A city in Japan has been forced to pull a online promotional video intended to boost the local eel industry following criticism that it demeaned women.
The two-minute video, set to gentle piano music, shows a teenage girl dressed in a black swimsuit, swimming, Man from Atlantis-style, in an outdoor pool and asking to be fed.
In other scenes, she is seen sitting at the poolside and playing with a hula hoop, before the advertisement takes a bizarre twist. After apparently spending a year being fattened up, she dives into the pool and transforms into an eel, offering a cheery “Goodbye” as she swims away.
The male narrator, meanwhile, describes how he had vowed to do all he could to nurture her. “I fed her delicious food until she was full, and allowed her to get plenty of sleep,” he says.
Seconds later viewers are treated to a close-up of eel being cooked on a barbecue grill. “We take great care when farming our eels,” says the narrator.
The ad went viral before it was withdrawn by Shibushi city on the south-western island of Kyushu.
Social media users described it as “perverse”.