I’d like to start off by saying I like Digimon Tamers quite a bit, because what better metaphor for capitalism being terrible is there than “Internet Cthulhu wants all of your trading cards”?
Allison’s take on consumerism and its larger relationship with Japanese export and culture is both centered around and deeply intertwined with the reception Japanese entertainment has received in the West. Even moreso is the relationship between the argument and who the culture is being received by. That is to say, Allison’s book is just as much about targeted marketing and clever capitalists as it is the terror that is Pokemon’s shadow. Allison doesn’t ever come out and say it directly, but I think a large part of what makes this culture such a skinnerbox is that it’s targeted directly at the people that consume it. Her assessment of Sailor Moon and the “money shot” is perfect in this regard; Sailor Moon is certainly a feminist story aimed at young women. But damn did old men flock to stores to buy manga for the sake of seeing Usagi’s “moneyshot” scene.
Allison’s assessment of Pokemon as a method of self-perpetuating capitalism ties into another idea that I’d been toying with but never really put down on paper. That is, Japan’s odd obsession (perhaps hangup?) on imperialism has lead to a necessity for domination outside of the military sector. It makes me wonder how Japanese media appears to its victimized countries — namely, if things like Pokemon’s “global domination” (and the language used often to describe the likes of Pokemon and things like You-Kai Watch) bring to mind memories better left undisturbed.
Japan is, most certainly, guilty of its past imperial monstrosities. They have been historically bad at apologies, historically bad at owning up and taking responsibility. Part of me wonders if this is because doing so would be hypocritical in the face of Japan’s ridiculous cultural imperialism; If Japan is anything, it is stubborn in its views. Accepting that they had done bad in the past would ultimately mean condemning, in some regard, their current actions as a global superpower.
Thankfully, at least Allison noticed.