By Monica Martinez
Lima, Apr 28 (EFE).- The battle for Peru’s presidency began earlier this year with 18 candidates but has since been whittled down to surprise leftist hopeful Pedro Castillo and the right-wing Keiko Fujimori, who will square off in a June 6 runoff.
While the contest at the ballot box is a source of anxiety for many Peruvians, it also is providing ample material for anime artists looking to satirize the tense political environment.
In the same way that anime (Japanese animation) series kick off their new seasons with openings, or intros, filled with suspense, music and special effects, animated vignettes found on social media sites served as a curtain-raiser for Peru’s 2021 presidential election.
These politically themed anime openings have attracted a wide audience in Peru, which since the 1990s has been a sizable consumer market for that animation genre.
After the first round of voting on April 11, an anime intro titled “2021 Peru General Elections” by artist Jesus Felix-Diaz de los Santos, known by the pseudonym Polo Verde, was uploaded to YouTube and other social media sites.
The less than two-minute clip shows Peru’s recent former heads of state leaving the presidential sash with a large group of contenders, each of whom is systematically ridiculed until the ribbon finally ends up in the hands of Castillo.
“Everything I did is really a satire. You see a candidate known as ‘Porky’ (Rafael Lopez Aliaga), another candidate (Cesar Acuña) who says ‘plata como cancha’ (a large amount of money) and ‘I’m going to bring the vaccines in my jet, in my helicopter,'” Polo Verde said in an interview with Efe.
The viral piece (which has now had over a half-million views) has been well-received by most but also sparked some criticism.
“I’ve also encountered people who’ve thrown a lot of hate my way. They asked me why I put Castillo at the end, if perhaps I knew (the election result) or why Keiko doesn’t die like the other characters if I’m red (a communist),” the artist said.
Polo Verde now is working on a second part of his anime opening – the final face-off between Castillo, a rural teacher who came out of nowhere to qualify for the runoff; and the ex-first lady and daughter of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori.
Another audiovisual artist known as Jotaro also launched his own anime opening for the 2021 elections on the Facebook and YouTube pages of Vanguardia Peruana.
“One of the things that caught my attention was the sheer number of parties, and there was an enormous sense of uncertainty that persisted until just a few days before the election. It felt like a story I could tell,” he told Efe.
The Vanguardia Peruana piece, a combination of anime and real video, shows a number of candidates competing for the presidency under the watchful eye of the heroes of Peru’s independence.
“What’s happening here is fascinating. There’s absolutely no one who doesn’t have something you can do a caricature of, whether for something he or she did or someone around them did. There’s an endless wellspring of humor (you can tap into) in Peru,” Jotaro said. EFE