Loli and Lolita in anime (non-Hentai – Misused, Misunderstood, Misrepresented - 85902 goth-loli gothic gray_hair lolita_fashion long_hair mtyy purple_eyes rozen_maiden suigintou wings

Please bare in mind that this post is far from definitive and I have barely even begun to explore the varied and complex issues surrounding Lolita in Japanese society, especially with regards to anime and more broadly speaking ‘otaku culture’. 

The Lolita or ‘Loli’ character has become ubiquitous in anime over the years, with numerous series employing younger characters or those dressed in Lolita fashion to varying affects. In a more general sense, Lolitas of ‘Lolis’ are young women and men who dress as anachronistic visual representations of Victorian-era dolls, covered from head to toe in lace, ruffles, and bows. This term in the west is most often associated with the title character of Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel, depicting an adolescent girl who has a sexual relationship with her middle-aged stepfather; in Japan however ‘Lolita Complex (lolicon)’ also refers more generally to older men who are attracted to young girls. Part of the problem with these terms however is the way they are used an interpreted in conjunction with anime and the numerous ways with which the Lolita is represented in the anime medium. One of the interesting elements of Lolita in Japan is that they are usually young women (not girls), who dress in cure, childlike, and modest fashions without the overly sexualised appearance typically associated with Nabokov’s Lolita. This representation of the Lolita is further complicated by the broad nature of anime fandom’s description and understanding of the Lolita complex, with numerous fans referring to any young character as a ‘Loli’, whether they are dressed in Victorian-era clothes or not. This particular description makes the whole notion of the Loli far more complicated, as there is an implicit understanding amongst western fandom that Loli is linked with Nabokov’s character. Read more of this post

Chihayafuru Season 2 – The Triumphant return of Chihaya!


Chihayafuru was one of those special series that managed to fit high school romance together with a traditional Japanese card game called karuta. Part of the fun of the first series was watching how oblivious Chihaya was to the increasing affection from both Taichi and Arata, even though the later spent half the series as an invisible force without any physical presence. It was a series with complicated character that were all struggling with their own view of the world, and karuta acted as a way to bring them all together under a common cause. The brilliance of the original series was how much tension an apparently simple game could produce and the increasingly complicated nature of Chihaya’s relationship with it and her schools karuta club. Karuta is a fascinating game, one that relies upon an intimate knowledge and understanding of 100 cards that represent 100 classical Japanese poems. It is a popular, and also rather complex game at first, and because it is a classical Japanese card game doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone of the same age as Chihayafuru’s characters. Read more of this post