Agricultural cooperative group JA Nansun, known for their work in assisting local farmers and holding markets in various regions of Japan, partnered with the idol series Love Live! Sunshine!! to promote the Nishiura Mikan (kinda like a mandarin, technically an orange but classified as a separate citrus fruit), appointing the character Chika Takami as its ambassador. Chika's image is used on limited edition boxes, adverts and posters to promote the Mikan, but one image in particular has been gathering controversy.
On the right is Anju Inami, Chika's VA, next to the offending image. You might think she's wearing the same outfit as Chika (apart from the sash, obviously), but the controversy lies in the skirt - the reason people are complaining is because it looks transparent and shows her no-no zone. Some have been defending it, saying it's just a crease in the fabric and people are overreacting, even posting diagrams to demonstrate their side of the argument.
Sure, it's not an entirely realistic depiction of a skirt crease, but who says anime has to be realistic? Meanwhile, others are pointing out that the crease is intended to draw attention to her crotch. One person demonstrated this by editing Chika's skirt, lenghtening it and removing the crease to reflect the one Inami is wearing. Here it is on the left, with the original on the right:
This debate has gotten so hot that LaLaport mall in Numazu, which held the inaugration of the promotion and featured an exhibition of adverts featuring Chika, removed it after only four days, although other stores are still displaying the poster. Anju's been sadly recieving hate mail for choosing to promote something that allegedly sexualises a minor, despite not having any input on the poster herself. However, the promotion is still succesful among fans of the series; the limited edition Nishiura Mikan boxes featuring Chika's image have sold out and there's even a petition to reinstate the exhibition in LaLaport. The organiser of the petition eventually recieved a reply from JA Nansun, assuring that Chika is still the spokeperson of the Nishiura Mikan. The statement says:
“We appreciate the support of the many people who have signed the petition, which has been a great encouragement to everyone involved with the project…We intend to continue having Chika Takami as an ambassador for Nishiura Mikan, and to continue moving forward with various active promotions with Love Live! Sunshine!!”
We don't know yet if the LaLaport exhibition will actually be reinstated or if they'll redesign the controversial image, but what do you guys make of this? Is it just a crease or is the skirt see-through? Is this even worth making such a big deal out of? Let us know what you think in the comments!