About Me

Newfoundland, Canada
I've been a big anime fan for about 10 years or so now. My five all-time favorite animes at this point are, in no particular order... Puella Magi Madoka Magica, El Hazard: The Magnificent World, Love Live!: School Idol Project, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. However, there are hundreds of anime shows that I like. The main purpose of this blog is to provide meta-commentary on anime, and the anime industry - to try to cast a critical, though appreciating, eye upon this entertainment genre that I believe has tremendous potential, but can also be easily wasted. I have always been a fan of animation in general - in the 80s, I grew up on western cartoons like He-Man, She-Ra, Transformers, and G.I. Joe. Through out the 90s, I was a hardcore comic book fan, for the most part. I'm also a big fan of Star Trek. Right now in my life, though, anime is my principal entertainment passion.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Interesting News From Japan...

As far as Japan is concerned, at least, maybe Keima is right...

While I liked TWGOK, there was one episode I found slightly disturbing.

It was the episode where Keima stated a strong preference for "game idols" over "real idols". In essence, a strong preference for fictional female characters in a game over real girls in real life.

Now, there's certainly nothing wrong with engaging in some fulfilling fantasy from time to time (I myself certainly do this), but at the end of the day, fantasy shouldn't completely take the place of reality in a person's life.

However, as the old saying goes, fiction reflects reality, as there may be quite a few real-life Keima's.

Consider the following:

According to the survey of 800 people who turned 20 years old this year, 83.7 percent of Japanese males said they were not dating anyone, while 49.3 percent said they had never had any girlfriends. 
More surprising was the news that in a separate survey by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare published by the Japan Family Planning Association that 36.1 percent of Japanese males, aged 16 to 19, had no interest in sex whatsoever -- up from a 2008 record of 17.5 percent.    (Key Excerpt)

I recently came across this news report while casually surfing the net.

36.1 percent is a significant figure. It's a minority, but a substantial one. This isn't something that any government can ignore, or brush off as acceptable or negligible exceptions to the rule.

Keep in mind, too, that this figure isn't expressing a simple lack of sexual activity, but an outright disinterest in it.

Now, I don't think that over a third of male Japanese high school students have lost their sex drive entirely, or have all committed to a life of celibacy. Basic human nature makes that seem unlikely. However, their sex drive is likely being sublimated into other areas in order to account for a disinterest in real sexual relations. Perhaps that area is eroges, and to a lesser extent, anime?

With this in mind, I initially found this Spring 2011 anime announcement to be hilarious.

I mean... an anime adaptation of guidebooks to help single 30 year old men get girlfriends? It just seems so laughably absurd on a first impression basis.

However, it's now clear that the issue that prompted the creation of these guidebooks is no laughing matter. It's a serious sociological issue for the Japanese people to grapple with.

Yes, Japan is arguably too densely populated anyway, but an aging population is highly problematic for any society, as it puts great stresses on government social services. It can also, of course, leave a disproportionately low number of young adults having to care for a large number of seniors in their retirement years.

I don't know what the root cause for this sociological issue is, but I hope that Japan, for its own sake, can find it and rectify it.

That being said, I have a hunch that eroges and anime and perhaps the entire otaku subculture, are going to be blamed for this. And that this will lead to more, possibly many more, government measures like The Tokyo Youth Ordinance Bill. This is something that anime fans, especially anime fans in Japan, should probably prepare for, because I can definitely see it coming based on pertinent stats that no government can ignore. To use a potentially chilling analogy, I think that the Japanese government might eventually enter into a "War on Otakus" comparable to America's "War on Drugs".

At a surface level, the otaku subculture will make an easy scapegoat for politicians addressing citizen concerns over greatly declining birth rates and an aging population. Personally, I'm inclined to think that any widespread Keima-level preference for "2D Girls" over "3D Girls" is a symptom of larger societal issues than eroges or the otaku subculture. However, discovering and addressing those larger societal issues is the trickier path, and hence Japanese politicians are likely to offer easier and more emotionally gratifying answers by pointing the finger at a subculture that is highly unpopular amongst the rest of the Japanese people.

While TWGOK reflects Japan's present, it is Ore no Imouto that may reflect Japan's short-term future... only this time, the otakus in the story might get a far less happier ending...


  1. This is my first time commenting on blogger, so I hope I get it right.

    On the point you're getting at here I can understand where this concern is coming from, but honestly, I don't think anyone in their right mind would spin the argument to make anime/erogo's appear as the main reason for this issue, when it likely has little if any influence in the falling birth rates in Japan.

    The low fertility rates are a result of several issue, and Japan isn't the only country facing this problem. Many developed countries are having incredibly low births, due to individuals finding more reasons not to start families namely the economic costs of doing so (as well as high paying employment being scarce) and the increase in people attempting to fulfill their personal aspirations and fear that having children might slow them down.

    The problem also has other factors other than economic factors but social ones as well, such as Japan's attitude towards foreigners (thus they cannot use immigration to offset the aging population).

    So yeah, even if proponents of the bill attempt to use this, it'll end up being another nonsensical comment, much like the ''wrapped DNA'' etc.

    On the disinterest in sex, it struck me from some of the comments that this is more of a fashionable trend that is being followed at the moment than an actual reason for concern, though I can see how it might have some effect on the issue.

    On the real life Keima's, I'm sure there are a few, such as the two guy's who married their DS/Dakimakura, not to include the fanatics who obsess over their hobbies (e.g Warcraft players make their entire lives around the game) though I'd imagine them to be very few cases.

