I’ll copy/paste from an old blog post.
A few months ago (2010) I received an e-mail asking me if I could draw hentai for school children. I almost didn’t reply because that sounded too much like a hoax. But the e-mail came from an ad agency and it seemed legit. I had nothing to lose by seeing where this would go so I said I was interested. If anything, I would’ve liked to be embroiled in a scandal with demagogue pundits screaming will someone think of the children!
Next the ad agency wanted me to quote a price but couldn’t tell me exactly what the illustration was. It wasn’t their fault, the client wouldn’t tell the agency what it was, except they wanted two androgynous hentai characters. And the price needed to be final. So I overcharged a bit what I thought it could be worth, just to make sure I wouldn’t end up actually undercharging if the work happened to be more than I expected. I didn’t like doing that, but it’s not my fault the client isn’t giving me a full description of what he wants. But in the end, it turns out I charged just the right price considering the work demanded.
Two weeks pass and I don’t hear from the ad agency. I figure they found someone cheaper. I forgot about it but then the ad agency asks for my port folio. Now I got a problem. They want hentai for school children? Really?? Do they know what hentai is? Do they think hentai is a synonim for anime or manga? I don’t want to e-mail a picture of a facial cumshot and freak out the designer. So I e-mail her and ask her if she knows the difference between hentai and anime. You know hentai is porn, right? She asks me to phone her… Getting through the agency’s phone system, now I know this is legit. I talk to the designer. She explains she knows exactly what hentai is and she asked the same question to the client. She told the client that hentai is porn. The client answers, “you’re generalizing”. Uh, no she’s not. Ok, hentai means perverted and it can be something as trivial as a panty shot. But still, hentai is exploitation, it’s a type of porn.
The client’s previous ad campaign didn’t reach kids as much as they wanted. They used childish kids cartoon and nobody cared. So they want something that’s anime, but not childish. They don’t want something like Pokémon. So something more like those Bishounen and shojo or whatever it’s called (too lazy to check Wikipedia). But that’s not hentai. But why do they need to be androgynous? Like yaoi?? And did I hear something about oral sex hygiene??? I’m very confused but at least I know this is serious.
I send a non-porn port folio or my most “anime looking” illustrations. Turns out the client like the one that looks the least like anime… *sigh* But I’m approved and I can start working on the project. I’ve made an animation Gif of the whole (slow and long; you know, bureaucrats) process.
Turns out the client is the Health Ministry. It’s not about oral sex, it’s about preventing bad breath by brushing your tongue. But why are they androgynous?? I guess a boy and a girl can’t be in the same bathroom. And that was the hard part. It’s easy to draw a tomboy or an effeminate man. Or a butch or an obvious trap. But drawing someone you really can’t tell, that’s hard. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded either.
Anyway, I’ve received my paycheck today and the mirror the illustration was printed on was in the envelope. There’s a magnet behind so kids can stick it on their locker’s door. Sorry kids, maybe you’ll get some real government hentai someday.
On the one hand, I try to keep this Tumblr primarily SFW, and so apologize in advance if the above-quoted verbiage offends anyone who is here for their robot/retro fixes. On the other hand, that is probably the most insane story about art freelancing for the Canadian Ministry of Health in existence. Like, I don’t even know how many contenders there can be for that title, but I’m pretty sure this one is the winner? I barely even know how to tag this.