It probably should not come as a surprise that there can be a fair amount of Values Dissonance when Western audiences watch anything made by Japanese people and intended for a Japanese audience.
Frankly, this trope could probably adequately explain a lot of what seems to be Relationship Writing Fumble in the eyes of western fans. If you are more used to more open western romances, don't realize that the Japanese are generally more shy about overt romantic affection, what the mythological themes and symbolism mean, and a lot of subtle social cues, you're probably going to be pretty lost.
Or, in some cases, it could just be a matter of extending the "will they - won't they" as long as possible. REC is a seinen manga where a young couple meet and have sex on the same night, and the plot follows their relationship afterwards. Their sexual encounter is treated as healthy and ordinary.
As mentioned on the main page for Stay in the Kitchen, a lot of Japanese gender attitudes come across as quite sexist to Western audiences.
While it might be okay with Japanese audiences, the Bastard Boyfriend stereotype does not go over well with Western viewers.
To Western viewers, it can seem very strange that a female character would quit her job just because she was getting married, or that marriage would be seen as an alternative to a career instead of a separate issue. While it is uncommon, but not unheard of, for a woman to quit her job in The West due to getting married, pregnancy is usually the more deciding factor, or more cynically, the husband's income, in Japan and Eastern countries it's common enough to be expected.
The West and East also have different opinions on this issue. In the West, a woman who did this would typically be seen as needy, spoiled, and overly reliant on her husband, or at worst, a gold digger. The East, on the other hand, would typically see this behaviour as someone devoted to their family and a strong pillar of support for the husband and community.
The treatment of sexual harassment is another issue that can raise more than a few eyebrows in Western audiences. In Japan, "inappropriate touching" on trains is so widespread that some stations and trains have signs warning women about perverts. Yet, women are not supposed to raise a fuss about it should it actually happen to them; it's the emphasis on dignity coupled with an attitude of female subordination. The most the train stations do to prevent this is offer women-only cars, thus continuing to place the responsibility on the victim to stay away from men rather than on men to not attack them. There is still great controversy in Japan over the legality of this, the lack of prosecution in all but the clearest of cases, and the lenient punishments of those who actually do get convicted.
It certainly doesn't help that one of the main reasons behind the creation of the separate train cars was an incident where it was found that 3 high school girls were essentially blackmailing a salaryman into getting money or saying that he tried to molest them. So, it doesn't paint a particularly nice picture when it can be viewed as protecting the men from such situations (admittedly, the girls were committing a crime).
In anime, the Accidental Pervert is usually a bumbling, supposedly likable character; if the "target" freaks out, her reaction is played for comedy. More serious plots may feature outright, deliberate harassment, but very often the heroine will be scolded for fighting back or told not to make such a big deal out of it. Often it's not entirely clear whether the story is on the heroine's side ("sexual harassment is bad"), or backing up society's view ("the heroine needs to accept her lot in life as uncomplaining, submissive victim"). This could be due to the fact that Most Writers Are Male. In MARS, for example, Kira, the heroine, is assaulted while at her work. Naturally, she retaliates. Her boss, however, forces her to apologize to her attacker, even though she is the victim. The story is just ambiguous enough to leave the reader wondering if the author takes the manager's side or the best friend's. If you were to look at a lot of shoujo manga, you will notice that the girl is considered "pure" and more "chaste" if she just quietly and tearfully takes the groping from the molester. It is generally up to her boyfriend to call the molester on it and protect her, because a woman should never protect herself. However, most shoujo manga that indulge in this are fantasies in the vein of romance novels and bodice-rippers, so they don't necessarily reflect society's actual opinions.
Emiya Shirou of Fate/stay night gives the appearance of adhering to this ideal but in actuality bends a bit further towards western views so long as you aren't looking exclusively at his anime incarnation. In Fate, Shirou finds it good that a particular female character had a run-in with a molester on her way home, believing that the attack will knock a sense of femininity into her. However, when the same character is actually raped (or at least implied to have been raped) in another route, he is just as genuinely horrified as his female classmates. His attitude towards Saber is similarly exaggerated; Shirou loudly states numerous times throughout the Fate route that Saber should leave the fighting to him despite the fact that Saber is astronomically more powerful than him even at her weakest. However, it needs to be noted that Saber had been severely wounded in her first major fight and was Shirou's love interest in the Fate route. Considering what Shirou is willing to do to save Rin and Sakura from harm in the other routes (in which he ends up with one of them, rather than Saber) and that Fate is the only route where Shirou expresses these beliefs, it makes more sense to think that Shirou is inventing reasons to keep Saber off the battlefield to prevent her from being hurt again. (Also, there is ample evidence that even Shirou's desire to prevent Saber from being hurt is a distorted ideal that he uses to cover up his lack of self-regard.)
This is changing somewhat; in the manga Sgt. Frog, for instance, Aki Hinata, strong mother and aikido master, is groped on a train and responds by slamming her attacker to the ground. Several other writers have followed this trend, especially when dealing with strong female characters.
Also in the Parasyte manga, when one of the infected humans humiliates a groper, the other passengers cheer her on.
In one Detective Academy Q anime filler episode, Megu and a rival DDS student are groped in a train. They actively track down and collar the groper, and proceed to demolish the carefully crafted alibi he presented to "prove" he wasn't guilty.
In the Beach Episode of Ouran High School Host Club, the heroine Haruhi tries to take on two thugs in defense of two girls, even though she's thin and short, knows no martial arts, and can't swim (she ends up in the water). It's also worth noting that she didn't even think of calling for help, even though the beach is swarming with armed private police forces. Her male friends reprimand her but the lesson they teach Haruhi is more about understanding her own limits and safety than about being a meek, submissive girl. At the end of the episode, it's also shown that the reason she didn't think of calling for help is that she's not used to having help to call on, softening the impact of the reprimand somewhat.
Megatokyo sort of goes in between when someone gropes Erikaon the train. She is at first freaked out with a 'Wtf?" expression on her face and then returns to the conversation she was having while slowly reaching behind her and painfully snapping something on the pervert. However, being written from a American's point of view on the issue, this is probably more of an exception.
Change 123 uses this when a pervert begins molesting main-character Motoko. She quietly takes it until she transforms into Hibiki of HiFuMi. Then she proceeds to reach down, place her hand over his, and severely break his fingers. She walks off the train, leaving the pervert on his knees in agonizing pain, surrounded by confused bystanders.
But not for others. Americans will accept Tsundere girls (due to their like of strong female characters), but only if they have a reason to snap. It's easy for the girl to cross the line into Dude, Not Funny! if her actions are seen as unjustified, especially if she's not called out on it.
An example of this, albeit with males rather than females, is Yuri's harem in Kyo Kara Maoh. Gentle, chivalrous Conrad seems to be the most favored candidate for Yuuri's affections in Japan. In the West, however, Tsundere-esque Wolfram appears to have a bigger following. Mind you, this may be due to Conrad being interpreted as a father-figure by some Westerners.
Similarly, this debate illustrates the difference between what Westerners and Japanese people find to be powerful feminine traits. As seen here, Westerners are more open to the idea that "girlyness" is empowering solely because it deconstructs the stereotype of it being portrayed as a weakness. However, stereotypical "girlyness" is the ideal for Japanese and other Eastern countries, and if a woman is not seen as "feminine", then that leads to Unfortunate Implications that she isn't "desirable" enough. This has led to rigid gender roles and many gender divisive programming starting from a very young age. It could also be why the Tomboy with a Girly Streak is so common in manga and anime: tomboyish girls can't be too tomboyish.
