If you have watched anime for any length of time, you have been presented with the city of Akihabara. Just after WWII, it was Akihabara Electric Town, a major hub for electronic household goods and possessing a thriving black market. Later on, it became associated with otakus and THE place to go to fill your manga, anime, figurine, body pillow, maid cafes and other cultural artifacts needs. It’s just that it got in the news for an event of questionable presentation.
In 1971, the band The Holy Model Rounders recorded a song called “Boobs a Lot”, with one of the lyrics being “They’re big and round/They’re all around/They’re big and round/They’re all around.” This is a lead-in to this event.
On November 1st, 2019, a billboard went up (although it looks more like a vinyl poster) promoting the very eroge adult game called, “Motto! Haramase! Honoo no Oppai Chou Ero *Heart Mark* App Gakuen! (“More! Conception! Blazing Boobs Super Erotic *Heart Mark* App Academy!”). There are 10 very luscious, very busty, very under-clothed maidens, thrusting their wares at the passerbys. How big is that ad? 20 feet by 30 feet? It’s a huge piece of real estate, promoting huge pieces of real estate. And with it lit up at night, you are not going to pass it by with nary a glance. Talk about a double-take!
Needless to say, even some the citizens of this burg were upset, not only for the presentation of all that feminine acreage, but the language as well, as they used the terms oppai haaremu (“boob harem”) and haramase, (“conception” or “impregnation.”) Gad, it makes one want to go out and get this game just to see what it’s all about, even if it is/was ¥10000 and you don’t have the proper gaming platform.
Now, I have to think that somewhere along the line, when this ad was being put together, one individual asked about the appropriateness of such an advertisement. I personally view this in the same vein as those Calvin Klein – Tom Hintnaus underwear shots of 1983 that were in Times Square and the Marky Mark promotions of 1992. Potentially not the best way to do this, but it gets people talking. But, as you have noticed, Japanese sentiments and American sentiments differ and there was a hue and cry over it.
Perhaps the game makers felt that freedom of expression made this acceptable; however, with a kindergarten and elementary school within 300 meters of the billboard and a local law related to raising children in a wholesome environment, in particular, a stipulation regarding advertisements that can adversely impact children, it was a tense week for all involved. (Me, being me, get the feeling that some of the kids trucked out binoculars to view things. “Sosuke-kun, what are you looking at?” “I’m viewing some tufted tits. They are a lot bigger than I thought.”)
On November 8th, the ad was removed and replaced with some Yu-Gi-Oh offering, with a comment from the billboard owner that it would consider content as well as the visuals, going forward from this time.
We are at a crossroads with this. We know these games exist and that they objectify women. You can dismiss it merely as a game, but will you view all women in such an unfair manner? Would things be better if this WAS out there for all to see and open up a dialogue or does it just put another log on the fire in trying to work against this? These are tough questions. I feel that censoring the billboard would draw even more attention to it. Hey, what have you got to hide? But, as it stood, was it TMI?
My personal stance is that I don’t really care one way or the other. I pass by Victoria’s Secret at the mall and they have their posters, with the barely-clads, looming out at you and we know kids are all over the mall (before they did an inter-mall move in my mall, the Disney Store was RIGHT ACROSS from VS. I guess you take to your caliber of fantasy.)
I’m not like other people; I can make that strong difference between a game/manga/anime and real life, knowing that people don’t dress that way, act that way or talk that way. But it needs to be considered and addressed. We certainly haven’t heard the last in all of this. I am keenly interested in what happens the next time it comes around and it will. (I’m just wondering if they are going to auction off that promotion item.)