Australian Classification Board denies Senators call for separate classification.

A Small Victory for the Pro-Anime Side

A Small Victory for the Pro-Anime Side

Following the recent call to action from crossbench Senator Stirling Griff to re-evaluate and even possibly ban anime in Australia, the Classification Board for the country has released a statement in response.

This response came after Senator Griff claimed the Classification Board was making decisions “in isolation to criminal law.” Because of this, the Classification Board director Margaret Anderson has now responded to Senator Griff by stating the boards duty is “not an assessment of the genre type” or whether anime “depicts ‘real’ people or animated characters”. Director Anderson responded to the Senators remarks with confirmation she and the board were aware of the classification of anime and manga. She claimed to be in support of classifying manga under Australian Classification Law as it currently is not but had a different response in regards to anime. Anderson stated that there is no separate classification for anime than regular film and that they both fall under the same system of classification.

Senator Griff

“The Film Guidelines require an assessment of impact of six classifiable elements (themes, violence, sex, coarse language, drug use and nudity); not an assessment of the genre type or whether the film depicts ‘real’ people or animated characters,”

-Classification Board Director, Margaret Anderson.

This essentially means that anime is reviewed and classified the same way that actual film with real people is. The Classification Board does not separate anime from non-anime, which some criticize as inefficient but most say is fair.

Now looking at all this, people have considered this a victory for the anti-Griff side, but I think it should be looked at a bit more carefully. The Classification Board denied part of Senator Griff’s concerns regarding classification, but they didn’t outright dismiss him entirely. Manga is up to be brought under classification now, and with time this could turn into an issue given the provocative themes of some manga. It’s also important to note that the Classification Board did not address many of Senator Griff’s points about “depiction of the exploitation of minors.” While on paper, this can be seen as a win I don’t think this is the end of the issue at all. We’ll have to keep an eye on this and see where things go from here, this can’t be the end of the issue. I’ll post the entire response from the Classification Board below.

“The Classification Board (the Board) is aware of concerns about the classification of certain Japanese anime genre films, specifically Sword Art Online: Extra Edition, No Game No Life, and Eromanga Sensei Volumes 1 & 2, and about comic books featuring manga style drawings not being classified by the Board.

The Board classifies films in accordance with the Guidelines for the Classification of Films (the Film Guidelines). There are not specific or separate guidelines to classify animated films. Films can be classified in the classification categories from G to R 18+ (with the X 18+ category limited to films containing sexually explicit activity). If a film contains content that exceeds the scope and limits of content that is permitted in the R 18+ category, it will be Refused Classification (RC). Films in the anime genre have been classified across a range of categories, including M, MA 15+, R 18+ and RC.

The Film Guidelines require an assessment of impact of six classifiable elements (themes, violence, sex, coarse language, drug use and nudity); not an assessment of the genre type or whether the film depicts ‘real’ people or animated characters. The Guidelines state ‘Context is crucial in determining whether a classifiable element is justified by the story‑line or themes. This means that material that falls into a particular classification category in one context may fall outside it in another.’

In addition to determining the classification, the Board must determine consumer advice for a film. The purpose of consumer advice is to draw attention to only the most impactful and frequent content relating to the six classifiable elements. Therefore, not all the content in a film will warrant consumer advice. The classifications for the named films are:

Sword Art Online: Extra Edition is classified M with consumer advice ‘sexualised imagery, sexual references and animated violence.

No Game No Life is classified MA 15+ with consumer advice ‘strong sexual themes’.

Eromanga Sensei Volumes 1 & 2 are classified MA 15+ with consumer advice ‘strong sexual themes’.

Regarding comic books, only submittable publications are required to be classified. The Board classifies submittable publications in accordance with the Guidelines for the Classification of Publications. It is the responsibility of distributors of comic books to decide if the comic book should be classified. States and territories are responsible for classification enforcement legislation which includes offenses for selling an unclassified submittable publication.

The Board is aware that a campaign has been launched about the sale of Japanese manga and anime in Australia and that in the context of the Government’s Review of Classification Regulation this issue has been raised. The Board welcomes this review.”

Margaret Anderson, Director, Classification Board

Australian Senator calls for anime regulation over concerns of sexual abuse depictions.

I Know This Dance By Heart

I Know This Dance By Heart

That’s right folks we’re seeing another anime ban in the news this week. This one comes from the land down under on behalf of Australian Senator Stirling Griff, a crossbencher from the Centre Alliance Party, who used his time before the Senate to give a speech about a number of anime and their “depictions of child sexual exploitation.”

The anime included in Griff’s speech included Sword Art Online, Eromanga Sensei, Goblin Slayer and No Game No Life. Griff particularly focused on Sword Art Online and its Extra movie where he claims it “undoubtedly features the abuse of children,” in regards to the Alfheim arc where the villain assaults female lead Asuna in the game and threatens to also assault her real body in the hospital. While I’ll admit that yes this is a horrifying scene and it’s not meant to be viewed positively, it’s also not as graphic as the senator claims. Frankly another anime he mentions, Goblin Slayer, has much more graphic depictions of rape and violence.

Getting this mad at Sword Art, am I back in 2015?

Senator Griff’s call to action is for the Australian government to review all currently available anime and anime movies in the country and to ban/regulate other titles he listed in his speech in the future. He cited the recent decision of South Korea to ban anime/manga depicting sexual situations for minors as a good example of what he hopes to accomplish. Normally I would say this ban would fail but Australian law actually does state any depiction of minors in believed sexual situations is illegal, so there is a possibility that this ban could go through if it picks up enough steam in the Australian government.

