Ai Yori Aoshi: Tina Foster

By Shamus
on Apr 10, 2006
Filed under:
Anime

aya_tina.jpg

One of the girls in Ai Yori Aoshi is Tina Foster, an American expatriate who is now living in Japan. She goes to school with Kaoru and lives in the mansion next door to him. On the rare occasions when the story isn’t focused on Aoi and Kaoru, it’s usually focused on Tina.

Tina is a classic American stereotype: very loud, inappropriate, a party animal and an eating machine. She’s often a catalyst for the sort of mayhem that gets Kaoru into trouble. She can usually be counted on to introduce booze or wild behavior to a situation where everyone would otherwise behave sensibly.

Tina also has this thing for grabbing the breasts of other girls. The series is very clear that she’s not a lesbian, so this was hard to understand at first. I mean, what the heck? At first I reacted as though they were trying to portray American behavior and getting it wrong. My thought was, “Hey! Americans don’t do that!”

aya_tina2.jpg
It takes a while to see this through the eyes of Japanese culture. She seems to do it as a prank, or when someone is being too stiff, reserved, or serious. The point isn’t to fondle the other person, but to humiliate them and thus shatter their overly dignified stance. Miyabi is very humorless and stoic, so she is Tina’s most common target.

Azarel is an American teaching English to students in Japan, and he has many bizzare stories about the “pranks” the school kids play on teachers. They say and do things that would result in a life sentence of sensitivity training if done in this country. I won’t even repeat them here, but you can visit his site if you want all the strange and icky details.

aya_tina3.jpg
But even allowing for the crazy pranks that Japanese students pull, the breast-grabbing is still outrageous behavior in adult society. If a native tried it they would be rejected as a freak or a lunatic. But Tina’s status as an American gives her some leeway, since she comes from a famously oversexed foreign country with strange customs. So what we have is a Japanese-style prank being perpetrated by an American because it makes it easier for her (and thus the writers) to get away with it. This is particularly funny when done to someone stiff and serious like Miyabi. Imagine going up to James Bond and giving him a firm swat on the behind with a, “What’s up, big guy?”. Or picture sneaking up on Mr. Spock and snapping him in the ass with a towel. That sort of gives you an idea of where this joke is coming from.

Looking back on American movies I’ve seen, I can think of several where a foreign exchange student was some sort of freak, pervert, or lunatic. It was funny at the time, and now I can see that gimmick from the other side. Very interesting.

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1624 comments. (That's 10 in Hexadecimal.)

From the Archives:

  1. Well, everyone knows that gaijin are nuts…

  2. Scott says:

    Japanese do seem to have different standards for private parts. I know my college friends (22-year old guys) liked to surprise each other by poking their fingers in people’s butts when they weren’t looking. The fun of ero kancho. I never really indulged in that custom for some reason.

  3. eric says:

    in the cheek, or the hole. if it’s the cheek then whatever, but if it’s the hole…………. that’s just gay.

  4. Scott says:

    It was only with pants on but straight down the center. Don’t think it’d make people jump quite the same if it was anywhere else. Put your hands together, leave the index fingers out like a pistol and find an unsuspecting friend. Kancho means enema if you’re into Japanese trivia.

  5. matwo says:

    i would like more of the girl pics(they look awesome)

  6. mohammed says:

    احب بنات love girls

  7. Zebster says:

    The Movie is good. But, not too sexy. Not too Hot. I want more. Thanks

  8. Kristin says:

    Damn you Shamus for the link!

    I wasted an entire day when I needed to be grading on reading that guy’s backlog.

  9. Miako says:

    there are certainly enough Japanese girls who do that breast thing in anime.

    How many of them are the yellow haired girl? Probably a lot. You’re mistaking an anime trope — the Yellow Cat, as the American. It’s clear by her hair what they are going for. Redhaired Americans are very unlikely to do the same thing.

    Yellow Haired Girls:
    http://animenfo.com/anime/character/display.php?id=4930&n=hqoufk&t=sawachika_eri
    Eh. There are a lot of them. Standard Trope.

    For Red Haired Girls:
    Think Lina inverse, and the youngest ROD paperuser.

  10. Shamus says:

    Well, she IS an American. That’s firmly established in the series.

    That page you linked only had two chicks, one of which was from the UK. I haven’t seen enough anime to have encyclopedic knowledge of the stuff, but the explanation I gave still seems to fit, and mirror similar tropes here in the USA when portraying “crazy foreigners”.

  11. ihateyou says:

    anime often exaggerate breast size for some reason…
    even though in these pictures the breast arre not huge like in other anime. its pointless…but entertaining

  12. ceeqanguel says:

    Have you seen Hugh Jackman being pranked in Japan on that TV show? He’s shaking hands and one guy simply walks up and grabs his crotch. Can you imagine yourself grabbing Wolverine’s balls for laughs?

  13. Peter Olson says:

    The Teacher prank website is now available at: http://classic.dryang.org/japanese/index.htm

  14. HiEv says:

    FYI – Azrael’s site and all of his old but very amusing content is now located at Gaijin Chronicles, though he hasn’t posted any updates since early 2012.

  15. I’ve see a lot of anime, I’m mostly fan of more adult/mature sci-fi usually involving space travel and mechas give me a thrill, I also like super powered plots. Provided the main protagonist (if male) is a “badass” (see TV tropes).

    I have also see my fair share (more than I’d like to admit) of “other” anime, I try to steer clear of those as it’s not my cup of tea.
    But I have seen a few weird ones. And quite a bit stupid ones among those are breast grabbing making appearance now and again.
    Usually in context of outdoor spring baths, usually with a male character overhearing breast conversation and comparison and groping over the fence separating the men and female areas.

    This is most likely part of the teenage boy fantasy which also includes school uniforms with skirts that end so high they might as well not be skirts, huge boobed females. Falling over male characters and squishing their faces between their boobs. Gusts of wind or falling down revealing their panties.

    I’m not sure if this is rooted in Hentai games/Eroge games or not and as those games are made into animes a few of those things are kept. but there also exist animes without a eroge game background that do this stuff.

    That being said this form of “fanservice” goes both ways, the “beautiful boy” animes which is marketed towards girls as similar guy groping and incidents, but I can’t comment much more than that as I’m way to hetero to feel comfortable watching those.

    There are also old lecherous men that have panties fixations and these do appear in a few animes now and again. Possibly the weird is celebrated in Japanese anime more than in western animation. There is still that stigma in the “white” world that cartoons are for kids/teenagers.
    Then again there are family/kid movies with adult jokes in them that would go over the head of a kid but make parents laugh or grimace uncomfortably in theaters.

    Would be interesting if someone from Japan could comment on this (there do seem to be a few visiting this site now and again) and how silly stuff like that is generally viewed in Japan.

    In any case, anime in Japan is so well developed as a media that if people even thought about it then it’s probably been animated at some point.

    Heck, in Europe (and definitely the US) Leisure Suit Larry is still too edgy for many.
    In Japan it seems they celebrate the weird and accept that games and animation is not real and thus allow to explore taboos or odd behavior there instead. Then again there have been stories of those marrying virtual characters so who knows what is going on really in the world these days…

    One thing is for certain, the world (my world) would not be the same without Japanese Anime.
    I’ve laughed, cried, gotten angry and sad, I’ve changed some of my views on life, and been well entertained by the anime
    I have watched over the years.
    Thank you Japan! :)

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