Almost as if the Values Dissonance of Yamato Nadeshiko has a Spear Counterpart, Western fans just don't seem to take Bishōnen, Emo, or Metrosexual characters well compared to the Japanese. On the other hand, rugged Badass guys devoid of any girly things are usually revered in the West as Paragons Of Manliness. This might be credited to the Japanese's belief that if you are a Bishōnen, you are very sure that deep down you are a man, even if you look like a girl, as well as a standard that places a high value on male androgyny as the ultimate sign of male beauty. Furthermore, the macho-men that are revered as American standards of heterosexuality are commonly used as gay stereotypes in Japanese media.note To be fair, this can sometimes be the case in Western media as well, due to the "Bear" being a very common stereotype in gay culture. In other words, each culture has the opposite concept of what is a manly man and what is a man that wants to sleep with a manly man. Of course, both concepts qualify completely as Truth in Television, in both cultures. "Gay men" are about as hard to pin down as "men" period. From Japan alone, we got contrasting examples in Ash Crimson from The King of Fighters, who is very popular in Japan but is hated everywhere else for being flamboyant and looking girly, and Kenshiro from the Fist of the North Star, who is universally considered to be one of the manliest men in fiction, despite (or even because) doing a lot of crying.
While Animation Age Ghetto has been quite a problem in the West, the same can also be said for its opposite. In the West, many Shounen and Shoujo are marketed towards the teenager and young adult demographics, but in Japan, those titles are created and marketed mainly towards children. It doesn't help that popular titles have shown content that are seen as controversial towards kids in the West. Fist of the North Star, Fullmetal Alchemist, Death Note, and Attack on Titan could be so graphic at times that Western fans find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that they are intended for kids. As a result, the content ratings for English versions of shonen manga are often all over the map, with many manga that younger children would be able to read in Japan being deemed for teens or older teens in America. Mai-HiME is one notable example, as while it is a shonen series, the English release contains a content warning stating that it is not for children.
Nudity in Japanese culture is viewed very differently. While it's used for plain old Fanservice, it's also used to convey innocence and purity. This really causes a problem with children — a nude child or a panty shot is not intended to be sexual at all in Japanese culture and in fact, a nude child is often intended to emphasize their lack of sexuality. Consider, for example, the bathing scenes in My Neighbor Totoro (in which the father is bathing with his preteen daughters) or the numerous panty shots in Kiki's Delivery Service.note On This Very Wiki, there was -– once upon a time –- a page called "Innocent Panties", which were just that. It had to be cut because... um... well... This does not translate well to a pedophile-wary West, in which any instance of this is thought of as child pornography. Parents bathing with children, even fathers and daughters, is not uncommon in Japan, up to a certain age. Girls taking baths together is considered more a relaxing social thing than anything else, especially if they happen to be visiting an onsen, even (stereotypically) comparing bust sizes and curves and such while in the bath. Even mixed sex baths are OK, as it's not really a sexual thing, just a chance to relax in the steaming hot water and chat with friends.
In some anime programs, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, any nude of suggested treads to be censored when ported to the Western viewers, in the Yu-Gi-Oh GX episode "It's all Relative", Bastion takes off his clothes completely before running after his moment of deep thought. In the Western Port, Bastion was still wearing his boxers, but in both ports the rest of the characters just simply watches on and no action in taken, unlike what would've happened in a America, where such action was grounds for arrest.
Then there's the fact that in certain Western countries (like the USA, Australia, and Canada but not most of Europe), cousin intermarriage is treated as almost as bad as Brother-Sister Incest (both as a cultural taboo and, in some jurisdictions, a criminal offense), causing an aversion to cousin Unwanted Haremettes in Dating Sim games and shows based upon them. Cousin marriage is fully legal in Japan and seen more as odd or quaint than Squicky. It is still comparatively common in some social circles as a way to ensure an equitable match.
Brother-Sister Incest itself, meanwhile, is considered gross and inappropriate in Japan, but it's not really taboo and it shows up in anime frequently, both seriously and as parody. In the West, it's firmly on the list of Top Ten Most Taboo Things; you won't find many examples of it outside of Author Tracts about how wrong it is. This causes notorious Broken Base issues with shows like Ore Imo, and even deconstructions like Koi Kaze catch flak for not condemning the trope enough, or for having a happy ending.
The acceptability of Kissing Cousins varies from series to series. In many it's barely even like they're cousins but in others it can be a big moral dilemma. For example in Daily Lives of High School Boys, one of the characters has a crush on a boy only to learn he's her cousin, prompting her to abandon said feelings.
The important Japanese value "ganbarimasu" (meaning to do one's best) is deeply permeated into all of Japanese society. To the outside Western view, a character with the goal To Be a Master (so common in Shōnen) or even to succeed at a small task may seem absolutely obsessive-compulsive. The trope Serious Business for Anime & Manga nearly exists solely because of this. Elaborated on here.
In many anime, a character will be reprimanded for laughing loudly, crying, or generally showing an "excess of emotion." While this may be universally understood in certain places (such as in an important meeting, in the cinema, or in a library), it can be confusing if the character is just sitting with friends or talking to their parents. It only makes sense once you realize the emphasis Japanese culture puts on Dignity, and not bothering other people with your personal problems. It works both ways, of course. The stereotypical American's emotional and dramatic nature, as well as their infamous Constitutional right to own a gun, is absolutely shocking to the Japanese population. This resulted in "half-crazy, gun-toting American" characters appearing in anime. Examples: Leon of Pet Shop of Horrors, K from Gravitation, and most of the cast of FAKE (except Ryo, who's half Japanese). Another example happens when laws allowing citizens to own guns are passed: Bakuretsu Tenshi, for example, depicts Tokyo as slowly becoming a more rotten place than the lowestfavelasof Rio de Janeiro after one of these laws was enacted.
France has a similar attitude toward private gun ownership, as has Britain, which introduced some of the tightest gun control laws in Europe after the Dunblane and Hungerford massacres.
In Akikan!, the main character had to transfer to a new school after saving a friend from a kidnapper using the kidnapper's own gun. To a Japanese audience, this is apparently considered horrifying and scandalous, while in an American context, he would have been lauded as a hero for his actions.
Perhaps this can best illustrated by a story. In an unnamed show, the group consisting of two Texans, a Louisianan, a French-raised American, and a Brazilian. When the protagonist of the show pulled out his personal pistol and shot a guy about to cause somebody else harm, the Texans and Louisianan applauded the action as the act of a good Samaritan. In those states, citizens didn't have reliable police services at one time and had to protect themselves from Indian raiders and troublemakers. The French-raised American and the Brazilian were both horrified and thought they saw an act of barbarity, since the protagonist shot the guy rather than trying to talk him down.
In Japan, the extended middle finger is seen as a harmless, petty gesture, like sticking your tongue out. Hence, the reason Old Tom gives one to Star Saber in Transformers Victory, a children's cartoon.
Likewise with the tendencies to flip people exhibited in the main characters of the Viewtiful Joe anime and the Naruto manga (though not the anime).
However, Japan does have its own equivalent of the middle finger, which is a clenched fist with the thumb sticking out between the index and middle fingers (it essentially means, "get fucked" in most contexts). In the West (well, most of the West), this is a harmless gesture. At least currently, since it DID carry that meaning until recently (it's called a fig).
Lampshaded in Black Heaven: deceased band member Joseph Watanabe doesn't understand what he's doing when he goes waving his middle finger around after getting pinched by a lobster. He was in the US on a solo tour at the time. As a result, a very large, angry man throws him through a billboard. It was clearly emphasized that he really didn't understand what was offensive about it.
Subverted in the baseball episode of Samurai Champloo, where one of the Japanese characters was flipping off another in the episode and it was blurred. Of course, half the cast in that episode were Americans.
