Senator Says Sword Art Online ‘Undoubtedly Features The Abuse Of Children’

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Senator Says Sword Art Online ‘Undoubtedly Features The Abuse Of Children’
Image: Sword Art Online (IMDB)

A member of the Australian Senate has called on the Federal Government to immediately review “all Japanese anime movies” available in Australia, along with the ban of any anime and manga featuring child exploitation “as a matter of urgency”. In a speech to the upper house, Senator Stirling Griff argued that the M-rated Sword Art Online: Extra Edition was a prime example of a title misclassified in Australia, saying the show “undoubtedly features the abuse of children”.

A full transcript of the Senator’s speech, provided to Kotaku Australia by the senator’s office, questions the logic behind the Classification Board’s rating of Sword Art Online: Extra Edition and other manga and anime, including Eromanga Sensei and No Game No Life.

According to the senator, the series feature instances and depictions of sexual assault, rape and child exploitation. “The rape of children is abundant in manga, like the series Goblin Slayer, which, in my office, we showed to a number of people today and they were absolutely horrified,” the senator said.

The Senator has called for the Australian Federal Police to ban anime and manga believed to contain the sexualisation of children immediately, while also writing to the Japanese Minister for Justice “to put the best interests and safety of children above all”.

“The safety and wellbeing of children in Australia must be a paramount consideration for all of us in Australia and across our borders,” the senator said.

The full transcript of the senator’s speech is below.

Child exploitation is a global problem, heightened by modern technology and the myriad of platforms that are used to access such material. Only last week the heads of the three law enforcement agencies addressed the National Press Club warning of the problems Australia is trying to fight in respect to online child exploitation, and the Prime Minister said that he would kick down doors to save an abused child. As legislators, we have a critical role to play in stamping it out. There is much more to be done, and areas where we need to focus more attention, such as the child abuse material that comes into Australia via Japanese amine and manga.

Anime is a style of Japanese animation and manga are the graphic novels which serve as the basis for anime. They both share a unique visual style and they are popular the world over, especially amongst teenagers. But 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. They contain depictions of wide-eyed children, usually in school uniforms, engaged in explicit sexual activities and poses, and often being sexually abused.

Experts that advocate against child exploitation have referred to this type of anime and manga as a gateway to the abuse of actual children. Experts also say that explicit anime and manga can be used by paedophiles as tools to groom children. It makes me sick to the stomach to even speak about this.

Incredibly, in Japan the definition of child abuse material specifically excludes child porn anime and manga, as these media don’t include real children. Chaku ero, which means erotically clothed, is a type of child exploitation material that features sexualised images of actual children and it remains legal in Japan as long as it doesn’t involve full nudity.

So sexualised images are legal, provided they don’t involve full nudity. How does that work? Every expert combating child exploitation will tell you that this is very wrong.

At the time of the 2014 changes to child pornography laws in Japan, lobbyists on behalf of the Japan Cartoonists Association argued that a total ban on explicit content would damage the entire industry. Their argument was that imaginary images, unlike real child abuse, mean that no-one is actually hurt. I don’t buy that argument. Child pornography, even in animated form, is child abuse material. There is absolutely no question about it.

The law in Australia is very clear. The Commonwealth Criminal Code prohibits the sale, production, possession and distribution of offensive and abusive material that depicts a person, or is a representation of a person, who is or appears to be under 18. It is unambiguous.

In 2015 the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography visited Japan and also declared this type of manga was child abuse material. In Australia the law in respect of child abuse is very different to Japan’s, and for good reason. I was horrified to learn that this type of child abuse material is freely available in some of our country’s most popular retail outlets, despite being in clear breach of the definition of child abuse material in both Commonwealth and state laws.

My staff recently alerted me to a series that was distributed in Australia by Madman Entertainment called Sword Art Online. Sword Art Online appears in various media platforms from light novels, manga, anime and video games. The series takes place in the near future and focuses on protagonists Kirito and Asuna as they play through virtual reality worlds. One particular episode Sword Art Online: Extra Edition has an M classification, which allows children under 15 to legally access the material. This classification rating is advisory only and is described as having ‘moderate impact’, with no legal restrictions.

