Consent in anime

I only have some quick thoughts about this topic, so it’ll be a short post. I was watching an anime earlier that’s currently airing called The angel next door spoils me rotten. It’s a cute anime about two neighbors slowly falling in love with each other. You’ve seen many of these sorts of stories throughout the years, it’s not reinventing the genre. There was a scene in this week’s episode that caught my attention. Not because it was out of place or uncommon, but because it reminded me that there’s still a long way to go when it comes to these kinds of things. Especially when it comes to how things are portrayed in anime.

I suppose this part is still fair, but you would expect to be safe falling asleep at a friend’s place, right?

During a New Year’s celebration, Mahiru falls asleep. Amane then thinks of what to do with her and eventually decides to let her sleep in his room while he sleeps on the couch. So far nothing too weird about it. He notices how adorable she is and we get some of his inner dialogue here. The scene then ends and we pick up again in the morning where he wakes her up. Of course she’s embarrassed about falling asleep in someone else’s house and having to stay the night. Amane then says that she should be more careful because he “could have done something to her” while she was asleep. He didn’t do anything though, which is good, but he does also say that she should be thankful for that.

There’s the part that I disagree with. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s not so much that him not doing anything is bad. Him not doing anything to her while she’s defenseless is the normal thing to do. You don’t touch or do things to people that are sleeping. That should be common sense. The fact that it’s framed as Amane doing “a good thing” is a bad look. Now I said this earlier in the post, but this is not an uncommon way to frame this kind of scenario in anime. You see it quite regularly. This sends the message to a lot of the audience that the things that should be normal are actually something really good they’re doing. That it almost should be rewarded. But that’s not how that works. Consent is very important and we’re only now figuring out, in this day and age, that everyone should have the right to be left alone.

Is this really the message you want to send out into the world?

Maybe I’m missing the point here, but with all the talks about consent around deepfakes this last week I think it’s important to call these kinds of things out. Anime could definitely be a bit more progressive about these kinds of things. You not sexually assaulting your neighbor isn’t a good deed, it’s common sense.
Obviously the characters in the story all handled things well and no one did anything uncouth (what a great word), but the way it was framed still felt a bit off to me.

But maybe I’m overreacting. Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments down below and as always, thanks for reading. As I’m about to post this, I do want to quickly add that this anime is actually pretty wholesome for most of it and these scenes weren’t that bad or anything, it was just a reminder of a sentiment I’ve seen one too many times in anime.

2 thoughts on “Consent in anime

  1. It’s definitely a tad bit of an awkward way to word it, but I don’t think it necessarily meant she should be grateful. I see it more as Amane warning her that she should try not to fall asleep around other people like that in general, just in his sarcastic way he normally says things. To Amane, he’s still just some guy, even if he knows they’re close deep down, and not falling asleep around strangers is usually decent advice for many reasons. Amane had a very low opinion of himself and whether he’s a good person or not, which is why Mahiru continues to reaffirm that he isn’t a stranger to her and she trusts him.

    So I think it’s more a matter of how each views their situation. To Mahiru, she fell asleep around someone she trusts to not harm her, but to Amane, he thinks he’s just some guy she knows that she fell asleep around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s a fair interpretation of the characters for sure. I would agree with you that it’s awkward but not downright bad or anything. It’s just phrased in a way that I thought was a bit off. And like you said, it does make sense for Amane as a character with a low self worth.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s