The following contains sensitive content, including the discussion of pedophilia.
With the upcoming revival of the popular classic anime Rurouni Kenshin As it comes up, anime fans have taken to social media to remind others to avoid watching the reboot.
Longtime anime fans, including former followers of the franchise, have posted PSAs reminding potential viewers that Rurouni Kenshin’s creator Nobuhiro Nishiwaki, known professionally as Nobuhiro Watsuki, is a convicted pedophile who was found guilty of possession of child pornography in 2018.
Reminders from fans were straight to the point, with one highlighting the fact that the police thought Watsuki was a distributor of child pornography: “Reminder the author, Nobuhiro Watsuki, is an actual p3dophile who was caught with so much cp they thought he was a distributor… Don’t give this man your money.” While another said: “I won’t be watching the Rurouni Kenshin reboot as the creator, Nobuhiro Watsuki, is involved and is an admitted pedo who was caught with child porn.”
Watsuki confessed to the crime
According to the authorities, Watsuki had a large number of DVDs of young girls in the nude, which he kept in an office in Tokyo. In addition, they searched Watsuki’s home as a separate part of the investigation into the purchase of child pornography. During his deposition, Watsuki admitted to the crime and confessed to liking “girls at the end of elementary school until about the second year of middle school.” Numerous anime lovers have pointed out that Watsuki had so much child porn that the police suspected him of distribution. Although possession of such material is punishable by up to one year in prison or a fine of up to 1 million yen (about US$8.9,000 in 2017 conversion rates), according to the Act on Punishment for Activities Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Protection of Children , the Tokyo Summit Court ordered Watsuki to pay a fine of 200,000 yen (about $1,900 at the time).
Watsuki received support from the publisher and colleagues
During the investigation, Rurouni KenshinPublisher Shueisha suspended serialization in the middle of the manga’s Hokkaido Arc, a collaboration between Watsuki and his novelist wife, Kaoru Kurosaki. Shueisha released a statement saying, “We received the report, and as a company we take it very seriously. The author deeply regrets. Rurouni Kenshin The Hokkaido Arc, which is being serialized in Jump Square, will be put on hiatus starting with the December 4 issue.” At the time, fans were shocked by the news due to how moral the manga’s story was. Japanese publishers are quick to distance themselves from criminal activity, so fans’ hopes were not high for the continuation of the series.
However, fans didn’t have to wait long to learn more about Rurouni Kenshinhis destiny. After Watsuki paid his fines, Shueisha announced that the manga would resume serialization in June 2018. In their statement, the publisher said, “The author spends his days reflecting and with regret, thinking as if it is our obligation as a publisher as well as his as author makes a way for us to respond through the work to the different opinions we have received, and so from the July issue, which goes on sale on June 4, serialization will resume.” Rurouni Kenshin‘s Hokkaido arc became a best-selling manga in the first half of 2019 after resuming publication. In addition, many of his colleagues, including One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, his friend and mentor, supported him. In particular, Oda interviewed Watsuki ahead of Rurouni Kenshin’s 25th anniversary in what some called a “heartwarming interview”. Fourteen other manga artists celebrated Rurouni Kenshin receives an exhibition for its 25th anniversary.
While other anime series experienced fallout from illegal or immoral activities by cast and crew members, including Pokemon journeyswho needed to remove the opening arrangement made by Hidekazu Tanaka after police charged him with attempted forced indecency, and Mob Psycho 100 Reigen Arataka voice actor Takahiro Sakurai who had a decade-long extramarital affair with a co-worker are few associated with what is no doubt a particularly heinous crime.
Considering the seriousness of Watsuki’s crime, fans ask each other not to separate the art from the artist. While some are worried about how the anime boycott will affect the studio, knowledgeable anime enthusiasts pointed out that everyone involved in the production of Rurouni Kenshin revival has already been paid and will not receive viewership royalties. Therefore, supporting the anime will only lead to more opportunities to make money for Watsuki.