The movie undoubtedly features the abuse of children. In one explicit scene that takes place in the virtual world the character Asuna is raped by her captor Sugu, who threatens to also rape her in the real world, where she is lying in a hospital room in a catatonic state. He also states that he’ll make a recording of the virtual rape to shame her as well. The rape, incredibly, is referred to as a ‘fun party’. Asuna is chained and her clothes are ripped from her while Kirito is forced to witness the rape. Asuna is described as a 17-year-old girl.

In another scene high school girls are at a swimming pool and one of the girls indecently assaults another character by repeatedly squeezing her breasts and bullies her because of her physicality. The Classification Board’s decision report for this movie justifies the M rating by saying that the nudity through the film is ‘moderate in impact’ and ‘justified by context’. How can the sexual assault of a child, even in animation, be justified by context?

Further research by my staff uncovered another series called No Game No Life. This series is hypersexualised and features incest themes between the two main characters: brother and sister Sora and Shiro. The Classification Board’s decision report for No Game No Life states:

Throughout the material the female characters are frequently depicted in sequences that feature panning visuals of or close focus on their crotches, breasts, legs and/or buttocks.

They are describing images of children. These images are in contravention of the law, plain and simple.

The worst anime my office discovered is Eromanga Sensei. The plot is beyond what any person would consider normal or appropriate. The series features 12-year-old Sagiri, who draws pornographic manga while her 15-year-old stepbrother writes the books. Revealing clothing and sexually provocative poses are frequently depicted throughout the series, with the characters seen copying these poses and referring to genitalia. The series also heavily features incest themes, and many scenes are so disturbing I just won’t—I just can’t—describe them.

Whilst the series has a restricted MA15+ classification, I say again that this falls within the definition of ‘child abuse material’ contained in the Commonwealth Criminal Code and should be banned. It beggars belief how it passed through the classification board who, in their decision report, provide justification for scenes including ‘upskirting’ as comedic. There is nothing funny about it. It is repellent. The series should have been denied classification and should be banned.

The Classification Board appears to be making decisions in isolation to criminal law. This must stop. There is also the issue of explicit manga graphic novels, which are not vetted at all by the Classification Board. Often, the images they contain are more harrowing than anime. This must also change. The rape of children is abundant in manga, like the series Goblin Slayer, which, in my office, we showed to a number of people today and they were absolutely horrified. In Goblin Slayer children are often portrayed as frightening or resisting but they’re also shown as enjoying sexual abuse—enjoying it. As I’ve said, experts say that paedophiles are using this material to groom children: ‘Have a look at this; this is normal.’ It’s certainly not normal.

I’ve already made a submission to the review of Australian classification regulation, currently underway, to raise these issues, but we cannot wait for the review findings. We must act now. The Australian Federal Police have said that they do not condone any form of child exploitation or activity of any kind that reinforces the sexualisation of children. I agree, and I think they must look at this material urgently.

I’ve written to the Minister for Home Affairs about the issue and to the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts. I’m calling for the immediate review of all Japanese anime movies currently accessible in Australia. I am also seeking the banning of particular titles I have referred to and, indeed, any other anime and manga featuring the abuse and exploitation of children, very much as a matter of urgency. I’ve also written to the Japanese justice minister in relation to these issues. I expressed my hope that the Japanese government will open its eyes to the insidious effect of these materials and take action to put the best interests and safety of children above all. South Korea has managed to ban anime and manga of images of child sexual abuse. The safety and wellbeing of children in Australia must be a paramount consideration for all of us in Australia and across our borders.

Comments

  • Reading this is making me laugh my ass off – “to put the best interests and safety of children above all” – it’s just like that one Simpsons meme

  • Are the scenes of a villain implying assault like in Sword Art Online any different than those in plenty of live action movies?
    Though the senator may have a point with some of the other things.

  • What an absolute moron, typical of conservatives. Let’s not worry about the climate change which will kill our actual children, let’s not worry about trying to introduce a bill which will give power and privilege to some of the most evil people in our country, and who are known to house and protect child molesters. No, let’s just ignorantly mis-interpret some foreign animation and worry about the so called two dimensional ‘children’ in that!

