"Demon Slayer" is a unique example of an anime with intense action scenes that’s also a huge hit with little kids in Japan. Sure, elementary school-age children have always been a big fan demographic for fighting-focused franchises "Dragon Ball" and "Naruto," but a key difference is that most of their combat scenes are hand-to-hand martial arts, where the loser’s injuries are often framed as ones that can heal with ample rest. Even the steady stream of battles in "Pokemon" are usually within the bounds of a sport-like contest, with little in the way of lasting repercussions from the damage participants sustain.
"Demon Slayer’s" story, though, is one of katana-wielding protagonists fighting to the death against their adversaries, which is a level of direct violence that’s not so common in anime watched by young kids. So with the "Demon Slayer" anime back on the air since the fall for recaps and the start of its second season, and being broadcast in a non-late-night time slot where some young kids are still awake and potentially watching it, Japan’s Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization media watchdog group has been getting multiple complaints from concerned adults about the show’s content.
So far, the BPO’s responses have sided with "Demon Slayer’s" right to freedom of expression, but following the arrival of yet more complaints, it seemed like the organization’s attitude might be changing. The complaints in the latest batch were focused on the TV broadcast of "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba–The Movie: Mugen Train," and were published in the BPO’s October update. “I don’t believe it’s appropriate to show an anime with such provocative and cruel scenes at 9 p.m. on a Saturday,” wrote one upset viewer. “The contents are too grotesque for children,” wrote another, “and since it was broadcast at 9 p.m., a censored version should have been shown instead.”
▼ Trailer for "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba–The Movie: Mugen Train"
Rather than weigh in right away, though, the BPO’s Youth Committee replied with:
“There are currently some differences of opinion within our committee in regard to the scenes of sword fighting and splattering blood, so all members will watch the anime once more and discuss its contents again.”
The Youth Committee has since finished its rewatch and re-talk, and has issued its judgement, which is:
“More so than the blood, within the members of the committee there were some who were concerned about the depictions of bodies with severed heads. However, our overall opinion is that since the depictions are of human-like monsters, this is still within the range of what is permissible, and that proper consideration was shown by the broadcaster for a movie rated PG12 and being aired in a 9 p.m. time slot. Thus, we have concluded our discussion.”
So while it may not be unanimous, 100-percent support, overall the BPO still doesn’t seem to have any particularly big problems with "Demon Slayer." Granted, as a non-government organization without any formal authority, even if the BPO did object to the anime’s content, it wouldn’t be able to unilaterally dictate changes, but all the same, an effective thumbs-up from the group bodes well for the producers’ plans to not tone down "Demon Slayer" for its second season.
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