Following artist’s child porn conviction, Ruruni Kenshin manga restarts in Japan, but not America

This week, fans in Japan can once again read the adventures of the famous anime/manga swordsman, but things are different across the Pacific.

Last fall, manga artist Nobuhiro Watsuki, creator of anime/manga franchise Rurouni Kenshin, was found to be in possession of child pornography depicting naked girls aged 15 or younger. Repercussions were swift from the scandal-averse Japanese entertainment industry, as Watsuki’s popular Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc manga was immediately put on hiatus and TV broadcasts of the live-action Kenshin movies were cancelled.

However, when his legal punishment was handed down in April, Watsuki got off with a modest 200,000-yen (US$1,890) fine, with no jail time he would have to serve. Things started looking up for him even more in early May, when Shueisha, publishers of monthly manga anthology Jump Square, announced that Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc would be returning to its pages.

True to their word, a new Hokkaido Arc arc chapter was part of the latest issue of Jump Square, which went on sale in Japan on June 4. Kenshin himself was even featured in the lower right corner of the cover, along with the proclamation “Serialization restarts,” along with Watsuki’s credit as artist/author and one for his wife, Kaoru Kurosaki, as a story collaborator, a role she’s had since the arc began.

▼ There’s no word bubble saying “I like little girls,” but the association is going to be hard for some people to shake.

No special page or notice inside the issue addressed Watsuki’s crime or hiatus. However, it’s common practice for manga authors to write a short message to readers, which appears at the bac of the issue in its table of contents, and Watsuki’s said:

“I deeply apologize for causing trouble and worrying everyone. I will do my sincere best.”

While, in the eyes of the law, Watsuki’s debt to society has been paid, critics could argue that he sounds more concerned about making fans sweat over whether or not they’d get to read more of his manga than the social ramifications of child pornography. For many people living in the English-speaking world, a mainstream comic book artist bouncing back from such a scandal in just over half a year would be unthinkable, or at least abhorrent. Perhaps that’s why even though Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc has restarted in Japan, the new content hasn’t yet been made available in the U.S.

Before Watsuki’s child pornography charges, the Hokkaido Arc had been digitally distributed in the U.S. by Viz Media, which is partially owned by Shueisha. Viz simultaneously published the chapters in English through its English-language digital version of manga anthology Weekly Shonen Jump. However, in its latest edition, which was also released on June 4 (which would correspond to June 5 in Japan, one day after the new Jump Square hit store shelves), the new Rurouni Kenshin chapter is nowhere to be found.

Viz Media hasn’t put out a statement officially declaring that it will never handle the title again, and there’s a possibility that the new chapter’s absence was simply due to the translation or international rights clearance not being finalized, as the return to serialization came suddenly and with little advance notice of when exactly it would take place. Or, it could be that the Viz really has decided to distance itself from his work, under the belief that American readers aren’t as likely to forgive and forget as their Japanese counterparts.

Sources: Jump Square, Anime News Network/Karen Ressler
Photos ©SoraNews24

Theo Đề Cử Manga, Blog Đẹp, Anime Troll, Bất Động Sản, du an bat dong san ha noi, vinhomes west point do duc duc