    • Apparently these titles can be used to “groom” children. As quoted:

      “Experts that advocate against child exploitation have referred to this type of anime and manga as a gateway to the abuse of actual children. Experts also say that explicit anime and manga can be used by paedophiles as tools to groom children.”

      Not sure who these experts are, but that’s what they’re saying, according to our good senator. Would be great if political speeches contained citations.

      The quote would also be stronger if, instead of saying “can be”, he said “are being”. Otherwise, you know, it would just come across as a knee-jerk reaction to something that isn’t even happening.

  • On a more serious note.

    Do not contact this senator in an attempt to harass them. We saw how that went with the Senator from Adelaide who was against the r18 rating for video games.

    You do have the right to contact the senator due to their job, Do so however respectfully.

  • I enjoyed the first 12 episodes of SAO but after that it got way too rapey for my liking. Definitely not a series for kids, though weirdly marketed so.

      • The first batch of episodes are fine.

        Then the main female character is deliberately kept unconscious so she can be married in that state to someone who is 100% okay with keeping her that way. Meanwhile the main male character is catfished into a relationship with their younger sister.

        Perhaps this is all wrapped up in a way that makes it OK but I noped out well before finding out. I am not at all surprised it bothers conservative senators.

      • Yeah it got a bit touch and go in the second season close to end and then I think in the third season there was another scene but other than those two I don’t think there was much. Both instances I recall didn’t need to be there but it’s not my story so who am I to judge.

        • you’re a consumer, so I guess you have the right to judge if you think the content is worth your custom.

          I stopped watching it after season 2 because the odd little thing that irked me started becoming really uncomfortable shit that I just wasn’t into.

      • Yes, it has two separate story arcs that climax with (different!) female leads being threatened with rape, and being saved by the hero. It shit me so bad that when it happened the *second* time I kicked the show in the bin.

      • THESE REPLIES ARE BULLSHIT !!! There is no “rape” scenes other than the one mentioned in this article! DON’T LISTEN TO THERE LIES !!! Even then you can barely even call the one scene mentioned a RAPE scene, the way it’s portrayed is nothing like the actual scene!!! YOU NEVER SEE ANYONE GET RAPED.

        In the scene you see is the villain undo the string to her clothing, nothing is shown besides the string falling to the ground and the most you see is the villain licking away her tears from her face.

        I completely understand that it suggests that the villain may of physically touched her as that was his intention at this point but even then that never happens and is never shown as he is stopped at this moment by the hero and killed on the spot…

        Don’t listen to the bullshit that people say. SAO is a great anime. For young children no due to the physical violence seen in the sword fights.

    • The face heel turn gave me whiplash. The first half of the season is a thrilling and rather wholesome anime about adventures, accepting your feelings for other person and marrying them and adopting a little girl. Then the second half becomes a cliche-ridden harem piece where the main romantic interest among many is a kinda-incestuous one and the strong female protagonist of the first half becomes a captive damsel of a unidimensional pervert throughout the whole thing.

  • As much as I think their focus could be more shifted to real life children who then grow up to be real life damaged adults, I couldn’t finish watching Made In Abyss. I was far too uncomfortable with the depiction of children going through fairly horrific situations.

    • I can completely understand that reasoning but I personally found it to work in the shows favour that the main two characters were young, because it allows for some really endearing scenes (which also provides a much needed emotional lift from the darker moments) that just wouldn’t be possible if the main chars were adults.

      There is a film on netflix (and maybe elsewhere) called “Annihilation” which is heavily inspired by made in abyss but features 4 adult characters as the focus. As a result, personally I found it just felt like a long series of dark scenes with nothing uplifting inbetween, but it’s still definitely worth checking out if you want something like made in abyss but without young characters.

      • “Annihilation” which is heavily inspired by made in abyss

        yeah nah. There’s similar themes and elements but it’s a massive stretch to say Annhiliation took inspiration from Made in Abyss.

