Rape Scenes in Anime: A necessity or not?
Before I begin, I would like to make a few things clear before getting into the issue of rape scenes in anime. I would like you to keep an honest open mind about this while still approaching it seriously. To me, this is a very serious issue and I’m going to give my side of the matter. I know not everyone will see eye to eye with what I am about to say, but I hope people will still see some merit in my arguments. Also, to clear up any confusion, I do not endorse rape in real life. It’s something nobody should ever do.
In this technological age, our lives, values and beliefs are constantly becoming more influenced by media. When one watches a film or television show, it is ultimately a reflection of our modern day society. Each and every show will contain inherent messages that confer a particular stance on a matter. In actuality, these ideologies are implemented with the creative body’s vision in mind, so it’s important to consider what messages they are conveying. With regards to rape scenes in media, they are definitely a bit of a taboo subject. Some audiences may perceive them as being too sexist while others may feel they are a tacky shock factor. Regardless, rape scenes can be an effective tool if they are able to successfully deliver the creators’ message.
When a rape scene is portrayed on screen, it’s generally in a negative light. The creator does this deliberately to feed upon his or her message. For example, in Perfect Blue the main character, Mima, has to star in a porno featuring rape. It’s not used to show women in a negative light, but rather a seedier side of how the industry operates. It’s implemented from the perspective of the protagonist and helps to show a negative light of the idol industry. While some people may interpret this as a shallow means of shocking the audience, Satoshi Kon wanted to strengthen this point throughout the film. He also wanted to show how Mima dealt with an emotional overhaul of her life, and her search for an identity admist the pressures of the idol industry. Therefore, the implementation of a rape scene in Perfect Blue served a crucial purpose beyond just shocking the audience.
On the other hand, there are times where rape scenes should just be removed altogether. For instance, in Sword Art Online when Asuna was getting raped by a tentacle monster, did it convey some sort of message related to the work? No, it was just added for the sole purpose of making Asuna into a sexualized object. While not only did this turn her into a damsel in distress, Asuna was not portrayed an actual character working through the incident, and there lies the problem. The scene also gives off more of a comedic vibe, as if they were trying to make the rape into a funny incident. All in all, the scene was basically just something you’d read straight out of a hentai doujinshi.
Rather than the audience focusing on whether or not there should be a rape scene, they should start thinking about the overall message from the work. I’ve always believed that the pieces should add together, and when dealing with darker subject matter, sometimes rape scenes help to fill in that puzzle.