One Man’s Anime

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One Man's Anime


I like watching other people’s porn. As a porn tourist, you sometimes surprise yourself by discovering new things you like, and sometimes you most assuredly do not surprise yourself. Both are important, for while it’s fun to find new, back rooms of the libido and to add a few new flavors to one’s spice rack, it’s also comforting to know that the id is not a complete free for all, that if the doors of repression were opened wide we might not all turn into massively depraved monsters.


This was what I was thinking as I prepared to attend eight straight hours of adult screenings at the 1st annual Big Apple Anime Festival in New York City. A midnight-to-8 a.m. marathon of animated porn from Japan — would I survive? I had seen anime‘s flightless cousin, the manga cartoons that got the whole thing started. I had flipped through page after page and familiarized myself with all the clichés — the kewpie, gigantic-eyed, noseless, miniscule-mouthed, pig-tailed, eleven-year-old-seeming schoolgirls of indeterminate race, the obsession with panties (no, the unfuckingbelievably relentless any-excuse, any-opportunity mega-obsession with panties), the gang rape, the bondage, the tentacled monsters and demons and their enormous, toothed, devouring penile shafts, the transformations of man into monster, the technology, the time travel, etc., etc. — and I have to say, I kind of liked it. Manga is certainly not PC, but porn rarely is, and it can, I’m convinced, provide a relatively benign outlet for some of mankind’s less savory impulses. And yet my enjoyment of manga was tainted by a building suspicion of its obsessions. Like many other realms I’d traveled, this seemed liked a fine place to visit, but I wondered about who’d want to live there. Suspicious, concerned, sleep-deprived, but more than a little curious, I filled my backpack with Evian and Slim Jims and headed for the theater.


Adult anime-fest: X-rated Speed Racer, start your engine. I arrived to a screening room for about two hundred, half-filled with people I seemed to remember from my Dungeons and Dragons days. (I saw a cloak. Yes, a cloak.) There was a guy dressed all in black, including fatigues and jackboots, whom I heard saying that he’s going to learn German and Japanese, “but it has nothing to do with the war.” Okay. The handful of women in the audience were almost all wearing technicolor wigs: pink, green, blue. The semiotics of this continues to elude me. There were very few Japanese people in attendance, which surprised me. There were very few tans, which didn’t. And there was very little evidence of grooming.


But just as I was thinking to myself, yet again, that there are as many different, completely distinct New Yorks as there are people in New York (and this was certainly a peculiar one), the announcer got up in the front and indicated that the porn stars Asia Carrera and Kobe Tai did the voices for characters in two of the movies that we were going to see and were on hand to kick off the festival. Very exciting, seeing women live who you’ve seen have anal sex. They said their few words, clearly disconcerted by the wall of dweeb staring back at them, then snuck out the back. But I, intrepid journalist boy, chased after to see if I could get a few more tidbits.


Interviewing porn stars, like interviewing other disaffected automatons or the undead, is a maddening business of trying to get them to say something other than the most saccharine, joyful platitudes about how much they love doing what they do. Well, Ms. Zombie, how do you feel about killing villages of the innocent? “It’s very nice, thank you. It makes me feel like I’m doing good.” No, really, Ms. Zombie, thank you. Well, Kobe was true to this standard porn form, but Asia actually let some reality slip through the PR force-field. She said she wasn’t sure how she felt about her film: “It was pretty shocking, actually, and it’s hard to shock a porn star. They do things we can’t do in porn. And three weeks of screaming: ‘I can’t take anymore’ was, well . . . ”


“Made you want to scream, ‘I can’t take anymore’?” I interrupted.


“Yeah,” she responded. “Something like that.”






Wow — stuff they can’t do in porn? I always thought porn was what one can’t do in life. So I hastened back to my seat so as not to miss any of the inflictions, and arrived just in time to hear a schoolgirl say to the headmaster: "Could you please give me an enema?" Apparently I was in the right place.

It turned out that in the film, Asia’s character was one of the many students being blackmailed by the headmaster into doing all kinds of illicit things. Her particular secret, quickly discovered, was that she had awful attacks of diarrhea. The famous line about not being able to take anymore occurs while the schoolmaster is standing and fucking her, lifting her off the ground in front of him, riding her on his cock with her ass bouncing again and again on his thighs — while she has to shit. She’s trying to contain it, but he’s insisting that she let it rip.

The funny thing is that we never did see her shit, even though one can see such things in a live-action porno. It’s hard to figure out exactly what Asia was referring to as that which normal porn can’t do. It could be the childlike girls, though curiously each movie began with a disclaimer saying each actor was over eighteen (not clear what this meant since they are all drawings). Perhaps it was some of the positions, but those seemed pretty typical. What she probably meant, without even realizing it, was that they say things one would not hear in porn. Anime is a different taste, with different needs. No more: "Would you put down that pipe wrench, there’s some plumbing over here that needs fixing;" but now: "What’s this feeling? I feel I’m easy"; "You were looking at my panties" (I heard this in at least two movies); "No! No! I’m making squishy noises!"; "Teach me how to be submissive"; "Ravage me; do your worst!"; and, my favorite, "When you put your face in her crotch, you deserved to be hated."

It went on like this. And on. At one point, I heard someone behind me say, "This one looks like it might have some consensual sex in it." There were a lot of demons and a lot of tentacles, as predicted. There was one where a kid opened the box of his new computer and out came a girl, ready to obey. There were others; they ran together. I kept waiting to see if the penises would be flesh-colored, or, as in a few instances, either bright gold or made of pure light. The audience was making a lot of wisecracks. It wasn’t clear that this was porn for them, or at least that, watching it in public, they could let it be. I watched on. The hours passed. I ran out of Slim Jims.

By eight, I had had plenty. I wanted to go home, get out of my clothes, masturbate and go to sleep. Would my fantasy be anime-inspired? Maybe a little. I like the schoolgirl thing, but I prefer the type with anatomically possible features. Nor would I transform into a twelve-limbed demon, but I might save that idea for a later date. On the subway home, one particular image from one of the films kept coming back to me. It was odd enough, and indicative enough, that I should probably describe it in full: an evil demon goddess is getting simultaneously ravaged by four alien planet lords for the viewing pleasure of an alien from the side of good, embodied as a chubby blue cat with oversized human genitalia. The cat is tied to a wall and has been fitted with a leather thong over his penis, so that if, while watching the ravaging, he gets an erection, he will be in such agony as to have to confess the secret of who the schoolgirls are that make up the Venus 5 troupe fighting to stave off the demon takeover of campus. The alien pussy’s in a tough bind, and is only saved by a last-minute deus ex machina.

A salvation analogous to my own, at last, as the lights came up, the curtain closed, and I realized that my ordeal was over and I could again return home to my bed, my imagination, and the hi-res splendor of Claudia Schiffer caught speeding on a deserted highway . . .



Jack Murnighan‘s stories appeared in the Best American Erotica editions of 1999, 2000 and 2001. His weekly column for Nerve, Jack’s Naughty Bits, was collected and released as two books. He was the editor-in-chief of Nerve from 1999 to 2001, before retiring to write full time and take seriously the quest for love.