Related to the child abuse are vastly differing ideas for what makes a good parent, which can presumably be traced back to ideals regarding filial piety. In manga, a parent that ignores or even commits what a Western audience would consider child abuse are more likely to be overlooked or even praised depending on the situation. A parent who is too busy working to pay any attention to their child may be considered hard-working and supportive despite their hurt and confused children and one who verbally or even physically attacks their child for what is considered improper behavior may be simply considered strict but well-meaning and possibly correct. When actual error is admitted in parenting, the child is also expected to forgive them easily. If they don't, the problem is assumed to be with the child and not the parent.
For example, Tomoya in CLANNAD was actually given a permanent injury that disabled full usage of his arm by his father, who after the fight began ignoring his child to the point where Tomoya felt like a stranger in his own home and nearly failed out of school as a result of not wanting to come home while his father is awake. However, in the true route, Tomoya is expected to forgive him because his father was trying to raise him on his own and was doing his best until he just gave up.
In Binbougami Ga, the main character is the victim of extreme neglect with her parents regularly breaking promises or failing to appear for any events in her life to the point that by the time she was a little girl she'd given up on them. When her father comes back to Japan for the first time in what is implied to be years after having fun as a musician in America, his daughter wants nothing to do with him, especially since his idea of an apology is 'Okay, now that I'm back for the first time in a decade, we can all be a family in a place you've never been apart from everyone you've ever known.' The next couple chapters are all devoted to trying to make Ichiko be more 'reasonable' and forgive her father, who is now considered the victim. Earlier, Ranmaru had been portrayed as noble for sticking up for a father that had beaten her and forced her to live a lifestyle she was not comfortable with because of his own desires.
The phrase ''I'll protect you'' in Japanese is often used in anime as a declaration of devotion and commitment –- especially when said to a woman by a man –- and not a petition to be her bodyguard (although that does come up now and again). It's often translated as just "I love you" in English. Because gender roles in Japanese culture are much more rigid than in other parts of the world, this is sometimes used to show a male character who has been less than macho to be stepping up as a man, and gives a tomboyish girl a chance to showcase her femininity by being protected like girls are supposed to. This can be really, really weird for Western audiences, who are left to wonder what the Hell The Hero is thinking, offering to protect his super-powered/magical/martial artist/psionic girlfriend if she's clearly capable of taking care of herself.
In Princess Knight (see more below), Sapphire says this to a female knight who is helping her escape from a dungeon, as they are being attacked by enemy soldiers. The female knight is confused, and yells at Sapphire for talking "like a man".
Teacher-student romantic relationships are not nearly as forbidden in Japan as they are in the United States. It can be puzzling for Western readers of a series like Maison Ikkoku or Marmalade Boy, where relationships between high school teachers and students are treated not only as acceptable, but in some cases ideal (granted, in the latter the teacher had to leave his position, but he was also teaching middle school). Or, similarly, a case like with Mr. Kimura from Azumanga Daioh, who openly acknowledges his preference for high-school girls and doesn't suffer any ill-effects from it, other than his female students being creeped-out by him. In the U.S., any hint of high school teachers and students going beyond friendly can get the former locked up, even if the student is above the age of consent. Even American universities often fire professors who sleep with their students (as it's seen as either the professor abusing his power or the student using sex as a bribe for a better grade).
Japanese media attitudes about homosexuality differ greatly from Western views. On the one hand, it's a lot more common in anime, and they usually make less of an issue out of them; you'll find a lot less Gayngst and Coming-Out Stories, for example. Japanese media is also more likely to emphasize the romance in these storylines, rather than the sex. On the other hand, the apparent acceptance is largely due to seeing homosexual relationships as a fancy of youth which provides "training" for "real" opposite-sex relationships later in life; this is why you see so many Schoolgirl Lesbians but not so many older ones. As recently as 2013, a lesbian couple made headlines for having a wedding ceremony at Toyko Disneyland despite the fact that same-sex marriages are not legally recognized by the Japanese government. One of the brides even stated in interviews that she hoped the attention their ceremony garnered would help convince the government to stop marginalizing sexual minorities.
This attitude is actually discussed in Aoi Hana. Hinako's mother tries to set her up with a male suitor despite the fact that she knows Hinako is in a live-in relationship with her longtime girlfriend Orie, and when Hinako scoffs at this, her mother dismisses their relationship since they aren't legally married. In the final chapter, the couple state that they'd be interested in getting married if they could find a way to do so, a rarity in Yuri manga.
Indeed, the ending drew acclaim from some LGBT rights activists for showing Fumi and Akira in a live-in relationship after they graduate, making it clear their relationship is legitimate and not just youthful experimentation or "a phase".
Westerners' attitudes toward anime portrayals of homosexuality have evolved a great deal over the years as Western attitudes about the subject itself have evolved. As recently as the late 90's, worries about Moral Guardians led English localizers to often turn same-sex couples in anime into opposite-sex couples or Heterosexual Life-Partners (The Nineties North American dub of Sailor Moon infamously did both). The fact that anime has enough homosexuality to devote two wholegenres to it was (and is) seen as progressive, but as Society Marches On (and as more Westerners find out what Japanese attitudes toward homosexuality are really like), it gets more criticism from the West for relying on tropes like Bait-and-Switch Lesbians.
In Japan, as is the case in the rest of the world, openly stating that you are a lolicon (pedophile or ephebophile) is a good way to get you labeled as a major creep who probably shouldn't be allowed near children. However, the Pedo Hunt mentality isn't anywhere near as strong there; lolicons are seen as (relatively) harmless and not a real danger to anyone so long as they don't act on their perversions, so they aren't kept under watch. This understandably changes very quickly if the line is actually crossed.
The oh-so overused line "This Is Unforgivable". In the West, it's a huge slice of Narm worth an eye-roll. In Japan, it's a serious insult, roughly on the level of "fuck you."
Characters such as Chocolove from Shaman King would likely be considered highly offensive in America or any other country with a sizable black population. In fact, in the American airings of the show, his name was changed to "Joco", while the English translations of the manga were altered to give him a less offensive physical appearance. However, such depictions of black characters are not anything out of the ordinary for Japan, which has a complicated history when it comes to things like Blackface, with heroic and otherwise sympathetic black characters often being given minstrel characteristics. As Japan lacks the racial history and context, blackface humor is often not portrayed as offensive, and indeed, can even be considered positive, shocking as that sounds.
Another prominent example would be Cyborg 008 from Cyborg 009, who despite being one of the protagonists and not a source of comic relief, was drawn as a blackface caricature in the manga and most of the original adaptations. He was finally given a normal-looking appearance in the 2001 anime adaptation and has thankfully been depicted as such in most subsequent appearances.
A good example would be Episode 8 of Love Lab, which contains an uncomfortable gag involving several Japanese schoolgirls in Blackface. While the scene was rightfully found offensive by a number of Western viewers, it's made clear that the girls aren't trying to be racist and actually meant to use the make-up as a compliment. They even state afterwards that they find black women to be strong and beautiful. (This scene was likely inspired by the ganguro fashion style, the name of which literally means "black face".)
Case in point: in 2006, the Japanese government issued illustrated earthquake safety pamphlets to English-speaking tourists which, in an attempt to show diversity, included black/African-American characters. Unfortunately, these black characters were drawn in a manner which would be seen as embarrassingly outdated in Western society at best, large pink lips and all. Complaints were made, assumptions were formed, and Japan was left wondering what the big deal was.
There are a lot of characters and casts in anime series who are really messed up, often seen by Westerners as having undiagnosed mental illnesses, but There Are No Therapists. This is because therapy is looked down upon in Japan as weak and shameful, as well as the Japanese belief in stoicism.
