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Test your lolicon level (updated)

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I can't say I don't have misgivings about posting stuff that sounds like, er, triangular fodder, but people have been bickering me to do it for several days now, so here goes. Hopefully I can make it a bit more informative than the typical offering of disreputable venues.

The questionnaire to the left, “Test Your Lolicon Level,” was posted last week on Twitter by master-of-middle-school-girls and regular LO contributor Hidarikagetora. A funny discussion ensued where several loli mangaka compared their results. I'm translating the test, so here's your chance to pit yourself against those fine fellows, and check how worthy you are of reading this blog.

Just another truce

So it seems that all hell won't be breaking loose just yet. Thanks to an unprecedented mobilization of the cream of the crop in all things manga (artists, publishers, critics, professors and more), the Minshutō majority in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly announced yesterday that they would push for a postponement of the vote on the “juvenile nonentities” (hijitsuzai seishounen) reform proposal and a reexamination thereof. Their allies are expected to support the motion as well. The Jimintō-Komeitō minority, who introduced the reform bill to begin with, does not seem prepared to back down, but if votes go along party lines (and since public announcements have been made, it is likely that they will), they should be overruled during Friday's debates.

This loser is you: the appeal of netorare

A previous post suggested that otaku (moe otaku in particular) tend to have a very righteous approach to romantic relationships, in the sense that they value pure, sincere, genuine commitment to a romantic interest, both during a relationship and as a prerequisite to forming it (it's a trivial but significant observation that the genre overwhelmingly favors “confessing” over “asking out,” for instance). Since their ethos makes the commitment precede the relationship, otaku are prone to unrequited feelings and infatuation. And turning to 2D doesn't really help here for now: usually, your dakimakura won't talk back.

Of course, not all otaku are romantically challenged. Some are even rumored to be married with kids. Nevertheless, anecdotal observation and secondary evidence do suggest a strong connection between otakudom and a specific perception of romantic relationships (not a very successful one). It is a bit of a cliché, but one that has enough basis in reality that the medium itself can play with it in interesting ways—particularly by teasing the audience with a surrogate character modeled around that cliché.

Almost a little girl

“I am fond of children—except boys.” This famous quote from Lewis Carroll, a noted appreciator of the (preferably naked) youthful female figure, should have put to rest uninformed allegations to the effect that all interest in child-like body features were bisexual in nature. Unfortunately, Carroll is probably not a favorite read among men who measure woman beauty in bust line centimeters, and people continue to believe that we can't tell apart little boys from little girls. Well, yes we can, and we have our preferences (and I don't mean that as yes we can fix the economy; it's more like yes we can bail out Goldman).

Except, admittedly, in those rare cases when we can't (black swans?). I'm refering of course to something akin to the trap concept in manga and anime.

Should otaku come out of the closet?

There is an interesting comment by relentlessflame over at Major Arcana about how criticizing outgoing fans like Danny Choo is tantamount to refusing progress towards social acceptance of our hobby. He argues that some of us cling onto marginality out of some immature sense of rebellion against mainstream culture, and that we should be open about things. That, as respectable human beings, we should not be ashamed of our idiosyncracies.

I have several issues with this line of reasoning.

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