Anime Vice News

Amateur vs. Expert: PERSONA 4 #20

The Investigation Team is just as surprised as we are by all the fanservice this week.

Welcome to Amateur vs. Expert, a new column wherein noted anime layperson Nick Robinson (Babylonian) squares off against anime savant Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt). The goal? To take our two columns, Anime Amateur and Anime Examiner, and combine them for your reading pleasure. Let's get started!

Kristoffer Remmell:

Hot off the heels of the school festival day episode. We're tossed right into another fun affair filled with tons more game-service that Persona 4 has become known for, and a little fanservice added to the mix. A bit of a misunderstanding has lead to the Investigation Team all invited to the traditional Japanese inn of Yukiko's family. What it all leads to is another in the misadventures of teen manhood dreams. It kind of gave me a Revenge of the Nerds vibe at times. For me, Nanako set the tone right from the start as she passed on a message from Margaret that our boy Narukami is a natural born gigolo. There was much laughter at that little bit. It's the utter definition of the idiom, "out of the mouths of babes". Can't say that I really blame her, Margaret knows what's going on in Yu's social life. She has the compendium to prove it.

I wasn't at all surprised to find that Yukiko's maxed S. Link story was tied into this episode. Seeing how Rise was settled in the pageant. Yukiko finally had her chance to realize what she wants to do with her life. She originally felt trapped in tradition, because she was feeling pressure to do so out of a sense of inheritance. Changing just for the sake of change isn't smart the smart choice. She finally made the decision on her own to stay. When she stood up to that slimy TV producer. I was really impressed how she put him down. Oh yeah, if anyone is curious what ramune is. It's a lemonade-based soda. It looks as if Yu and Teddie are drinking some during the ping-pong shot.

Given how uncomfortable you were with the bikini scenes from last week, Nick. How did you handle all the near nudity, and the ever so famous 'convenient censoring steam'? Were you a paranoid mess looking over your shoulder as you watched this one? That's used for a lot of bath scenes in anime and manga. In fact, some series such as H.O.T.D. and Strike Witches will only add the steam for the TV airing. The home versions wont have that at all. I foresee Persona 4 keeping the steam. It's actually a little shocking we saw as much as we did. The anime finally really earned that TV-MA rating.

Nick Robinson:

I can't lie: I laughed at this episode a lot. Like you mentioned, the 'gigolo' bit was great, as was Yukiko accidentally inviting everyone over. Teddie's Japanese voice actor continues to turn in amazing performances: his ghostly whisper voice was hilarious, and his "YO!" moment was probably the hardest I laughed at the episode. There's something so innocent and adorable about Teddie's perviness in this show. For whatever reason, Yosuke feels like the 16-year-old equivalent of a dirty old man, but Teddie is somehow immaculate in his lewdness.

Speaking of Yosuke, it feels like he's growingly less homophobic toward Kanji, which is great. There were a handful of times where Kanji said something that could've easily been misconstrued by Yosuke or Yu, but they let it slide. It feels like a deliberate choice: as the Investigation Team gets more comfortable with each other, they're shedding some of those insecurities we saw earlier in the show. Good on 'em for getting character development in here from time to time.

P4A also continues to pull some insanely specific deep cuts from the game: that bizarre song Margaret sings in the opening of the episode is a reference to this unvoiced throwaway line from her S-Link. Conversely, they seem to be going out of their way to integrate non-canon stuff whenever possible. Great example: they sure are getting a lot of mileage out of Aika, aren't they? When I heard they were introducing a new character for P4A, I expected that we'd see her maybe once or twice, but man, it feels like she's been in like half the episodes now.

As far as the hot springs fanservice stuff goes: yeah, it was gross. They're still catering to the worst contingent of anime fans, and I'm still uncomfortable with it. But somehow more distracting than how exploitative it felt was the fact that it was reeeeeeeeally poorly drawn! Like, laughably bad! If you have to put in shameless fanservice, don't leave it to the animation B-team! It honestly looks like the animators intended for some of these half-finished sketches to be covered in steam, but the editing team opted to be edgier by showing more skin, resulting in these eerie, featureless figures. They've actually managed to make their show creepy on multiple levels. It's astounding.

