Won’t somebody please think of the children!

I don’t really have time or interest to attend local conventions. The biggest reason by far is that the overall offering within the programmes rarely have anything worth watching, and often are incredibly low in quality. Hell, even very specific programmes have been incredibly boring and misinformed to the point of being almost insulting. However, seems like I a new reason to add to the list; moral outrage for nothing.

When you think of Finland, one thing you might recognize as part of the cultural standard is how we bathe in sauna. Butt naked, sometimes with complete strangers and we whack each other with tree branches. To me, how we deal with sexual matters has been very reasonable. Nakedness in itself has not been anything to be ashamed of or to get mad about. Sea, river and lake beaches are full of people in bikinis and whatnot, sometimes topless. Doesn’t matter if its winter or summer, we still go for a swim.

I never saw anyone to have any problems with the human outside what we call flower headdress ladies, i.e. people who spread their own moral views to others in order to maintain certain level of moral cleanliness and how to live, often criticising erotica, pornography, alcohol use, smoking, dating, pre-marital sex and all kinds of musics.

When otaku sub-culture gained popularity across the globe, one of the first comics that was published here in this wake was Dragon Ball. However, in 2003 some parents and Korteniemi-Poikela of Family Federation were indignant of the rowdy humour it had. The aforementioned resented the way Master Roshi was portrayed as a pervert and how, and I quote “little girls are the object of men’s desire, who are taught to use their sexuality for their advantage,” essentially calling it as portrayal of pedophilia. Karhumäki compared the treatment of female characters in Dragon Ball to enjo kousai, compensated dating, a thing who has read Dragon Ball or knows even a little bit about it knows that its slightly racy humour is far from enjo kousai.

In reality, very few parents complained. In truth, only a very marginal amount of loud flower headdress ladies got their shit tight because something they didn’t like was sold on comic stands. Because of this, Dragon Ball was slated R-13 after the first few books, and re-releases would have censored panels.

As such, you can imagine how mad the fans were. For some years afterwards, there was a stigma that all Japanese material was perverted, and it didn’t help that series like Urotsukidouji, Adventure Kid, Devilman OVA were sold next to children’s cartoons in the same rack. People in charge had no idea what they had in their hands and blamed the products rather than the parents who bought these cassettes to their children.

It took some time for the otaku sub-culture to become slightly more mature than it was, and the current base here seems to handle most things with care and with taste. While some bad habits have been imported from elsewhere, there has been an overall quality on how things have been treated, and in a lot of ways the sub-cultured has blossomed and embraced its own oddities. After Dragon Ball we haven’t had any real debacle over anything, even comics have stayed uncensored, gore and all, and nobody has complained.

That was until last weekend in Yukicon Finland, where a cosplayer was asked to change clothes. There is a large post about the subject in Finnish in Facebook (archived) from where it has spread from. Do check the link for the cosplayer, if not for nothing else. The cosplayer had put on the outfit of Ryuko Matoi of Kill la Kill fame, which shows less skin that your normal bikini cosplay we see quite frequently.

I don’t honestly give a fuck what you think of the show or who was the cosplayer

The cosplayer had made certain that her own breasts would now show with the underboob and had opted to create relatively impressive fakes with foam and fabric. I’m not going to comment on the quality, because I am known to be less than nice to cosplayers when it comes to the quality of the outfit. Anyway, according to the cosplayer herself, the only people who threw glaring gazes at her and her fakes knockers was the security guard who would issue the outfit change. The cosplayer asked if she could take pictures of the outfit, and as she was outside in the freezing cold, another security guard demanded the outfit change as well.

The reason for the demand was that the convention was family friendly. Do note that their site especially mentioned the following;

Yukicon is mainly intended for teens and young adults but game and anime fans of all ages are welcome.

Note the point mainly intended for teens and young adults. If you intend to bring your small child to a convention that has a specifically targeted audience, you should be expecting content that is relevant for that age group, and the same applies to the event holders.

