「萌(めぐみ)の錬金術師」 (Moe (Megumi) no Renkinjutsu-shi)
Today’s Nourin came off as a timely and relevant parody of the current trends in anime merchandising. It isn’t the most biting commentary, nor is it the most interesting plot in recent seasons, but it does bring to light an interesting issue concerning the future of the industry. Though far from a new tactic, the rate at which anime is being used to advertise unrelated items is growing significantly and becoming more prolific. Shingeki no Kyojin and Evangelion have both been used to advertise horse racing and razors. Shows like Chu2Koi, K-ON!, and Free! often attract otaku to their respective real-life locations, boosting tourism through a partnership with the relevant local businesses. Even Pizza Hut has collaborated with Love Live! recently for a new campaign, much in the likeness of how Hatsune Miku briefly was featured on Domino’s Pizza.
It’s no surprise then that Nourin wanted in on the commentary about these ridiculous partnerships, which often take advantage of a moe factor or a show’s immense popularity to boost sales of a certain product. Often times it’s a light jab of humor for the two parties involved and we all get to see more content in the end, but sometimes the efforts that go into selling the product become a little too try-hard. We here at Random Curiosity appreciate Inori Aizawa and IE11 for her love of our website, but some parts of their marketing campaign can become a bit of a stretch of applying the anime charm, such as the system sound pack that the marketing team released a few months ago. It’s clearly appealing to the moe-loving community, but oftentimes it comes off as “too cute” (at least from my perspective) and try-hard in trying to tie everything about Windows 8 and IE11 to this character.
Thus, when this episode featured such a cute operation which clearly implied a lot of themes of purity, virginity, and so-cute-im-going-to-die to a ridiculous level, I couldn’t help but laugh at the reality of it all. They appealed to many common bases, such as the standard moe, the twins that extend, the sexy and sheepish, and so on and so forth. However, what was most striking was the portrayal of fujoshi as a powerful rising market, who will eat up anything that involves the beloved yaoi and shota themes (especially so if it’s implied). While it’s not a new thing for fujoshi to be portrayed as fervent and dedicated people to their fandom, it isn’t as common to see fujoshi portrayed and mentioned as a highly profitable sector of the anime fandom, which Nourin took many liberties with today. Sex sells, but sexiness and implied innuendoes sell even better. Free and Kuroko no Basuke are prime examples of this ever-growing wing of anime, and it sure won’t stop. Whereas the traditional otaku spends a ton of money on very few things, the fujoshi market spends a lot of money on many things, therefore making the market itself easier to penetrate as a producer and easier to enter into as a purchaser than the traditional model. No wonder our 4th (or is it 5th) big farmer is famed as a legendary businesswoman–she knows what’s up.
Apart from the above, the only other thing worth mentioning was the interesting name-dropping of source material’s (light novel) illustrator, Kippu. It was strange seeing an actual staff member openly being mentioned in the show itself, but what was perceived as possible vanity faded away into a symbol of appreciation. After all, it’s not like Kippu had much say into the production of the show, so this was most likely an appreciative gesture towards the illustrator who helped popularize the light novel enough to produce an anime. Good on them for doing so–recognition of the people behind the scenes needs to happen more often.