The Phantom of Akihabara

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G.Silver
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The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by G.Silver »

http://magweasel.com/tag/phantom-of-akihabara/

Have any of you been reading this? It's a translation of a serial novel set in a kind of hard boiled, post-apocalyptic(?) Japan where, after a series of wars with North Korea, Japan has outlawed games, manga, anime, and all other "otaku" interests, but a black market still exists catering to all types of aging, nostalgic gamers who can still afford their illegal and increasingly scarce habit. My favorite part thus far (I haven't read it all yet) is in Chapter 2, which features a prostitute-like "player," who is paid to be player 2, an opponent, or just someone to appreciate the collection of someone who can't tell anyone else about his habit for fear of losing social status.

The significance and "history" of existing games is explained with a fresh perspective in a world where games are illegal or censored of their creative content, it's a really cool context in which to present all kinds of cool bits of trivia about obscure games and related topics (even Japan's acceptance/denial of "comfort women" during WW2 is related, however tenuously!), and controversies going on right now, like games as art, creator recognition, or debate over Japanese porn titles. It was written between 2002 and 2004, and sure, that was only 6-8 years ago, but I'm impressed that the topics covered are still ones we're concerned with today. It feels at times a bit like it sprang from the mind of a paranoid fan of erotic software, but it's also just really cool.

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Malchik
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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Malchik »

I'll give dis shit a try, G.

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Jogurt »

Great find! I haven't seen something this post-apocalyptic and Japanese since I bought a copy of Battle Royale! Thanks for the link, in return, some free manga sites I happened to run across: here and here ^_^

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Locit »

Wow, I thought this was going to be a thread about how sad and pathetic Akihabara has become in the past few years. This is much better! Will definitely check it out.

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Green Gibbon! »

Has Akiba become sad and pathetic? I really enjoyed it the last couple of times I was there.

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Locit »

It just feels sort of empty and hollow. Maybe I was just there at the wrong time. When did you last go?

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Green Gibbon! »

About two months ago. It was actually the only reason I went to Tokyo at all. (That and the awesome museums in Ueno park, but I discovered that they're closed on Mondays...)

The arcades are almost definitely a shadow of their former glory, but that's everywhere. I just kind of zombie roam my way through the Hong Kong labyrinth of shops. It's got all the cool stuff I've outgrown, but still really, really want, especially when it's all stacked up in front of me. And maids. The maids are kind of recent, aren't they?

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Locit »

Green Gibbon! wrote:The maids are kind of recent, aren't they?
Based on my '08 trip they've been around for at least two years, possibly longer.

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Shadow Hog »

Well, this sounds familiar. May or may not be related, though.

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Soul »

Well, I was going to make a post about this, but since this recently got brought back...

Shit just got real.

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Crisis »

So the citizens of Tokyo now have to walk an extra 40 seconds to reach their hardcore porn?

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by G.Silver »

If I understand this right a lot of material that would not have been in the Adults Only section because it isn't really porn now might find itself in with the porn. It's not a problem for the real AO material (which ought to be behind a curtain anyway, and was, in many places I went to) but putting that label on lighter materials that's meant for general consumption and hiding it will undoubtedly hurt its sales, and make it unsellable in stores that are unwilling to have an AO section.

The problem is potential for abuse, because the guidelines for what will be getting labeled are vague and supposedly the people behind it are (unsurprisingly) hyper conservative, and that artists and authors will be more careful with their works to avoid crossing that invisible line. Hardcore material will be behind a curtain, inoffensive material will be unaffected, and the material that fit somewhere in the middle are going to have to watch out.

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Crowbar »

I've been following this thing intently, but now it's actually passed I can't really think of anything to say.

This guy seems to have the most level-headed and well-informed view on the matter of anyone I've seen so far (and he's been following it since the beginning), so go there to clear up misconceptions.

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Crisis »

I'm afraid I find it very hard to relate to this issue. The article linked just seems to assume everyone reading it already thinks this act is a bad thing, and I'm not entirely sure why. I have the same problem with the Adults Only rating controversy. It's not because I'm pro-censorship or anti-sex/violence. I love sex and violence, and I wish more people did too. But that doesn't change the fact that they don't.

I get the argument that an AO rating means that a lot of shops won't stock the item in question. But how is that the legislator's fault? They haven't actively censored it, and the item is still available to everybody at the same price, it's just harder to find. It would be a lot easier to find if more shops stocked it, but then maybe that's an issue you should be raising with Wal Mart or whatever (we don't have this kind of rating in the UK, by the way - although we do actively censor things semi-regularly). I also don't buy the "potential for abuse" argument. Democracy is supposed to represent the will of the people, and if the people are fucking terrified of the gays, then of course they're going to vote for a politician who'll make stupid legislative decisions. Surely a better long-term approach would be to spread awareness of the issue and try and change peoples' buying and voting habits? Isn't this how democracy works? It's human, and it fucks up sometimes, but eventually it will fix itself, and in the mean time the damage strikes me as minimal. That's not a denouncement of activists, by the way, or support for the law in question - the bill is completely unnecessary and a hindrance to many peoples' lives - I'm just pointing out that it's a fairly trivial symptom of underlying societal misconceptions.

Maybe I'm just distracted by that much bigger censorship issue instigated by a world power and with global consequences.

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Re: The Phantom of Akihabara

Post by Malchik »

I just find it odd they are trying harder to make porn inaccessible to minors and they'll still have that genitalia ban.

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