Sex and Satire in the Kaifuku Jutsushi No Yarinaoshi Anime
"Satire is mixed and can take any form." - João Adolfo Hansen
Almost every year in the anime universe, there is a series that causes controversy. In 2021, it was Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi's (aka Redo of Healer) turn. The anime is a light novel (a novel averaging 50,000 words in length, for Japanese young adults, mainly high school students) adaptation, written by Rui Tsukiyo and illustrated by Shiokonbu, who published it on the internet in December 2016.
The anime adaptation caused controversy among a portion of the public, as it features scenes of rape and violence. One of the reasons that perhaps annoyed viewers, fans of anime, and critics in general, was the fact that the production was inspired by fantasy RPG scenarios, where the main character uses rape as a form of revenge, thus desecrating the imagination of someone who is devoted to a kind of animation, in which violence is playful and sex is idealized.
Abused and Raped
However, to understand why rape is such a recurring form of violence in the series, we need to know what its plot is about. Keyura, a young healer, is continually abused and raped by a group of heroes, who aim to save their world from the clutches of demons. Along his sad journey, Keyura discovers how corrupted the Jioral Kingdom is and that the heroes who defend it can be considered, in fact, the scum of humanity. In the midst of a battle against the demon lord, Keyura manages to obtain the philosopher's stone, which allows him to travel in time, so that he can take revenge on his abusers in the same way he was tortured, that is, by violating them.
Almost as always, defenders of morals and good manners forget that this is a work of fiction, where the characters are not real people. Ignoring the Aristotelian premise that poets are not historians and, therefore, are free to work with the “if”, a basic condition for the creation of any work that wants to be fictional, these defenders condemned anime to the stake, perhaps as a form of get views for their YouTube channels by raising controversy.
There is, of course, a convenient ignorance in this type of behavior, as most YouTubers and critics who comment on anime and manga know what ecchi (term used to refer to manga and anime with non-violent sexual content and no explicit sex scenes) and hentai (term used to designate a specific genre of Japanese manga and animation that presents extreme or perverse sexual content) are genres we can place Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi in and are intended for people over eighteen years of age. Intolerance towards this anime is not just based on a lack of knowledge of the basic principles that characterize a work of fiction, the type of genre it belongs to, but also what defines a satire.
Archetypes of Anime
One of the possible interpretations of Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi is that it constitutes itself as a satire of the typical fantasy stories where a man is surrounded by several women, with different personalities, for example, tsundere, yandere, kundere, and dandere, where Keyura does not only takes revenge on certain female characters by raping them, but including them in his harem. So Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi, through satire, deconstructs one of the archetypes of anime that tends to stereotype the otaku as a subject who is prevented by fear, shame or apathy, from approaching women.
Absurd and Grotesque
The satirical discourse is difficult to grasp in this work, perhaps because it has the characteristic of imitating the target of its attacks. If an unsuspecting reader reads the text A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their parents or Country, and for making them Beneficial to the Publick, not knowing that its author is Jonathan Swift, who uses political discourse to criticize the way the poor were treated in his country by the rulers, predominantly Irish Catholics, may come to believe that it’s really a bill, however absurd and grotesque it may be.
The interesting thing is that Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi deals with basic aspects of the satirical genre, such as the construction of its main character Keyura. In his study of satire, Brazilian scholar João Adolfo Hansen draws attention to the way a satirical character is constructed:
the slanderous and indignant satirical persona is characterized as "furious", that is, out of his mind, atrabiliary or melancholic, proposing since antiquity the doctrine of the Hippocratic medicine of humors as one of the interpretative criteria of his poetic composition. With this, I am saying that in the composition of an indignant and furious character, several ancient forms of knowledge compete, not being immediately expressive or psychological, as is customary to read them, but rationally constructed as irrational. After all, it is also opportune to remember that, among the Romans, indignatio is "undignified", because it’s “irrational". This means that, in ancient satire, indignant disproportion and obscenity are still calculated by the satirical author according to a rational rhetorical proportion to compound the effect, which, as I said earlier, the Thesaurus calls "non-purposes” or "convenient inconveniences."
Veristic or Realistic Copy
When we watch the anime, we realize Keyura is an outraged, furious and, at the same time, melancholy character, on the verge of madness, who disproportionately seeks revenge through rape. The obscenities of his actions are rationally calculated by author to be inconvenient, that is, to reach a specific audience, because “satire finds social reality not as a veristic or realistic copy of the empirical, but in the discursive conventions shared by the receptor, all guided by the agreement about the caricatural image that the speech produces, keeping in circulation the stereotype of groups, types, vices and criticizable situations”. Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi's condemnation and rejection on the part of the public and critics appears, therefore, as a problem of reception, since they do not perceive or do not know that anime, as a satire that it is, “is performed as an unlikely mixture, from the point of view of purity prescribed for the other genres”.
Click HERE for an article of the same author entitled The Splendor of the Body Revealed: Sex and Erotism in Gigant, By Hiroya Oku
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