Japanese anime inspires real-life teenage thieves

Japanese anime inspires real-life teenage thieves

Nothing wrong with developing your fantasy of becoming an anime character ... until you break the law

japan teenage thievesA fan poses next to Detective Conan -- let's hope she doesn't follow in his rival's footsteps too.It’s no longer a surprise in Japan if someone falls in love with a fictional anime character so much that they dress up as them, or even get married to them. 

But three Japanese boys living in Izu Oshima, aged from 16 to 19, took an even more unconventional approach in showing their adulation for an anime character. 

“We don’t have so much amusement in this island, so we wanted to be thrilled,” they confessed after being arrested for committing theft about 20 times throughout this year, with the total amount of damages estimated at ¥670,000. They had a nickname for themselves: “Phantom Thief Kids in Oshima.” 

Phantom Thief Kid is one of the fictional characters in a Japanese anime, “Detective Conan,” an adventure comic telling stories of seven-year-old Conan Edogawa cracking numerous criminal cases. Phantom Thief Kid, a notorious and highly skilled thief, is the arch rival of Conan. 

Detective Conan has been on air since 1996, with its early episodes more graphic than those from recent years. Its handling of murder cases is now less gruesome, for instance. 

But concerns have been rising among Conan fans over possible greater restrictions on the show's sensational cases and seemingly attractive criminals, to avoid more copycats like the Oshima boys.

That hasn't stopped some from having a laugh at the teenagers' expense. Responses on local blogs include:

“You know, the whole point of Phantom Thief Kid is he never gets caught.”

“¥670,000? Wow they are nowhere near the Kid’s standard.”

“I guess the news publishers meant a ‘9-year-old boy’ when they said 19 years old, right?”

There's nothing wrong with getting into anime characters -- but don't get your hands dirty because of your love. 

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