhi-related.
Everyone is wrong
Nobody is right. I am wrong for underestimating KyoAni’s delivery speed for Free! and I’m sure a lot of people who follow KyoAni do too. This post however is dedicated to the really wrong people on both sides of the argument. Females are not that victimized nor is KyoAni betraying the world or something.
What we need to realize is that Free! is an anime. Nothing more. There is no ulterior motive except to get money. Is the anime industry decadent? Probably but we keep saying that since the days of Dragonball Z. And KyoAni has certainly not betrayed us or whatever. Let them do their thing: that’s how they’ve been working after the KeyAni trilogy. If KyoAni needed money, they could probably produce Little Busters! instead of reject it. (Update: Ultimatemegax wrote about this extensively here)
I realize the world is riffed with gender inequality problems. But Free! is not part of that problem. It is the people that seems to say it is that do. If one wants to eliminate gender inequality, all views must be neutralized.
So really, shut up and watch. Or not watch. The choice is yours.