The opening is innocent enough, who could see the terror and hardship that was to come as a result of this cartoon. I mean it was a recipe for success, the bright colours, friendly music, and an adorable raccoon. Note that I said ‘raccoon’ not raccoons, because as modern Japan has grown to fear; a ‘raze of raccoons’ is a far more alarming threat than a simple ‘rascal’. The success of Rascal the Raccoon was unprecedented as Japanese children begged their parents for their own pet raccoon to take with them on adventure like Rascal and his friends. The sheer number is hard to comprehend, but up to 1,500 raccoons were imported per year beginning with the success of the show.
However as the we know from our first hand experience in the West with raccoons and not the portrayal from an anime raccoons are not pets. The owners of these destructive and sometimes aggressive species soon were soon given the privileged of the first hand experience in what I can only estimate in a very short time span.
The trouble does not stop there however as the as the population soon took new commands from the overlord Rascal the Raccoon in which a scene shows the family returning Rascal to the wild. With no forethought at all, or perhaps simple negligence the whimsically purchased raccoons were almost thrown to the forests of japan in a mass exodus as the series reached it’s finale.
The raccoons did what came naturally bred and the descendants of the Rascal generation are still living in 42 of 47 prefectures (Regions in Japan). This nation wide epidemic has taken a large toll on the many temples of Japan equating to almost 80% of the recorded damage. The raccoon has no known predators in Japan and efforts to cull the species have been met with failure.
Perhaps a new anime needs to be introduced to Japan, The Cuddly Cougar or Bobbie the Bobcat.