Rurouni Kenshin manga restarts serialization just seven months after author’s child porn arrest

Creator of hit anime/manga franchise keeps himself out of jail and his comic in monthly magazine.

The last few months have had some intense ups and downs for the Rurouni Kenshin franchise. Riding high on the success of its live-action film adaptation trilogy, fans got really excited when series creator Nobuhiro Watsuki returned to writing and drawing regularly serialized installments of the manga last September, with the start of the comic’s Hokkaido Arc.

However, just two months later Watsuki was arrested on charges of possession of child pornography, with investigators seizing roughly 100 DVDs and CDs from his personal collection and the author admitting that he “liked girls between the ages of upper elementary school students to about the second year of junior high” (in Japan, elementary school students are between 6 and 11 years old, with the second year of junior high corresponding to an age of 13 or 14).

Immediately following Watsuki’s arrest, Jump Square, the monthly manga anthology which carried the Rurouni Kenshin Hokkaido Arc, announced that it would be suspending the series indefinitely, which some took to mean permanently. Though Watsuki was subsequently fined 200,000 yen (US$1,890) for his infraction of the Anti-Child Prostitution and Pornography Ordinance, he managed to avoid serving any jail time, and now he’s avoided having his manga series permanently axed, as Jump Square publisher Shueisha is welcoming Watsuki back with resumption of the Rurouni Kenshin Hokkaido Arc’s serialization.

On April 23, a statement appeared on the Jump Square website reading:

The series [Rurouni Kenshin Hokkaido Arc] has been on extended hiatus, and we deeply apologize for the trouble and worry this has caused readers and other interested parties.

Even now, the author is reflecting on and regretting his actions every day. However, taking into consideration the various opinions that have been expressed [by readers and interested parties], and believing that responding to them through creating the manga is the obligation of both the author and publisher, we will be resuming the series’ serialization in the July issue of this magazine (which goes on sale June 4). We hope for your understanding in this matter.

Given the slap on the wrist Watsuki was given by the Japanese criminal justice system, there’s a chance that his domestic fans might consider his arrest to now be water under the bridge. However, the Rurouni Kenshin manga and anime also have large followings overseas, including in societies that are far less lenient than Japan regarding the sexualization of minors, and it remains to be seen whether consumers and publishers in those countries will be so forgiving.

Source: Jump Square via Jin
Top image: SoraNews24

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