Kristoffer Remmell:

It's completely pointless to argue with you on how you feel about a certain aspect of the series -- though that's quickly becoming some of our readers favor parts in the comments. You bring up plenty of valid points, but I just don't get the same 'gross' vibe that you do from the level of fanservice the series has. This is at it's core a story of adolescent adventures. It's not as if these were adult men and teen girls. That would be creepy. This level of comical misunderstanding could be compared to old sitcoms, such as Who's the Boss or Three's Company. (Please, don't let me be the only one old enough to get those references.)

Aika's use through the series has been interesting. Japan tends to like adding certain things when remaking a product. Look at how the P4 Vita version is adding a new girl to the mix. It's just a thing to give some added value and justify buying again for people who already own the game. I never really followed the P4 manga version deeply enough to know if it added anyone. Still, I really like Aika and how she's been used. I just don't foresee her making the same plot impact as a character like Makinami Mari Illustrious is to Evangelion.

Yosuke's personal growth reminds me of quite a few people I knew in school that were just as hyperbolic to homosexuality. That was until they actually got to know someone who is homosexual. I do feel I should point out that Kanji's sexuality isn't as black and white as many first thought. Too many took his Shadow literally. I always loved how his sexuality wasn't his defining characteristic. He's more the tough guy with a heart of gold.

Nick Robinson:

Here's the thing, though: if you're talking about the show's audience and the characters being exploited, it is a situation involving adult men and teen girls. Objectively, the content itself isn't that repulsive - although I definitely wouldn't brag about watching an anime that extensively depicts high school girls naked in a hot spring. To me, what's troubling is the implication that we, as viewers, are supposed to be super excited that we get to see naked cartoon minors. It's sleazy, and I hate it. Then again, at least it's not Nisemonogatari, an apparently brilliant show whose pedophilic and incestuous undertones are so blatant that Anime Vice editor William Taylor is finding it difficult to recommend. P4A could be way, way worse!

And, somehow putting aside the uncomfortable amounts of teen nudity, this episode really was a blast. Yukiko's S-Link stuff fit in nicely here, hitting home the point that this is mostly a remarkably well-planned show, and yeah, watching her tell those reporters off was wonderfully cathartic. I'm also finding that this show sometimes follows the game to a fault: it's still highly obvious how awkwardly shoehorned in Teddie's S-Link scenes are, even if they're mercifully brief in the show.

That ending was nuts, though, right? It implies that Yu had known about the mysterious letter for more than a week prior to this episode. That's pretty crazy, I think, but it's also something I'm sure will be addressed next time. Still! Whoa!

There was a lot to love about this episode, and I wish they hadn't played up the fanservice angle so much so I could endorse it without reservation. The use of the spooky music during the room invasion was an excellent touch, and a great example of how subtle this show's sense of humor can be when it wants to. The comedy came fast and often this week, and this is probably the closest P4A has come yet to being as funny as the game. I liked it a lot, and with only five episodes until the end, it's about time we start savoring these humorous moments before they dry up completely.

Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt

Nick Robinson (Babylonian) is a Whiskey Media intern and a journalism student. Won't you follow him on Twitter at @Babylonian? He'd be ever so appreciative!

Hailinelon March 3, 2012 at 12:06 p.m.
Yep, coronary. Nick, freak out less, really. The episode was seriously not that exploitive. It's like you can't handle teens in even vaguely sexual situations where other teens are involved. You seem to think this show is for adult men. Do you know how many females are Persona fans, or teenagers? This is not something dedicated to the dregs if society.
Neuroticon March 3, 2012 at 12:32 p.m.

Aika kicks ass. I hope they add at least some reference to her in The Golden. Maybe replace the Aiya man with her?

Judging from last week's comments, I can only assume that the rest of the commenters will criticise you for not liking the fanservice but if you don't like it, then you don't like it. However, I don't think the show is leering like you seem to think.

It still astounds me that people think Yosuke is an out-and-out homophobe in the way a Republican presidential candidate is. Excluding the campout where he is obviously just being a dick, his teasing of Kanji is obviously tounge-in-cheek. Besides that, Kanji isn't even gay and Yosuke acknowledges several times the fact that Kanji is into Naoto. I don't know what it is but I'm not seeing what you guys are seeing.

Crowwingon March 3, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.

