Months ago, I wrote a post defending kawaii — cuteness in the context of Japanese popular culture.
Today, I would like to expand on that.
Anime characters, with their big eyes, soft voices, and long, colorful hair, are trying to make a person go “Cute!”
On the other hand:
Anime characters, with their big breasts, perfectly-shaped butts, and slim waists, are trying to get a person aroused.
The reason why I said this is because I believe that anime is trying to appeal to a man’s two strongest desires at the same time. Anime is trying to appeal to a man’s desire to “get some,” and a man’s desire to “give all.”
One reason to enjoy a film like Despicable Me (2010) — which, just for the record, isn’t an anime — is because, in Gru, we see a man “giving all.” We see a man giving up the comfortable, bachelor-esque life of villainhood in order to pursue a higher calling: Fatherhood.
Far from being something that drags him down and breaks him, fatherhood is what allows Gru to live up to his full potential — to be more than he ever imagined.
In anime characters, with their big eyes, soft voices, and youthful bodies…
…we men see beings that, like Gru’s girls, we instinctively want to protect and respect — beings we instinctively want to “give all” for.
What man wouldn’t want to be Renton, flying off in a giant fighting mecha in order to save the life of the woman he loves?
What man wouldn’t want to live in peace with the woman he loves, in the house the two of them bought?
Gru’s love for his girls is a different kind of love than Renton’s love for Eureka or Kirito’s love for Asuna, but the principle is the same: Love is driving a man to do more, and be more, than he ever imagined.
On a side note:
Another, non-anime example of how love drives a man (0:58 — 1:08):
Regarding how anime tries to appeal to a man’s desire to “get some”:
Shots, like this one from Sword Art Online, can make a man want to find out what is underneath a certain piece of clothing:
Concealment creates secrecy. “A secret,” a man’s body says, “that must be revealed.”
The desire to “reveal the secret” — to find out what is underneath a certain piece of clothing — can drive a man to do horrible things.
Is kawaii ultimately a good thing or bad thing?
I would say: “It depends.”
On the one hand:
Kawaii can inspire a person to be more than they ever thought possible.
On the other hand:
Kawaii can cause a person to treat others as less than they are.