In Japan, children as young as eight years old are allowed to walk to and from school, or other places, all by themselves, completely unsupervised, whereas in countries like America, children absolutely HAVE to be chaperoned by an adult at ALL times due to fear of kidnapping. One reason for this is that Japan has some of the lowest crime rates in the world, and it's generally considered a safe country, and they're less paranoid about kidnappers and pedophiles, so they don't mind allowing young children to go wherever they want unsupervised.
Sexual fanservice in Shōnen Genre and Shōjo Genre works tends to be this. One issue is the target audience: In, say, America it's not terribly acceptable for an elementary or middle schooler to look at such sexual-laden material.. There's also the age of the characters being made as fansservice. A lot of the time they're middle school or high school kids well under eighteen, which can be quite Squick inducing to most above the age demographic.
Japan has a very odd view on humility when it comes to talking about family members within their vicinity. In places like America, we tend to agree when other people say "your child is so good at this-and-that." For Japan...when someone says your child is good at something, people respond like this, "Oh, no! She/He's such an embarrassment to the family!" This has been going on since ancient times, and this is considered the highest form of humbleness and humility, while Americans might construe it as either demeaning or even verbal abuse. The Japanese consider bragging about their child's talents to be impolite and rude. This is even lampshaded in a comedy manga called My Wife Is A Foreigner.
Gunslinger Girl: Any Italian would find all of the relationships including between the adults to be unspeakably cold and distant as the artists, due to cultural projection, have depicted them as Japanese relationships might be, instead of as the very physical Italians would act. Though that COULD be excused by thinking that they are very, very uncomfortable in dealing with those girls and it's shown this way. There's also the othermajorissue with this show.
Raye Penber's heavy-handed Stay in the Kitchen speech to his (former FBI agent) fiance in Death Note makes his later murder less a tragedy and more an instance of Karmic Death in the eyes of many readers, especially because Naomi was much more competent than he was. On the other hand, it makes you really feel for Naomi – which works heavily in favor of the story.
In-Universe (and possibly for reader) example: In Episode 23, Light refuses L's suggestion to carry a gun to assist in Higuchi's capture, citing that it's illegal for a citizen to own a gun in Japan, while L (who is of mixed ethnicity and is presumably not native Japanese) has no problem with carrying one, and neither does Watari. Similarly, earlier in the episode, Soichiro refuses to take one from the also non-Japanese career criminal Wedy, citing that he's no longer a police officer, and suggests that Wedy shouldn't have a gun, either (Aiber, however, declines to do so for personal reasons).
Omamori Himari and the tsundere Rinko. While at the beginning it was the normal set up of "love dovey" childhood friend it has evolved into a full abusive relationship. While at the start she was no role model (throwing a cat to a person who is allergic to them... really?) she has been shown lately to punch, slap and hit him with a baseball bat with nails until he bleeds. And his transgression? To have other girls ogle him, feel herself inadequate in the chest department or show any interest in anything that is not her. And we are supposed to find it endearing... It's like with Girls Bravo and any number of works: either the Mangakas really had no idea what is a healthy relationship, the Harem Genre is heading to its breaking point, or Japanese people are kinda insane.
Pet Shop of Horrors, mentioned above, runs into a lot of values dissonance, as many of its episodes have an odd, twisted kind of moral to them. They often come off as Count D being a bloodthirsty bastard rather than an Aesop-dispenser. Sometimes, it's unclear if this is dissonance between Western and Japanese values, Count D's and the other characters' values, or the readers' and the mangaka Akino's values. But in most cases, we're clearly supposed to find Count D's values unconventional and shocking.
A good example is one episode where the man who has "vengeance" visited on him is implied throughout to have murdered his wife by pushing her over the railing of a cruise ship. Turns out she jumped, because she overheard him talking to the woman he was actually in love with. It seems that she was a huge bitch who always had to have whatever she wanted, and she decided she wanted him and railroaded him into it. She became "heartbroken" at their words and killed herself. The story still seems to treat him as if he's to blame, and his fate is treated as a Karmic Death.
Things get really weird in Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo, which starts blatantly imposing the "rules" of the animal kingdom directly on to humans. Take the first story, "Domestic": A victim of domestic violence dies, but it's treated as a happy ending by Count D because she protected her son. The pet the woman gets is not to save her, but to ensure that she fulfills her role as a woman and mother: defending her young to the last. The Count has no remorse for his actions, basically sending her to her death, because that is apparently Nature's Way. It becomes increasingly difficult to tell if this is a strategy to dehumanize the Count after he becomes notably more compassionate in the first series (which would be in-universe Values Dissonance), or whether Akino herself supports this view. Men don't get off lightly either — see "Double-Booking".
Also, our very first introduction to Count D in the manga chapter "Dream": Angelique's actions were no doubt seen as selfish and overly emotional to a Japanese audience, but to Americans she seemed to be motivated by love for her pet, and her punishment came across as over-top cruel. Yes, she broke the rules. But even if she hadn't, her bird would still have been eviscerated, and Count D never even warned her.
TransformersBeast Wars II will never, ever be officially translated into English for Western audiences. The reason? TheJointrons, who act like stereotypical Mexicans, are really lazy, and transform into bugs.
Maison Ikkoku features a big one in the main character Godai's relationship with an annoying teenage high school girl who follows him around, insists they're "meant to be", and tries to ruin his maybe/maybe not relationship with his beloved out of jealousy. The problem everyone has is that she's annoying and Godai doesn't really lover her... not that she's sixteen or seventeen years old, and he's at least twenty. In fact, everyone acts like he just may hook up with her anyways, and they don't particularly comment about the morality of it aside from breaking the "true love"'s heart. Even worse, his "true love" had married her teacher years earlier, when the age difference was even bigger, and it's viewed as a perfect relationship.
Must be notes than in many countries (not only in Japan) a consensual relationships between a teen-age girl and an adult is not only not taboo but very common, unlike in the US where is generally seem as abhorrent. The level of acceptance depends from country to country, in some countries won’t be an issue if the age difference is not too high (for example 16/20) but it can be an issue if the age difference is quite notable.
In Ikki Tousen, when a character is revealed to really be the incarnation of Wang Yun rather than who he had previously claimed to be, it's treated as a huge shock and evidence that he's completely evil. Wang Yun was a hero in the original Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but it seems the Japanese don't think too highly of him.
That was before, well, Zuo Ci (the one who was Wang Yun) actually betrayed and manipulated his friends....
This was one of the more heavy plot rewrites in the anime, which was made after Wang Yun's identity was known to the reader, but before he revealed it to the characters. In the manga, while he's still manipulating literally everyone behind their backs, he's got good intentions, and is treated as a hero. Hell, even in the anime, he's mostly just setting the villains up to kill each other.
Card Captor Sakura has an astonishingly casual view of May/December teacher/student relationships. Sakura's mother and father met when he was a high school teacher and she was his student. One of Sakura's prepubescent classmates has a crush on their teacher... and he returns it! But then, it's Clamp.
In Toradora! episode 16, Ryuji finds Kitamura sitting around with a giant bruise on his face; Kitamura reveals eventually that his father basically hauled off and punched the hell out of him because he dyed his hair (and also probably for not wanting to run for student council president); both of these were explicitly stated to be cries for help on Kitamura's part. In most Western productions, the rest of the episode would probably be about how abusive and wrong this was, both physically and emotionally. The characters don't seem to think twice about it, and Kitamura comes back to school the next day with his hair dyed back and saying he's all better now.
The dyed hair turns up in a lot. This also is featured in The Twelve Kingdoms where Yohko is thought to be some sort of hoodlum or perhaps prostituting herself just because her hair is red and not black like other Japanese students. This escalates to the point where her parents are called and she is cornered by teachers to stop dying her hair for the sake of her honor student reputation. Unfortunately for her, she is a natural redhead because she is from another world. Even more unfortunate is the fact that she's whisked away by the golden-haired rapunzel Keiki, who only solidifies suspicions of her relating with unscrupulous characters. Because, even if he's innocent, we all know blond guys are evil especially when they're foreigners in Japan.