As a female fan of Persona 4, I have to say that I was perfectly fine with the fanservice. It didn't bother me in the slightest. In Japan, people do bath naked in front of each other in hot springs, so if anything the anime was more accurate than the game. I'll admit the girls are kinda creepy towards Naoto, but I think that's on purpose.

This was a great episode. It's a nice buffer for what is to come.

Also oh my god, Kanji finally hit Yosuke! He was sleeping but oh well.

ComicMan24on March 3, 2012 at 2:05 p.m.

Really? Only 5 episodes left? Didn't know about that. As for the fanservice part of this episode, I understand that you are not a fan of it, I mean I am not a fan either but it is just that it wasn't really that gross as you make it out to be. If you think this is gross, some of the fanservice in other anime I have seen would have freaked you out (many of which I wish I hadn't seen but anyway). But I can agree on the poorly drawn part. The animation is not really this show's strong point and I jst wish it was better in many occasions. But it was still a fun episode even though last week's was funnier.

SergioBon March 3, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.

I guess it depends on the person. It might have been meant as fan service to some, but it didn't come off like it to me. Perhaps because I didn't find it titillating, nor do I find nudity to be offensive, and you don't actually see anything. There weren't any egregious up skirt, panty shots, or tight zooming in to body parts that I do recognize as fan service. I also didn't find any problems with the earlier episodes where they wore bathing suits - not anymore than when Saved by the Bell had episodes at the beach.

Turambaron March 3, 2012 at 3:20 p.m.
"The Investigation Team is just as surprised as we are by all the fanservice this week."
 
Actually, no one is surprised by the fanservice this week.
Turambaron March 3, 2012 at 3:37 p.m.

Here's the thing, though: if you're talking about the show's audience and the characters being exploited, it is a situation involving adult men and teen girls. Objectively, the content itself isn't that repulsive - although I definitely wouldn't brag about watching an anime that extensively depicts high school girls naked in a hot spring. To me, what's troubling is the implication that we, as viewers, are supposed to be super excited that we get to see naked cartoon minors.

Whenever outrage of this type happens, this question always need to be asked: Where are you setting your priorities: the physical depiction of the characters or the fictional age given to the characters?"  If it is the latter, then can you say that your inference that the show is pedophilic would be rendered void if the series simply started with the text "this story takes place in a world where high school is attended by 18 year olds and above"?
 
If it is the latter, how do you deal with the nature of anime aesthetics where its stylized depiction of characters allow one to fit an age range of mid teens to late twenties easily?  Additionally, how do you deal with the plentiful examples of humans looking far younger or far older than they are in real life across the early teens to early thirties age group?
 
Or is your judgement not based on any uniformed standard and is rather a case by case gut reaction.
mutha3on March 3, 2012 at 4:21 p.m.

ere's the thing, though: if you're talking about the show's audience and the characters being exploited, it is a situation involving adult men and teen girls. Objectively, the content itself isn't that repulsive - although I definitely wouldn't brag about watching an anime that extensively depicts high school girls naked in a hot spring. To me, what's troubling is the implication that we, as viewers, are supposed to be super excited that we get to see naked cartoon minors.
 


Okay, I'm not fond of fanservice myself, but keep in mind here that P4's audience by and large consists of teenagers.
 
Teenagers tend to be attracted to teenagers, y'know! Fanservice is dumb and obnoxiously prevalent in anime, but I have to reiterate that saying this show is tailored to ephebophiles is pretty dumb. The fanservice is aimed at the huge contingent of 15-19 year old males that watch this show. That aside, I agree, I didn't like the weird Naoto groping scene myself.
Hailinelon March 3, 2012 at 6:32 p.m.

@mutha3 said:

ere's the thing, though: if you're talking about the show's audience and the characters being exploited, it is a situation involving adult men and teen girls. Objectively, the content itself isn't that repulsive - although I definitely wouldn't brag about watching an anime that extensively depicts high school girls naked in a hot spring. To me, what's troubling is the implication that we, as viewers, are supposed to be super excited that we get to see naked cartoon minors.


Okay, I'm not fond of fanservice myself, but keep in mind here that P4's audience by and large consists of teenagers. Teenagers tend to be attracted to teenagers, y'know! Fanservice is dumb and obnoxiously prevalent in anime, but I have to reiterate that saying this show is tailored to ephebophiles is pretty dumb. The fanservice is aimed at the huge contingent of 15-19 year old males that watch this show. That aside, I agree, I didn't like the weird Naoto groping scene myself.

