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'Rurouni Kenshin' creator’s child porn case fallout continues with movie broadcasts cancelled

12 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

The Japanese entertainment world is still reeling from the revelation earlier this week that Nobuhiro Watsuki, creator of manga and anime franchise "Rurouni Kenshin," had been collecting child porn. While Watsuki is yet to be formally arrested or convicted, he is presently under investigation on suspicion of violating Child Prostitution and Child Pornography Law, and his admission to possession of pornographic images of underage girls, plus telling investigators “I liked girls between the ages of upper elementary school students to about the second year of junior high,” has been seen as fairly damning evidence by the general public.

Japanese celebrities, in general, don’t enjoy nearly the same lenience for criminal offenses that their Western counterparts do, and the incident is already affecting the production and distribution of the "Rurouni Kenshin" franchise. Almost as soon as news broke about Watsuki’s child pornography collection, publisher Shueisha announced it would be suspending the serialization of the just-launched, Watsuki-drawn "Rurouni Kenshin" manga continuation, and now the hammer is dropping again, this time on the live-action "Rurouni Kenshin" films.

A rare bright spot in the often foolhardy genre of anime-to-live-action category (yes, even Japan itself can drop the ball on such endeavors), the first live-action "Rurouni Kenshin" movie was released in 2012, and while it wasn’t a smash hit, reactions from existing fans, series newcomers, and film critics were almost universally positive. A pair of successful sequels were released just six weeks apart in 2014, and the sustained popularity of the trilogy had convinced Japanese satellite TV network NECO to broadcast all three films back-to-back-to-back on the evening of Nov 25, just four days after the Watasuki investigation was publicly announced.

NECO has now decided to cancel the films’ broadcast, replacing the "Rurouni Kenshin" trilogy with other programming including a documentary on Japanese fishermen and anime crossover "Lupan III vs. Detective Conan The Movie." “We take the allegations of illegal activity by the original creator very seriously, and will be substituting other programs,” NECO said in a statement, adding “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, but ask for your understanding.”

▼ Trailer for the second and third live-action "Rurouni Kenshin" films.

As a live-action venture, the "Rurouni Kenshin" movie trilogy isn’t quite the direct-from-Watsuki’s-mind product that the manga is. Watsuki’s only credit for the films is as “original creator,” and the on-screen presence of flesh-and-blood performers also helps act as a mental cushion between the films and the franchise’s creator in a way that manga and anime don’t.

Still, NECO apparently feels that the association between Watsuki, and his societally reprehensible tastes, are currently too strong for it to air the films. It’s likely this won’t be the last time a Japanese media distributor opts not to handle the franchise, and NECO’s decision to distance itself from the films may indicate that a rumored fourth live-action "Rurouni Kenshin" movie now faces a very difficult road in getting green-lit.

Sources: Livedoor News/J Cast News via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Rurouni Kenshin trailer has rocking theme, gorgeous sets, dudes trying to stab each other

-- Rurouni Kenshin comes to picture-perfect life as photos of stage musical’s cast are released

-- Rurouni Kitty! Sanrio’s beloved cat cosplays as anime’s iconic swordsman in plushie form

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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Note: "published Shueisha" should be "publisher Shueisha"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japanese celebrities, in general, don’t enjoy nearly the same lenience for criminal offenses that their Western counterparts do...

Huh?! So he's gonna be jailed for a half-decade and then have to register as a sex criminal, knocking on doors so as to inform his neighbors as to this? No? I didn't think so - but he should have to, and he would if he lived in America.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He deserves his career is ruined for ever.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japanese celebrities, in general, don’t enjoy nearly the same lenience for criminal offenses that their Western counterparts do...

Let's not kid ourselves here! That's simply not true! Japanese celebrities serve almost no jailtime regardless of offense with maybe a small few exceptions. In most cases, it is the opposite here. There will be no requirement to register as sex offender. Most celebrities here get a suspended sentence as long as their bow is low enough. They just wait until the heat dies down then they make a miraculous comeback thanks to the "Talento" agency network.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

his admission to ownership of naked minors

Wait, whaaaaat?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese celebrities, in general, don’t enjoy nearly the same lenience for criminal offenses that their Western counterparts do...

What nonsense.

Remember Kusanagi of SMAP running around drunk and naked in public? Prosecutors decided not to charge him because of his apology (and, obviously, his Johnny's badge). That kind of crap does not, 'in general', happen among Japan's 'Western counterparts'. Ditto meth-heads Noriyuki Makihara, Kazuhiro Kiyohara, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@plasticmonkey, About 20 years ago (I was a teenager), one of Johnny's boys published a book detailing the sexual harrassment at Johnny's Jimusho by Johnny himself. the first time Johnny called you into his room for the night, that means you were about to make your debut. it is all out there, and yet, nothing happened. Not even when the story was taken up by the New York Times.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is quite a shame though that the art is the only victim of this particular case. I hope they let him off the hook and he someday finishes that long-running series of his.

And then go incarcerate for a millenium whatever.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Child porn is sold in EVERY Japanese adult video store in Japan. What is considered legal in Japan is child porn in the rest of the civilized world. I am sorry, this should come as no surprise to anyone. Every adult store here sells videos of 12 years olds dancing around and in lewd positions in bathing suits. Just because there is no nudity doesn't mean it isnt child pornogrpahy. This is perfectly legal in Japan and should not be allowed.

If we talk about anime and manga, as much as I am a fan, they straight up have child sex and nudity. I mean... just take Eva for example. I know it's an old example, but a major franchise. The main characters, Asuka and Rei are 14 years old yet merchandised as sex symbols and no one blinks an eye. Body pillows with them in bathing suits. Action figures with them in underwear. 14 years old. It is mentioned many times in manga and explained many times in the anime.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Child porn is sold in EVERY Japanese adult video store in Japan.

Yeeeahhh.... :D

Every adult store here sells videos of 12 years olds dancing around and in lewd positions in bathing suits.

Yeeeahhh.... :D

>

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Check your privilege, Stepooutsidethebox. This is called "CULTURE" and "ART" in their stores and is sold in the respective divisions. Also, coloured.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Pedophilia is hardwired into Japanese pop culture. There’s no getting around it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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