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SEXtember: Sexuality in animation

Hieu Chau

Wed Sep 19 2012


A SUPERHERO battling HIV, the “Manga Sutra” and a computer game villain called the “Sperminator”. Hieu Chau looks at how anime, manga and comic books are tackling the tricky issue of sex.


Sex can understandably be a difficult thing to talk about with your friends and family. Not a lot of people actually want to have that awkward conversation about the birds and the bees – but where can you look to for advice or just to have a conversation about it?

Well there are a multitude of ways for you to understand more about your sexuality – including through your everyday interests. For those of you into anime, manga or comic books this is by no means a list of recommendations. It’s simply a few suggestions of where to look and what could work for you!

Futari Ecchi

If you enjoy reading manga, perhaps have a look at Futari Ecchi. While the explicit illustrations can come off as being too pornographic for a lot of people, this manga series tells the story of a married couple who learn to become sexually competent with one another despite their sexual inexperience.

The series does its best to interweave a story and characters into what many describe as an educational book for the inexperienced or couples wanting to get more out of their sex life. As a matter of fact, the series was renamed Manga Sutra upon its release in the United States!

The show’s vulgarity in later volumes will undoubtedly cause discomfort and may deter people from pursuing it, which is more than understandable. But if you’re curious, why not sneak a peek? Needless to say, this is a series intended for mature/adult audiences.

B Gata H Kei : Yamada’s First Time

On the anime front, we have B Gata H Kei : Yamada’s First Time. This series is a teen sex comedy that follows the outrageous exploits of a teenage girl named Yamada, whose only goal is to sleep with 100 guys before she graduates. The only problem is she can’t even sleep with the one guy who will take her virginity – but yet ends up having eyes only for him.

As exploitative and crass as the plot may sound, the show is actually surprisingly quite funny, using humour as a way to overcome the awkwardness that comes with sex. In some ways, the series tries to define the difference between lust and love by separating the physical from the emotional – an obstacle that some may feel inhibits their ability to willingly commit to the act with their partner.

Green Arrow & Speedy

Comic books often cop a bit of flack for the sexualisation of their characters and sometimes careless approaches toward sex. But every once in a while, they get the issue right. Take for example the story of DC Comic’s Mia Dearden, whose alter ego Speedy is superhero Green Arrow’s sidekick. Mia’s sordid past led her to be tested positive for HIV at an early age. But instead of retreating and feeling sorry for herself,  she told the entire school how she was handling the issue, even giving a lecture about the dangers of the disease and how to prevent it.

As Mia’s tale suggests, contracting HIV isn’t the end of the world. While it is certainly important for you to protect yourself, just knowing the disease doesn’t limit your potential is encouraging and reassuring in itself. And that’s what a good superhero should inspire in all of us!

Adventures in Sex City

If you’re really keen to test your knowledge about sex, try your hand at Sex City – a superhero sex education game. Set up by a Canadian health organisation, the game features one of the most creative concepts for a supervillain (you’ll believe it once you see it!) If you do follow through to the website, just be warned the game is NSFW!