It's also worth noting that in Japan, Persona 4 was given a rating of B by the CERO (Japanese ESRB). "B" signifies games deemed appropriate for ages twelve and up. A stark contrast to the ESRB's M rating.

So seriously, the notion that Persona 4 is targeted specifically at adults, much less ephebophile adults, is ludicrous.

TehFlanon March 3, 2012 at 10:18 p.m.

I thought the bath scenes were a bit awkward, but I don't think the show was going for the kind of creepy thing you think it was.

Hailinelon March 3, 2012 at 10:31 p.m.

Just so I'm not entirely one-note in this discussion, I loved this episode particularly for the resolution of Yukiko's Social Link. She was among my favorite characters in the game, and the anime did a much better job of portraying the stress of her life as an employee and future manager of the inn. To see her go from her normally quiet, soft-spoken demeanor to a stern, confident, and aggressive attitude when the reputation of the inn is at stake shows how much she does care for the inn and all of the people associated with it despite her earlier doubts. This is especially true since in the game, this particular confrontation wasn't voiced.

I also loved how absolutely brutalized the guys were in this episode. Just like in the game, everything that could go wrong for them did, plus more, and their reactions to the adversity with things like ping pong just added more color to their overall woeful evening.

Babylonian staff on March 4, 2012 at 12:33 a.m.

@Hailinel said:

Yep, coronary. Nick, freak out less, really. The episode was seriously not that exploitive. It's like you can't handle teens in even vaguely sexual situations where other teens are involved. You seem to think this show is for adult men. Do you know how many females are Persona fans, or teenagers? This is not something dedicated to the dregs if society.

Totally! And I didn't mean to (nor do I think I did) imply that the show's entire audience is adult men. But I think a pretty significant chunk of it is.

@Neurotic said:

It still astounds me that people think Yosuke is an out-and-out homophobe in the way a Republican presidential candidate is. Excluding the campout where he is obviously just being a dick, his teasing of Kanji is obviously tounge-in-cheek. Besides that, Kanji isn't even gay and Yosuke acknowledges several times the fact that Kanji is into Naoto. I don't know what it is but I'm not seeing what you guys are seeing.

I still don't see a reason to think Yosuke's homophobic panic attack in the tent was him just kidding around - it seemed pretty sincere to me - but you make a good point. Maybe Kanji's blatant attraction to Naoto is the reason Yosuke's significantly backed away from his old afraid-of-Kanji-cuz-he-thinks-he's-gay steeze.

@Crowwing said:

As a female fan of Persona 4, I have to say that I was perfectly fine with the fanservice. It didn't bother me in the slightest. In Japan, people do bath naked in front of each other in hot springs, so if anything the anime was more accurate than the game. I'll admit the girls are kinda creepy towards Naoto, but I think that's on purpose.

Yeah, I know how hot springs work! But hot springs also serve as an incredibly common excuse for getting characters naked. 'Bathhouse fanservice episode' is an anime trope for a reason!

@SergioB said:

I guess it depends on the person. It might have been meant as fan service to some, but it didn't come off like it to me. Perhaps because I didn't find it titillating, nor do I find nudity to be offensive, and you don't actually see anything. There weren't any egregious up skirt, panty shots, or tight zooming in to body parts that I do recognize as fan service. I also didn't find any problems with the earlier episodes where they wore bathing suits - not anymore than when Saved by the Bell had episodes at the beach.

Like I said in the article: yeah, you're right, this is not the most dramatic example of fanservice on the planet. But I'm also not ready to applaud P4A for holding back from "upskirts, panty shots, or tight zooming in to body parts." If that's our guideline for what crosses the line into 'distasteful' when minors are involved, I think we're setting the bar a bit too high!

@Turambar said:

"The Investigation Team is just as surprised as we are by all the fanservice this week." Actually, no one is surprised by the fanservice this week.

...except the bit where both Kris and I described it as 'shocking.' Either way: you might be reading a bit too much into a caption under a screenshot of the cast looking surprised!

