It began, like most of my conversations begin these days, with Free!. My sister, my husband and I were hanging out in the pool when I just had to bring it up.
“It’s an anime about really attractive boys in a swimming club,” I explained to my sister.
Now if you don’t know my sister, all you need to know is that while she is gorgeous and smart, she’s not into anime at all. Guess we can’t all be perfect. Kidding!
“Wait,” she said. “How can drawings be attractive?”
Right about then was when I drew a blank. Ever since Duo Maxwell in Gundam Wing, I’ve been attracted to pictures of 2D animated boys. I know I’m not the only one, (seriously, no fewer than 80 people stumbled upon Otaku Journalist this week by Googling “sex anime,”) but it is a little hard to explain to people who don’t spend all their time watching cartoons.
For the primer, nobody explains it better than Genshiken’s Madarame (the video gets to the heart of the matter around 2:40).
To me, the crux of the explanation is this: when it’s an anime targeted at adults, the characters are often designed to be sexually attractive. It’s the same way directors cast sexually attractive actors for blockbuster movies. The key difference being that actors eventually have to step out of character and go back to being regular people. Regular people who snore, fart, and on occasion, say things you disagree with. With anime, or any other drawn medium, that never has to happen.
There are people who claim to only be attracted to 2D men or women (most notably Madarame himself), but I don’t think most of us are like that. Sure I like Free!, but I also like real people, like say, this Free! cosplayer right here (although honestly, it’s a tad bit uncanny valley to see people halfway between anime and realism).
(Source: King x Mon Cosplayer)
To wrap up this incredibly embarrassing and weeaboo post, the whole reason some anime fans find drawings attractive is because they aren’t real. They’ll never go out of character, they’ll never do anything awkward or human. It’s just fantasy.
Anime fans, how do you explain your 2D attraction to the people in your life?