entertainment

Following artist’s child porn conviction, 'Rurouni Kenshin' manga restarts in Japan, but not America

10 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Last fall, manga artist Nobuhiro Watsuki, creator of anime/manga franchise "Rurouni Kenshin," was found to be in possession of child pornography depicting naked girls aged 15 or younger. Repercussions were swift from the scandal-averse Japanese entertainment industry, as Watsuki’s popular "Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc" manga was immediately put on hiatus and TV broadcasts of the live-action "Kenshin" movies were cancelled.

However, when his legal punishment was handed down in April, Watsuki got off with a modest 200,000-yen fine, with no jail time he would have to serve. Things started looking up for him even more in early May, when Shueisha, publishers of monthly manga anthology "Jump Square," announced that "Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc" would be returning to its pages.

True to their word, a new Hokkaido Arc arc chapter was part of the latest issue of "Jump Square," which went on sale in Japan on June 4. Kenshin himself was even featured in the lower right corner of the cover, along with the proclamation “Serialization restarts,” along with Watsuki’s credit as artist/author and one for his wife, Kaoru Kurosaki, as a story collaborator, a role she’s had since the arc began.

No special page or notice inside the issue addressed Watsuki’s crime or hiatus. However, it’s common practice for manga authors to write a short message to readers, which appears at the back of the issue in its table of contents, and Watsuki’s said: “I deeply apologize for causing trouble and worrying everyone. I will do my sincere best.”

While, in the eyes of the law, Watsuki’s debt to society has been paid, critics could argue that he sounds more concerned about making fans sweat over whether or not they’d get to read more of his manga than the social ramifications of child pornography. For many people living in the English-speaking world, a mainstream comic book artist bouncing back from such a scandal in just over half a year would be unthinkable, or at least abhorrent. Perhaps that’s why even though "Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc" has restarted in Japan, the new content hasn’t yet been made available in the U.S.

Before Watsuki’s child pornography charges, the "Hokkaido Arc" had been digitally distributed in the U.S. by Viz Media, which is partially owned by Shueisha. Viz simultaneously published the chapters in English through its English-language digital version of manga anthology "Weekly Shonen Jump." However, in its latest edition, which was also released on June 4 (which would correspond to June 5 in Japan, one day after the new "Jump Square" hit store shelves), the new "Rurouni Kenshin" chapter is nowhere to be found.

Viz Media hasn’t put out a statement officially declaring that it will never handle the title again, and there’s a possibility that the new chapter’s absence was simply due to the translation or international rights clearance not being finalized, as the return to serialization came suddenly and with little advance notice of when exactly it would take place. Or, it could be that the Viz really has decided to distance itself from his work, under the belief that American readers aren’t as likely to forgive and forget as their Japanese counterparts.

Sources: Jump Square, Anime News Network/Karen Ressler

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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

-- Rurouni Kenshin mobile game announced for release this spring alongside new series arc

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

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
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Silvafan, that's a vast generalization you're making there

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Watched part of one of his movies on an international flight and just could not get into it. Then I heard about his peculiar obsession. The guy leaves me cold; I cannot believe he can glibly slide out of this with a couple of short stock phrases.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What an incredibly selfish move by VIZ subsidiary... depriving fans of their biweekly fix.

because of this many manga readers will just resort to reading fan translated manga on the internet... a scrouge that Shueisha is trying to stamp out by doing official translations.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

This really pisses me off, to be frank. This guy got close to no punishment. I can't believe they are so ready to forget, acting like it's no big deal. I can't believe his wife is still working with him, apparently she's okay with this too. Really disgusting.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Every entertainment genre has its vile offshoots. It's not a surprise that some manga will cater to wrong 'uns.

Doesn't mean all manga is vile.

The authorities should keep a close eye on Watsuki, though. A very close eye.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Agree with the above. It wasn't that long ago that this stuff wasn't even illegal, so a simple slap on the wrist is hardly surprising.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not surprising because i wouldn't be a shock if a large number of his male Japanese fans are also closet pedophiles.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Child porn = 200,000yen fine. Laughable. Perhaps Japan should consider targeting pedophiles from abroad with all-inclusive vacation packages (fines included).

Seriously, any country that considers pedophilia a redemable quality has no standing on the world stage. And that's literally the tip of the iceberg of Japan's issues.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Child pornography and pedophilia just isnt really frowned upon in japan. Lio service is paid but not much more.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

LoL, can't say I'm surprised. It's an ingrained culture after all.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

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