@Turambar said:

Here's the thing, though: if you're talking about the show's audience and the characters being exploited, it is a situation involving adult men and teen girls. Objectively, the content itself isn't that repulsive - although I definitely wouldn't brag about watching an anime that extensively depicts high school girls naked in a hot spring. To me, what's troubling is the implication that we, as viewers, are supposed to be super excited that we get to see naked cartoon minors.

Whenever outrage of this type happens, this question always need to be asked: Where are you setting your priorities: the physical depiction of the characters or the fictional age given to the characters?" If it is the latter, then can you say that your inference that the show is pedophilic would be rendered void if the series simply started with the text "this story takes place in a world where high school is attended by 18 year olds and above"? If it is the latter, how do you deal with the nature of anime aesthetics where its stylized depiction of characters allow one to fit an age range of mid teens to late twenties easily? Additionally, how do you deal with the plentiful examples of humans looking far younger or far older than they are in real life across the early teens to early thirties age group? Or is your judgement not based on any uniformed standard and is rather a case by case gut reaction.

Yeah, yeah, and plenty of anime/manga has tried to pass off lolicon using that bullshit "we made the character 20,000 years old! So it's not loli!" excuse. That argument falls apart pretty much immediately.

It's not based on any one uniform standard, because you can't objectively draw the line that way. Maybe this example doesn't play with people who aren't journalism students, but the Miller test is as close as we'll ever get to something resembling a hard-and-fast rule for what isn't in good taste.

To quote some random Supreme Court judge from like 50 years ago: "I know it when I see it." I think P4A falls well within the confines of what's allowable and isn't anywhere close to a legal grey area, but it's also fully my right to say that it's distasteful.

I mean, putting aside that tricky and disingenuous "What if these characters are minors in every way except their numeric age" stuff for a second: scenes like the ones this episode is peppered with wouldn't bug me at all if they weren't featuring a bunch of minors. Which is why I feel like people dismissing my reaction as "prudish" are straight up wrong. Want to put nudity in your cartoon? Go for it, dude! But if you possibly could do it without fetishizing high school girls, that would be swell.

OH MAN THIS TURNED OUT WAY LONGER THAN I WANTED IT TO BUT BASICALLY I feel like stuff like this hot springs scene would feel fully out of place in any Western live-action medium, but for whatever reason, anime seems to get a pass. Great example: imagine if there was an episode of iCarly where all of the sudden there are repeated and extensive scenes of the female cast naked / bathing / rubbing each other / etc. There would be outrage! But when it's animated, people will spring to its defense and call anyone who finds it uncomfortable a prude. Weird.

Hailinelon March 4, 2012 at 1:01 a.m.

@Babylonian: iCarly is not a Japanese show, nor is it set in Japan. Public baths are a thing in Japan; they are very common in fact, and not something simply relegated to bathhouse anime episodes. Therefore, they are as natural a setting for events to occur in as a high school. But despite your claims to the contrary, you seem to continually fail at understanding that different countries have different cultural standards when it comes to the depiction of nudity, however brief it may be.

Also, with so much laser focus on the girls, I didn't see you complain one bit about Teddie's brief imaginary interlude with the guys naked and scrubbing each other. After all, they are the same age as the girls.

I'll also note again, that the video game was rated for ages 12 and up in Japan. Therefore, it can naturally be assumed that this show is targeted at the same demographic as the game. That suggests a sizable teenage fanbase. Also, your continuous, constant overreactions do paint you as being prudish. In no way is the bath scene sexual in any way. The whole sequence is played entirely for laughs; the girls are bathing and marveling at Naoto's surprisingly feminine figure (a mild running joke in and of itself), and then the guys barge in and get their asses kicked, setting off a chain reaction of pain and misery that follows them for the rest of the night. The girls are at no point depicted in an objectifying way; they are just bathing and having casual fun until they get pissed and throw a supernatural number of bathing tubs at the guys. If anything, they are fighting back against objectification and succeed with flying colors.

And this is a scene that makes you upset? Really? Of all of the scenes in all the episodes of television anime that you could possibly object to, you state vociferous objection to something this mild, and in which the girls take violent action against the guys in a comically overstated fashion? The scene isn't even that gratutious, as many "Bathhouse episodes" are played entirely for fan service and innuendo.

So yes, you are being a prude.

Neuroticon March 4, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.