Now the reason why people are upset with this call to ban anime is that while the senator is correct in some ways, it’s clear he hasn’t studied as much as he lets on and even lies about some of the anime/manga he cites. An example is Goblin Slayer, in which he claims:

“In Goblin Slayer children are often portrayed as frightened or resisting, but they are also shown as enjoying the sexual abuse. Enjoying it! And as I said experts say that pedophiles are using this material to groom children. ‘Have a look at this, this is normal.’

-Senator Griff

Now as an up to date reader of the manga, I can tell you that this is a 100% lie on the Senators part. Not only are most characters depicted of legal age in the manga with very few questionable cases, there are NO cases of “enjoyment of abuse” in that manga and for him to claim so either shows he is ignorant or lying. I personally can’t speak on the other anime/manga he touched on besides Sword Art Online and Goblin Slayer, but based on the fact he felt confident enough to go before the Senate with such a poorly researched analysis shows that he is untrustworthy to lead a ban on these mediums.

If you want to read the full transcript of Griff’s speech, click here to see it from Kotaku’s article. While there are definitely questionable themes to anime and manga, I don’t think they should be regulated by someone who would carelessly spread misinformation their subject matter before the Senate as fact. Unfortunately for me I have no say in the matter but all of you in Australia do. You can send letters to your local government offices to let your elected officials know how you feel on this matter and whether you support or oppose Senator Griff and his planned ban. For right now though there isn’t anything major to report on aside from the plan. But as this develops we’ll post updates on the status of the potential ban.

My Thoughts on the Live-Action Steins;Gate Adaptation

This is written with a general understanding of the series in mind

This is written with a general understanding of the series in mind

During the celebration of the hit visual novel Steins;Gate’s 10th anniversary, a live-action Hollywood series adaptation was announced to be in the works by Skydance Media. This news comes as a surprise to many, but there are plenty of fans that are none too pleased. Frankly, I’m one of them.

 I love Steins;Gate. It’s one of my favorites, if not my favorite anime of all time. So one would think that this news would bring me joy. And on one hand, it does. I’m really glad that it’s getting this sort of attention. On the other hand, though, I’m almost certain that it’s going to be bad. From the translation of the series to an American standard to the history of Western anime adaptations as a whole, I have very little faith in this series being anything worthwhile.

First, let’s discuss the setting of the story. It takes place in Akihabara, which I don’t think it’s a stretch to call a unique place in the world. It’s culture of moe is something that I feel would be incredibly difficult to pull off in an American setting, especially with how tied into the story it is. You can’t just pick any random city and call it good here, so it’s concerning to think of how they plan to handle it. 

Next, and primarily, I want to talk about the characters. Just about the whole cast has something that is difficult to pull off in an Americanized style, such as Okabe’s chuunibyou to Feris’ fixation with moe culture (which could be applied to many of them). But there’s a couple that worry me more than the rest. First up to bat is Daru. His perverse nature and innuendos are a constant source of comedic relief throughout the story, but I’m afraid to see how well that carries over to a land in which that sort of thing can get you chastised by the woke community and leave your career in tatters. The sexual comedy in anime has been a cause for controversy plenty of times before, so I’m worried that they’ll just ditch that in favor of painting him to be a bad guy in an attempt to push a message that really has no need to be pushed.

My main concern, however, lies with Ruka. The controversy surrounding this boy-then-girl-then-boy-again seemingly has no end and I get the feeling we’ll be dealing with it with refreshed vigor when this adaptation airs. Since Steins;Gate’s release, people have been constantly trying to paint Ruka as trans and this seems like a golden opportunity to play that card. Western entertainment spares no opportunity to push an agenda and Ruka is the prime candidate. He’ll be paraded around as the trans icon of 2020 for those internet good-boy points and the fires will be lit anew as another online war breaks out. Also, it will be difficult to find someone to play the role. Finding someone that can play a boy and a girl like that will most definitely be a problem. I can handle them casting a girl for the part, but I won’t be pleased about it.

When it comes down to it, there’s so much that can go awry with this adaptation. And this is all on top of the fact that the west doesn’t have a very good track record of American live-action adaptations of anime. Take the Death Note film for example. It was a train wreck that tried to capitalize on the name alone while not sticking to any of what made the series good in the first place. Light went from sociopathic megalomaniac to wimpy pushover, L became an emotionally unstable gremlin rather than an equally sociopathic gremlin, none of the established rules were seen through, and they didn’t even face half of the problems that this Steins;Gate adaptation does. Needless to say, my faith in this is all but gone.

But if they cast Dwayne Johnson as Yugo Tennouji then I’ll be content.

Redo Of Healer could Spark Controversial Debut

Controversial Revenge Manga Redo Of Healer, could spark a plethora of negative reviews for its portrayal of sexual assault and abuse.

Redo of Healer tells the story of a Healer abused and assaulted by his party, the Healer then gained the ability to reset time back four years, and take his revenge on those who wronged him. The anime adaptation is confirmed and will most likely be highly scrutinized by many, the same way Rise of the Shield Hero was as well with its depiction of Slavery, or how Goblin Slayer was with a certain scene from the first episode.

The controversy that sparked Shield Hero was ridiculous and simply made the anime more popular. Many normally functioning human beings will understand that fiction and reality are two separate forms of life and art themselves. There are others who disagree, but they’re the type of people to hate you for having an alternative opinion for something very minuscule.

We can only await its anime debut and I’m calling it right now, it will get even more woke negative reviews than Shield Hero or Goblin Slayer ever did. As long as the Warriors of Social Justice have a platform to spew hatred for different opinions, this will always continue.