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12 Days, 12 Moments 2010: Knees

Or, how Amagami SS found more erogenous zones than just the usual T&A.

Among the many objections one can have about anime fan service, one of the most compelling aesthetic reasons is that so much of it is simply boring. It’s always the bouncing boobs, the panty shot, the falling down grope; so much of it doesn’t even have the decency to be inventive in its presentation. When you’ve become a jaded anime reviewer, a lot of it even fails to arouse, which of course defeats the purpose altogether.

Today we talk about one of the exceptions, in a scene from Amagami SS episode 3 that set the aniblogosphere ablaze with excitement. I refer, of course, to Junichi kissing his senior Haruka’s kneepit. While role-playing as a puppy. And yipping like one all the while.

There are several aspects to this scene that stand out. First, no one in anime has ever suggested the back of the knee as an erogenous zone—thus, points for originality. Second, it sidesteps what one might expect following this unusual tongue caress, an upskirt shot—the eroticism is made only by suggestion, not by direction. Third, an anime male protagonist is actually role-playing, which means he is showing both initiative and a lack of self-seriousness, traits that are extremely uncommon in this genre to say the least. Later we see this erotic role-playing taken further, with Haruka egging Junichi on to make the fake kidnapping scenario just a little rougher. One almost wonders just what anime romance universe this is: there is actually the whiff of the kinky rather than the tawdry. And it’s mutual.

Haruka returns the favor.

By the standards of anime fan service and romance, this scene is innovative and progressive. Which, of course, is sad: it’s a reflection of how far the standard has fallen when it comes to fan service that this alone is enough to stand out as a moment of the year. Only the bullet-time boob shot in Highschool of the Dead comes close, and even that is a variation of the familiar. And later story arcs in Amagami would attempt to replicate the shock that this little scene caused, but to lesser effect.

The knee licking scene was one of the most memorable of the year because it represented something new—a small newness, but one nonetheless. I prefer this much, much more than the other trend from this year, which is the rise of outright incest as a theme (the imouto fetish taken to its logical end), as well as the continuing march of some fan-service shows into outright hentai-except-for-a-few-black-bars. There will be more to say about that, actually, but for now, this scene is, as they say, the bee’s—


—ok, never mind. You get it now.

The “12 Days, 12 Moments” series is part of an aniblogosphere-wide project to blog about the most memorable moments in anime for the year in the 12 days before Christmas. It was started in 2007 by CCY of Mega Megane Moe. Others participating this year include Aorii8Cprototype27Scampschneider, Borderline Hikkikomori, TWWKLandonJanettedigiboydrmchsr0doctordazzaFawkesFNSNAsuper ratsJubbzRPTheBigNJinxmefloraineCaranielglothelegendChiiValencedai1313, and bitmapchaos.

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