There’re dumb otaku, and then there are dumb otaku who need to make a 300-kilometer (186-mile) trip just to get arrested.


A little over a month ago, two teenage boys set out on a lengthy journey, chasing their dream. One was a 17-year-old from the city of Kasukabe in Saitama Prefecture, while the other was a 16-year-old from Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, and their destination was the coastal town of Numazu, in Shizuoka Prefecture.

That sounds like a touching tale of friendship, and it sort of is. Unfortunately, the dream they shared was a dream of vandalizing Numazu’s Love! Live!! anime-themed manhole covers.

For those unfamiliar with Japanese geography, it’s roughly 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Kasukabe to Numazu, requiring a train ride of more than three hours. Still, the boys were determined, and once they arrived in Numazu, the setting of Love Live!’s second arc, Love Live! Sunshine!!, they achieved their goal by scratching an undisclosed number of the nine manhole covers (each of which features the face of a different anime schoolgirl) with a metal tool. The crime occurred on May 27, less than 10 days after the covers, which were paid for through a crowdfunding project, had been initially installed.

The boys decided to film themselves in the act, with one holding the camera while the other did the damage, later uploading the video to a Japanese social media service. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t just fans of Love Live!’s rival series The Idolmaster who watched the video, though. Among its viewers were investigators from the Shizuoka Prefectural Police’s juvenile and cyber crime sections, who were able to determine the boys’ identities and arrested them both on July 2.

▼ A clip from the video in question

The boys have been described by the authorities as fans of Love Live!, which suggests that they targeted manhole covers with specific characters they dislike or feel are inferior to their favorites. The pair stands accused of property damage, though an exact date of arraignment is yet to be set, as the police are still investigating whether the boys had additional accomplices. No comment has been made regarding whether or not they are also suspected of being behind the painting over of a number of the anime manhole covers, which occurred on June 6.

Following the various cases of vandalism, Numazu has replaced the Love Live! Sunshine!! covers with regular, plain versions. The city says it hopes to reinstall the anime covers as soon as possible, but currently has no timeframe for doing so.

As for the two boys, taking a 300-kilometer round trip just to get arrested for anime vandalism is a special combination of stupid and immature, and sort of makes one wonder if they’d be ready to become legal adults at 18 under Japan’s new law.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/Shizuoka Shimbun via Otakomu
Top image: Numazu City