Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – Sometimes Ecchi Bugs me

It’s good to see Kyoto Animation back and seeming as strong as ever. After the horrible arson attack back in 2019 the future of this studio and its staff seemed uncertain. But to see them back and still producing anime of the quality they’re famous for is inspiring.

But I’m not here to talk about that, I’m here to talk about anime tiddies.

I suppose you could say I have a somewhat prudish attitude when it comes to the more ecchi elements of the anime I watch. It’s not like I’m some puritanical grandmother aghast at the very idea that someone might be interested in titillation in any of its forms outside of the biological need to reproduce. Don’t be daft, I’m still human.

The thing that bugs me about ecchi though is how it sometimes seeps into other series and shows where I feel it doesn’t belong… No, that’s not right. It’s less that it doesn’t belong and more that it feels like it’s an unnecessary addition at times. Added as some kind of additional attraction to shows that actually don’t need sex to sell themselves.

I like titillation for titillation’s sake, sure. But in general it’s something I’ll search out when I specifically want to see it. When I see it in a place I don’t feel it’s “welcome”, it annoys me, or makes me laugh and takes me out of the story or moment I was otherwise enjoying.

It’s the same reason I don’t especially care for people pushing and waving their horniness around on social media like some badge of honour. Especially from figures I follow whose professional content I want to consume… I feel like I’m not doing myself any favours here and making myself seem even more like a prude… But I don’t especially care which fictional characters you think do or do not fuck.

I’m digging myself into a hole though, let’s get back to anime (might as well finish digging that first hole before I start a second one). To boil down my issue to its most basic form: it comes down to whether the show is carrying the ecchi or the fan service is carrying the show.

I’ll give an example to better explain myself. My Hero Academia is a series that doesn’t especially need fan service in my eyes. Sure, Horikoshi has admitted that he’s a perv and happily adds pervy elements to his manga at times. That’s not what I’m talking about, what I’m getting at are the anime filler episodes, all of which seem to put their characters into “beach episode” territory in the most forces way possible.

In these cases, it feels like the anime writing team don’t feel confidence enough in their writing to carry the episode without putting a bunch of 15 year olds into swimsuits. Not that their age is an issue in this particular context, I mean they’re cartoon characters… but that’s a whole other talking point all together. It just feels gratuitous and worse yet, manipulative.

I was supposed to be talking about Miss Kobayashi though wasn’t I.

Right, so I said earlier that I enjoy ecchi in series I come to expecting ecchi. Miss Kobayashi is a series that makes me feel boner whiplash in the most extreme way when watching it. It’s this very cute show about a collection of characters living together and enjoying one another’s company.

I binged through the entire first season back at the end of 2019 and loved it as this wholesome, feel good show. But thinking back, I never thought of it as an Ecchi show. Now I’ve started watching the second series, I’ve realised that I must haver blocked all of that from my mind when thinking back on that first series because this is an incredibly fan servicey show.

And that breaks my brain a little. The series is so wholesome, so cute that for some reason I pushed all the boobs and butts out of my brain when looking back at it. Almost as though fan service was the mark of lesser entertainment, that shows only use ecchi when they’ve got nothing more substantial to provide their reader aside from repeated titillation.

At the top of this post, I talked about how ecchi bugs me when inappropriately used. And despite the fact that Kobayashi is build around being a goofy, pervy show and I had somehow forgotten that, it doesn’t bother me in this case. Despite the fact that I don’t think of those aspects of the series at all. It’s the western media conditioning I think.

That idea that any form of media that is highly sexualised or built on being “ecchi” for lack of a better word, is seen as less than. As a form of lesser entertainment in comparison to anything that doesn’t cross that line. It makes me think of the whole drama surrounding OnlyFans from the past month. It brings the whole thing into some kind of clarity for me.

Like, all of that is a type of content we consume, whether we’d admit it or not. In it’s varying degrees of… intensity. But because the major investors would rather pretend they don’t exist, we end up being convinced that it isn’t an industry filled with honest people working hard and just trying to pay their bills.

I know it isn’t the exact same situation with anime like Miss Kobayashi, but just because it has ecchi elements in the series doesn’t mean those elements are just some aspect I need to tolerate. They’re a part of what makes the series so enjoyable, in combination with the cute characters, the heartwarming stories and the occasional amazingly animated action sequence.

Like any other aspect of a series, ecchi is just a tool in the creator’s toolbox. It can be used poorly, inappropriately and excessively. It’s just my own bias and slightly prudish tendencies when it comes to thinking about those kind of things on a public forum that makes me notice it and want to reject it more-so than other kinds of entertainment.

Which is just something I need to be a little more conscious of and better about at the end of the day. Which I guess Miss Kobayashi brought into something of a cold perspective for me. Then again, I don’t think I’m ever really going to get over the time and place aspect of this specific example and find myself annoyed by the incredibly horny social media presence of some people who overshare to my own detriment.

I guess you just can’t please everyone

One thought on “Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – Sometimes Ecchi Bugs me

  1. I have to agree with you. I think I have a somewhat higher tolerance for fanservice based on what you wrote, but I also think context has to be considered. I understand there are going to be beach episodes and all that, but far better if it feels natural somehow and not just shoved it because fans expect a beach episode and they want to see favorite female character in a bikini, which far too often seems to be the case.

    I wonder how much of this is driven by deadlines, both in manga and anime — like “we need some fanservice anyway so let’s throw it in here and not worry too much about the writing until next week.” I don’t know much about how these schedules work outside of watching Shirobako once, but that show made every week seem like a chaotic panic.

    Dragon Maid actually put me off with its first episode — I think Tohru got under my skin for some reason, but seeing how much people like her and the show in general I think I should give it another shot at some point. Knowing me, I was probably just having a shitty time in my real life and unfairly transferred that to characters I otherwise wouldn’t have minded or even would have liked.

    Liked by 1 person

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