        • Fair point, I should have chosen my words more carefully there. The abyss and the zone do have many differences but also has some surprisingly similar elements that I’m sure is more than coincidental. *Spoiler ahead* The “bear” creature mimicking the dying words of that girl is exactly what a creature in the early layer of the abyss does with a dead teacher from the orphanage, along side more general things like the whole messing with ones head / sense of time that being in the abyss and the zone both exhibit. Rewatching annihilation shortly after finishing made in abyss I was surprised at just how many things overlapped in ways I never thought of when viewing them several months apart.

    • I mean if we’re talking issues with anime there is literally a BDSM scene with a prepubescent girl in Made in Abyss.
      That bothered me.

      • It’s such a stupid inclusion. It literally lasts 2 seconds and makes me wary of recommending this otherwise fantastic story to anybody. And yeah, I know it was meant to depict old-timey school punishments, but so unnecessary!

        • Yeap totally agree!
          It was so out of left field and unnecessary.
          I mean I give anime a lot of lee-way and even I was like “WTF?!” with that.
          I will say it does seem that anime creators sometimes feel the need to add things like that. That they’re sort of expected and there’s these tropes you have to abide by.
          And some of those tropes are not good and need to be reviewed.
          Anime coming out of Japan comes out of a cultural milieu that I am not part of though.
          So I feel uncomfortable criticising it.
          However, with more and more anime being made in the west or for the western market with the streaming services I would hope some of this gets looked at and adjusted.

  • After all, everyone knows that the abuse of children is strictly the privilege of the Australian Government/Border Force, and wealthy party donors like the Catholic Church and prestigious private schools.

  • SAO is awful, and full of really unhealthy, creepy and rapey garbage. It is not representative of anime as a whole, but it does showcase some of the worst stuff anime has to offer, and I totally understand why someone would interpret it as child abuse material. I don’t, but I get it.

    I don’t agree with the argument for it, though I really wish anime didn’t so often feature explicitly underage children in compromised or sexualised positions, but I wouldn’t complain if SAO dissappeared or was rated much more harshly in Australia, it is pretty gross.

    • Where do you see all those unhealthy and creepy things? Enlighten me please.
      In all of the SAO series, there was literally only 2 time when there was some assault , NOT rape tho, And you make it sound as the series doesnt have anything else but just rape.

    • I think that’s the uncomfortable reality of being an anime fan. I love My Hero Academia for instance, but as wholesome and fun as it might be it also features multiple teenage girls that are very clearly intended to appeal to the part of the audience that likes to jerk off to anime girls. It’s not the point of the show and it doesn’t define the show, and those particular characters have enough depth that I can watch them without even thinking about that part of their design, but it is an intentional feature of the show.

      For the record I’m not accusing anyone of anything and I don’t support most of the arguments being made here. I do recognise that it’s possible to be attracted to these characters sexually without being attracted to their age. If the cast was 19-22 they wouldn’t have to redraw anything, change the script or even alter personalities. It’s just very murky water because they’re expressly under age.

      • Yep, uncomfortable is an understatement – Kill La Kill is one of my favourite shows period, it’s up there with Breaking Bad or even Les Revenants for me, but I sure as hell never tell anyone that irl because I know they’ll assume why I like Kill La Kill in ways they wouldn’t if I’m instead talking about Breaking Bad.

        Logically I’m on the side of ‘it’s a drawing, not a person’, but the harm with child abuse material goes beyond the initial victim, so emotionally I understand why someone might take it as such or want to treat it as such.

        The idea of a number attached to some lines making those lines OK to look at or not OK is a little ridiculous of course, as you said if someone’s attracted to a character it’s not necessarily linked to their age, but at some emotional level I still baulk at the explicit sexualisation of characters that are underage, even if it’s only a number applied to a fictional character.

    • SAO is the best 1/2 a season of anime.
      While they in Aincrad all you get is cool fights and I am going to say a kind of wholesome relationship between kirito and asuna.

      Literally everything after ep 14 or something is some of the worst anime. This is from someone who is actively watching SAO III and even played one of the games.

      • I disagree. The Mother’s Rosario Arc is fricken amazing.
        And there are many other good points in the later seasons.
        I will say season 3 is pretty damn weird though.
        Oh and I do agree though that the first half of season 1 is probably the best overall.