Do note that Asians generally have black hair, as opposed to Westerners with varying colors. Dyeing your hair in most Asian countries usually means you're a rebelling teenager or a wannabe gangster.
In Gon, Gon frequently eats animals, mainly fish, alive, often taking one bite and leaving them to die. While repulsive to many Western audiences, this is common practice in Japanese cuisine.
The incident had more behind it due to an event in the trio's common past. A berserk wild Salamence attacked a young Ruby and Sapphire in its frenzy. Ruby took a horrible scar from Salamence's attack, and his innate gift at Pokémon battling let him repulse the frenzied beast, but he felt such influence tainted Sapphire's crystal heart. He has since shunned all forms of battle and sought instead to focus on Contests, swearing never to fight in the public square again. Norman, on the other hand, covered up the incident; not only was he banned from Gym Certification for at least five years, he also had to seek out Rayquaza (Norman had developed a way to capture Rayquaza, but the Salamence destroyed it in the attack). His sacrifice made Ruby's disdain towards his training sting that much more, and the two have been at odds ever since.
In the Pokémon anime, Zoey/Nozomi's behavior and tone of voice toward Dawn/Hikari were changed in the dub. She acted pleasantly toward Dawn, had a sweeter tone of voice and constantly complemented her; it seemed like she had a crush on Hikari. Nozomi's original rough and tumble attitude could easily have been misconstrued by the censors as imitable rude behavior and a lack of good sportsmanship, so her overall manner was softened for the dub, adding yet more fuel to the shippers' fire.
Pocket Monstershas shown the genitalia of the protagonist and his Pokemon several times. While intended as nothing more than Naked People Are Funny, nudity is considered inherently sexual in much of the West, making this perhaps the greatest barrier the series has to more widespread exposure
In The NinetiesSailor Moon, the romance of the story involves a junior high school student involved with a college student. In Japan, Mamoru is the butt of a few jokes at worst — in North America, he would be arrested. In the manga he's just a highschooler and not much older than Usagi herself. However, Japanese culture still generally approves of relationships with a gap like this despite the jokes, as the older man is seen as more capable of protecting the younger girl.
Also in the German dub: In the beginning of the SuperS season Usagi remarks how she is now 16 years old, thus old enough for a "real love" – which implies that she and Mamoru – which age was left as it was - did not consummate their relationship yet, since Usagi was too young. In Germany the age of consent is graduated - 14 years is the age of consent with other minors. 16 for sex with adults. (And with 18 you're an adult.)
Furthermore, there's the lesbians Haruka and Michiru. In America, they became the cousins Amara and Michelle. But you could still tell Amara and Michelle were lesbians, making this a case of Kissing Cousins. Both lesbians and cousins being romantically involved aren't looked down upon quite as much in Japan as in the USA (though see below), so...
Interestingly enough, given how much the gay rights movement has advanced in the U.S. since Sailor Moon first aired there, the decision by DiC (with Zoisite and Malachite in the first season) and Cloverway (aforementioned example) to Hide Your Gays in The Nineties American dub is itself quickly approaching Values Dissonance. They'd still likely make the same decision now due to fear of Moral Guardians, but it would be met with considerably more controversy now than it was. With more and more gay teens choosing to come out younger and younger, the old American idea that homosexuality is a child-unfriendly topic has been increasingly challenged in recent years. Fans are hoping the remake will handle things differently, especially if they decide to aim things at adolescent and adult fans of the original rather than children.
This contributed to the commercial failure of Detective Conan in the US. The anime is supposed to be a children's show, aired at 7:30pm Mondays for most of its televised history, and the structure of the story is along the lines of a children's show. However, the sheer amount of Family Unfriendly Deaths (many episodes revolve around murder cases) caused serious problems to the West, and importers were given the choice of cutting or timing out of its intended demographic... Interestingly, though, it was quite successful in Europe, at least in the German-speaking countries, where the Moral Guardians only during the last decade started to raise their voices against anime.
In Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea, a mother leaves her five-year-old son alone in a typhoon in order to take supplies to elderly women in the old-folks home, who seem to already have others taking care of them. This looks like child abuse from a Western perspective, instead of dedication to her job and trust in her son's maturity as was probably intended.
Also, elders in Japan are viewed with great respect and their well-being is important. While in the West, it wouldn't be uncommon to hear "They're going to die soon anyway; shouldn't you be focusing on your FIVE YEAR OLD SON?" In Japan, it's a completely different attitude. Mixed with the dissonance above and it really is a case of culture shock.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica has a similar case where, with a little convincing, Madoka's mother allows her to go out alone into a dangerous superstorm with no explanation beyond "I need to save a friend." It's hard to imagine a Western parent accepting such a thing from a 14-year-old girl, even without the extra factor of Madoka's best friend having recently died in mysterious circumstances which the mother (correctly) suspects her daughter knows something about. This can put viewers in an awkward situation, because the audience knows Madoka really does need to go on this dangerous quest for ridiculous-sounding reasons—her mother made the right decision, irresponsible as it may seem on the surface.
Japan definitely has a more accepting – even positive – attitude toward suicide than the West, and one series in which you can see this is Irresponsible Captain Tylor. When desperate situations happen in early episodes, basically every single character except Tylor himself start talking about dying a heroic death, and Tylor's self-preservation instinct is treated as a sign of his incompetence. What makes this weird is that, while it would be perfectly in-character for someone like Yamamoto – who was The Ace until Tylor showed up – to act like this (and he does), it even extends to the Marines on the ship who are the kind of malcontents you wouldn't expect to be so eager to die.
There is a manga titled Suicide Island. The premise is that hospitals in Japan are so overwhelmed with attempted suicides that the Japanese government decides to wash their hands of this and simply send the suicidal people to an isolated island. Oh, the suicidal people are given a choice and have to sign a form if they choose to die. Of course, the protagonist, who is suicidal, does not know that when he signed the form, he was going to be put on this island, rather than be killed off shortly afterwards. The story contains elements comparable to Battle Royale, only the government is not forcing the people on the island to kill anyone. There is obviously a large amount of Values Dissonance here, but this manga is clearly examining the concept of suicide from the Japanese perspective.
Momo Hinamori has loved and respected Aizen even before she became his lieutenant, and he used this to manipulate her into trusting him unconditionally and essentially worship him. After discovering Aizen's (fake) corpse, she attacked Gin (of whom her childhood friend Hitsugaya had warned her about earlier). Not long after she received Aizen's last letter addressed to her in which he named Hitsugaya as the murderer. Half-crazed from pain she tried to fight him but had a breakdown in the middle of the fight. Later on, she was informed of Aizen's deceit by the man himself, who went on to stab her. Yet even after this she still couldn't accept the fact that Aizen betrayed Soul Society and believed that he was framed - behavior in line with the Yamato Nadeshiko characterization female characters often receive in Japanese entertainment. American fans hate her for this and think she's a stupid, weak woman; Japanese fans think she's a woobie and love her.
A teenage Masaki downplays rumors of her involvement with her secret fiance Ryuuken by stating that they're cousins. The reactions of her friends range from "yes but more importantly he's not your type and you're not his" to "WHO CARES HAVE YOU SEEN HOW HOT HE IS". J-fandom vs. some parts of the American fandom reaction to this reflected the strong taboo against cousin marriage in American culture vs. the Japanese attitude that cousin marriage is somewhat odd but generally acceptable.
