Busty Digimon anime figure not child-friendly enough for the West, now barred from sale overseas

 

Once again, boobs block the path between Japan and the West.

In some ways, boobs aren’t such a big deal in Japan. Long, long ago, Japanese society largely made peace with the fact that guys like boobs, and resigned itself to the fact that creators are going to, with varying levels of frequency, put generously sized mammaries into movies, video games, anime, and all other sorts of controlled visual media.

Because of that, if you watch enough Japanese animation it’s easy to become desensitized to the presence of female characters with large breasts, just like your brain may stop registering how many adult males in anime have what appear to be 22-inch waists. Because of that, no one really raised any complaints last fall when orders were being taken for a figure set of two characters from monster-rearing video game and anime franchise Digimon, Hikari and Angewomon.

Here’s eight-year-old Hikari…

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…and here’s Angewomon.

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You might notice that Angewomon’s bustiness is in starkly inverse proportion to the amount of clothes she’s wearing. Moreover, this specific rendition of the character, part of manufacturer Megahouse’s high-end G.E.M. line, seems to have made her cup size larger and outfit skimpier than they were in the Digimon anime.

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The figure’s release went off without a hitch in Japan, despite the fact that, even in the world’s foremost producer of not-for-kids animation, the Digimon series is largely aimed at, and supported by, children. In the West, though, things haven’t gone so smoothly.

Crunchyroll, the U.S.-based licensed anime streaming site, also runs an online store selling DVDs and merchandise. Among its recent offerings was the Angewoman/Hikari bundle, but earlier this week Crunchyroll informed its customers that it would be unable to fill orders for it.

In the announcement, Crunchyroll explained that Digimon’s Japanese rights holders objected to selling the figure overseas, and are “no longer providing it to North American and European retailers.”

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The Crunchyroll representative went on to say:

“This cancellation came at the order of the original rights holders. They wanted to market Digimon as a child-friendly property, and though[t] this Angewomon figure wasn’t appropriate for that image.”

For its part, Crunchyroll has been perfectly accommodating in its response to the unexpected development, issuing refunds to those who preordered, and also allowing those who had purchased the Angewomon/Hikaru set as part of a bundle with figures of other Digimon characters Angemon and Takeru to cancel their entire order (Angemon being Angewomon’s male, more clothed counterpart).

The development has left many Western fans frustrated, particularly since the figure’s hefty price tag of roughly US$100 meant that while the overall Digimon franchise may be being marketed to children, this particular Angewomon figure most definitely wasn’t. Instead, its likely target market was fans who’ve enjoyed the Digimon anime since its beginning in 1999, making them at least college-aged today and certainly old enough to enjoy looking at a fine pair of breasts.

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However, it would appear that Digimon’s Japanese rights holders feel the mere commercial existence of this sort of figure in Europe and North America, at any price point, is damaging to the franchise’s marketability to kids within those territories. That may not be an entirely unreasonable conclusion. If Disney, for example, were to release a line of Disney Princess figures with such heaving bosoms, it’s unlikely that Western parents would cut them much slack simply because they came with premium pricing.

One could argue that there’s plenty of potential return on investment in catering first and foremost to Digimon’s older fans overseas. But if Digimon has its sights set on becoming a Pokémon or Dragon Ball Z-caliber mainstream hit, it’s going to need to convince kids’ parents to buy its related products, which in turn is going to make the franchise’s handlers more sensitive to how likely Western moms and dads are to just nonchalantly shrug their shoulders at Angewomon’s prodigious pectoral assets.

▼ And that’s not even touching upon the subject of her backside.

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Unfortunately, unlike with the similarly boob-blockaded Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 beach volleyball game, buying directly from Japan and self-importing may not be a possibility, as the figure is no longer in production. As such, the only remaining option may be the second-hand figure market, complete with all the dangers it entails、but we at JWS are there to give you a helping hand…as a matter of fact why don’t you leave it up to us to find you one in mint condition?

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Rocketnews 24 edited by JWS

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