Lolicon and shotacon are terms that are used to refer to several types of paedophilia or hebephilia in the context of Japanese works. What the terms exactly refer to can vary from one use thereof to others.
Some of the common meanings:
- Paedophiles used as a source of Black Humour. These overlook the damaging aspect of pedophilia and use a pedophile character for comedic purposes. Therefore, rather than being played to repulse the audience, a lolicon or shotacon in mainstream works is normally treated as being a little creepy, but ultimately harmless. Troped under Comedic Lolicon. Sometimes Mistaken for Pedophile applies.
- Paedophiles as a source of drama. The predominant portrayal especially in Western works, these are sexual predators who invoke Adult Fear and squick. The associated tropes are Ephebophile, Pædo Hunt and other Sexual Harassment and Rape Tropes.
- Works that fetishize children. A genre term that also includes audiences such fetishization is aimed at. Such works are prohibited on TV Tropes under the Content Policy. The words "loli" and "shota" when used to refer to children carry implications that such fetishization is occurring; thus these words may not be used on TVTropes to refer to children.
The names are derived from Lolita and the main character from Gigantor respectively, while "-con" is short for "complex"; the term "lolicon" entered the Japanese lexicon by way of Russell Trainer's pseudopsychological work, The Lolita Complex.