“… as full and lively a rendering as we are ever apt to get, or want. The style is bright, the scholarship is precise and the patience – to have sat through all those hours of puerility – is most impressive.”
Donald Richie, The Japan Times
“a must for all anime fans”
“an exhaustive guide… a serious investigation of the genre with incredible detail and background information”
Home Cinema Choice
“…possibly the best critical views and reviews I have read of any movies, whatever the type”
“…deserves your deviant attention”
“…represents a maturing trend in Western writing about anime, giving the medium respect through giving it perspective and identity from the inside rather merely than pasting it with labels from the outside.”
Carl Gustav Horn, Pulp
Research for this book proved that Sturgeon’s Revelation* applies equally to pornography in any medium.
It was published in 1999, partly in response to the hysteria surrounding erotic anime in the British and American popular press. The more lurid articles alleged that all anime was a fiendish Oriental plot to rot Occidental teenage minds with sex and violence. Titan Publishing agreed that a book addressing the topic without hysteria would be a good follow-up to The Anime Movie Guide: sex sells, and at that point sales of animated sex were causing some high-profile controversy.
Having worked with Jonathan Clements on Anime UK and Manga Max, I asked him to write the book with me. It was a good decision. Our different views made for a more balanced book, our writing styles meshed well, and we both had a strong sense of the ridiculous, an essential tool for writing about pornography.
We would almost certainly take a different approach to the topic today. The title listings at the end of the book have been superseded by the more comprehensive Anime Encyclopedia, so we could devote more space to the early history of anime erotica, and its links with other pornography. I would also be very tempted to devote more space to the importance of transmission devices. Broadband transmission has sent private downloading of all kinds of media into hyperdrive, and tracking the impact of the rapid development of the mobile handheld device on the porn market is a project worthy of someone’s attention. The moe genre, replete with accidental overlaps and deliberate flirtations with child pornography, is another fascinating topic.
Critically, the book was well received. I was surprised to get my first notice from the great Japanese scholar Donald Richie, evidence of the interest that ‘serious’ culture on both sides of the world was just beginning to take in the incursions of anime and manga into Western consciousness. It was reviewed in a wide range of publications, and most reviewers paid us the compliment of reading the book before deciding what to say.
The mindset that labelled all things Oriental as either cheap or deviant is less prevalent than once it was, and there is wide understanding of the role of erotica in popular culture. Yet hysteria is still generated around cartoons and assumptions still made about their possible intentions and effects. Western fans have been hauled into Court and labelled paedophiles because they like Japanese comics. Japanese legislation has been and will be reviewed. It seems that sex in cartoons will stay controversial for some time to come.
The Erotic Anime Movie Guide is also available in Korean, translated by the Research Collective for Cultural Studies and published in 2004. It is the first English book on Japanese animation to be published in an Asian language.
* “90% of everything is crud.” Proclaimed by Theodore Sturgeon in 1951, in relation to science fiction writing, and recorded in the March 1958 issue of Venture Science Fiction.
You may know this as Sturgeon’s Law, and until I looked it up I would have agreed with you, but Sturgeon said otherwise, and I fully support an author’s right to his preferred terminology. For reasons unknown, many sources substitute the word “crap” for “crud”.