Is Ryuko’s outfit sexy? Yes. Is it anything out of ordinary? No, you see worse stuff on day time television on the streets, especially during summer. These conventions rarely have children under ten, and anyone older and into the sub-culture has seen worse and actively search for smut. These conventions have bikini laden characters cosplaying everywhere, like Black Rock Shooter, who actually has a more revealing clothing. Then you have the sales stands, where pornography is sold openly to minors, a thing that is counted as sexually assaulting a minor, and skimpy figures with barely nothing on are sold on the tables alongside Osakan love-me pillows i.e. dakimakuras.

The main reason why I’m writing this is because this comes from within the sub-culture. Thus far the sub-culture has managed to be open and admired anyone with enough guts to pull an outfit like this off. Sexuality was not repressed, and never was it sexualised as such. By that I mean how a person looks sexy with her look, just like person with an admirable body with the right clothing, but not sexualised as in Come and fuck me right here. That takes an effort from the wearer and the watcher, and I have seen this action taking place only in mutual fashion and extremely rare outside after parties. Seeing how the cosplayer felt confident, extremely so, about herself with the outfit, the only person who saw problems with the outfit were those who sexualised her themselves, i.e. the security guards, and that’s sad as hell.

Censorship works best when it comes from the inside, and when people begin to silence and limit each other. Then, whoever is in the power, only needs to sit back and let the fruits ripen. Ryuko Matoi’s character design is bold without a doubt, but it has nothing that wouldn’t fly in a family friendly convention about Japanese culture. Rather, a confident Ryuko could work wonderfully as a positive model in few ways.

Hell, the series makes fun of this sort of stupidly puritanical views to boot.

Really, their argument was what Helen Lovejoy is famous for saying.

Think-of-the-children[1]In a convention specifically aimed at a teen and young adult audience? Give me a break

I thought we had handled this matter with the Dragon Ball censorship case, but history does indeed rhyme. I hope this will be the sole case, and that the organisers will see into this matter deeper and do the right thing. They’ve already lost a potential customer, but just like any service provider, they can always win me back. I doubt they will issue an open apology or even recognize the whole thing.

If we start to go the way of Sweden and Germany, I will cosplay as Hentai Kamen sometime and see if I can cause the security to force me cover myself up. Hell, I’ll ask somebody to wear Blue Snow outfit with me and spread smutty pictures around while laughing like maniacs.

Frostbite got bitten by frozen sales, it seems

It’s funny to see how a yearly event that has managed to outsell itself few times over suddenly sees a 70% drop in ticket sales.

Now as it happens, the yellow bar represents the unsold tickets whereas the white area represents the sold tickets. At least I assume so, it would be very stupid to design a bar that would increase as the available product decreases, unless they’re counting how many tickets have been sold from pre-established set, which would make sense if the bar was increasing. Bah, this is what shitty design and lack of any sort of indications causes. The bar decreases after a time of observation, so I assume that the bar goes down as tickets are sold. And there’s still boatloads left.

Frostbite 2014 seems to be a disaster on certain repeating levels, but unlike its last year counterpart, it seems it’ll make less money as well. The main reason for this most likely isn’t with the guests they’re having this time, thou one has to admit that Wakamoto has more draw to him than Ranma’s and Shinji’s voice actors. I would like to meet with both of them really, but in a better environment for sure. Then what made the sales drop?

This year they’re trying something new and wild; have the event R-18. I wonder when was the last time I saw as stupid decision as this, where a group of people decide to exclude most of their customers from the sales to further promote the higher calibre of the hobbyists and the sub-culture at large. I would believe this bullshit if the programme would reflect this. No, instead we’re seeing same level of expertise as before, but with more sexual images. To be fair, there are programme that seems to be rather interesting, but nothing that would make them exceptionally R-18. Outside the obvious sex driven programmes, there’s… really nothing that makes this event limited to adults only. If anything, it almost looks like the programme generally got better from previous years because people seemed to realize that their audience aren’t idiots. Where was this realization five damn years ago?

