TangleCast 29: Homosexuality in Anime (pt. 1/2)

For the past several weeks, The TangleCast has covered a number of varying topics, but something that Beneath the Tangles uniquely brings to the aniblog community is its unique approach to religion, spirituality, and morality as it intersects with anime and otaku-dom. A topic we’ve been interested in tackling for months has been the world of homosexuality within anime, and JP (Japesland), Kaze, Jack (R86), and Casey (CutsceneAddict) finally had the chance to sit down and hash it out.


Christians’ opinions differ greatly on the permissibility of homosexuality within Christianity, but our goal is not to decide whether or not it is okay, but how someone who disagrees with that particularly lifestyle can respectfully understand homosexuality within the context of otaku-dom. Thus, this week, beginning a two part-podcast series on this topic, our podcasters discuss the homosexual sub-genres within the anime (and larger otaku) world, and their personal opinions and experiences with these sub-genres. Look forward to next week’s part two, where we will be applying our spiritual beliefs!

As always, every episode of The TangleCast will be covering a different topic, from anime reviews, to discussions on spirituality, to listener mail, and everything in between. Please join the conversation by commenting below or submitting a question at our contact page!

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6 thoughts on “TangleCast 29: Homosexuality in Anime (pt. 1/2)”

  1. I’ve been toying with the idea of writing on a similar topic for years, always pushing it away as something too touchy as I consider our diverse reader base. But I’m glad you guys are doing these podcasts. Maybe I’ll eventually try to craft a related post myself.

    I notice that “bara” was not mentioned—it’s not a genre I’m familiar with myself, and I’ve only heard that bara manga exists, rather than about any bara anime. But I seem to recall that bara is manga about gay men, by gay men, and is thus very different than “yaoi,” which is generally drawn and written for a female audience. I think it’s worth noting that bara exists, although it doesn’t have as big a part in the greater otaku culture.

    Someone thought there were shoujo-ai themes in “When Marnie was There”?!?! That’s… no. No. Leave those innocent little girls alone.

    I generally avoid shounen-ai and shoujo-ai when it’s labeled as such. I’m not interested in it, partially because of my beliefs. But when hints of it show up in anime friendships, I get annoyed. Like Casey, I’d like to see platonic friendships better respected and explored—both in anime and in the fanbase.


  2. Oh man, I completely feel JP with people shipping in When Marnie Was There. I watched the movie at a friend’s house, and his brother walked in during the mid section of the movie where Marnie and Anna were dancing together. He immediately began making a bunch of stupid shipping jokes, and going “oooh myyy” and stuff, completely ruining that section of the movie and making me very annoyed. Fortunately, he left soon after, and I was able to enjoy the rest of that fantastic film in peace. Anyway, fantastic podcast! Excited to hear part 2 this week.


    1. It’s so frustrating! As I said (and especially reiterate in part 2), I don’t have a problem with homosexuality being depicted in anime, I just get frustrated when people immaturely insert themes that aren’t intended. Thanks for listening and commenting!


  3. Oh, dear. I seem to have come at When Marnie Was There from a very different angle than y’all did. While I definitely share the Tangles’ distaste for the common fandom habit of reading romantic implications into platonic relationships, surely you can grant that some of the visual cues used to establish the girls’ relationship in that movie – the dancing scene, Anna leaning back into Marnie’s embrace on the rowboat, etc. – are gestures that normally point to a blossoming romance. I had already been informed that the relationship would turn out platonic before I watched the movie, but halfway into the story I was almost convinced that it wouldn’t. I actually found the ending a little jarring as a result.

    Of course, that was just my experience. It’s still a lovely film.


    1. I think our difference in opinion may come from what you said yourself: the angle from which we approached it. I think that, as someone who tends not to expect same sex romance, being a heterosexual myself, the relationship between the two girls did not seem romantic at all. Perhaps someone else should weigh in on this, though, as my opinion is obviously not the only one.


      1. This is definitely true. I have seen very sheltered people watch something with blatant homosexual scenes, and it somehow goes completely over their heads. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have seen people nitpick at every little interaction to condemn it as being homosexual. Your experiences in life and what you expect out of something before going in will always affect how you interpret scenes. I do believe there is a degree of objectivity with interpretation, but it is so hard to put that inherent bias aside.


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