Anime, Other 0 comments on Let’s Talk: Body Shape/Size

Let’s Talk: Body Shape/Size

Anime has always been known for it’s specific art style and the various artists with their own take on it. But what we don’t often think about is how that style can sometimes be portraying real stereotypes we find within out own society. The squad here on Ashley’s Anime, Adam Barba, Becca Davila and Allison Wolch, discussed what being body positive in anime really means and what it does for its audience.

I’ve seen this happen a lot in anime, but after last season I sort of saw the need to host a podcast discussion about body positivity in anime. The recent show Kiss Him, Not Me was an anime that really did plus sized women no favors in the portray of Kae, the main character who’s a large woman that loses weight and gains the attention from several of her peers. Now, sometimes when people lose weight, it can change a person’s attitude in a positive way and that brings more people around. But that’s not really the case with this anime. Kae stays consistent in her personality and thinks very little about her size and figure; the attraction is purely physical.

I’ve heard a few arguments in defense of Kiss Him, Not Me. It usually revolves around how some of the characters realize how they like Kae regardless of her size, even though there are a few characters who already liked her no matter her size. But that doesn’t really stop some of the unnecessary attributes that are given to Kae; her voice is a perfect example of this. As a plus sized woman, I can confirm that I too always sound like I have inverted hamster cheeks (this is sarcasm for those in the audience who are not mature to view this blog).

But Kiss Him, Not Me is only one anime amongst the many that give poor portrayals of plus sized people, not just women. As you’ll hear in the podcast, the squad had some pretty interesting points to bring up about the issue at hand, but we all came to the agreement that this issue can be seen in almost every anime show, especially one’s that have plus sized characters. It’s a trope you can find happening often, and one that makes me feel like a I just ate a tub of acidic slime.

For anime that doesn’t portray any plus sized characters, the narrative still plays off of an ideal image that men and women “need” to conform to. Men are always extremely muscular (sometimes to a ridiculous size) and women are always big in areas like breasts, but skinny in their waist. This isn’t just a part of an art style; the look is too much like the stereotype and it still causes the same damages.

We might not think that an animation can cause any sort of damage to people’s mentality, but it very much can. It still perpetuates and idea amongst the populous that people need to fit a certain size in order to be desirable. And if that wasn’t enough, just look at how it effects the cosplay community. Plus sized cosplayers can be met with scorn for not looking like a character because of their weight.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. By criticizing and calling out anime that pedals certain ideas of plus sized people, we can start to critically think about how we chose to consume anime and what sort of bottom line messages it’s trying to tell us.

For more on the podcast, listen to it here! And to read more into what I thought about Kiss Him Not Me, read the official review here! And also be sure to check out Becca’s cosplay page on Facebook!

Anime, Anime Review, Seasonal Anime 1 comment on Kiss Him Not Me – Review

Kiss Him Not Me – Review

This is it guys. This anime threw dirty kitty litter in my mouth and called it pop rocks. That’s all I really have to say on the subject… Actually, that’s not true. I have a lot to say on the subject.

How do you even end up with this situation??? UM???

I personally did not like this anime in its entirety. I was actually surprised to see it had its good parts, but I found that there were other aspects of it that overshadowed the good and made it just downright a generic reverse harem with nothing new to add to the table. To make matters worse, it added some shallow attributes that it seemed to be teetering on as to whether or not it was going to fight for or against. It was overall an odd experience for me, one of the weirdest people to ever walk the dino lands.

The Good:

The only TRUE pairing.

The one thing I was pleasantly surprised to see that the humor wasn’t all poorly founded. In fact, there were a few parts that made me laugh pretty hard! While I didn’t agree with all the ways that this anime utilized its humor, I will say that it definitely had its moments were it didn’t make jokes to put down people. Rather, it was almost tasteful! It was like I ordered a good dessert at a greasy spoon.

I also loved Shima Nishina and Kazuma Mutsumi’s representation in the anime. In a lot of reverse harems I’ve seen, there’s usually never a girl being portrayed as a rival; if there is a female role, she’s usually not seen as a threat. But she was taken seriously by the other boys and she was legitimately caring towards Kae. Kazuma was a legitimate multi-sexual character who didn’t see gender at all (yes, I need more characters like this) and it was pretty fantastic to see! His younger brother was also one of my favorites. I was rooting for him after Shima simply because the two of them didn’t care what Kae looked like.

The Bad: 

It was no secret that I found Kae’s representation to not only be offensive, but also just awful overall. For character development, for story building, for really anything, I have to say it was just done in poor taste. From the way she talked when she was bigger to how she was drawn as “less attractive” it was clear the writers were taking a jab. What was confusing was that they had plots to consider whether or not her love interests would still like her if she was big; the answer to some being yes and others leaving us uncertain. I couldn’t tell if they were trying to make up for the representation given, but if so they should recognize there are other ways to portray plus-sized characters without making them seem goofy, unattractive or undeserving of love.