    • Amen, fuck SAO. There are two anime series that have made me actually angry in 3 decades of avidly watching and that’s one of them.

        • Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. Wherein godawful people are godawful to someone nice and innocent, then are godawful to each other over and over and again to the nice person and then instead of ending with the cathartic comeuppance you prayed to the heavens with gritted teeth to rain on them, they kind of get a happy ending. Grrr, 16 years later the blood-boiling loathing is just as fresh as the day I finished it.

          • Ah. Never heard of it, but I think I’ve got enough of an idea as to not want to, endings like that are pretty frustrating.

  • Wait. Hold up.
    I have seen Sword Art Online as super fucking popular with a shit load of kids, and had always assumed that it was just a dorky fucking “We’re stuck in a game!” setting.

    • Na, its a life or death kinda deal. They die in the game, they die in real life. Then there is the S2 ‘defenatly not rape, but as close as we can get to it’ stuff… like, its NOT a kids show.

    • Season 2 would be the main offender. I can’t remember there being much else other than fan service in the rest of SAO, OVA’s (which is the “Extra” being referred to) of all anime are mostly purely made for fan service and are usually a little over the top in doing so.

        • AFAIK, both were 16+ then, so not exactly a minor (doesn’t make the situation right, but wouldn’t it then just be judged like any other video media?). I think the only minor is the girl with the dragon pet? Silica?

      • *shrug* each to their own.
        I absolutely love SAO.
        It is one of my favorite anime’s.
        It tackles so many issues from death to trauma to PTSD to love and family and friendship. And AI and what it means to be human.
        There is the Mother’s Rosario Arc that gets the water works going. Every. Damn. Time.
        There are a lot of great things.
        It did get a bit too fan-servicey later in parts but overall I still thought it was fantastic.
        Although the latest season has gotten a bit weird it is interesting in it’s own way.

          • There are two “rapey” scenes in the later seasons.
            But to me it’s no different to what you see in a lot of movies.
            Bad guy attempts to rape girl is stopped by good guy.
            Also one of those scenes is in the virtual world. Not condoning it at all it’s still attempted rape but there you go. Just giving context.
            As far as I am concerned there is a lot worse in Overlord which I have currently been watching.

          • Eh sort of.
            You have a few underage characters.
            And you have inhuman characters who are obviously older than 18 but LOOK young.
            And the two rape scenes in SAO the characters are over 16 so legal.
            :edit: I should say as mentioned above no one is actually raped. There is one sexual assault and the other one is a bit weird and hard to classify but I would go with assault. :/edit:

          • Just copying and pasting since I edited my last comment and thus it is stuck in moderation hell.

            Eh sort of.
            You have a few underage characters.
            And you have inhuman characters who are obviously older than 18 but LOOK young.
            And the two rape scenes in SAO the characters are over 16 so legal.
            :edit: I should say as mentioned above no one is actually raped. There is one sexual assault and the other one is a bit weird and hard to classify but I would go with assault. :/edit:

    • i mean, it kinda is “we’re stuck in the game, oh no!” at first.

      But then there’s this whole subplot about a guy kidnapping the female protagonist (a clearly underage teenage girl) and forcing her to marry him or he’ll kill the male protagonist. And then there’s this weird younger stepsister thing and… ugh. It probably gets worse but I stopped.

    • Yeah the VR system in the story completely blocks your experience of physical reality, and that leads to story arcs where women are threatened with rape.

  • Australian senator accuses Australia of having strong diplomatic and trade ties to country that has legalised child exploitation material? Regardless of the content of the material he’s brought into question, he’s making a very big claim that goes beyond “ban this in Australia”.

  • This is so rich from senates and politicians.
    If his moral compass is so straight why not go after something more related to killing millions of humans like the Tobacco industry? Cigarettes kill millions everyday and ironically make billions of profit. and that is Life and death with greed and profit to boot. Forget a subsidiary anime category. Do we even have any real use cases from real child exploitation and abuse cases, none of the which have even heard of SAO as a contributing factor. SAO.. not even a great anime anyway and I don’t really recall it centralising on child abuse themes. That’s how memorable it was…

  • No Game No Life? Really? I just finished watching that and yeah it has a lot of fan service but there’s no exploitation of children…As for Goblin Slayer, I watched that recently too and its debatable on what the supposed age is of the goblin’s victims.