As noted in the "General" section above, the Japanese attitude towards child abuse is that it's best left as a private issue. To Western audiences, Chad and Orihime living alone without any adult guardians before they even turned 15 is...fantastical...at best and breathtakingly irresponsible at worst. In America, the acceptable response to Chad losing his parents and guardian would be foster home or group home placement; to Orihime's parental abuse, giving physical custody to her out-of-town aunt. Reality Is Unrealistic, in many Western countries, even the US, there are many officially or de facto emancipated minors.
A more specific example occurs in the Hueco Mundo arc when five characters come to a crossroads with five different paths. Ichigo says that they should pick a path to go down, but Rukia and Renji insist that they split up and go down different paths, because wanting to stay in a group is an insult because it implies that they aren't strong enough to be self-sufficient. While the characters immediately accept this and split the group, many western fans view it as a What an Idiot moment, because Ichigo is right that their enemies are extremely powerful and splitting the party reduces their chances of success. And they all end up getting their asses kicked anyway, and have to be saved by reinforcements from Soul Society.
Similarly, Ukitake (and Rukia) both have a scruple that if a person is fighting for the sake of their personal pride, you should never intervene, even if they're going to be killed. While this is tied to the Japanese sense of honor, fans from other background often have a less positive view of it, because honor doesn't mean anything when you're dead, and because sometimes some other goal is more important than one person's personal pride.
An interesting case is that of Shizuru Fujino of Mai-HiME. Fan opinion on her seems divided after her Face-Heel Turn over her feelings being rejected, but the image portrayed in the same scene seems to depend on background. In Japan, Shizuru is confronted for three major breaches of behavior: abandoning her position as student council president to take care of Natsuki, being a Schoolgirl Lesbian, and "taking advantage" of Natsuki as she slept. The first is a dereliction of a duty Shizuru willingly took up, which is a big thing in Japan's duty-centered society. The second is a sign of immaturity, as detailed in Schoolgirl Lesbians, implying that Shizuru is acting childishly by pursuing this kind of thing at her age. The third is both true and false: while Shizuru did kiss Natsuki while she was sleeping, the greater implication of This Or That going on was incorrect and Natsuki's misunderstanding/jumping to conclusions. Nonetheless, stealing Natsuki's Sacred First Kiss without her consent is a serious faux pas. However, in many a Western market(except Italy), Shizuru's status is more ambiguous. The first charge of dereliction of duty seems rather frivolous, as most would consider saving a friend from potentially life-threatening or major injury to be more important than student council duties. The second is similarly frivolous to most, with Shizuru's biggest offense being Can Not Spit It Out. The third, again, is generally misinterpreted to imply that Shizuru actually did rape Natsuki, but the concept of kissing her while she's asleep is not considered a big deal. This ironically leads to a conflicting view of Haruka who is accusing Shizuru. Either she's being a dutiful, proper moral standard calling her rival out on her misbehavior, or she's being a cruel, oversensitive shrew blowing the whole thing out of proportion. There's her later snap and killing spree, but even that's a debate for another page.
Interestingly enough, Yukino and Haruka call out Shizuru on different issues in this scene. Haruka is the one who complains about Shizuru abandoning her duties, and when Shizuru merely replies that she will give up her position to Haruka, Yukino complains that Shizuru has not properly acknowledged Haruka as a rival despite her efforts. Yukino then mentions that she saw Shizuru kiss Natsuki as she slept, as well as something else earlier (although the word "rape" is never used). After Shizuru mocks Yukino for voyeuristic tendencies, Haruka slaps Shizuru and then says she and Natsuki are disgusting for acting in such a way with each other (by contrast, Yukino is implied to have an un-admitted and most likely unrequited Schoolgirl Lesbians crush on Haruka), and then Shizuru slaps her in response and says that it was only something she did on her own. One has to wonder why Haruka would blame Natsuki if Yukino is correct that it was rape, unless both have different ideas about what happened. Compare the following quotes.
Yukino: I saw what you did, like how you kissed her back there. I saw what you did to Natsuki as she slept. How could you do that, to someone who trusts you as a friend?
Haruka: Two women behaving like that with each other, you're filthy. Both you ANDnote emphasized in the dub Natsuki Kuga!
If an English-speaking viewer has seen only the dub (in which Shizuru has a cultured Southern accent) one gets the impression that her descent into Psycho Lesbianism is more a result of "I'm a lesbian, and all lesbians are psychos, so that means I'm a psycho" kind of deal, with the conservative implications of her accent accounted for. Note that Japan has some slightly... dated views on homosexuality, as discussed under Schoolgirl Lesbians. Also see Mai-Otome, which takes place in a world where lesbians are much more accepted, and Shizuru is a significantly more sane character – as well as a shameless flirt.
The final saga of the original Dragon Ball series focuses on Goku and Chichi learning to be a respectable married couple, but specifically on teaching Chichi subservience to her new husband, a trait rather out-of-fashion in Western society these days. And that's not even getting into the mountain that actively repels any female that attempts to climb it, a fact which only "bad girl" Mai seems to have a problem with.
In an early scene of Grave of the Fireflies, the mother of the two main characters goes off to a shelter, leaving her son to carry his toddler sister around while the town is under attack. While Westerners would probably consider this to be an appalling act of abandonment and reckless endangerment, the original intention was more likely to be that the son the man of the house since his father was away fighting and was old enough regardless, so his mother trusted him to take care of things.
According to the bonus material, this careless behavior was explained by the fact that previous American bombings had been relatively light and aimed at industrial sites only. "Just another raid. Nothing to be worried about. Let's do what the government ordered and get to the holes in the ground that have to pass for shelters." Oh boy...
In what turned out to be both a Cultural and Generational Dissonance, most younger and (especially) Western viewers side with Seita when he decides to leave his Aunt's hours after a fight. The Director's intent was for Seita to be seen in the wrong for not sucking up his pride.
Any time Patrick "Panther" Spencer shows up in Eyeshield 21, and they begin talking about the "black man's" superior genes and body. If you tried doing something like that in Western culture, well... just look at Jimmy The Greek. Many of the initial instances are from the mouth of Leonard Apollo, who is plainly shown to be a scummy racist, but by the final arc in the series, seemingly every character (and even the narrator) start to do this every time Panther is involved in the game.
Air Master: Maki, the main character has a Near-Rape Experience with her Stalker with a Crush. Her friends and members of said stalker's harem immediately take her out to eat to make her feel better. Everyone else is acting normally, she spends the meal looking traumatized. Even if the emotional dissonance is meant as a joke, it's still jarring to a Western viewer as (female) rape jokes are only the realm of Black Comedy.
Papillon, a manga about a handsome guidance counselor who helps a young girl gain confidence in herself, contains quite a lot of scenes wherein he makes very sexual comments, grabs her breasts or butt, puts his head in her lap, etc. When she screams or gets mad, says that he's only joking. It's always played for laughs, and the girl is attracted to him, so it supposedly seems like harmless flirting to a Japanese reader. However, it looks like nothing but sexual harassment to a Western audience, especially because the man is one of her teachers and almost ten years older than she is.
The general attitudes on sexuality is always a bit played for laughs in Takahashi's Ranma ˝, but there are some cringe-worthy moments. Most notably, a short arc concerning a Stalker with a Crush named Tsubasa Kurenai, who was obsessed with Ukyo. The on-going gag was that everybody assumed Tsubasa was a girl, and 'her' lesbian crush on Ukyo was Played for Laughs. Towards the end, male!Ranma attempted to cure Tsubasa's lesbianism by asking her out on a date.
In his subsequent anime-exclusive appearance, when Maomolin the Bakaneko tries to take the male Tsubasa as his wife, Tsubasa declares that if that's his lifestyle, then good for him, but Tsubasa himself is most certainly not interested.
