Non-Seduction of the Innocent

I’ve come to notice that there are few female characters in anime with seductive personalities.

There are characters who are physically good-looking, characters who are proud of their appearance, characters who are in love, and characters who try to get closer to the person they’re interested in. Rarer is the type of female character whose mannerisms ooze fiery passion in such a way that their sexuality is more than simply their physical design.

Here’s a character who I think qualifies: Fuwa Aika from Blast of Tempest.  Good-looking but not to an incredible degree, you can sense in her interactions with her boyfriend Yoshino not only the way she focuses all of her charm on him, but also the strong physical and emotional response that Yoshino has to Aika’s desire. It’s difficult to capture this impression in a single image.

Another lesser example comes from a few years ago in Macross Frontier. The character of Sheryl Nome is more sexy than seductive normally, but in one scene both she and Ranka Lee are trying to out-sing each other in order to demonstrate their interest in the protagonist Alto and why he should choose one over the other. In that moment, both Sheryl and Ranka exude strong desires which fill the space they’re in.

In thinking about this, I’m reminded of an old post on Heisei Democracy, in which Shingo states that lips aren’t moe. The argument is that lipstick denotes an assertive un-moe character, while lips in general are a sign of active sexuality which is counter to moe’s ostensible image of innocence. I don’t quite agree with that premise, and my discussion of characters isn’t limited to just those who would be considered “moe,” but I do feel like there’s something relevant in Shingo’s argument. There’s this rough idea that moe characters, even when they are attractive or overtly sexualized, at most tend towards conflicted expressions of desire (e.g. tsundere) or displays of innocence even in less “innocent” moments. If you then move the idea to being about the difference between sexual/seductive, maybe it’s not so unusual for seductive characters to be a rarity.

5 thoughts on “Non-Seduction of the Innocent

  1. I kind of disagree with your assertions, but I agree with your observations. For one, I think the perception that “few female characters in anime with seductive personalities” comes from the bottom-line issue that it is time-intensive to develop a character whose personality can be termed this. In a nutshell, unless it happens to be a main character, there won’t be enough screen time to develop a character in this way. And I’m going to assume you exclude all male characters in this list? Or are you not?

    That said, I would like to see you list some, just so we can get the matter of “what is seductive” out of the way.

    I also think unless you watch a lot of trashy anime, you probably are missing out on the bulk of this character type. Over the years I think there are more characters like this today than maybe even 5-6 years ago.


  2. Want to posit one more thought–
    It’s simple to have a bunch of visually distinct characters in a show that are attractive and offer an array of “moe” traits that are different. It’s relatively difficult to have “sexy” traits in the same manner, or “personalities.” Since it’s generally complex and not broken down to database elements so much.


    • I mean, you can’t have too many “sexy” characters in an anime that isn’t about the sexy….so, it becomes not only a resource constraint in terms of time and in terms of character diversity, but also a limitation on the narrative/theme.


  3. An interesting assertion. I think your commentary points to a larger issue with moe – it lets the viewer deceive themselves into thinking their love is innocent or protective, while fetishizing those aspects in a way that’s as decidedly sexual as the flurry of panty shots. They’re not so much people as they are packaged action figures, catering to a male fantasy that you-and-only-you get to have them forever, because they couldn’t possibly be thinking about sex until you decided to love and protect them. Er…sorry. That got a bit rant-ish. But the whole subtext is a bit skeevy, wouldn’t you say?
    As far as sexually positive female characters, gotta point to the works of the fantastic Sayo Yamamoto.


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