You Thought We Were Bad

I don’t have much in the way of summaries this week, got lazy, other things, etc. I will briefly state that Sora no Otoshimono Forte stepped up its game in the last episode and spun a minor /a/ meme WHAT IS LOVE done to Chaos and the Haddaway track of same name. I’ll have to dig out the GIF and post it. Also, Otome Youkai Zakuro remains awesome, Ika Musume was especially HNNNNGGGG this week, and Index II still rocking. 2-3 weeks left in the season, hopefully the good outweighs how terrible Ore no Imouto and Panty and Stocking have fallen.

The main part of this post is to talk about this article, whose news has been floating around some Twitter feeds I follow. Really it’s Japan’s version of Leland Yee’s video game violence bill that won’t pass easily in the US because the video game industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that won’t be stopped by nanny-state politics. However, politics are much different in Japan, and this has a fair shot of passing given there are already restrictions on sex and violence in visual and printed media in the country.

What I’m trying to understand are the speculations by some that this will kill the anime industry, and how this affects Japan’s declining birthrate.

As far as the anime industry in Japan, it’s as large and robust as video games or anything in the US. Aside from the actual series, there are figures, models, posters, and all sorts of other products that sell along with it, and collectors will spend any and all money to obtain them. You can argue these people are sad sacks of shit or whatever until the cows come up, but it makes for a pretty rich industry over there, taking that away would be a pretty huge blow, but it won’t come to that.

What the government intends to do I believe, is keep kids from developing habits that lead to becoming shut-ins, NEETs, and many of the social problems that often occur from spending a lifetime of revolving around manga and anime and little else. They don’t marry, don’t socialize, and this contributes to the low birthrate issue which is becoming an economic issue for Japan as the bulk of their population ages. I don’t profess to be an expert at Japan, having never lived there or studied their culture in great detail, but it would be like if 16 year old girls in America stopped having teen pregnancies and holed up with cats for the rest of their lives. Factor in how everyone lives in the cities and how there is little to no immigration, I can see why they want to avoid the “basement-dweller” factor that the US has quite a bit of, but isn’t at quite the same stage of being a problem, what with rampant fucking never going away.

In short, I don’t think this will affect the anime industry as much as some might believe. It may affect what shows companies decide to create in the future, which means “moe” is likely here to stay since it doesn’t violate any laws and seems popular with everyone except /a/ and DEEPfags. If anything, they will push more content to DVD/BD and charge more for it, maybe.

(This entry is speculative, so keep that in mind when commenting.)

Edit: (12-13-2010 10:13AM) after reading a bit more from someone closer to the center of the issue, this really seems like a pretty sneaky blanket bill they want to push in now and probably add to later. Its effects probably won’t be seen early on, but many speculate that the industry will quietly adapt over time as to avoid getting into trouble.

Not having any first-hand knowledge of Japanese culture makes it difficult for me to base an opinion, to me, this is the kind of shit that I hate governments for, this kind of nanny-state politics I vote against in the US. It’s not content creators problem what happens with their works, they’re simply creating them for entertainment purposes. Do they often cross lines? Sure. But I believe in the community’s ability to self-regulate media content within itself, if something was so bad that the majority felt it should not be viewed by anyone, it would be buried and never heard from except in small circles. Like I said, I don’t know much about Japanese culture, but I just get this “…okay” dull complacency vibe from them, like all it takes is a few pushy politicians and they fold like paper. Must make for shitty poker games.

Edit: (12-13-2010 1:31PM)

A looooooot of threads on 4chan this morning and afternoon about this issue, ranging anywhere from the fate of mecha to ToLOVEru author Yabuki Kentaro. /m/’s thread on it was pretty spot on and fairly level, however /a/’s are all over the place, which is about what you expect from most retarded American kids who don’t understand anything about Japanese culture, or at the very least, can’t admit they don’t understand anything about Japanese culture, because I certainly don’t.

However, one Anon nailed it fairly well in one thread:

It all boils down to one thing: money. And age warfare. Well, two things I guess. You see, politicians to Japan stay in power by always voting to increase the pension, since the elderly are greatly over-represented in Japan’s election system. And there is a strong belief among the elderly that the younger generation is not doing enough to support the pension system (despite the horrible economical decisions that they themselves made which lead to this). And the otaku, hikkimori and NEETs, etc, are they easiest targets, since they lack both money and respect. And so a bill like this is both a moral crusade and a heavy-handed attempt to change the culture of Japan’s youth, as if by simply making ecchi manga hard to buy it will cause young men to start earning more and having more children. Of course, it is not ecchi manga that turns boys into otaku, but rather the economical and social constraints of modern Japanese culture. But admitting this would be a de facto admission of their misguided policies in the first, which politicians are loath to do. So instead we get this.

It boils down to old folks hating on young folks. Nothing new here really, in fact, it happens every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in America, because you know, people just want to unwind and have fun, but some people get a little too out of hand and next thing you know you’re blaming cartoon porn for it.

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