The anime's slightly different take on the Kasumi/Tofu "relationship" (mainly A: keeping Tofu around and thus giving him the occasional chance to pop up and be stupid because of Kasumi, and B: having Akane be a Shipper on Deck for the "couple") in Ranma ˝ could be viewed in a similar fashion to the way Maison Ikkoku handled its May-December Romance.
Nodoka Saotome and her seppuku pledge; a Western attitude would have been to dismiss the stupid thing on several grounds (she never agreed to it — it was Genma who declared he'd do it and then wrote it up before running off, she really does love her son and doesn't want to have to kill him, the pledge is so ambiguous as to be impossible to live up to it). The Japanese attitude is that Nodoka is, while suffering, a good, loyal, dutiful woman to keep it alive and be consoled to murdering her own family if she decides they haven't lived up to it. Being willing to commit suicide herself after executing them is seen as romantically tragic.
The teenage characters given or buying alcohol (such as from a vending machine or to celebrate like how alcohol was around to party during the Orachi arc) can be Values Dissonance for places that have strictly enforced no drinking/selling to policies for teens.
The dissonance happened earlier in Takahashi's earlier series, Urusei Yatsura. In this one, secondary character Ryuunosuke Fujinami is a girl who has been raised as a boy by her father (because he wanted a boy). Once she hits adolescence, she becomes torn between her ingrained nature and her desire to embrace her gender, something which her father violently opposes (and she violently counter-opposes). Naturally, being a Takahashi series, the whole thing is Played for Laughs, which would be fine, except that nobody in the cast even considers calling child services for Mr. Fujinami's years of abuse. Even the teachers refuse to help... except for that one time when Onsen-Mark tried (and failed) to teach Ryuunosuke how to be a proper lady (that episode itself has issues due to looking way too much like he's dating her, which is – as mentioned above – a huge no-no in the West).
Evoked in-universe in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Asuka (who is half-white and grew up in Germany) is utterly baffled when she discovers that her bedroom door has no lock, which Misato states is in keeping with Japanese customs. This practice would likely seem very bizarre to most Western viewers, German or not. Especially Americans, who famously place great value on their privacy.
Well that explains why a lot of those Accidental Pervert moments happen in anime (the typical boy goes inside room and finds out girl is changing clothes).
An unusual reversal with Highschool of the Dead. In the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse, the teenage protagonists learn to use guns, drive without licences, steal things to survive and essentially rely on themselves rather than authority/government figures. Not unusual to Americans, but in Japan (where the story takes place)? Definitely.
Whether it's a romance between the characters is highly debated by the fans, however.
In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Detective Delicious asks people to come into his car to talk about crimes because it's air conditioned. Most of the time though, we see one of the five kids enter the car. In the United States, kids are drilled early on to not talk to strangers, don't go into their cars, etc. Seeing as the Pedo Hunt isn't as strong in Japan, you can see where the Values Dissonance comes in. It helps that the series takes place in 1983, and that the detective is, well, a policeman.
Also of note is that the two youngest cast members Rika and Satoko (who are both 9, if the Visual Novel is to be believed) live alone in a storage shed beside Rika's family's shrine; it's especially obvious in Minagoroshi-hen; after Social Services take custody of Satoko - who had just come from several weeks of being abused by her uncle - they promptly dump her back with Rika in the storage shed without any explanation or sign of a social worker or foster parent. Then again, in this series, social services are established has being highly incompetent at their best and downright malicious at worst.
In Bokurano, a twenty-something yakuza member falls in love with a student and marries her.
Godannar where the 29 year old main character, marries a 17 year old highschooler. Everyone is shocked that he got married, but no one seems to care that said bride isn't even old enough to drink.
What's considered another dissonance about the marriage is how quickly it happened, considering the death of his previous lover. Generally widows are expected to grieve for a very long time in Japan before remarrying, if they do at all.
Maicchingu Machiko Sensei, a kids show about 8 year olds sexually molesting their teacher, who can't keep her clothing on or intact for more than a few hours. Somewhat tame to be honest, although the Parent Service is blatant, and the show completely averts Barbie Doll Anatomy – Machiko's nipples are visible in the opening credits.
Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors is a World War two propaganda film that features Japanese folk hero Momotaro and loads of adorable animals going to war and brutally killing British soldiers. Japanese viewers of the time would see Momotaro as a hero. Modern Japanese, citizens of a country that officially doesn't have an army, cringe.
Bitter Virgin goes into the topic of Abusive Parents. Very early on, Hinako Aikawa reveals how she was raped more than once by her stepfather and was made pregnant twice. The first time she had an abortion. The second time she did not because her doctor said that she would never be able to have a child again if she has an abortion. So she gave birth to the baby via cesarian section, and gave him or her away to be adopted. Her mother was in denial over it, but after the second time, she could deny it no longer. Her mother drove the stepfather out of the house with a knife. Needless to say, Hinako has a load of issues. By Western standards, it would be considered horrible that the stepfather was apparently never punished and society seems to be mostly against Hinako. By Japanese standards, Hinako would be considered Defiled Forever, and Hinako would probably be blamed for the abuse and be unable to seek help.
The level of independence the Wandering Son cast has can be a bit awkward to some viewers. For example a nine year old being left at home alone, told by her mother to open the door to a stranger and give them money. In the West this goes against several rules that children are taught; when left alone don't open doors to strangers and just tell them to put whatever they've brought at the door. The children are also allowed to roam wherever they please (and without telling their parents either), hang out with adults their parents don't know, and stay over at said adults' places. Yuki has behaved toward Takatsuki in ways that seem like sexual harassment, or she's sexually attracted to him; her blatantly flirting with Takatsuki in their first meeting doesn't help. Her boyfriend once gave Takatsuki a Crotch Grab Sex Check when they first met, and touched his chest to confirm his physical sex; he's at least twice as old as him.
A good number of SasukeUchiha's actions from Naruto might fall under Values Dissonance between Asia and the West. One can argue his quest for revenge falls under filial piety rather than self relief. Filial piety is a critical feature of Eastern civilizations (including Japan). It basically means honoring and respecting the parents and ancestors above all else. Hence, the only people he will ever recognize allegiance to are his dead parents and clan. He basically lives for the dead ones. The fact that he totally ignores Itachi's will can also be explained this way, because Itachi was only one among many others. Pretty much confirmed after he kills Danzo, where he rants about how good it feels to clear his clan's name by killing people, and sees it as his mission to do so.
Recently, Sasuke declared that seeing Itachi courtesy of Edo Tensei has only made him want to kill all Leaf Villagers even more, but he has set off with Orochimaru to... do something else first. We're not told what. But apparently, he wants to know more about the whole situation before making any decision. Why the sudden uncertainty? Because Itachi showed him a memory of his parents accepting Itachi's decision and not being bitter at all. This goes with the filial piety discussed above, since Sasuke is not sure exactly what his parents would have wanted.
Many fans groaned at a flashback showing Kurenai's father telling her to stay out of the fight with the Nine-Tailed Fox because she must one day have children. While this is extremely sexist from a western viewpoint, it is somewhat different for Japan. Namely, perpetuating one's lineage is seen as extremely significant in Asian cultures, and having one's bloodline die out is seen as equal to not existing. Not to mention the series' overarching theme of passing the Will of Fire to the next generation...
Its telling that, while the 'have a child' speech was seemingly only directed at Kurenai, there were plenty of male characters prevented from fighting too. Conversely, some female ninja, such as Iruka'smother, went into battle and died.
In Great Mazinger, lots of people don't understand why Tetsuya feels so horribly jealous of Kouji's position as Kenzou Kabuto's true firstborn son, to the point of refusing to help him in battle at some point – which causes Kenzo's death in the end. This is because Tetsuya is an orphan, and in a society where family and stability are all, orphans are extremely looked down upon even in adulthood. Therefore, when the full-blooded son and heir of the man who raised him came in, Tetsuya was shit scared of being abandoned again and he thought that if that was the case, the still very traditional Japanese society would likely make him a pariah. It was was, WAY more complicated that mere jealousy between two adoptive brothers.