@Babylonian said:

I still don't see a reason to think Yosuke's homophobic panic attack in the tent was him just kidding around - it seemed pretty sincere to me - but you make a good point. Maybe Kanji's blatant attraction to Naoto is the reason Yosuke's significantly backed away from his old afraid-of-Kanji-cuz-he-thinks-he's-gay steeze.

I know, which is why I acknowledged that he was being a total ass in the campout. But as far as I'm concerned, that's pretty much an outlier and was just a way to get Kanji out of the guy's tent and get Yukiko and Chie in. One jerkass moment does not make him an ingrained homophobe.

Turambaron March 4, 2012 at 7:47 a.m.
@Babylonian said:

@Turambar said:

Here's the thing, though: if you're talking about the show's audience and the characters being exploited, it is a situation involving adult men and teen girls. Objectively, the content itself isn't that repulsive - although I definitely wouldn't brag about watching an anime that extensively depicts high school girls naked in a hot spring. To me, what's troubling is the implication that we, as viewers, are supposed to be super excited that we get to see naked cartoon minors.

Whenever outrage of this type happens, this question always need to be asked: Where are you setting your priorities: the physical depiction of the characters or the fictional age given to the characters?" If it is the latter, then can you say that your inference that the show is pedophilic would be rendered void if the series simply started with the text "this story takes place in a world where high school is attended by 18 year olds and above"? If it is the latter, how do you deal with the nature of anime aesthetics where its stylized depiction of characters allow one to fit an age range of mid teens to late twenties easily? Additionally, how do you deal with the plentiful examples of humans looking far younger or far older than they are in real life across the early teens to early thirties age group? Or is your judgement not based on any uniformed standard and is rather a case by case gut reaction.

Yeah, yeah, and plenty of anime/manga has tried to pass off lolicon using that bullshit "we made the character 20,000 years old! So it's not loli!" excuse. That argument falls apart pretty much immediately.

It's not based on any one uniform standard, because you can't objectively draw the line that way. Maybe this example doesn't play with people who aren't journalism students, but the Miller test is as close as we'll ever get to something resembling a hard-and-fast rule for what isn't in good taste.

To quote some random Supreme Court judge from like 50 years ago: "I know it when I see it." I think P4A falls well within the confines of what's allowable and isn't anywhere close to a legal grey area, but it's also fully my right to say that it's distasteful.

I mean, putting aside that tricky and disingenuous "What if these characters are minors in every way except their numeric age" stuff for a second: scenes like the ones this episode is peppered with wouldn't bug me at all if they weren't featuring a bunch of minors. Which is why I feel like people dismissing my reaction as "prudish" are straight up wrong. Want to put nudity in your cartoon? Go for it, dude! But if you possibly could do it without fetishizing high school girls, that would be swell.

You didn't actually read my post did you?  Just saw the first bit about age, thought I was using that as a defense (I'm not) and pumped out a response?  You say that you don't have a standard, and thus places any objections you have in the third category, a case by case gut reaction, which by the way is the way I use to judge it.  It's the reason why I have no issues with P4 nor any smut in Nisenmonogatari involving Senjougahara, Hachikuji, Hanekawa, or Kanbaru, but the Shinobu and Karen episodes rubs me the wrong way.
 
But the rest of your post undermines that above claim because you are focused on this: I am outraged because they are in highschool and thus by extension are minors.  So you obviously do have some form of guideline despite your claim otherwise.  And my question revolves around how you know they are minors.  Is it the age the setting gives them as a result?  Or is it their physical appearance, in which case I ask how you would rationalize the other two issues that arise from taking that stance: the propensity for character design in anime to fit multiple age groups at the same time, and the frequency at which people in reality has a physical appearance that does so as well.  
 
We are not talking about lolis here.  This isn't about people with the physical appearance of Etna, so your desire to return to that as a defense is in fact also disingenuous.
mutha3on March 4, 2012 at 7:59 a.m.
@Babylonian said:


OH MAN THIS TURNED OUT WAY LONGER THAN I WANTED IT TO BUT BASICALLY I feel like stuff like this hot springs scene would feel fully out of place in any Western live-action medium, but for whatever reason, anime seems to get a pass. Great example: imagine if there was an episode of iCarly where all of the sudden there are repeated and extensive scenes of the female cast naked / bathing / rubbing each other / etc. There would be outrage! But when it's animated, people will spring to its defense and call anyone who finds it uncomfortable a prude. Weird.

