A few anime figures were recently removed from Amazon on the claims that they “promote child exploitation or depict children or characters resembling children in a sexually suggestive manner.” Because the figures in question do no such thing, there shouldn’t be an issue with showing you which ones were removed:
This character is Hatsune Miku, one of the most recognizable Japanese characters. Personally, I assumed that she was an adult because she has adult characteristics (i.e. breasts, well-defined hips, etc.). But hey, I arrived at that determination using my brain and eyes. In Vocaloid lore, she’s a software character, so she wouldn’t actually have an age. Does Siri have an age, and would anyone object to finding Siri attractive?
Notice just how much Tsumugi is expressing her sexuality by standing there, playing an electronic keyboard? She isn’t? Exactly.
Miku again, and she looks very much grown-up in this one, too. She’s not even doing anything sexual, just dancing and singing. If you know of a place on earth that has a problem with these things, let me know about it in the comments below.
While this one is child-like in appearance, she’s not doing anything suggestive. She doesn’t look like she’s doing anything. However, she appears to be totally down with standing there and staring with a judgemental look on her face, just like the last girlfriend I had.
This representation of the character is a “chibi”, which means she was arbitrarily made child-like, which is something the Japanese do because they like cute things. Westerners should understand this because we have Funco POPs.
Still, there might be something about this character that comes off as odd. The chained collar around the neck of this angelic character implies an intention to confine. Considering this, this particular character comes off as having the highest potential for objectionability of the bunch (speaking from a position of relative ignorance of the manga or anime that may depict her).
So this one (grown-up) is dressed like a maid. And there are people who think about sex when they think about maid outfits. Does this make maid outfits sexual?
No, it doesn’t.
Sexuality is something that occurs in the mind. People arbitrarily find things sexual which actually don’t have anything to do with sex. For example, feet. Why feet? I don’t know, but some people see them as sexual. Also, certain food items, like ice cream and pizza. I don’t know why people sexualize those, but it’s something that happens in their minds.
It should be obvious that I’m not overly favorable toward the idea of finding a work of expression objectionable just because there exists the potential to view it a certain way. If someone did, there would be a slippery-slope effect where that person might come to the point of objecting to just about anything, regardless of what the intention of an artist may have been.
I admit that I don’t know much about the characters pictured above, aside from Miku. If the other works that these characters were featured in sexualized them in any way, it wasn’t made apparent in the figurines themselves. But even if the characters are portrayed expressing their sexuality at any point in a manga or anime they were featured in, why would that be a bad thing, provided they were expressing it in a healthy way? Sexuality is one of the most human of traits, and is a universal aspect of human life. I suspect that the real problem is that certain people have an unhealthy view of sex and sexuality.
One related problem that I can point out in fiction, including in western media, is the gender double-standard when it comes to infatuation. When it occurs with girls and women, people assume pureness of motives. But when it’s boys and men, they’re portrayed as though we should be suspicious of their intentions. In reality, the experience of limerence is equally valid for both sexes.
As I’ve said before, if you don’t like a work of art, just don’t look at it. Not everyone has the same standard of what is objectionable, which is something that they can only decide for themselves. If you’re such a repressed person that when you see an adult anime woman singing you think “child exploitation”, what are you doing browsing anime figurines on Amazon?
By the way, I don’t actually know the ages of the characters depicted by the figurines. I went by characteristics, because that was how they were being unfairly judged by Amazon. I don’t really know much about these characters, aside from Miku. The characters were judged unfairly based on aesthetics, so I deemed their aesthetics as being what’s relevant to the discussion. If anyone wants to be nitpicky about it, fictional characters don’t actually have ages. Everything about them is arbitrarily made up, and whoever made them up can just make their ages whatever they want. That’s something to know about stuff that’s just made up.