    On the TWGOK bit, I'm surprised that you found only that episode slightly disturbing :P I mean Keima's self destructive behavior in the last episode struck me as far more disturbing (which is part of my main complaint of the show of not trying to explain that unhealthy obsession with galge, or at least try and mask it with more comedic nature so not tohave the viewr left with an unfaviourable reaction).

  2. Arabesque - Just to be clear: I personally don't think that eroges or animes are the cause of this level of disinterest in sex in Japan. However, I think that there's a good chance that *politicians in Japan* will argue that, though, because it's the sort of public statement that might resonate with the general public over there, even if it isn't true. I guess you could say I'm a bit cynical about politics, lol.

    As for TWGOK, I have to confess that I haven't finished off the first season of it yet. I think I have an episode or two left to watch.

    TWGOK is a good show, but I found the pacing a bit slow in the 2nd half of it this season, and I guess I just lost interest a bit near the in. I'll try to finish it off soon though. :)

  3. Arabesque - Oh, and thanks for commenting on my blog! It's much appreciated. I think you'd probably find some of my series review posts a bit more agreeable than "social commentary" posts like this one.

    My latest series review was for K-On!! You should be able to find it on the first page of this blog. :)

  4. The substantial jump between 2008 and 2010 is more interesting to me than the sheer number itself. And 2008-2010 was not a strong period for anime and eroge sales wise from what I understand.

    Arabesque mentions the idea that this may be a fashion thing… indeed, that very well might be the case:
    Vexx posted this in the Japanese Culture thread a while back… what interested me is that while the article sets out to discuss otaku, some of the supporting evidence seems to draw from sources that don’t discuss otaku.
    Thinking of it as a fashion fad makes more sense to me than thinking of it any other way… seriously, I suspect the number of Japanese males 16-19 who are “otaku” is quite a bit less than 36%. I also suggest reading the following article for perspective:

    As for Keima, I personally tend to think of “2D is better than 3D” as more of a symbol of otaku pride (and personally, one I find a little uncomfortable) than reflective of real attitudes. Your average anime and eroge fan probably has similar interest in sex to the average western computer geek with his World of Warcraft account and 20 gig porn stash. And actually, while I think that western geeks are probably a little less likely than otaku to go “the whole nine yards”, western geeks sometimes express their “geek pride” in a similar manner: I was “the computer geek other computer geeks look up to” in high school, and I remember making comments about how I didn’t need a girlfriend because I had computer games for similar reasons.

    Interesting, at the time I said it, it was partially true – while I did get sexually aroused from time to time, it wasn’t until I hit around 20 that I really started to think about chasing girls and another couple years until I decided to go for it. I imagine that sort of experience is true of many geeks. I wouldn’t have said I wasn’t interested in sex, but it was damn close.

    As for the possibility of a crackdown, I'm no sure... most articles I've seen on "herbivorous males" don't note a connection between them and otaku (although I personally can't help but thinking of stuff like K-On! as a way for guys to get in touch with their feminine side, LOL). I'll also say that the Japanese government needs to convince the people who want to have kids but don't to take the plunge before trying to convince the people that aren't interested - which probably means solving some difficult stress and finance related issues.

    (Side note: the idea of fatherhood actually isn't completely alien to otaku. I've already discussed in the past how characters like Koyori in Sola are probably intended to be the kind of girl the viewer would want as a daughter (and one 30-something married AS poster said as much). There's also Konata's dad in Lucky Star (although he's hardly the best role model) and the main character in Otaku no Musume-san - a manga about an otaku who discovers he has a nine year old daughter due to an incident in high school where a girl he knew convinced him to have sex with her (one of the few manga I keep up with).

  5. Hey Triple_R, I couldn't find any contact info, but I had a quick question for you. Was wondering if wouldn't mind emailing me when you get a chance. It's rp at rabbitpoets.com. Thanks!

  6. Who cares, It's Gihren Zabi giving the bloody speech, your suppose to yell.
    HAIL ZEON!!!!

    regarding the girl friend part
    All anime involving girls falling from skies (which is pretty much all of them) are made by lonely otakus or otakus that were once lonely. All anime involving female cast wearing gym uniforms for piloting a mecha are made by, again, lonely otakus. All anime made about war about war and has a shit ton of death and almost no pretty boys are made by otakus who fucking loved telling epic stories (Akira, old school Gundam, Gundamn you all, especially you Akira). All Japanese men have small penis and all Japanese women have small breasts, Asia sucks and America's full of rednecks, nobody cares about the rest of North America. Europe is full of English gentlemen who drink tea and talks with a British accent. This world sucks, we are but maggots who feeds on this planet's decaying corpse and we are only capable of contributing to its rapid decay. It's also best not to worry about Japan as they do lead the world in electronics and civilian level engineering and IMO entertainment as well. There are actually good looking and none wimpy (unlike those harem male leads) boys in Japan that will not grow up to become a 40 year old virgin who faps to lolis. In the event which they do, there is always the match making sites, thas what they are made for. And the problem also doesn't just stop at the Japanese borders, it extends all over the 'developed' worlds where girls have the choice to become what ever the hell they want except house wives. It's not that the society is decaying, it's that the boys aren't up to standards anymore.

    In conclusion after a long and incoherent rant:
    The World God Only Knows just trolled the shit out of 30 year old Otakus. I'm loving it and sadly might turn into a 30 year old otaku in fifteen years if I don't atleast go on a date once. We should really do something about it but I'm too dam lazy.