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Notes: Embrace the Shota

“Do you think we’re doing something wrong?”

#this is seriously sexy #temperature up and everything #However— I feel weird about that because they’re both kids #so… not sweet and fluffy #very hot— but too hot for kids #I’m conflicted

This is my tagmentary from when I initially reblogged the above image. I received some interesting responses. My favorite response might be, “embrace the shota,” to which I responded, in summary, that I didn’t think I could and that Kyuugou would probably be an exception. Some of these offshoot conversations got me thinking about why I feel the way I do.

So, I have to say that Kyuugou is definitely an exception as she has a way of stripping away the innocence of youth and replacing it with the wretchedness of tragedies and stagnating effects of insecurities, fashioning continuous moments of hopelessness and anguish all under the veneer of cute boys. I think her delivery allows you to see the boys at a transitional stage where these adult feelings would usually be off in the distance, but the circumstances as she has set them to be, will push the kids forward prematurely. As a result of that push, you’re able to see—more pronounced than would normally be at this stage—their hesitation, curiosity, and sincerity in tow as they meander through these new experiences seeking some kind of anchor and finding it in a physical relationship. You get to see them wrestling with emotions and sensations they are unsure of how to process. Being able to witness that development, that growing awareness, makes it an exploration rather than an exploitation. I’m OK with that.

But even understanding that, I was caught off guard by the sensual nature of this panel. Not just sexy or arousing—which I see as perceptions; the views of the beholder that may or may not be intended by the beheld—but truly sensual. It goes beyond the unstudied hands of an adolescent fumbling between the legs of another. It goes beyond one kid becoming familiar with the dexterity of another; kids doing things in secret, trying to be adults… it’s more than that. In my mind, sensuality, in the sexual sense, is a continuum. It is carnal in origin, but ceases to be natural or effortless once it is projected, thus it becomes an affectation. Here, it is a conscious decision to go about things in a manner intended to elicit a response of desire or an effort to project one’s desire. A desire to touch or be touched, to be appreciated, corporeally. However, the point of projection is acknowledgement by its target and once the bait has been taken, the call responded to, the projection’s purpose is exhausted and thereafter the carnal essence gradually returns. At this point, both parties are full of sanguine lust and will soon be completely overtaken by the purest of desires, somatically speaking.

Seeing Saitou and Suzuki’s—kids, mind you—actions through that lens just put me on edge and I wasn’t able to ignore it or re-frame it as this innocuous, “ah, youth in all its splendor” moment. For me, this type of response has been heretofore associated with adults, advanced levels of maturity, as if they need to earn the right to be this intense.

To put it further into perspective, in Yamada Yugi’s Seinen 14 Sai, Machida and Itou are written as two guys who have a thing for each other, but initially aren’t quite sure what that thing is. Rather than being about one person wanting the other to want them, their adventures in sexland are about wanting the other to allow them to act on their desire to perform sexual acts with them. For Itou and Machida, sex is just something that guys do. Through comedic outbursts and advances they struggle for supremacy and only later does it develop into or is revealed to be something more. [The scene that started on the bench… AH!] That’s cute. Cute is an utter failure of a description of what’s going on between Saitou and Suzuki.

I’m sure YY’s boys want to be wanted, but that’s not their primary motivation; they’re looking for release while love blossoms on the periphery. As for Kyuugou’s boys, they’re exhibiting a desire for intimacy. Love may be there somewhere, but, from what I can tell of the story so far and knowing of Kyuugou’s habits, it is being obscured by their physical attraction and their interest in reciprocating and indulging in the other’s fascination. There’s also a sense of greed and admiration tangled up in there. They may question it, but they aren’t fighting against it. They want it, want each other and—within the universe created by this and the panels on the previous page—they are honest in expressing that desire. I was moved by it. And while I haven’t become completely desensitized to sex in its many forms, I still think it’s a big deal for me to say that the heat that this single panel evoked was fierce and made me feel ashamed for feeling it.

Now that I’ve sorted out my thoughts, I’m thinking that the age Suzuki and Saitou are may actually be the best age for conveying these sentiments. Any younger and it gets really creepy and becomes this sort of monkey-see-monkey-do naivete. Any older and a more grounded maturity begins to set in and deliberate actions begin to encroach upon the impulses, eventually smothering them. It’s hard for persons of a certain age to unlearn control. So I still don’t think I can “embrace the shota,” but there is this.


Original Comments


Notes: I did eventually finish Bokura wa Sore o Hitei Dekinai. It was good, but Kyuugou left it a point that kind of leaves you hanging. I’m hoping for a continuation.

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