A new post over at Schrute-Space.
Salutations, weblog reader. I hope you are reading this at home and not during working hours because this weblog entry has nothing to do with your job, unless you are an anime scholar, sexual education expert, cultural examiner with a focus on bizarre sexual matters, or a marine biologist. If you do not hold one of these jobs, please stop reading and continue in the privacy of your home where your time belongs to you. You may also proceed to read this if you are self-employed, but that is a slippery slope.
As you are well aware, I am interested in the representational arts of Japan, most specifically manga or, as it’s more commonly known in America, anime. While purchasing some new reading material recently, my manga got mixed up with another customer’s items and I ended up with several titles that I did not originally select. At first I was incredibly upset at the idiot behind the counter who let that happen. It makes sense that he’s working retail. Real salesmen don’t mess up orders. After fuming for a while, however, I was reminded of something Grandpa Mannheim used to say: “When life gives you lemons, find a way to turn those lemons into a profit, even if it means donating the lemons to charity in order to get a tax write-off.” I decided to use the misplaced manga to enrich my knowledge in general and discover some new artists and writers. This turned out to be a mistake.
The comic books that the other gentleman was purchasing were of the “hentai” sub-genre. Hentai is disgusting. It is Japanese comic pornography and it is completely inappropriate. What disturbed me most about this man’s choices were that they were exclusively of the shokushu goukan variety. For those not familiar, shokushu goukan is the Japanese term for tentacle rape. These comics feature Japanese women getting taken advantage of by octopi. I truly do not understand their appeal. Octopi are, by their very nature, non-sexual creatures. After they reproduce, both the mother and father octopus die within a matter of months. What’s sexy about that? To chronicle the sexual nature of an octopus is as pointless as trying to find a beet weevil in December – it’s just a waste of time.
As I was perusing the contents of the various shokushu goukan comics, I kept happening on the same plot. Woman loves sailor. Sailor goes out to sea. Sailor is killed by giant octopus. Giant octopus rapes woman with its tentacles. This plot doesn’t make any sense. It paints giant octopi as if they’re these terribly vindictive creatures, not content to just kill sailors, but also to seek out and infiltrate their women. What do the Japanese have against octopi? What did octopi ever do to the Japanese besides providing a tremendous amount of nourishment in the form of tako sushi? It baffles me. It angers me. It saddens me.
The mighty octopus should be respected, not depicted as some horrible marine rapist. If you need to demonize a sea creature, make it the horrendous jellyfish, which provides not jelly but dangerous stings. I found out firsthand when I was taken to a beach on the shores of North Carolina in my youth. I have yet to return to an ocean beach.
Over the weekend, I will be returning to the shop where this terrible comic literature entered my possession. I will be exchanging it for my favorite manga: Ranma 1/2, the story of a teenaged boy trained from a young age to be a martial arts master, who is cursed to become a girl when splashed with cold water, but returns to male form when touched with cold water.
Currently, the reason that it’s my favorite manga series is that there are no horny vindictive creatures with tentacles in Ranma 1/2 and that’s good enough for me.
This marks the end of today’s weblog. Fight Octopi Misrepresentation!
Dwight Kurt Schrute
Icon courtesy of pessimistreader at LiveJournal.