It took less than six months for people to start lewding the anime character statues at the new Ghibli theme park in Japan, and this is why we can’t have nice things.
Ghibli Park in Aichi Prefecture opened its doors to the public this past November 1st and, mostly, has been greeted with acceptance by fans and families as a lovely place to interact with some of your favorite Ghibli worlds and characters. Unfortunately, although the park is meant to be where people can bring their families to enjoy nature and anime in one place, a few bad apples have already soured the experience for many others, and the silence coming from Ghibli representatives isn’t helping matters at all.
One exhibit in Ghibli Park is the Grand Warehouse which houses many lifesize statues of characters from various Ghibli works… including some underage female characters. Do you see where I’m going with this? That’s right. Starting February 22nd of this year, photos began emerging online showing people sexually assaulting various statues, including groping the breasts of mid-teenage character Therru from Tales from Earthsea or taking up-skirt pictures of the preteen-aged character of Marnie from When Marnie Was There. I’m not saying that these acts would be any better if the characters were portrayed as adults, but seriously, can we all agree that this whole thing is generally creepy?
— mayu (@lemonade_u_u) March 9, 2023
Once the pictures emerged on Twitter in Japan, fans of the park demanded answers from the park administration but were met with something worse than deafening silence; almost complete indifference. When asked for a comment on the photos by media outlets, the park curtly stated that they wouldn’t be commenting on the matter.
That didn’t stop Aichi governor Hideaki Omura (whom you might remember as the government official who isn’t afraid to show up to work in cosplay when appropriate) from stepping up to the podium and releasing an official statement reading:
“These displays are there so that everyone, from children to adults, can immerse themselves in the works of Studio Ghibli. It’s extremely unpleasant for photos like these to be uploaded to social media. It’s extremely regrettable and I sincerely want it to stop.”
Continuing, Omura stated he hopes that any park attendees who see such acts in the future will report it to staff members so that the park can deal with it quickly. He also stated that those who wish to behave this way should not go to the park.
Meanwhile, those of us overseas who are still jealous of those who can visit Ghibli Park in peace will have to content ourselves with browsing the Ghibli section of J-List and finding our next piece of nostalgic bliss.