Voters: Gotta Catch 'Em All!
Pokemon Go has become the escape du jour from the sad mess of politics. So of course our two major presidential candidates had to take something pure and drag it into their campaigns.
On July 14th, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton invoked the game's popularity, introducing a somewhat clever idea (Pokecenters at voting stations) in the form of a truly awful pun.
Republican candidate Donald Trump responded quickly with... whatever the hell this is.
The pandering is strong in these invocations of the latest Pokemon game sensation, and it's doubtful either candidate is a serious fan of the games or the anime series based on them. But what if they were? What if our politicians... were OTAKU!?!
Otaku in the White House
Perhaps the most prophetic prediction of our current Pokemon Go world occurred three years ago when twitter user drewtoothpaste tweeted "'Anime is real,' Barack Obama said in his inauguration speech earlier. 'Pokémon are real. Geodude is real, and strong, and he's my friend.'"
If you're wondering where that recent Vine got footage of Obama saying the word "anime", it's from April 28th, 2015 when Obama thanked Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, for anime and manga (and emojis). Now, Obama thanking a foreign politician for a pop culture product doesn't mean he partakes in that product himself (as far as we know, he hasn't played Witcher 2 despite Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk giving him a copy).
However, he is at least somewhat a nerd, a hardcore fan of Spider-Man and Game of Thrones. Might he possibly relax to some Attack on Titan every night? Could we at least get the Obama family and Biden to reenact this tweet before they leave office? (watch this horrific Sakuracon 2009 commercial if you don't get the reference)
Of course, one thing is certain: Biden sure likes his Love Live girls.
Make Anime Great Again
Anime entered the American political conversation for an awkward reason earlier this year: GOP consultant Rick Wilson said that Trump's supporters are mostly "single men who masturbate to anime." This accusation didn't exactly come out of nowhere, as others have noted a sizable number of far-right conservatives use anime avatars on Twitter. Blame 4Chan for giving us a bad name, I guess.
For what it's worth, when we published our article comparing Presidential candidates to anime characters, the most common complaint on Facebook was that we were insulting Dio Brando by comparing him to a far less cool cartoon super-villain, so clearly anime fandom as a whole is not on board with Trump.
Besides, if this picketer is to be believed, Trump's taste in anime kind of sucks (apologies to any Sword Art Online fans).
An Actual Otaku Politician!
This is not a photoshop. Image Source
Turns out there is an actual confirmed otaku politician out there... in Japan, of course. Taro Aso has been Japan's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance since December 26th, 2012 and was Prime Minister for a year from September 24th, 2008 to September 16th, 2009. He's a controversial figure, a nationalist whose many blunders led to the most dramatic defeat for his political party - the Liberal Democratic Party - in Japan's history.
But he was super-popular in the otaku hub of Akihabara due to his outspoken manga fandom, and his view that anime and manga could improve Japan's standing with other countries in the world. His favorite manga series? The gritty long-running spy series Golgo 13.