The last fortnight has been something of a superhero double bill; prior to taking in the new Avengers movie (which comes very highly recommended, by the way), I finally got round to viewing this notorious piece of anime filth…
Yes, lushes and reprobates, it’s The Rapeman! I’d tell you to lock up your daughters, but I suspect the dirty bastard has more than a few skeleton keys stashed up his prophylactic sleeve…
Based on a manga penned by one Shintaro Miyawaki (who invented a female psuedonym to deflect the predictable backlash), this anime double-feature stars one Keisuke Uasake: high school teacher by sunlight; veiled vagina-violator by moonlight. Together with his uncle, he works at Rapeman Services, a two-man business venture that commits itself to “righting wrongs through penetration”. Think City Hunter, or Boon, but with added sexual assault. For this pair, and their budding clients, rape is justice.
Over my past two-and-a-bit decades of manga and anime-viewing, I’ve gone from finding hentai repulsive, to seeing it as an ultimately harmless (if often fucking ridiculous) playground for the id. Even stuff like lolicon, the bane of many a hectoring hypermoralist, elicits little more than a shrug from me. Hell, one of my all-time favourite shows (arguably) falls under this genre, what with its copious scenes of polytentacular orifice-violation.
As with many a rapetastic slab of hentai, The Rapeman is both tame and absurd, rather than horrific, in execution. The rapes—though aided by handcuffs and what I call rape webs—play out as no more violent than the consensual scenes, with Mr Rapeman even employing his own orgasm-inducing special moves (“TRIANGLE INFINITY MAGNUM .31!”). On the Occidental side of things, it’s obvious that whoever fansubbed this had themselves a right old laugh—one that certainly proves infectious!
As frivolously as all this plays out, though, the thematic elements underlying the whole thing inspire far less mirth in me. What puts me ill-at-ease about The Rapeman aren’t the onscreen surprise sex shenanigans, but the rationale behind them. According to Wikipedia, this two episode OVA adapts the first volume of the manga, which, I presume, sets the tone for the series: wayward women being set on the “right” path by our eponymous “hero”. Over the course of forty-five minutes, Keisuke fulfils two contracts, each at the behest of his quarry’s parents: firstly against a yakuza’s daughter (one of his own students) in an elaborate matchmaking gambit; and secondly against a cat burglaress who’s too busy snatching bling to fulfil her filial duties.
In short, our transgressor is a tool of traditionalism, constraining the cunt in the name of Confucianism.
Watching Rapeman force cultural conservatism down his victims’ craws reminded me of a more mainstream viewing staple of mine: the BBC3 reality show/documentary World’s Strictest Parents. Though thankfully bereft of sexual assault, the premise of the old guard wishing to bend wayward wills to their own ends remains intact; and, as in The Rapeman, the eponymous parents prevail. Whereas most folk see teen tearaways being saved from themselves by the Strictest Parents, I can’t help but view it all as a naked power struggle: at least The Rapeman’s honest about being conservative contrition porn!
Beyond the glare of the small screen, life parallels art in the most noxious fashion. Rapeman’s rationale resembles that of “corrective rape” advocates in Uganda and South Africa, who view those of Sapphic persuasion as square pegs in need of a good hammering; that their values are Christian instead of Confucian hardly alters the conservative conceits underpinning their mindsets.
Thus, despite its cheap, cheerful, throwaway exterior, The Rapeman, gives us a glimpse at the id concealed (and nurtured) by the traditionalist superego, one which longs to tear up the deviants in its midst with the rod of correction. In that regard, one could say it serves the same purpose as old school slasher flicks, punishing until only piety remains.
All that said, don’t let the shady subtext dissuade you from downloading it; if you want three quarter-hours of retarded, 4chanishly-subtitled laughs, this controversial curio will see you through nicely.
Not to mention, it’s the perfect show to troll the femiternalist contingent with…