As a consumer and critic of anime, I constantly get commenters trying to get me to branch out into American television, much to my dismay and consternation. Indeed, even many of my friends try to convince me that they have discovered some great American TV show that proves that American TV is worthwhile, and if I’d just watch one episode I’d see how great the medium is. I have resisted until now, but I decided that it was worth seeing if there truly was something I have been missing. So I signed up for a trial of HBO Go and put on the first episode of Game of Thrones, a popular show that has been recommended to me countless times as prestige television.
I was skeptical right from the first scene, which features dismembered corpses and a graphic beheading on-screen, the typical sort of absurd ultra-violence I would expect from American media. Still, anime such as Elfen Lied and Wolf’s Rain have used graphic violence to establish a tone or convey themes, and the show did prove to have wolves in a later scene, so I hoped that the show’s violence would be building towards something important.
Unfortunately, halfway through the episode I was stunned to watch a scene in which a female character was implied to have just given a blowjob, and then she parades her uncensored ass and breasts on-screen, including her nipples! Not only that, but the scene ends with the character having a full harem of women, all showing off their breasts. I immediately checked to see if I was watching the uncensored Blu-Ray version of the episode, but it turns out that this actually aired on prime-time television! You could never air something this blatantly perverted on Japanese television, no matter how late it aired!
And yet, somehow it only got worse from there. Another female character was introduced in a scene showing her fully nude, and her plot-line lead to a scene where she is shown crying during clearly forced sex. Then the episode ends with the reveal that two of the main characters are in an incestuous relationship! And it’s not just incestuous subtext or a relationship between step-siblings, it’s a full-on blood-sibling sex scene right on camera! It made the child murder that happened immediately afterwards seem almost quaint by comparison! What is wrong with the American TV viewer, fetishizing forced sex and incest?
Now, I’m sure many of you are thinking that it’s not fair to discount all of American television based on one show. But this show’s most recent season was apparently the highest rated show on television, which shows there’s a tremendous appetite for perversion in American audiences. I really shouldn’t be surprised though; from what I have read online Americans regularly engage in incestuous relationships and let rapists go free, so it’s just a societal difference I suppose.
Still, all of this wouldn’t be so bad if not for the fact that this show is in the live-action fantasy genre. All other examples I’ve seen of the genre, such as Harry Potter and The Hobbit, have been intended for children, so clearly Game of Thrones is also intended for children! If the most notable works in a genre are aimed at children then it is impossible for works to be created for anyone other than that demographic, and I can therefore only assume that America is intentionally perverting its children with its television. I for one will continue to avoid all American TV from here onwards, and will instead watch anime — television intended for normal people.