from yoshiki takahashi
"Some crazy motherfucker just stabbed more than 10 people in Akihabara,
seems like 4 or 5 dead.
Some source say that he crashed into Hokoten people with a car, then
started to stab everybody including cops.
The killer is now arrested."
Update: "The killer says that he did it because he was 'tired of life'."
I just saw the TV news footage from Akiba on my jet lagged little set in San Francisco. The camera closes in on multiple puddles of blood in the street. A blue umbrella left behind in the panic. Crowds cower behind green makeshift police barriers in front of Sofmap, right near the new Manadarake Complex. The tourist spot has become a crime scene. Matt and I were in the same spot only a few days ago...
The timing could not have been worse. The energy was already flagging in Electric Town as the area was slowly becoming a police state in the wake of crackdowns on street idols and cosplayers (the TV is now praising the already-elevated police presence in the area, saying there would have been more mayhem if not for them).
But even if the perpetrator, or the media - bless them - doesn't blame it all on moe figures and hentai doujinshi, you know, the "otaku boom", the deal has been sealed, the epoch has been crossed, and the new message is not "Yokoso Japan."
This guy just killed Akihabara the way Charles Manson killed the sixties. And we're all under arrest now...
24 hours later...
Just to clarify, even with those loving close-ups of those manga-style notebook doodles, I don’t the media will peg this as a return of the Murdering Otaku archetype.
With Akihabara successfully re-branded as a major port of call in the “Cool Japan” myth, there’s just too much money at stake to burn it all down now.
My Manson parallel is more about a crime that becomes a turning point for the scene that spawned it, and less about the vilification of the perpetrator(s).
Even if anime and maid cafes don’t go under the microscope this time, I think Akihabara going to be made “safe” again with the help of lots of cops, spot checks, and probably the end of the Hokoten. See also: Harajuku in the late nineties.
And back then, there wasn’t even a body count.