Steven mentions how the series Azumanga Daioh was utterly ruined by the presence of Kimura, a middle-aged male characer whose sole function is to be the resident lecher. I haven’t seen the series and given the negative reaction Steven had to it (and the negative comments by others), probably won’t bother.

But what is interesting is a comment that a Korean friend of mine made when watching Haibane Renmei. Anime is popular in Korea and my friend spoke enough Japanese to be able to follow the sub. Her reaction to seeing the character of The Master (Kana’s boss) was immediate and visceral – “that guy is a pervert!” Surprised by this, I asked why, and the answer was simply “perverts in anime are always drawn like that.” Apparently it’s the small eyes, the semi-baldness, and the cylindrical head silhouette.

Looking at screen caps, the Master does resemble Kimura, and also resembles Councillor Furusaki from Someday’s Dreamers. What to make of this I don’t know. Haibane Renmei is as sexless a series as you can find, and Someday’s Dreamers was every bit as warm and serene as others have noted. Yet, the character archetype in question is indeed always associated with young girls (Kana and Jessica for The Master and Furusaki, respectively). Is there some cultural subtext here?

8 thoughts on “lechers”

  1. Seconded. Conventions are not universal.

    Although I’d add that Azumanga Daioh is truly remarkable and not to be passed by. Kimura is a minor character, appears infrequently, and isn’t actually as bad as he seems. His brand of humor is not dissimilar to that of the Comeback – generating discomfort to relieve with laughter.

    That said, check back with Don McClane (the source of your negative comments) about his final verdict on the anime – his review only says that after pressing on he’s “pleased to report that the later episodes are better than the earlier ones, and that there’s less and less of Kimura as the series progresses.”

  2. I had the same reaction to Kana’s boss and I’m an American. My experience with anime is that characters drawn like that tend to be freaky in some respect. As proven by Haibane, it’s not a universal feature, the character seemed initially creepy to me.

  3. maybe “freak” is more accurate than lecher, that would be a lot less jarring. The Master struck me as verging on psychotic in some ways, but I just can’t think of Furusaki from SD as anything other than an honorable man.

    actually, you’re right Quorlox – the word has got to be “creepy”. Thats the definite common bond. I wonder whether similar charcaters exist in other series and whether they fit that generalized mold? I haven;t seen nearly enough anime to know.

    As for AD, I suppose I should keep an open mind – I can always fwd the Kimura bits if the character begins to grate on me.

  4. One reason that the clockmaker comes off the way he does is that he’s being pulled in more than one direction. On one hand, he genuinely cares for Kana; he obviously has developed a father/daughter(son) relationship with her. On the other hand, he knows that she’s going to leave, and sooner rather than later. When that happens, he’s going to be really sad, and he knows from past experience that there will be no warning at all. One day she’ll be there, and the next day she’ll be gone forever.

    So it’s not surprising that he comes off as a bit twisted.

  5. I can’t say exactly where the impression came from since the clockmaker never met that expectation. Maybe the environment played a part; if you compare the bakery, the library, and the clock tower, the latter is a little darker and more like a dungeon than the other two. The clockmaker is also a little more demanding as well. Combine this with how he was drawn and maybe that was enough to reach “creepy” for some of us.

  6. I rewatched episode four last night with the clockmaker and his laugh is a little maniacal too, which probably added to my impression.

  7. It could just be the case that the artist is simply drawing on what is essentially a common American visual stereotype of a pervert. If you watch Law and Order SVU for example, many of the sex offenders have basically the same physical traits. The question now becomes whether or not ABe Yoshitoshi is attempting to make fun of this American stereotype.

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