This past weekend, the citizens of Argentina participated in the elections to determine who will occupy the presidency of the country during the period 2023-2027. In a surprising turn of events, Javier Milei emerged as the winner in the second round, taking over as of December 10.
The highlight of this election is the peculiar label that had been attributed to Milei: “the otaku candidate.” In the background of this designation, statements even emerged within the community of manga and anime fans in Argentina, expressing both support and rejection of this peculiar candidate. This article is not to celebrate or regret it, it is to analyze what happened here.
This phenomenon could point to an intriguing trend in the mix between otaku culture and politics in Latin America. Milei’s victory could be considered an indication that the otaku community, previously seen as apolitical, could perhaps begin to be considered in future electoral propaganda in different countries.
The idea of manga and anime becoming electoral tools not only in Argentina, but also in other nations in Latin America, raises questions about the influence of popular culture in the political arena. One could argue that, in an environment where “anything goes” in politics, the uniqueness and popularity of otaku culture could be used as strategies to attract new voters.
However, this possible intertwining between politics and the otaku community would not be without problems. Some fear that this political incursion could change the very essence of the otaku experience, turning something that was previously enjoyable into an ideological battlefield.
The introduction of political agendas could create divisions within the community, leading to internal debates and possibly alienating those seeking to escape politics within their entertainment space. The use of manga and anime for electoral purposes could ultimately dilute the authenticity of this subculture, negatively affecting those who have been fans for a long time.
Thus, Javier Milei’s victory in Argentina raises questions about the effect that otaku culture had in politics. (massive advertising through memes, thousands of people in Latin America met Milei after being related to Chainsaw Man by the media). However, it also warns about the possible risks of politicizing a community that had always been considered “reserved and exempt from social issues.”