Thursday, February 1, 2018

guro グロ

NSFW: this article may contain words or images you'd rather not have your boss see.
Within the anime fandom, guro グロ refers to "grotesque" imagery. This often means pornographic (hentai) illustrations and stories depicting scenes containing gore and death, but there are other things that can be called guro, too, even in shounen anime targeted at children.

(sometimes guro means the color "black," kuro 黒, specially in suffixes. See ganguro ガングロ.)

In Japanese, guro グロ is an abbreviation of gurotesuku グロテスク, which's a katakanization of the English "grotesque."

Generally speaking, guro is "disturbing," makes people feel kimochi warui 気持ち悪い. This is probably all you need to know about it. You can just assume it translates to NSFL and you'll be fine. I repeat: you probably should visit another page now.

Do not continue. Do not do this. You don't have to read something just because it's been written.

Examples

Well, you can't I didn't warn you. Here's an example of guro:

Neferpitou inserting needles in a brain: interrogation scene.
Anime: Hunter x Hunter (2011) (Episode 84)
  • An infamous "guro scene," guro shiin グロシーン, from an anime targeted at kids.
  • Neferpitou, a monster girl, is extracting some information from an enemy human.
  • By shoving two needles up into his exposed brain and forcing him to repeat his memories.
  • As you can see, this scene isn't only dark in the sense it's grotesque, it's also dark in color because there's literally no way you'd show this stuff on TV without some massive censoring.
  • The top of his head was never shown. But disturbing brain-stirring sound effects were played.
  • Many people were left traumatized by this, probably.

The example above illustrates how guro is used in Japanese, but not how it's used in the west.

In the west, guro is generally associated with pornography, and tends to translate to just "drawn gore" rather than "grotesque imagery." Thus, the example above, as it's from a kids' shown, and what would be the gore is censored, wouldn't be called guro in the west, even if it'd be called guro in Japanese.

More specifically, the way guro is normally used in the west is in lists of things that aren't allowed. For example, in some forums, posting images featuring guro (drawn gore) isn't allowed. Some artists do not accept commissions for guro drawings, and so on.

The way guro グロ is used in Japanese is to refer to such "grotesque" scenes, generally featuring gore or other disturbing imagery. For reference, I'll list some examples of anime that contain guro scenes but that wouldn't be called "guro" in the west.

You'll see that they're often memorable, or rather, unforgettable scenes, because they tend to traumatize watchers. Although scenes containing guro sound like they'd turn away a lot of fans, there's actually a secondary, positive effect: people talk about scenes and anime containing guro a lot, even if all they say is "wtf did I just watch?"

Spoiler warning: do not Google the examples below, you may end up spoiling yourself.

Character's face covered in blood from anime Psycho-Pass.
Anime: PSYCHO-PASS (Episode 1)
  • Psycho Pass features a weapon that explodes people from inside, splattering their guts on anyone nearby and possibly traumatizing them.
  • Devilman features a lot of gore, death, and other horrible things.
  • Akira アキラ features characters turning into disturbing blobs of meat.
  • Baccano features a character dancing over their victims' pool of blood, plus a whole lot of other bad stuff.
  • Kurozuka 黒塚 features a decapitated head, to begin with.
  • Danganronpa ダンガンロンパ features brainwashing through shoving needles into somebody's cranium.
    • Where have I seen this before? Apparently it's called a:
    • robotomii shujutsu ロボトミー手術
      Lobotomy surgery.
    • Although -tomy implies there's some cutting and what we see in anime is more like piercing. I don't know about medicine enough to figure this out.
  • Attack on Titan features human-eating titans.
  • Blood-C features human kebab.
  • Made in Abyss features the best opportunity to mute the audio you'll ever get. It also features an elevator.
  • Shinsekai Yori 新世界より features disturbances on a conceptual level as well as the physical one.
  • Another features an umbrella.
  • Dororo どろろ features a baby.

Besides the examples of hard guro you see above, there's also lighter, less disturbing guro.

An example of light guro: Terraria, the 2D minecraft, block-y block game about blocks and building block-y things with blocks. Why? Because of all the blood, arrows, fall damage, etc. and you getting killed leaving a tombstone behind while splattering body parts gruesomely.

エログロ

The term eroguro エログロ is an abbreviation of "erotic grotesque [imagery]." To understand what this means, I have prepared two examples: the first in case you're into anime, and the second in case you aren't into anime but somehow ended up in this site.

If you are into anime, you may have watched Overlord. It's not eroguro, but it's the closest popular thing I have to offer. In Overlord, you have all these monster girls who are, literally, monsters. Sometimes they transform into grotesque things, things with teeth. But otherwise they're drawn as cute, sexy, or erotic girls. The eroguro combination is like that.

If you aren't into anime, just imagine the grotesque scenario of an octopus sexually assaulting a woman with its tentacles. That's eroguro.

Do-S without a mask, showing her mouth, tongue and teeth, from manga One Punch Manga.
Manga: One Punch Man (Chapter 103)
  • Basically this, but 10 times worse.
  • koko dake no hanshi... jitsu wa anata no fan datta no yo ne.
    ここだけの話・・・実は貴方のファンだったのよね
    [A story of here only] (let's keep this between us)... actually [I] was your fan.
  • nee doukashira
    ねぇどうかしら
    [What do you think?]
  • futari de kossori nakayoku shinai?
    二人でこっそり仲良くしない?
    How about we get in good terms together?
    • shinai しない
      To not do. (sometimes used to ask if someone is okay with doing something.)
    • futari 二人
      Two people. Us two. We.
    • nakayoku suru 仲良くする
      To make peace. To become in good terms.
      Also an euphemism for "to have sex."

