Mexican TV is awesome.
And by “Awesome” I mean TOTALLY EFFING WEIRD MAN.
Most of what you’ll find is “Telenovelas”, programs similar to Soap Operas that feature lots of drama. Most are serials in which a long-form story is told, usually through over-dramatic acting, ridiculous camera shots and mostly amateur acting that makes serious appreciators of the performing arts flinch in existential Lovecraftian horror.
There are other types, though, which feature individual stories. “La Rosa de Guadalupe” is one of them. Its basic premise is this: There’s a situation that is very dramatic. The situation evolves and becomes something that the people in the episode can’t seem to deal with; one of the characters offers a prayer to the Virgin of Guadalupe, who in turn creates a miracle through a white rose, that manages to solve the entire situation.
Essentially it’s an entire “Telenovela” dedicated to the concept of the Deus Ex Machina, and as such, it’s incredibly HILARIOUS: Bad Acting + Bad Scripting + Bad Argument = LULZ, LULZ EVERYWHERE. Of course, every episode also ends up being a story about family values and ethics, but for most of us it’s more about the unintentional laughs than the very intentional lecturing.
So it comes as no surprise that when an episode deals with Otaku culture, some people in Mexico would get up in arms.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know Spanish, the plot is ridiculously simple: The girl believes she’s some kind of Anime character, to the point she uses Cosplay at School, much to the chagrin of her family and teachers. She’s followed around by a minion-type who also wears cosplay, and they do all sorts of Otaku-type stuff. Her mother tries to convince her to stop dressing up, to no avail. And there’s that douche who tries to rape her, too.
Many Mexican Otaku took this as an offense.
They claimed it was done in poor taste, that it damaged their image and that they would boycott Televisa, the network that produces and airs this show.
Of course, they are also incredibly gullible and short-sighted: Without seeing the entire program, it is essentially impossible to make a proper valuation of the contents, and whether the program is made to look Cosplayers look bad, or anything.
Well, it turns out the whole thing aired yesterday, and I watched most of it.
The plot points raised above are actually less than half of the episode: The girl does need a dose of reality, as she uses her hobby as a way to escape from reality. Her father left her and her mom when she was younger. As “Perla” she feels lonely, but not as her character “Namiko Moon”.
Not all her family was against her hobbies. Grandma tries to convince Mom (Whose husband left her) that she should sit with her daughter, try to get into the stuff she likes so she can understand her and help her. In fact, the Grandma confesses that the girl’s mom used to like old anime as well (Candy Candy as a matter of fact), including slightly embarrassing anecdotes.
Mom tries to investigate about the girl’s tastes, and she doesn’t seem to understand them. Grandma turns out to be Awesome and Wise: “Talk to her, let her see that you’re interested in her and her stuff”. Great stuff!
Girl gets too crazy, and even her Cosplaying minion-buddy tries to convince her that she’s taking this whole thing too seriously.
Of course, the main source of DRAMA comes from the girl and her minion-friend, who get bullied the shit outta them at school.
And there’s that one guy who likes her, and by “likes her” I mean “would like to get into her trousers”. He waits until she’s alone and tries to do unspeakable things to her, until her cousin arrives with his friends to save her.
The cousin reveals to the rest of the family that she’s been bullied. Mom tries to convince her that she should dress normally to avoid problems, but the girl argues that no one should be bullying her because of the way she dresses.
Mom talks with grandma, and decides to pray to the Virgin of Guadalupe, that she can understand and talk to her daughter, and not the character she’s created. That her daughter stops believing she’s an animated character…
A MIRACLE IS GRANTED!
Mom tries to approach her, says she wants to understand her… BREAKTHROUGH!
Mom goes to the School and demands punishment for Would-Be-Rapist Boy, and he’s suspended from school for 3 days. Of course, the boy’s friends only increase the bullying.
The girl grows increasingly CRAZIER. Her friend and cousin try to convince her she’s taking it too far, and the girl just doesn’t get it.
Mom begins to get more involved with her daughter, watching anime and singing karaoke (?!).
Girl gets bullied again, the Bad Kids steal her notes, so she needs to take them all over again… But Mom offers to help. Their relationship steadily gets better and better, as mom gets involved.
Days later, the bullies catch up with the girl and her friend, and threaten to kill them. When they leave school, the fight ensues! They get beat up, though. As she’s tending to her daughters wounds, Mom says she has a mission too… A mission to help her daughter.
The next day, the kids are threatened again. Only this time, someone comes to the rescue…
Yes. It’s Cosplay Mom. The bullies leave, either frightened or embarrassed, and Mom talks to the principal about the bullying. She then talks to the class, explaining about tolerance to others.
Then she talks to her daughter, about how even if she dresses like a cartoon, she is not one.
The daughter stops being ridiculous! They all hug and now understand each other. We get a final message about respect and tolerance, and the thing ends.
So, what have we learned here?
We learned that they’re not representing Otaku as a bunch of people who are disconnected with reality: The girl’s friend is also an Otaku, and he spends half the time worried that the girl is taking things too seriously.
We learned that people should not be discriminated by the way they dress, or by the things they liked.
We also learned that parents need to be involved with their children, at least trying to understand their hobbies.
But most importantly we learned that the REAL Mexican Otaku are really, REALLY paranoid by raising such a fuss over a program that, if anything, is 100% positive and in their favor.
Also, the pictures don’t convey how incredibly RIDIHILARIOUS the whole thing is. Seriously, I wanted to crack half of the time, but I was busy in a place where laughing like that would have been poor taste, so I had to contain it all.
So, lesson for you, Mexican Otaku who complained about this episode: Get that fucking stick out of your ass and GROW THE FUCK UP.
Don’t judge before you’re given THE FACTS.
Now if you’ll excuse me, these steaks ain’t cooking on their own.