We know, we know — we’ve been uncharacteristically out of touch with the Japanese political scene lately. So here’s what you need to know: Notorious manga fan Taro Aso, currently the secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, is the presumptive next prime minister of Japan. And, okay, yeah, sure there are probably a few reasons why Aso will likely win office — his extensive foreign-policy experience, perhaps, or his willingness to open communication channels with China. But based on our ongoing analysis of the country’s political situation, support from the manga base — fans have given him a manga-inspired nickname and he even has a store (Our Taro) named after him in the manga-crazed Akihabara section of Tokyo, which declares him to be a “cool old dude” — is critical.
And frankly, we’ve never been more jealous of another country. Why is it that Americans aren’t making more political decisions based on the High Fidelity dating rules — “what really matters is what you like, not what you are like”? Maybe it’s not too late for Obama and McCain to find an edge by courting devotees of certain cultural subgenres; in the wake of Aso’s manga-fueled run, could this finally be the year that the blackened death-metal community decides the election?