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Friday, August 5, 2011

Gunslinger Girl: The Misinterpretation of 'Lolicon'

 Lolicon, also romanised as lolikon or rorikon, is a Japanese portmanteau of the phrase "Lolita complex". In Japan, the term describes an attraction to underage girls (whether prepubescent, pubescent, or post-pubescent) or an individual with such an attraction. It is also commonly used when referring to lolicon manga or lolicon anime, a genre of manga and anime wherein childlike female characters are often depicted in an erotic manner, in an art style reminiscent of the shōjo manga (girls' comics) style. (Source: Wikipedia)

I have seen people who, in the process of criticizing the Gunslinger Girl series, call it certified lolicon material. Now, this is not to say that anyone who talks less than sweetly about GG are wrong; I can see plainly why people would have issues with the fratello relationships and the basic set-up of the Agency as well as seeing these young girls turn into assassins just to live. But calling it lolicon? It does not seem based in much factual evidence beyond a rather shallow reading of the series.

Read the rest of the post and join the discussion after the jump!

In its simplest form, lolicon is the fetishization and sexualization of young, underage girls who cannot legally consent to sexual advances. In Gunslinger Girl, the girls dress ‘normally’ for their age, and modestly at that; there are no extremely short skirts or bare cleavage, and the series doesn’t go out of its way to show the girls in sexual situations – and that includes standard anime tropes like panty shots, accidental nudity, open baths, and so forth.

The girls are never put into sexual scenarios. Their jobs do not require anything of that sort beyond looking like cute schoolgirls and disarming the targets with their childish demeanor before shooting them. They don’t even act coquettish; I’ve seen entire episodes of Kodomo no Jikan where Rin acted more forward about her sexuality than Henrietta in one season of Gunslinger Girl. So, quickly we realize that the basic definition of lolicon does not apply to Gunslinger Girl.

So what brings people to attach said label to GG? Is it the fact that the scenario of the series forces young girls to quickly mature and become killers, often put into terrible situations of blood and death? Is it the fact that many of these assassins suffer from psychological issues, making them more vulnerable emotionally than the average female anime atypical heroine? I think I’ll open the floor to you, dear readers. Why do you think some anime viewers might see Gunslinger Girl as a lolicon series or one with lolicon issues? I look forward to what you have to say! I hope we can start a very fruitful and interesting discussion on a rather unusual and controversial topic.