Aqours would not approve.

Last February a trial began in which a 28-year-old man was charged with stealing a large amount of school property because he was infatuated with the anime Love Live! Sunshine!! This month, the man responsible for trespassing and taking a range of classroom items from A/V equipment to desks was handed down a suspended sentence of four years for a two-year prison sentence, and we were given a much clearer picture as to why he did it in the first place.

According to testimony during the trial, after graduating from school the man moved out of his family home and rented a house in Shizuoka City where he got a job as a care-giver. Amidst the loneliness of his new living situation he had become engrossed in Love Live! Sunshine!! The anime which follows a group of students forming an idol group in a coastal city of Shizuoka Prefecture made him increasingly nostalgic for his own school days.

He decided to recreate the room where the characters would hold their music club on the second floor of his home, and at first bought a new desk online. However, it didn’t have the worn-in look that the school desks he remembered had, so for the full effect he made the decision to steal the rest from actual schools.

At the trial he officially stood accused of illegally entering three high schools within a four kilometer (2.5-mile) radius of his home, but he admitted that there were more. Each time he traveled by bicycle, entering unlocked doors and taking as much as he could carry each time, which on a bicycle isn’t much.

He wasn’t subtle either, and he was spotted by neighbors more than once. In one instance he even crossed paths with and officer on patrol who stopped him for questioning while riding his bike with an amp in the basket and a desk under his arm. However, he told police that he was returning home from performing at Shizuoka Station, and was allowed to go on his way.

By the summer of 2021, he had collected about 15 desks, but realizing that he would need 30 to recreate the classroom properly, he decided to step up his efforts. In one particularly daring raid of a high school last October he reportedly stole 18 desks, a TV, extension cords, a long table, text books, tennis balls, trophies and more all in one night, making about 10 trips back and forth.

▼ A news report showing the absurdly huge haul

It would seem that fell into the classic trap of wanting to pull just one last big score, taking pretty much everything he’d need to complete his room and then some, but the sheer scale of this job brought a lot of heat.  By 11 November, police were able to track down and arrest the man. Charged with stealing about 83,000 yen (US$616) in school equipment, he pled guilty and threw himself on the mercy of the court, appearing at the trial in a sweatshirt and nervously telling the court that he was suffering from homesickness and wanted to reconnect with his youth.

While handing down the sentence, the Shizuoka District Court judge told him: “If you want to immerse yourself in a school drama, that’s fine, but the means that you took to do it were illegal. It was a selfish idea that caused a great deal of trouble to many students. Recognize the trouble that you caused and try to live a decent life so as not to commit the same offense again.”

Since all of the items were returned and the judge deemed that the man suffered other social punishments such as the loss of his job, he ruled that a suspended sentence was sufficient in this matter. Hopefully, the man can begin to emulate a more forward-thinking anime that deals with the joy of gaining independence. Kiki’s Delivery Service might be a good start.

Source: FNN Online Prime, Anata no Shizuoka Shimbun, Itai News
Top image: Pakutaso
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