Warning: This may be be difficult for some to read. If discussion about rape is too much for you, please go ahead and pass on this. I will always support mental health and taking care of yourself.
The anime adaptation of Goblin Slayer has come out this season and it’s raised a lot of discussion in the community due to some of the material in it with one scene in particular I’ve heard about. I haven’t seen the scene in question, nor have I sat down to watch a lot of shows this season but I wanted to take time to post my thoughts on rape scenes in general in media because I feel there are a couple of important things to think about when it comes to this discussion. Once again, this isn’t a direct commentary on this anime as I can’t do that. I’ve not seen it so I won’t say Goblin Slayer is completely acceptable or to burn it as filth or anywhere in-between.
So to get into it, while I think there are a ton of other factors to consider, I believe there are two big questions to always ask when creators put a rape scene in a series like this.
Man, it’s been a while since I’ve had to do this but forewarning, the content in question is Not Safe For Work. Before that scares you off, though, this graphic novel is sold in the normal kind of stores and has a beautiful point for it’s use of sexual imagery. Also, while this topic may not exactly be anime related, the author of this work in question is a super nerd and takes obvious influences from Japanese media. Plus, it’s my own damn article and I just wanna write about this, okay?
Sorry, that got a little confrontational… Lemme just start.
Sex is often a very taboo topic, particularly when it comes to where I live here in America. We’ve become more accustomed to talking about violence and aggression than all that other stuff that gives you cooties. Basically, you can watch people die horrifically and it’ll get a PG-13 rating but if two girls kiss “OH NO! Grab the pitchforks ‘cause it’s time fer a burnin’!”
With a bit of a flipped morality like that, it can be hard to find well-written stories that approach the topic of sex with the right respect and openness that it deserves. Honestly, it seems to me that it’s sometimes easier to find a story that uses rape as a means of moving the plot forward than one that uses consensual intercourse. And while there are efforts to educate and make things better. Education is only one side of the coin. We also need it represented tastefully in our media to expose and normalize the topic along with all the other aspects and types of affection and love.
Enter my exhibit A for the court hearing on tasteful representation of sex: the graphic novel Sunstone.