A scene in which the imouto heroine of “Ore no Imouto” is revealed to be the owner of a substantial collection of eroge (most of which were real titles) has stirred up a storm of criticism, with commentators accusing the show of giving eroge opponents an excuse to push for a ban, and with industry insiders supposedly angry that the show never told them how it would be depicting their products.
The issue stems from the first episode of popularly acclaimed imouto anime “Ore no Imouto” – the little sister of the title is revealed to literally be a closet otaku, and one with a substantial collection of adult games.
As she is in fact a middle-schooler, just how she acquired these titles and what she is doing playing them soon became a major issue – not because there is anything objectionable about a young girl taking a healthy interest in sex, but because it might be used by the opponents of the industry as evidence the industry is marketing its products to minors.
The majority of the games featured in the stack are in fact real titles:
The show apparently received permission to use the likenesses of the games:
There are concerns this might be used as a sign that the companies concerned endorse the notion of a minor enjoying their products, or that anime itself should become the target of censorship for “promoting” such unwholesome behaviour, however common it might be for minors to have access to pornography.
There are also allegations that the show did not disclose how it would be portraying the games when it sought permission from the companies concerned.
A self-proclaimed “eroge industry insider” appeared on 2ch to lengthily harangue the show’s producers for “betraying the industry”:
They should at least have included an explanatory disclaimer, but they included nothing.
The anime company explained, and we believed them and were completely betrayed. We’ll never cooperate with them again.
The original [light novel] certainly was pretty extreme, but we never thought that would find its way into the anime.
Even just showing smoking on TV is not allowed, and yet they come out with a middle-schooler obsessed with buying eroge…
We didn’t receive any fees and this doesn’t really have any advertising value either.
Such concerns are not entirely without foundation – politicians have shown considerable willingness to lie about the content of such works in order to push for a ban.
There is no law against minors playing eroge as such, although a variety of regulations may apply to how and to whom they may be sold.
Instead, the eroge certification system relies on “voluntary restraints” and industry-run certification groups – in other words, the industry is expected to keep a low profile and make a good show of self-censorship if it wants to avoid punishing restrictions being imposed by government.
Generally these “voluntary restraints” are informally enforced as strictly as any law; mainstream publishers are terrified of any depiction of under-age drinking or smoking, or anything which “glorifies” crime – although, strangely, scenes of young boys enjoying pornography on the sly seem to feature frequently, to say nothing of real crimes.
As the controversy surrounding the industry response to feminist demands for a ban on their products indicates, eroge companies prefer to rely on sheer obscurity to protect them from legal attacks – thus it is easy to see why they might object to their new-found publicity in Ore no Imouto.