Ai Kora versus 2nd wave feminism

December 19, 2008 at 2:52 pm (Anime)

EDIT (2013) This blog has been dead a long time but every once in a while I look back at what I’ve wrought.  I almost deleted this snide and ignorant post in a fit of retroactive embarrassment but it’s not like I can just erase most of the embarrassing ignorant things I’ve done in my life so it felt kind of dishonest.  Also I still think there was at least some kernel of interesting content in the fetishism of Ai Kora.

So instead I apologize for the dismissive presumptions of the original content and here is actual readings with worthwhile content not about cartoon butts:

ORIGINAL [cringe-inducing] POST:

Based on my very loose understanding, 2nd wave feminism was about bitching all the time, whereas 3rd wave feminism is about being a bitch (but in a good way, or something).

I would expect a 2nd wave feminist to watch some porn and complain about how pornography objectifies women; I would expect a third wave feminist to watch some porn and start a porn company, eventually buying out a lot of the previously male-dominated industry.

I’m pretty sure my understanding here is, uh, flawed, but it works to preface the rest of this post (and probably to get some nice flame comments about how I’m a misogynist or something).

Ai Kora is shounen ecchi manga. The protagonist, Hachibe, has a fixation on what he considers ideal body parts (mostly). The story starts with him ending up living together with some girls who happen to possess some of his ideal parts (legs, eyes, breasts, and voice). Hachibe is normally a more-or-less regular guy, but he gains super powers (fast, strong, etc) when the people who possess his ideal parts are threatened.

For a shounen ecchi manga, it’s hilariously smart at times. Since this is Japanese manga, when Hachibe protects someone, the stereotypically correct response is for them to fall in love with him (yeah). So while several girls (and one guy) express interest in Hachibe, he claims to not understand [romantic] love. He only understands his “parts love.” A lot of the story is about Hachibe developing romantic love and finding a way to balance it with his fixation. I like how the manga is set-up in such a way that his fixation isn’t valued-down relative to romantic love. It’s not about Hachibe growing up beyond “such silly notions” or anything like that, but about expanding himself as a person, emotionally, without giving up what he considers to be an integral part of his life. In fact, there is at least one character who initially represents the opposing viewpoint (a bisexual male, who happens to possess Hachibe’s ideal ass), so this conflict is played out pretty directly and not as subtext.

So if you ever want to get into an argument about the sexual objectification of women, read Ai Kora; at the least it will give you a hilarious reference and a chance to shift the argument onto the credibility of your sources.



  1. Bemish said,

    I don’t really think Ai Kora would be a reliable “reference” to use in such an argument, especially since most Western feminists tend to have (from what I understand) a rather dim view of anime/manga to begin with regardless of series.

    Regarding the loose understanding, 2nd wave feminism covers a roughly 30-year period (’50s-’80s) where a lot of different viewpoints came out. It wasn’t just “bitching” about society in general but about specific inequalities while also occasionally arguing with each other.

    As for Ai Kora, it’s one of my faves. Kazurou Inoue’s definitely one of the better writer/artists when taking cliches, turning them upside down, and making them hilarious.

    (Sorry for the pedantry btw – just had to clear some things up)

  2. jpmeyer said,

    Obviously simplified for lulz, but yeah that’s basically the difference.

  3. Bemish said,

    jpmeyer>Yeah, just realized I read too much into it.

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