In Oniisama e..., Nanako sometimes angsts about being an adoptive child, for similar reasons to Tetsuya's (though not half as intense). Even more so, her stepbrother Takehiko (the "Oniisama") is taken away from his dad/Nanako's adoptive father when his parents get divorced and they're not in contact for years: this is because Japanese divorce laws are very different from those in North America and Europe, and since Takehiko's mother was the one who filed for divorce, she got full custody and Takehiko simply was not allowed to meet with Professor Misono.
In "Remote Island Syndrome" of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, the main characters, who are around 16/17 are served alcohol by their host. While acceptable in Japannote the legal drinking age in Japan is the same as the age of Majority there – 20 and legal in countries with a low drinking age (i.e most of Europe), this would be absolutely unacceptable in US-produced media.
While this happens in the light novel, it's conspicously absent from the anime adaptation – Japanese law forbids showing underage drinking or smoking in public TV.
In Mai-HiME, a similar scene happens in one of the sound dramas, with the characters 15-17 drinking alcohol on Mai's birthday. However, in this case, Natsuki is shocked that Aoi has alcohol in her room, some of the people present point out that it's not allowed under school rules, and Nagiof all peopletells the viewers that they should only drink once they're 20.
Hell Girl has a lot of Values Dissonance, though interestingly, some of these values are also criticised. Recurrent themes are how molestation, rumours and bullying are treated. One of the most striking examples is the reveal in season 3: Yuzuki's father was a bus-driver. One day, an accident was caused due to a malfunction, which resulted in numerous deaths, among them Yuzuki's father. However, since the malfunction could not be proven, the father was blamed, and by extension, his family. Yuzuki and her mother were completely shunned by the public. The mother died from a cold because their doctor would not treat her, and Yuzuki died alone in their home.
What kick-starts the plot in Kare Kano is Arima discovering Yukino's "secret", namely that she isn't as perfect as she pretends to be. Yukino fears that her entire reputation will collapse and people will shun her. Western readers may be confused as to why such a huge deal is made of this; being seen in your comfy clothes in an unusually cheerful mood might be mildly embarrassing, but certainly not something that will forever tarnish your reputation or that someone could even use to blackmail you.
Houou Gakuen Misoragumi is about a Butch Lesbian who gets sent to an all-boys school by her abusive mom hoping that she'll become straight and give her grandkids. The story is on her side. Western audiences didn't bite, and it bombed so badly the english publisher discontinued the release after the first volume.
Given that it was written in The Fifties, Princess Knight suffers quite a lot from this. The series operates under the idea that men and women are naturally inclined to act in certain ways, with Princess Sapphire only being able to do "manly" things (sword fight, adventure, etc) because she was given the "hearts" of both a boy and a girl. If her boy heart is removed, she instantly becomes timid and prone to swooning. If her girl heart is removed, she derides anything remotely feminine as "girly". This belief carries over into several other of Osamu Tezuka's works. Apollo's Song has a woman train the protagonist to be a professional runner, because it's not safe for a woman's health to participate in competitive running (which is odd, seeing as she outruns him several laps around the lake and isn't even winded). In Black Jack, a boy is considered odd for enjoying and being good at feminine things like sewing. He later discovers that as an infant, a doctor saved him from dying of a brain injury by transplanting pieces of a recently-deceased woman's brain to his (though the doctor does say the woman's brain cells ought to have completely merged with his, by the age he is when he learns this).
Part of the drama of Kotoura-san comes with the fact Haruka doesn't (and can't) use Tatemae for keeping her (and others) secrets for herself, due of the way her Mind-reading powers works—she couldn't turn it off nor can she distinguish between words and thoughts—and being the Tatemae an important part of the Japanese culture, it's no wonder why she's rejected by her peers.
The scene in Hanasaku Iroha where Minko cuts up a fish to demonstrate her skills to some more experienced chefs. She does it very well as far as an untrained eye can tell, but the older chefs react, with dead seriousness, as if she had shoved it through a paper shredder, and tell her she must be a moron for thinking she could ever be a chef. Presumably, this was meant to inspire her to work towards even greater heights of perfectionism, but to a non-Japanese viewer it seems cruelly harsh and, well, perfectionistic. Another scene has Ohana fangirl over someone putting on their work clothes and gush about how she did it with "not a single wasted motion," which seems weird for the same reason.
A Breather Episode in Soul Eater in the manga just before Maka Albarn discovers that the Kishin is hiding on the moon features the gang taking a trip to a Northern-European looking village...to hunt a whale. Whaling in Japan (and by extension, Iceland, Norway and various Inuit tribes around the northern hemisphere)? Acceptable. Whaling in other countries? Frowned upon, often heavily criticised due to certain species being increasingly rare and illegal.
This may be why Sugar Sugar Rune never really found much of an audience outside Japan, as it has very Japanese views on femininity (No Guy Wants an Amazon is very prevelant, in fact it's one of the main aesops of the series) that can come across as odd and even offensive to Western readers.
The Saiyans of Dragon Ball Z tend to be viewed much more sympathetically by American fans despite them being a race of space mercenaries who slaughter other races for glory and a paycheck, most likely due to a combination of American respect for manliness, them rebelling against an oppressive dictator, and Dubtext that made out the Saiyans to be more sympathetic. For example, in the English dub it's spelled out that Vegeta only worked for Freeza because he threatened that he would kill his father and people if he didn't (and then did it anyway) when this was only implied in the Japanese.
No one in Koi Kaze seems uncomfortable by the fact that Nanoka is sixteen and her boyfriend is twenty-seven, they only ever bring up the fact they're siblings. A large amount of the Squick the series induces comes from the age gap combined with the incest; if Nanoka was six years older it wouldn't be nearly as uncomfortable.
Sinon's treatment in Sword Art Online. She was a victim of armed robbery when she was eleven, and in the ensuing struggle managed to get a hold of the robber's gun and shoot him, killing him. This would be traumatic enough on its own, but Sinon is treated like a pariah by pretty much everyone, including her own mother, simply for having handled a gun and used it to kill in self-defense. Even the therapists she's mentioned to have seen treat her as though she's committed a grave sin by handling that weapon. This comes across as extremely cruel and nonsensical to American fans, most of whom would consider Sinon a hero for what she did, and would treat the killing much more favorably, as it was in clear self-defense and therefore justified by American standards.
An in-universe case in the "Little Army" prequel manga for Girls und Panzer. Emi Nakasuga, a girl whose ethnicity (German-Japanese) and temperament are not unlike Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion (see above), has a difficult time in Japan due to her Brutal Honesty not sitting well with most of her Japanese classmates.
Emi: I hate lies and flattery. There's no point in wasting praise on the selfish. That's why I hate this country.
Mikasa from Attack on Titan sometimes receives flak from Western audiences concerning her devotion to Eren. This generally stems from a misunderstanding of her devotion, which is driven by the Pillars of Moral Character. She owes him a debt for coming to her aid, helping her to accept the harsh reality of life, and adopting her into his family. To repay her debt to him, she has become his champion and protects him with her life. This reversal of roles, with the heroine protecting the hero, is incredibly progressive for a Shonen series. Her honor-driven devotion also doubles as Fridge Brilliance, as the lone character of Asian heritage in a European-styled society. However, some viewers' confusion may also stem from the slight romantic undertones that Mikasa is shown to have towards Eren (who only views her as a sister), which is considered quite Squicky by Western standards since they're introduced as adoptive siblings. Anything remotely sexual or romantic between adoptive siblings is just as taboo as between blood siblings in the West.