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“.

Character from an anime that people don't really care about, who nonetheless is trying much too hard to draw attention to herself.

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.

Gokujyo manga cover. Whose responsibility was it to check the source material before green-lighting production?

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?

6 Responses to “Gokujyo ~ production incompetence as performance art”

  1. avvesione Says:

    Didn’t realize that this short aired during SKE48 segments which helps explain why it’s been delayed so much. I looked over the first volume of the manga after seeing it was delayed as saw it is incredibly ecchi/borderline hentai. Pretty surprised to see the second episode have virtually none of it and turn out to be pretty funny and entertaining. Now that I know it’s part of SKE48’s show, I wonder how the two were ever paired together. It’s really an awful combination.

    I don’t think this is a publicity stunt or a way to drive up profits since the anime is nothing special to begin with. Unless they heavily censor or change the original manga, they’re putting in 6 minutes of what-might-be-confused-with-porn in an idol show with teenage girls. Doesn’t make any sense at all. It actually makes me kinda mad since I was looking forward to it after enjoying the second episode.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Somebody had a terrible failure of judgement. Honestly I can’t imagine how things got this far without lack of proper attention from executive decision makers, and someone, who had been delegated responsibility, misrepresenting the source material. “It’s about the funny things that goes on in a girls dorm at night.”

  2. David A. Young Says:

    “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”
    — Robert A. Heinlein

  3. […] again for Monday’s TV broadcast (January 30) and be delayed to streaming for yet another week.  The whole situation has been a mess and it doesn’t seem like there will be any high quality translations out for it any time soon due […]

  4. […] (for those interested in reading up more about just how stupid Gokujo. is, Joojoobees has written up a nice post. Granted, it’s not about the show itself, but it does talk about the interesting… […]

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