12 Anime Moments in 12 Days (Day 6) – June: Tragedy in Akihabara


Suzumiya Haruhi no Spin-off: Anime’s answer to Duke Nukem Forever.

chigaimasu-48.jpg When I saw bro-ham’s first post, and we talked about the theme he wanted to take with these 12 moments, I told him immediately that this was the day that I wanted to cover.  I’m very happy he gave me to green-light to do today’s topic.

June 2008 – Tomohiro Katou hits/stabs 17, kills 7 in “Akihabara Massacre”

In perhaps one of the most disturbing stories of the year, June 8, 2008 saw a man use a rental truck to drive through patrons in Akihabara, afterwards proceeding to stab other citizens on foot.  7 people would eventually die from Tomohiro Katou’s attack.  Katou would eventually be subdued,  re-arrested for murder on the 20th, and indicted in October.  One of the gruesome details determined after the fact was that Katou had premeditated his attack on an online forum.

Innocent people dying is always a difficult thing to swallow, but the “Massacre” has once again brought out critics of otaku subculture.  Mass media spun the article in a way to besmirch the fandom as some sort of moral corruption.  But to use Tomohiro Katou, and the “Otaku” killer of 1988-1989 Tsutomo Miyazaki as representative of the otaku culture en masse is completely ludicrous.  Katou was a very depressed individual, but from the collection of incredibly social characters we have producing these wonderful blogs, he’s clearly an exception.  My Japanese isn’t quite ready for interplay with the origin subculture, but if anyone can establish links, I think it’s important we play our role in trying to keep these things from happening.

My Japanese Pop Culture professor claimed that otaku approval rating is cyclical, that it would oscillate from acceptable to unacceptable and then back again.  Densha Otoko did some really good things for otaku, but this incident seemed to take the subculture a step back in the wrong direction.  It’ll be important in 2009 to see what the aftershocks of the event will be, and whether or not it’ll be up to us step up and re-establish the positive perspective.

Other June 2008 Stories:

  • Speaking of the “Otaku” killer, Tsutomo Miyazaki was finally executed for his 1988-1989 murders.
  • It’s finally over: After 11 years, and 558 installments, Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha manga finally came to a conclusion.
  • Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu 2 Spin-off: It appears that the second coming of Miss Suzumiya will not be a continuation, but instead a re-invention of the story.  As long as she keeps the long hair, it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to mind.  No indication about when we’ll all get to see it, though.

One Response to 12 Anime Moments in 12 Days (Day 6) – June: Tragedy in Akihabara

  1. […] I won’t hold my breath for Haruhi Suzumiya Forever (I think koneko-chan already made that joke), but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to it still. Although, I […]

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