Puberty is a funny thing when you’re a fan.
In some instances, a female character can enter the mind of a young boy just by virtue of being the most prominent female in his favorite show, and then stay with him as he awakens sexually. Of course it doesn’t happen to every fan, and I’d be remiss to not include female fans who carry the torch for their male childhood crushes (or varying combinations between these two areas), but as a guy who likes girls I want to focus on that area. Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts given your own sexuality.
The first examples I can think of are Sayaka from Mazinger Z and Chizuru from Combattler V. While they are obviously not applicable to me seeing as I did not grow up with either show, in Japan and Italy and other parts of the world where these shows found popularity you have a lot of devoted male fans who will sexualize them and possibly draw fanart of them, to the extent that someone unfamiliar with these series might scratch their heads, or perhaps get the wrong impression of them when they see fanart of Chizuru in an outfit that’s quite a bit tighter than canon suggests. This is not a knock on either Sayaka or Chizuru. I can easily see guys liking them for legitimate reasons, and they’re even portrayed as attractive within the contexts of their shows (e.g. shower scenes), but I think there’s more to it than that.
An even better example might be video game characters. I’m not talking about your RPG characters who get loads of development, or games that have come out more recently and have the benefit of powerful graphics to improve character design and rendering, but those old, let’s say pre-90’s video games which barely had stories to go with them. While Samus Aran has had a lot of development over the years, guys were finding her hot since the NES era. Obviously her stripping to her skivvies in the ending sequence plays a role in this, but I think what pushes that over the edge is that you play as her for so long that you get attached to her. Again, familiarity.
Of course this doesn’t happen with every fan, but being a fan makes this more likely, I think. To preserve the memories of their favorite “stories” from childhood and bring those memories with them through to their teenage years and possibly their adult life, isn’t that the kind of thing a fan does?
And then my thoughts lead towards “moe.” Modern moe shows of course don’t have that advantage of familiarity, but when I think about it, liking a video game character because of the two or three things you know about them and liking a moe girl who is a collection of moe traits aren’t that far off. So I wonder if moe in the marketing sense of the word is trying to tap into that same nostalgia reservoir, only through more “efficient” means.
I’m not here to judge what characters you like for whatever reason, but to simply put down my thoughts on the way the fan mind works, particularly for when you start thinking girls (or guys) are awfully nice-looking.
On another note, I realize my past three post titles have all been song lyrics. Yeah I don’t know either.