Gokujyo ~ production incompetence as performance art
January 29, 2012
For those who don’t recall, Gokujyo AKA Gokurakuin Joshikouryou Monogatari (Tales from the Gokuraku Girl’s dorm) was supposed to be a Winter 2012 anime that had the HILARIOUS premise of a girl going to school, where hilarity ensued. Little was known about the show, as season previews were published, except that it was going to be a smaller part of a non-anime show from the “48 Project” complex of entertainment groups, specifically “SKE48’s World Domination Girls“.
I can’t recall a single season preview from around the Aniblogiverse that pointed out Gokujyo as a potential watch, so I can’t say there was a lot of anticipation, but probably more than a few people took notice on January 16, when the first episode FAILed to air. The second episode was later broadcast, and we have Psgels intrepid reportage: “The entire episode was about someone getting hiccups and trying to get rid of it. Yes, these guys put some thought into this storyline! There were some weird ideas along the way, but they were more disturbing than funny.” And so nobody was probably particularly paying attention when … an announcement was posted online that the third episode will not air as scheduled during Monday’s episode of “SKE48’s World Domination Girls“.
This time, instead of an apology during the broadcast, which seemed to irritate the mangaka, prior notice was provided with the explanation that the “stupidity” of the content didn’t justify its broadcast. The reaction has largely been charges that this is a publicity stunt. After all, there has been a lot of really stupid anime produced recently.
I personally don’t think this was a secret plan to drive web traffic or disc sales. I think this was a big screw up on someone’s part. This isn’t a random anime that can be compared against shows like Manyuu Hiken-chou. This show was supposed to be a comedic short that aired in between segments of real 15 year old girls (from SKE48) doing impressions and singing. Somebody made a decision to select this particular manga as the source, and funded production. They did this without thinking through the consequences of pairing real 15 year old girls, with an animated story about perverted things happening in a high school dormitory. Ultimately those responsible for the integrity of the SKE48 brand (and convincing the parents of prospective members SKE48, or any ***48 band, that their daughter would be safe) realized that they couldn’t mix the two.
Just so I’m clear, I am not against graphic depiction of the human body in states of undress; I did my undergraduate thesis in Art History, and took several studio art classes that included working from a live nude model. I have personally created paintings of naked people, and I personally believe that the human body is one of the most beautiful subjects for artistic representation that can be found. I also think that one of the worst things about fan service is that it is now a formula that lazy anime producers use instead of creating worthwhile content. However, Japanese anime industry obsession with underage girls has led to a precarious justification: “these aren’t real girls”. That justification vanishes when you slip the same material between performances by the likes of Jurina Matsui. Remember the TPO, Time, Place, Occasion!
What do you folks think? Was this an incompetent production blunder that has only served to damage everyone involved? Or is the last minute censoring really a calculated act intended to drive up sales of streams or discs?