And oh, who the hell was the idiot who let a programme be named as FIRST TIME WHEN UNDER AGED – BEST THING EVER? I thought they wanted to make this event R-18. If I wasn’t this jaded on the current state of the conventions we have here, I could be surprised. I’m just shaking my head that whoever was there in charge of programmes screwed this one up badly. The title doesn’t even provoke; it’s just adolescent humour for people who can’t get in because it’s still just for adults. Yeah, let’s put this absolutely tasteless name for our panel discussion about our first series ever.

To quote a friend, At least this time there’s something worth to see. I agree with her, this time there is more than one or two scheduled programmes that might be interesting. Then you have to wonder why there is a need for such highlighted franchises as Initial D, which have a large amount of documentation, presentations and research levelled papers all around the Internet. How much will the presenter be able to introduce in his presentation is an open question, and based on previous years I can say that the answer is Not much.

But then the question pops up; Why are there so many programmes concentrating on one series? The natural follow-up is Why are they discussing series that are well known and still on the general consensus  of the sub-culture? The tired answer would be Because it’s easy, but I’m giving these people give my doubt. I trust that all of these are going to make well researched points that are commonly overlooked and introduce new ideas as well as backing their ideas with facts.

Now where’s my presentation that would discuss the world politics of One-Piece? Last time somebody tried to make that happen, the programme was just one guy talking about how stuff happen between characters and their rivals. Politics dammit!  This sort of programme would be fitting for this sort of adults-only event, as the presenter could do extensive research on the World Government and how much they have affected singular towns, cities and islands with the pirates alongside other things as well as how all these different factions come into play when decisions are made on political level. While this isn’t just for adults, this sort of presentation would be heavy to make and to take in, but dammit if properly done it would be marvellous. Of course, this would mean that the presenter should be able to properly translate some of the terms and words that are left in their romanized form for whatever godforsaken reason.

Of course, they could have scheduled some programme about series that are aimed at real adults, not otaku adults. But where’s the fun in that? Nobody wants to put any real effort in their presentation if it goes outside their field of interest.

Credits are given where credits are due, the last time the website staff revamped the site has been put into good use and the overall layout has become much better and now looks a level more professional than before. Still, most of the site is still in Finnish only, which means the staff is still unwilling to grasp the possibilities they have at hand. Then again, I’m sure the same people said that they want to make an event for the adult hobbyists only, and they decided to replace an existing event with this. At least now they can sell all the porn they want without wondering if they’re promoting indecent sexual acts to minors.

Seriously, if you’re a person in-charge of any event that has a seller selling pornographic or other material aimed for adults only, be sure make a stance have these guys their own place with some sort of guards checking that no minor gets their hands on that stuff. Introducing porno to minors is still illegal here.

Personally, it would not have mattered what the programme or the guests had been. Much like numerous other people, I am making a statement that this sort of R-18 event worse choice than free-for-all; I won’t be attending the event. Not that I would have been in any case. There are better options to get more room for the event than just limiting who gets to the event. That’s elitism and discrimination at its worst. If they’re hoping to remove some sort of unwanted element from their precious little masturbatory circle, they’re making things worse by appearing as one. There is both need and place for different aged hobbyists. These people should meet and discuss with each other more often and share their experiences. Rather than dividing the two ‘generations,’ an open dialogue between the two would be preferred. After all, we all were young once. No reason to punish those who came after us for the same things we did. Trust me, we all did the same things, especially if you were even slightly outgoing.

This sort of decision tells you that the event providers are out of touch with the people they’re selling the tickets for. It might be that more tickets are sold as the event comes closer, but seeing that there are still tickets to be sold sings a certain kind of song. Well, this is a good experience and I hope they’ll learn the proper lesson from it. Fat chance, I know. I’m sure the organiser group still refuses to admit that they have a customer-provider relationship going on.