Screenshot: Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto (Crunchyroll)

TOKYO, JAPAN — What originally began as a peaceful demonstration by high school-age anime fans in Tokyo quickly turned ugly on Tuesday. A Prefecture-wide protest lamenting the limited number of window-adjacent classroom seats devolved into chaos when the Education Board formally responded, noting that altering the dimensions of classrooms to increase window-seat capacity would require entire schools to be rebuilt owing to fire safety regulations on maximum occupancy, which would be economically unfeasible. However, this event was simply the catalyst for the broiling over of decades-long cynicism and disaffection. Said one current student, “Life genuinely sucks right now. I’m stressed all the time with schoolwork and feel like a constant failure. Knowing that society expects constant success to enable your ascendency through the social strata, I could really use the boost of a window seat.”

The so-called “window-seat boost” phenomenon has proven to protect a vast number of socially aloof, self-destructive, or just plain idiotic anime protagonists from the consequences of their projected demeanours, instead catapulting them to untold romantic, social, and aspirational successes. In a positive case of television influencing children and adolescents, a 2018 psychological study comparing subsequent economic gains over a twenty-year period of anime-watching students who sat next to windows and those who did not, found that the confidence instilled by the window seat directly correlated to their greater earning power. “This is an indirect form of discrimination, because other students are just never afforded the same opportunities in life as a consequence of seating arrangements,” said one struggling salaryman who joined the students in solidarity, having sat in the centre of the middle row his entire schooling career. “Students used to window seats in the corner are unduly handed corner offices. It’s a life of privilege while the rest suffer and it has to end now.”

Despite the riots, the students are planning to present their petition to the Education Board for replacing all classroom walls with windows on Friday. The architectural and structural soundness of this plan in an earthquake-prone region has been questioned.