http://www.screened.com/project-x/16-206581/staff-review/
 
This seems relevant! See also:  http://www.giantbomb.com/wonderful-universe-of-tang-joysticks/17-3027/
 
@Hailinel said:

@Babylonian: Also, your continuous, constant overreactions do paint you as being prudish. In no way is the bath scene sexual in any way. The whole sequence is played entirely for laughs; the girls are bathing and marveling at Naoto's surprisingly feminine figure (a mild running joke in and of itself)

 Well, lets not kid ourselves here, the scene where Naoto gets groped was pretty damn unnecessary. We were also seeing way too much boobage in this episode for no reason. They could(and honestly, should) have made these scenes a little less pervy by increasing the amount of steam and working that camera a bit more tastefully.
 
 We are seeing a tad too much of Chie's 17 year old breasts in this shot.
 We are seeing a tad too much of Chie's 17 year old breasts in this shot.
Turambaron March 4, 2012 at 8:23 a.m.
@Babylonian said:

OH MAN THIS TURNED OUT WAY LONGER THAN I WANTED IT TO BUT BASICALLY I feel like stuff like this hot springs scene would feel fully out of place in any Western live-action medium, but for whatever reason, anime seems to get a pass. Great example: imagine if there was an episode of iCarly where all of the sudden there are repeated and extensive scenes of the female cast naked / bathing / rubbing each other / etc. There would be outrage! But when it's animated, people will spring to its defense and call anyone who finds it uncomfortable a prude. Weird.

Western shows and movies that have some excuse to either get characters into swim suits some of the time or all of the time is far more common than you give it credit for.  How long was Baywatch running for?  Just straight up non-explicit gratuitous sex scenes are pretty common in cinema as well.  
 
But more importantly, you completely underestimate the importance of role the public bath or the hot spring has in Japanese society.  If it's presence was only being greatly exaggerated by anime for nudity's sake, the likes of Thermae Romae would not be a thing, far less the live action film that is suppose to follow it.
Hailinelon March 4, 2012 at 10:03 a.m.

@mutha3: On the other hand, that's a lot easier to point out and shout "THIS IS FILTH" when you take a screengrab of a moving image that is not representative of either the length of the shot or the motions that Chie and the other girls make. As for too much boobage in general, I didn't see a problem. Was a lot of flesh seen? yes. Was there anything indecent? No. Did the show make any overt, obvious effort to pander by showing the girls off? Nope, can't say it does.

Crowwingon March 4, 2012 at 2:42 p.m.

@Babylonian said:

OH MAN THIS TURNED OUT WAY LONGER THAN I WANTED IT TO BUT BASICALLY I feel like stuff like this hot springs scene would feel fully out of place in any Western live-action medium, but for whatever reason, anime seems to get a pass. Great example: imagine if there was an episode of iCarly where all of the sudden there are repeated and extensive scenes of the female cast naked / bathing / rubbing each other / etc. There would be outrage! But when it's animated, people will spring to its defense and call anyone who finds it uncomfortable a prude. Weird.

Uh...you can't really compare iCarly with P4A simply because....iCarly is rated TV Y-7, while P4A is rated TV MA-17. There would never be a situation where that would happen in a show for kids. P4A is for older teenagers and adults where this would be far more likely to pop up.

Hell, the few bath scenes in Soul Eater, were more explicit than in this episode.

zaldaron March 4, 2012 at 9:42 p.m.

@Hailinel: Yes there are scenes that are more explicit but having teenage girls that are nude is generally something that should be avoided at least unlike in the game they didn't seem to include nanako. Yes Japan has different standards for depicting nudity but you must remember that is was only recently that having sex with minors (even ten year olds) became illegal. Japan has a long history of being extremely to lenient when it comes to sex with underage people. This is the country after all that makes loli rape manga and games.

As such I think being over sensitive to it in a show is a good thing. The idea really that the game got a B rating in Japan is ludicrous. The implied sexuality among the player character and the NPC's and the having multiple girlfriends at the same time should have made it higher than that.

Protestant morals are not bad.

When western shows do it, it isn't teenagers. If Icarly did it yes it would raise the rating of the show and make it more for adults...BUT IT WOULD STILL BE WRONG.

Geez....sometimes anime fans can be such sexual hounds...

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