グロい

In Japanese, guroi グロい is guro, "grotesque," turned into an i-adjective. It's used more generally than the word guro itself. Something guroi can be an open wound, for example. You wouldn't call that "grotesque" in English, but you would admit its appearance can disturb people, hence it's guroi.

R-18G

On Pixiv, R-18G, or R18G, means an illustration contains guro, features something grotesque, and is not suitable for underage audiences. It's a tag, and it could be used in other sites, too, like Twitter, etc.

This comes from R-18, which means "rated 18," as in, for adults, older than 18. The G is specific to Pixiv, it can be used to filter out the stuff so you don't ever have to see it, thus, what it means exactly is according to the site's terms-of-service, and how it's used in practice is according to its userbase.

Another tag is R-15G: rated 15, with something somewhat grotesque. That is, it isn't as disturbing as R-18G but it's worth warning about.

グロ注意

The phrase guro chuui グロ注意 is a "guro warning." Because something contains something grotesquely disturbing, and you should think twice before proceeding.

Types of Guro

It's kind hard to define what is "grotesque" and what isn't, as it varies from person to person, according to what they consider disturbing. Generally speaking, however, the following things are considered guro:
  • Mutilation.
  • Exposed injuries, organs.
  • Heavy bleeding.
  • Loss of limbs, eyes, etc.
  • Infections. Swollen body parts, specially if they change to a grotesque color.
  • Infested bodies. Parasites, larvae, etc.
  • Decaying, rotting corpses, zombies.
  • Animals, monsters, zombies, etc. eating people alive.

Hyakkimaru 百鬼丸 eaten by demon bugs in OP 2 of Dororo どろろ.
Anime: Dororo どろろ (2nd OP, Episode 13)

As you can see, pretty much anything related to heavy bodily injury, visible diseases, etc. Methods of execution are also often considered guro:
  • Hanging.
  • Decapitation.
  • Impalement.
  • Burning alive.
  • Drowning.

Torture Devices

Sometimes, executions feature some rather obscure torture devices. For reference, what they're called:

  • denki isu 電気椅子
    Electric chair.
    • A chair in which a person is strapped, electrodes placed on their head.
    • When the electrodes electrocute, it kills the person.

  • girochin ギロチン
    dantoudai 断頭台
    Guillotine. ("beheading platform".)
    • A wooden board with a hole through which goes one person's head, and a metal blade hanging above their necks. A less sophisticated version has an execution with an axe instead.
    • When the blade goes down, it kills the person.

  • aian meiden アイアン・メイデン
    tetsu no shojo 鉄の処女
    Iron maiden. ("the virgin of metal.")
    • A container with space for one person, with doors fitted with spikes.
    • When the doors close, it kills the person.

  • fararisu no oushi ファラリスの雄牛
    Brazen bull. ("Phalaris' bull.")
    • A metal-made bull-shaped container inside of which goes one person.
    • When the bull is placed over a fire, it kills the person.

Disturbing vs. Guro

Basically any form of torture that ends in death counts as guro. Any fight that ends with someone being killed or bearing heavy, permanent injuries count as guro.

However, there are some other disturbing stuff without gore that counts as guro. And some disturbing stuff that doesn't count as guro.

Deformations

Some illustrations feature people having their bodies turned into non-human shape by magical or scientific means. That can be disturbing, so it can be guro. (see Made in Abyss for an extreme example of deformation.)

Some character designs are just unsettling to look at. A type of monster girl, "mono eye," or monoai モノアイ, has one huge eye in the middle of their face, which makes you think her cranium must be 70% eye and wonder "how does her brain fit inside that thing?" Which is disturbing, therefore it can be considered guro.


If a character has a bunch of holes on his body, even if they aren't bleeding or anything, that might elicit trypophobia, fear of holes, which is extremely disturbing and very likely guro.

Vomit, Defecation

Depictions of puking can also considered to be guro, since it can imply visible sickness.

Although it doesn't make much sense to call defecation guro: the most natural thing a living being can do is to defecate—I mean, if you don't, there's something wrong with you—depictions of defecation are generally treated the same way as guro, merely because nobody most people find them repulsive and don't want to see them either.

Disturbing, But Not Bodily

Something that's disturbing in the moral sense isn't guro. For example, the first two minutes of the anime Imouto Sae Ireba ii. 妹さえいればいい。 is extremely disturbing, just like a guro scene, but since there's no bodily injury or anything that's instinctively repulsive, it isn't considered guro.

Violence

The term ryona リョナ refers to depictions of characters being physically or psychologically harmed in general, ending up dead or not. Sometimes, ryona and guro overlap, but that's not always the case.

For example, although it sounds kind of really heavy to say, depictions of people with disfigurement can be considered guro. That's because, as sad as it is, it disturbs people to look at disfigurement. However, such depiction isn't considered ryona. To be ryona, it would have to be someone disfiguring someone else.

Likewise, if in a fight a character cuts out the limbs of another character, that's ryona and guro. But if it's just an amputee character chilling around, not fighting or anything, then it's not ryona, although it can be considered guro. (see also: the movie 300, in which Xerxes has a double amputee concubine, and that's disturbing on multiple levels.)

Robots

An interesting example are robots. Destruction of robots counts as ryona. But because robots aren't alive, they don't bleed, they don't have organs, etc. people are normally okay with them suffering injuries that would render a normal person pretty dead.

Genos getting broken.
Anime: One Punch Man (Episode 2)
  • If Genos had flesh, this would be a lot more disturbing.

It would take something like the anime movie Ghost in the Shell to break a robot's body grotesquely enough for people to say: "yup. That's disturbing."

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