Lolicon is a slang portmanteau of the phrase “Lolita complex”. In Japan, the term is used to describe an attraction to girls below the age of consent, or an individual attracted to such a person. Outside Japan, the term most often refers to a genre of manga and anime where childlike female characters are depicted in a sexualized manner or engaged in sexually explicit acts. The equivalent term for the sexualization of or attraction to young boys is shotacon.
As the genre created by and for men evolved, according to Kinsella, it moved from these cute, tough heroines towards depictions of girls as sexual victims: naked, helpless, fearful, sometimes bound or chained and was expanded into computer games and animated videos.
Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki stated in an interview with Animage in 1988 that while he prefers to make his protagonists girls, “It’s difficult. They immediately become the subjects of rorikon gokko (play toy for Lolita Complex guys). In a sense, if we want to depict someone who is affirmative to us, we have no choice but to make them as lovely as possible. But now, there are too many people who shamelessly depict (such heroines) as if they just want (such girls) as pets, and things are escalating more and more.”