That aside, this was a classic reverse harem that ended exactly how other harem stories end. I really hoped, somewhere deep down in the caverns of my very soul, that there was going to be a definitive ending, but no. I got my hopes up yet again. Plus, it felt as though there wasn’t a lot of character development for some of the characters. It seemed like some drastic changes came for characters like Asuma or Yūsuke, but a lot of the other boys seemed to stay the same or they didn’t really grow much in comparison. You could see at the end when she showed her thoughts about each guy, it was sort of like this:

“Asuma is so sweet and charming; he’d help me finish my salad if I couldn’t eat all of it… He’s thought a lot of this through and knows what it means to be in love.”

“Hayato is… Trying his best.” 

Who even was this guy?

By far, there was a drastic difference and I think the creators could sort of see that by the end. I think some choices would have been obvious for her with no contest (Shima or Asuma) because they clearly fit better in terms of personality as well as their care for her without a thought on her appearance.

Kitty Rating:

Thanks but no thanks.

Okay so I can’t really overlook some of the issues this anime posed. And overall, despite having beautiful art and animation, I think the story as well as the development of characters was just poorly done. This greasy spoon just did not do it for me. I usually don’t mind reverse harems, but this one bugged me a lot for some of it’s clear tropes and downright rude humor. Elliot liked the boys though, they were pretty. And we were big fans of Shima; she was pretty fantastic. But I couldn’t, in good conscious, give this a better review. I would be lying to my demon overlords if I did.

What did you guys think about Kiss Him Not Me? Tell me in the comment section below!

Anime, Anime Review, Seasonal Anime 0 comments on Fall Anime 2016!

Fall Anime 2016!

It’s that time again kitty-lovers! Time for me to pick out what anime I will be watching for the season of cold morning and cornucopias amounts of homework and exams! It’s fall, and that means there will be rushed blog posts and Elliot will most definitely be getting “fluffier” (guys, Halloween candy, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner are just gonna do it for him) but fear not! We will be doing our job to provide you with the best reviews and content for the blog!

So what will the bum and I be watching this fall? tumblr_me96whp1xs1qdlkyg

izettaIzetta: The Last Witch: 

Is it finally happening? Am I finally going to find a lesbian couple that doesn’t pander to a male audience via anime? Because the last time I saw that happen it was Magi Madoka and even then, I’m not so sure they ever really made it canon. I’m not entirely sure that that’s the direction this anime is going to go in, but boy howdy, I sure hope it does! Listen guys, every yuri or girl love thing I see in anime is always really young girls or its really not meant for queer women. With that in mind, I’ve always wondered if I was ever going to find a healthy, adult relationship between two women without it being fetishistic. I’m not sure if this will be that anime in terms of shipping, but regardless of the “romantic” aspect I love the story so far. Episode one really drew me in and even if the two don’t end up together the story will still be worth the watch. Needless to say, I have high hopes for this anime.

kaiju-girlsKAIJU GIRLS:

This. Is. The. Cutest. Thing. Ever. I know that this means I will have to review another very short anime, but I have no issues with this. In fact, I’ve been so busy lately that this might be a blessing in disguise. I really love the art for this, it’s so chibi and adorable and it makes me want nendos. If I don’t get nendos for this anime, I might cry. Regardless, I watched the first two episodes for this short anime series and it looks like it’s going to be a good way to relax and unwind at the end of the day. Nothing heavy or serious, in fact it’s mostly humor, but I do think that it’s going to be a great “time waster” for lack of a better term.

kiss-him-not-meKiss Him, Not Me:

I have a problem with this anime. I have a problem with this anime to the point that now me and the crew are going to be doing a podcast series discussing this issue. Right away, within the first few minutes of this anime, I just knew I was going to have an issue with everything that followed. What is this mysterious issue, you may ask? Fat. Anime. Character. Tropes. “She said whaaaat?” You heard me. And the sad thing is, when I saw the gifs from this anime I thought that it was going to be a really great, funny anime. But instead they placed the lead female in this position where her weight was a deciding factor in her attractiveness. This may not seem like a problem until you realize that none of this story would have happened if she’d remained plus-sized. I will have to dig into this much more when the season is completely finished, but for now I will leave you with a scowl and some bitterness; I am really tired of seeing this trope. It needs to stop. In the meantime, I will try my best to just watch the anime.

magical-girlMagical Girl Raising Project: 

This series. I don’t know where to start with this series, if I’m being honest. For the record, the only reason that I would be even remotely harsh on this new show is because I’m a serious Magi Madoka fan. And while these two series are respectfully different, I still saw some similarities between the two shows and it made me feel slightly defensive. Like a house cat and it’s food (I mean Elliot). Magi Madoka is my sealed can of goodness and when I see the bag of kibble I kind of just turn my nose at it. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have the potential to be good though! I pushed my bias aside as much as I could because I found that I actually liked the art style and animation for this show. It looks like it will be good, so if I can relive my Madoka days vicariously through this, I will.

And that’s it for the fall season! I think it’ll definitely be a good one and I’m looking forward to watching all of these series and reviewing them for you like the piece of anime trash I am. This will definitely be a great way to procrastinate on the large amount of work I need to do to stay alive (note: this is a lie, if I stop working I die, so therefore I will not be procrastinating, but rather, working diligently at all times). Elliot and I will be dutiful to our reporting for you, the readers, as always!

What series will you be watching while you wait for Santa/Krampus to come? Tell me in the comment section! tumblr_m9gclhodl61qzckow