JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – While some countries snort derisively at Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea, in Japan it’s been love at first sight with the Republic’s new attorney general.

Natalia Poklonskaya

A screenshot of the ‘famous’ press conference.

In the immediate aftermath of the Russian land grab, a press conference featuring 34-year-old Natalia Poklonskaya went viral — and it wasn’t because of her legal genius. Radio station Voice of Russia reported the matters discussed were in fact quite serious. “I tell the truth and I’m not afraid of this truth,” the young attorney reportedly said. “Let them bring legal cases against me.”

But viewers in Japan, lacking translations, were left to base their first impression on more superficial aspects of her debut.

This odd fascination with Poklonskaya began with a single Japanese tweet including a link to the press conference video and a screenshot of the new prosecutor. The tweet, which translates to “Crimea’s new attorney general oh oh oh,” has since garnered nearly 10,000 retweets and inspired several anime-style portraits of her by artists in Japan, South Korea, and China. Much of this work can be found on popular Japanese websites, namely 2ch and pixiv.Artwork 1

Thankfully, Poklonskaya’s newfound Internet fandom did not go unnoticed in Russia, with local TV networks asking for her reaction. In one interview with NTV  she responded defensively, saying she wanted “to be viewed as the Attorney General” and evaluated solely on her professional performance. In a separate session Poklonskaya was more candid, calling the phenomenon a “great surprise.”

As the trend has grown, netizens on 2ch, Japan’s largest online forum, defend the portraits, insisting Poklonskaya isn’t being reduced to a mere “sex symbol.” Instead, they say, she’s being portrayed as an “anime heroine,” certainly a rare positive light within the Crimea controversy.

For those interested in seeing more art, you can follow this twitter account. The user, claiming to be the prosecutor herself, has been retweeting several pieces, many of which are quite well done!