Photo: BPO
entertainment

Japan media watchdog reevaluates 'Demon Slayer' following new complaints

14 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

"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.

Source: BPO

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Demon Slayer Season 2 won’t be toning down its red-light-district setting, TV exec says

-- Japan’s BPO media watchdog organization responds to complaints about Demon Slayer

-- Demon Slayer Mugen Train Blu-ray gets English subtitles, release date announced

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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In the uk there is a 9pm watershed where programs before 9pm must be suitable for all ages. This is being aired at 9pm which is kind of late for young kids to watch tv surely it’s a question of parents having enough common sense to make sure they don’t allow their kids to watch such content late in the evening. I speak as a parent of a 4th grade elementary school student. No tv, Netflix etc after 9pm .

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The violent content of this anime is not a problem. The problem is the fact that it is marketed directly to very young children. It doesn't matter that it airs relatively late in the evening, the characters are plastered all over packages for snacks, kids' drinks, furikake, kids' study materials, etc. My 3-year-old daughter knows all the characters even though she's never seen the anime or the manga. Maybe the marketing is not something the government should be regulating, but the companies that help get little kids hooked on a show filled with bloody violence should be called out by parents/in the media.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

In fact, this anime is a "Shonen" category that is aimed at adolescents and adults, it is not properly for children.

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.

Cool !!..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“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.”

My question is why are kids of elementary school age still up and watching TV at 9pm?? 9pm is a perfectly reasonable time to start showing more mature content because the little ones should be tucked in bed already.

The parents or whatnot who are complaining should probably reevaluate their parenting skills if they're letting their elementary school kids stay up that late to watch TV.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The TV used to be filled with violent and bloody samurai shows back in the 60s, 70, and halfway through the 80s. Kids used to be exposed all the time to this stuff and we had our favorite samurai show/hero. These watchdogs need to chill. Bring back old Japan without the needless nannying brought upon by the West.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

For any children for which censure would be necessary 9 PM is already too late to be awake. People that use small children as a reason to complain are just making evident they are not providing a proper healthy environment for them.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

"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 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.”

None of these people were obviously alive in the 70s/80s in Japan or elsewhere for that matters.

Courtesy of Wiki, a few classic shows and their original air-time in Japan. Some I did watch in the 70s/80s abroad, other I discovered by VOD in Japan these last years with some shows having now warnings at the beginning. lol

Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman 18:00-18:30 in 1972 (don't laugh, I only knew the watered-down version shown aboard and watching a re-run a few years ago blew me away!)

Devilman 20:30-20:55 in 1973

Maichingu Machiko-sensei 19:30-20:00 in 1981

Hokuto no Ken didn't find the timeslot for the Kanto-area but other areas showed the series between 16:30 and 18:00 in 1985

Saint Seiya 19:00-19:30 in 1986

Cityhunter 19:00 - 19:30 in 1987

Sakikake Otokokuju! 19:00-19:30 in 1988

I also remember creepy kids' shows from the US, UK, France, etc I watched back then...Don't get me started on live TV shows from the era.

Definitely considered as "not appropriate (anymore)" nowadays. Fun times and fun memories to old viewers though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The show is overly violent for a kids show.

9 pm isn't that late for an elementary school student especially on the weekend.

If this wasn't anime but live action children would be restricted from viewing this at theaters.

Does anime make it less real?

Less violent?

People on this site protest against sexually violent manga involving minors.

It it was shown after 9 would it then be suitable?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

As most have pointed out above, 1) the anime and manga is rated for teens and young adults and above, 2) elementary school kids and below are expected and actually instructed by schools and BOE's the country wide to sleep at 9 or 9:30 depending on the district, 3) the body mutilation from sword fighting is of course a concern and small kids should not be allowed to watch it ! It's a matter of parental control.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Some additional tidbits:

Mugen Train ended up being the highest-grossing movie ever in Japan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_films_in_Japan

(I have to say the show didn't grab me one bit and I remain puzzled by its success...)

The movie was also PG-12 in Japan.

https://movies.yahoo.co.jp/movie/369911/

Still, if you score that high a number of entrances and unseat Miyazaki, Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc, I can not picture this without many parents accompanying their offspring, hence deeming it suitable (of course, some parents might have been "surprised" when actually watching the movie in the theater...)

On a side-note and interestingly enough, when taking a look at the BPO's site, they seem to deal with a lot of claims pertaining to news / variety programs which is something that seem to be less put forward in the media.

https://www.bpo.gr.jp/?page_id=3707

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“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.”

Then change the channel, or turn off the TV.

You're the "adult" aren't you? Make some rules.

Maybe screen the show one week, record it, and allow the kids to watch the next, if it "suits your guidelines"

Read them a book or show some educational youtube videos or something.

Get Disney Plus.

So many ways to get around it. This isn't 1980 anymore, there are more than 3 channels on TV out there.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No censorship please.

Don't be Disney.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The show is overly violent for a kids show.

Agree.

Is it a kids show?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Let us not forget where the off switch is too...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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