petition organizer says agricultural group has pledged their continued support to the anime schoolgirl idol.

Regional produce marketing isn’t usually a hotbed of controversy, but a rare exception occurred this month surrounding a partnership between Shizuoka Prefecture agricultural cooperative JA (Japan Agriculture) Nansun and Love Live!, the smash-hit idol schoolgirl anime franchise. As part of a cross-promotion, Chika Takami, a character from Love Live! Sunshine!!, which is set in Shizuoka, appeared in advertisements posing with locally grown Nishiura Mikan mandarin oranges.

▼ Chika’s voice actress, Anju Inami, and the promotional illustration

However, some people took issue with the way in which Chika’s skirt is drawn. While some see the dark lines in the skirt’s middle section as innocent contours adding some visual dimension to a piece of flat artwork, some others saw it as deliberately clinging to the character’s figure in order to accentuate her crotch. Such negative attention caused the LaLaport shopping center in Numazu, the city where Chika and her in-anime friends live, to take down its Love! Live!!/JA Nansun banners on February 16, just four days after they’d been put up in the complex.

In response, supporters of the character/franchise created a petition, asking that the artwork be reinstated. The petition organizer has now posted an update saying that he has been contacted by JA Nansun, who assure him that Chika will continue to be their spokescharacter.

According to the organizer, JA Nansun’s statement says “We appreciate the support of the many people who have signed the petition, which has been a great encouragement to everyone involved with the project…We intend to continue having Chika Takami as an ambassador for Nishiura Mikan, and to continue moving forward with various active promotions with Love Live! Sunshine!!”

It’s worth noting that even after the Love Live! banners/posters were taken down at LaLaport, they could still be found at some local grocery stores and JA markets, and also that the quotes from the JA response shared by the petition organizer make no mention of whether or not the ongoing partnership with Chika will continue to use the same artwork, or a new illustration with an less contoured skirt.

Source: via Jin
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