|What is Wrong with Japanese People?
Japan is a bastion of evil, twisted, perverts who mix a lust for 12-year-old schoolgirls with a desire for bondage and tentacle rape. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ve met many Japanese people who aren’t like that, but man, don’t ya get the feeling that something is seriously wrong with our brethren from the land of the rising sun? My friends and I have a ritual of gathering together in one of our basements, popping in the latest anime, shooting game, fighting game, or occasionally, RPG and exclaiming at least three times during the evening, “What is WRONG with Japanese people?!”
Sure, it’s fun to laugh at the exploit(ation)s of some of the characters and themes. Take a Neo Geo title called Captain Tomadae, a shooting game in which you play a hyper-intelligent tomato who can mutate into things such as a cat, a carrot, a monkey, and a crawfish, as you fight the evil eggplant empire. That’s the good kind of LSD-induced Japanese creativity, and it’s a fun game, too.
Then there’s the bad, scary, messed-the-fark-up stuff, such as in a certain Capcom Dreamcast shooter where one of the characters is a gay, naked, pedophilic samurai whose bomb attack is to jump up in the air and spin around, member flapping in the breeze (at least in the Japanese version where he really is naked, I hear) and turn all the enemies into roses. In endings with male characters, he convinces them to become “little samurai boys” and assumingly has his way with them (the dialogue is VERY suggestive). Another character, a 17-year-old girl, was turned into a 9-year-old by her fiancée who just “likes-em-young”. And I don’t think I even have to mention Choaniki Great Brother, the shooting game made famous by EGM and known as the “homosexual shooter” for its rather unsubtle use of phallic imagery in everything from bullets to enemies.
However, before you think it’s just the shooter genre that attracts all the oddball programmers, I ask you to consider RPGs as well. Those of you who have read my previous editorial about my issues with RPG characters being androgynous and ~NeoN~’s editorial about FF character designs (oh so long ago), know that there is definitely a sentiment going around that there’s something… not quite right about characters in RPGs. Well, I’d like to expand that critique to include certain themes in RPGs.
We’ve already established that there are definite issues of characters looking as if they need to come out of the closet (in the words of King Missile, “straight guys that don’t know they’re gay, they fuck my shit right up”). We’ve also established that FFIX’s characters (i.e. Zidane and Garnett) look like they haven’t even reached puberty. The problem with all this is that the scenario designers and story writers are trying to get us to consider their relationships as adult romances.
Now yes, youth is prized in Japanese society, and that is the style in which most Anime is drawn. We also must consider Japan’s rich history of legalized prostitution and an age of consent of 14 or 15, something like that. The Japanese fascination with younger girls is not a recent phenomenon, but might I suggest to all the Japanese game designers and artists out there to calm down, you rabid little molester monkeys! Did Fukuzawa Ikichi include anything about how the Japanese people should go around having romantic encounters with pre-pubescent girls in Escape from Asia? Did the Japanese solve their problems with sex criminals by cloistering them away in studio apartments and ordering them to draw anime, manga, and videogame characters? I can picture a job interview at a videogame company:
Tanaka-san: Mr. Yamata, would you please list your criminal record?
Yamata-san: Rape, assault, rape, exposure, and rape.
Tanaka-san: Mr. Yamata, you listed rape three times.
Yamata-san: Yeah, I like rape.
Tanaka-san: I think we’ll start you writing for our “soft-core” division. It’s a new dating-sim called “The Tentacle Monster Goes to Kindergarten.” Now, we know that it’s a bit tame for our standards, but we’re planning on importing it to America, and you know how their gaijin censors are. You’d think they’d never molested their nieces with a cat-o-nine tails. That reminds me, Ms. Akira, send in Yukika-chan.
Fortunately, there are RPGs that are relatively tame, such as Skies of Arcadia and… umm… Lufia, but that’s about it. And don’t forget how many games we DON’T get from Japan, the ones that wouldn’t make it past the “stupid American censors” that everyone complains about all the time. Sure, some things such as the porno magazine in FFIV and the words holy and evil being taken out were silly and probably irrational, but on the other hand, just be glad that the latest Donkey-Punching Sentai game or the La Blue Girl RPG haven’t made it to the states for the nation’s 10-year-olds to grow up on. These things are the videogame equivalent of Thalidomide.
I suppose it would just be really nice if certain companies would create characters I could identify with and that didn’t try to sell me on NAMBLA. Of course, with Disney and Square joining forces for Kingdom Hearts, RPG pedophilia now has the cutesy, mass market appeal that only Disney can bring to the table. I wouldn’t be surprised in the next game to see Sora taking Princess Minnie up to the gummi ship to show her how he can be “effective” with that giant key, all while the game plays MIDI-synth arrangements of “In the Jungle” and “Eyes on Me”. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Now, America, itself has quite a few problems, and I won’t deny that, though our flaws usually tend toward excessive violence, rather than excessive sexual perversion, but that doesn’t mean we have to include said perversion in our daily diet just to keep up with the Nakamuras. I’m not a prude, I’m just trying to keep certain truly twisted stuff from getting into the hands of kids whose parents think the ESRB is a new rap group (their first album: “Where my MA hos at?”) We’ll keep our love of firearms and degrees in BSU to ourselves, and Japan, you keep the kiddie porn games to yourselves, a simple policy of kill and let molest. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with Yukika-chan.
- Damian Thomas