By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24
Back when anime was just starting to become available at more-or-less mainstream retailers in the U.S., I remember reading a quote from a scathing newspaper article calling them “perverted sex and violence cartoons.” But hey, this was a time when “Batman: The Animated Series” was the edgiest animation most Americans had ever seen, so anime’s willingness to show blood and gore, and T and A, often colored people’s perception of the medium as a whole.
Everything old is new again, though, as the entirety of Japanese animation now finds itself under the disapproving glare of Australian politician Stirling Griff. In a speech to the Australian parliament last week, Griff, a senator for the state of South Australia since 2016, spoke on his concerns related to anime’s content and how it’s handled within Australia. “There is, unfortunately, a dark side and a disgusting side to anime and manga, with a significant proportion of the two media featuring child abuse material,” the senator said, adding “They contain depictions of wide-eyed children, usually in school uniforms, engaged in explicit sexual activities and poses, and often being sexually abused.”
Griff’s assertion that “a significant proportion of the two media [feature] child abuse” is one that’s likely to upset many anime fans, who would argue that a large amount of anime features no such element. With such content essentially non-existent in Western animation, though, the amount of “child abuse” present is proportionally larger, and with Griff perhaps operating under the conviction that such material has no place in animation, any amount more than none would be, by such a standard, “significant.”
▼ On a side note, Griff’s Wikipedia page seems to have been…passionately edited since his speech.
However, Griff didn’t do much to establish himself as a well-versed authority on anime and manga with his claim that the most offensive franchise is “Eromanga Sensei.” While the series is indeed about a 15-year-old teen boy who writes novels with erotic illustrations drawn by his 12-year-old sister, it’s far from the most provocative thing the anime/manga industry has produced in recent years. One could also argue that the vagueness of Griff’s statement that “’Eromanga Sensei’ heavily features incest themes and many scenes are so disturbing I just won’t, I just can’t, describe them,” leaves the burden of proof necessary to justifiably demonize it unsatisfactorily fulfilled.
Of course, Griff may be of the mind that even the slightest scent of an incestuous atmosphere is inappropriate for what the West has long seen as a form of entertainment exclusively for children, and “There are worse anime than “Eromanga Sensei” doesn’t render any criticisms against it immediately invalid, just like no one would say “Hey, I have no complaints about you punching me in the stomach, because if you had kicked me in the balls that would have been worse.”
According to The Canberra Times, it’s illegal in Australia to produce, posses, or distribute material depicting abuse of a representation of a person who appears to be younger than 18. Griff feels that many anime are in violation of this regulation, and is upset that they have been given ratings that allow them to be sold within the country. “The classification board appears to be making decisions in isolation to criminal law,” he said in his speech. “This must stop.”
To meet that goal, Griff is calling for an immediate review of each and every anime currently available for purchase or streaming in Australia, which is, oddly enough, one of the few English-speaking countries where controversial monster prostitution anime “Interspecies Reviewers“ is still streaming. Parliament is expected to further discuss the motion on Wednesday.
Source: Canberra Times via Yuruku Yaru, Otakomu