So since I’m a cultureless white devil, I wasn’t offended by the Sakuracon commercial like Chicks on Anime were. That said, I do think that all of their reasons for feeling offended were pretty valid. Instead, I just facepalmed and headdesked. I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a parody or a satire (and if it was, what was it poking fun at?) or if it was just so bad that it failed utterly to communicate what it was trying to say.
The Yu-Gi-Oh parody that Sakuracon took down manages to make the video look really dumb by stripping out a lot of the context. For example, yes, it is true that part of the reason that the original commercial made me groan was because it was a bunch of white people yelling in a (Japanese) restaurant. The central groan to me, however came from the regurgitation of soundbites/memes.
This is where the Yu-Gi-Oh video shines. By remixing the soundtrack (and adding in some extra lines) with clips from Yu-Gi-Oh, there’s no longer the obnoxious white people yelling in an inappropriate situation aspect to the video. The emphasis becomes entirely on the words (sushi! manga! GUHROOGAMESH!)
Then, the little additions make it clear that this sort of cut up and decontextualized fandom is lame. On their own, there’s nothing really negative or positive about “anime” or “sushi”. “J-rock” and “GUHROOGAMESH” hint at this, but then “pre-pubescent schoolgirls” or “original Asian horror movies that get instantly remade” make this clear. These things DO get celebrated, even with the tacit understanding that they’re not socially acceptable (the schoolgirls) or embody that whole decontextualization/Orientalism thing. Or, to put it another way, nobody anywhere would think it would be OK if one of them said in the commercial “I love pornographic cartoons of men having gay sex”, even though there are things like yaoi screening rooms or vendors selling yaoi doujinshi in the dealers’ room.
Also, I can’t really mentally figure out the mindset behind taking down the parody video. The commercial itself gives a vibe of “You are like these people. These people bounce around in a Japanese-themed area yelling memes. Sakuracon is a Japanese-themed area where you can bounce around yelling memes! Therefore, get your butts to Sakuracon.” The parody video satirizes this mindset, but it’s also spawned tons of other videos (GUHROOGAMESH, etc.), being in a sense a bunch of a bunch of people bouncing around in a virtual area yelling memes. If the creators of the original video were too tone-deaf to realize what they’d done, how would they really be able to appreciate that the satire is actually satire (and therefore dangerous)?
I normally don’t participate in JP’s posts but the GAHROOGAHMESH thing made me LOL so I figured I’d say something. What makes me laugh about the Chicks on Anime thing is they’re SOOO offended that everyone in the commercial is white. OH NOES HOW DARE THEY NOT MAKE ASSES OF OTHER RACES OF ANIME FANS! There are a lot more offensive things in that commercial, starting with the fact that you got these weeaboos yelling at the top of their lungs in the middle of a sushi restaurant. I mean could you make an ass out of yourself anymore? That commercial is pretty much like WHY I refuse to go to anime cons anymore. They’re making a joke about anime fans, but it’s not a joke because you will really run into people who will scream GAHROOGAMESH and YAOI and DDR (and isn’t Smile.DK Swedish or something?) at anime cons except the amount will be 100 fold.
I don’t know anything about Sakura Con and nor do I give a damn. The only con I can ever see myself attending is the New York Anime Festival and only because I will be running a panel there in order to get free weekend passes Maybe I should do a foreign MMORPG panel this year focusing on Pangya It seems not everyone was too thrilled with our blogging one last year.
P.S. The subtitles for the Japanese sushi chef were completely wrong. He says “桜コン行きます！” which can only mean “I’m going to Sakura con.” He is in no way telling THEM to go to Sakura con. Obviously Vig Mignogna either a) told him the wrong thing to say or b) thinks he knows Japanese cause he dubbed over some guy with a chain mail arm.