As far as comic book heroes go, Wolverine is rather innocuous. Big claws. Awesome sideburns. Nothing really offensive about him -- well, save for the surly attitude and the slicing people in half.
This poster, however? This could make some in Japan livid. That is, if it isn't already.
This is rumoured to be the teaser poster for the upcoming Wolverine flick, The Wolverine. The movie is set in Japan, and actor Hugh Jackman revives his roll as the superhero.
The image could very well be fake -- loads of phoney teaser mock-up posters make their way online. Making one isn't too hard. What's interesting isn't that it's already made it's way online, but rather, that it's already made it's way online in Japan via 2ch, the country's largest bulletin board.
While some thought the poster looked "cool", others had more of kneejerk reaction.
"Man, this is going to piss off the 'netouyo,'" wrote one 2ch user. "Netouyo" is short for "nettouyoku" (ネット右翼) and it literally means, "right wingers who use the internet". The term isn't referring to right-wing Republicans in the US, but those in Japan who are typically very conservative and very nationalistic.
While many in Japan would look at this poster and just kind of shrug it off or, at most, wonder why the Japanese flag was being defaced, the netouyo take to the internet, where they'll trash this poster and this movie.
"This poster is probably aimed at the Chinese market," quipped one 2ch user, referring to the tensions between the two countries. "If this imagery was used for another country as well," wrote another, "this would be an issue."
Others made cracks about nuclear waste from the earthquake creating new mutants. While one 2ch user noted that production was moved outside of Japan because of the earthquake and moved to North America, insinuating that this poster is some sort of comment on Japan.
"This is because Wolverine isn't popular in Japan!" joked another.
The most extreme ring-wing Japanese ride around in big black vans, blasting propaganda and old war songs. Many of them are in favour of the emperor ruling the country, and Japan expanding its military. They also don't take kindly to the Japanese flag being disrespected.
People's political philosophies vary -- and I'm not judging these individuals for what they believe. Twentieth Century Fox, however, should be aware that, if this poster is real, all sorts of critics will come out of the woodwork. And many of them will be rallying around the same flag Wolverine is shredding.