    Seems like a storm in a tea cup to me.

    • Also in Goblin Slayer, it shows the goblins are monsters who kill the men and take the women. There are no scenes of rape, just the suggestion that it happened. The main character’s entire focus is on destroying every goblin he can find due to their disgusting natures.

      How is this different than Law and Order referring to a rapist in a TV episode?

      • Because they try to see it’s a cartoon and that it’s for kids despite having our r ratings on most of themand being directed for adults not children the country is full of fucken knobs and the people in charge are f****** dick

    • I put on the first episode of No Game No Life once because I had heard it was good. As I recall the female child lead was introduced with a crotch shot of her underwear. I had to shut it off immediately, because what the fuck is that!?

      • I agree. There’s some great shows like Rosario Vampire, where it’s either stop watching because it’s full of crotch shots that have nothing to do with what’s happening in the story but is there just for male gratification.

        These were absent from the manga, so the inclusion in the anime made no sense. I have to wonder if the animators think it will sell better with these added.

  • “Their argument was that imaginary images, unlike real child abuse, mean that no-one is actually hurt. I don’t buy that argument. Child pornography, even in animated form, is child abuse material. There is absolutely no question about it.”

    …there clearly IS a question about it, though. You just brought up the most common argument and offered absolutely no counter-argument. I do think there’s a possibility of social harm from sexualised depictions of children or characters who appear to be children in anime and manga since it might have the effect of making some individuals think that viewing children in a sexual light is normal or acceptable. That’s… not great, obviously, but I’m not convinced it’s the same level or type of harm as what is caused by the production of child pornography featuring real children. In that case there’s a clear victim of abuse. Drawn images may well have negative social effects but they have no direct victim.

    I’m not really settled on how manga/anime with that kind of content should be treated in Australia, maybe banning it would still be the best move, but suggesting that it’s the same thing as child abuse material featuring actual children is ridiculous.

    • It immediately destroys any credibility he may have had.

      Are fictional depictions of child abuse in media a thing we as a society should tolerate? Good question! Let’s discuss that.

      Are fictional depictions of child abuse in media literally the same thing as filming and selling a video of child rape? Fucking wot m8?

  • yeah no, other series and games aside Goblin Slayer is pretty fucked and I have no idea how online simulcasters manage to keep doing this without any kind of age ratings tbh

  • Regardless of where you stand on the issue this will ultimately be a pointless affair. Anime and Manga is too broad of a medium, much larger than many give it credit for, and so reviewing and reclassifying all of such products will be too large of an undertaking to be justified. Remember when the Government was discussing placing bans on certain sites on the internet for similar content, remember how that turned out? Even if such a thing were to be implemented and some forms of anime were then banned, then what?

  • Only thing I get from this is gov is full of morons. There is nothing wrong with anime in general and if you can’t control what your own children watch it is your own fault. There has been far worse things on general TV and radio in the last few years.

  • It’s simple slap and r rating on and move on. like come on when was the last time you heard that someone had killed someone because he watched Dragon Ball z or read a manga, it doesn’t happen most weebs don’t even leave the fucken house, Australia has become a joke of a country.

  • I am not a lawyer – and after researching a bit, I am pretty much certain you need to be, in order to tell if something is acceptable under the law (and not just “morally unacceptable because of my beliefs”).

    To start off with:
    – Laws differ between countries
    – Laws differ between acts (physical vs pictures vs imaginary etc)
    – Some of the Laws don’t reflect actual real life and psychological science.

    A comment in the comment section is just too small an area to delve into the topic fully, but I’ll start with the simplest case to present: sex between consenting partners of similar age.

    In Japan, where the older partner is not abusing a position of authority over the younger, and is not abusing the inexperience of the younger, the age of consent appears to be 13. There is no age difference limitation either. But the age of consent to have hetero sex with your boss/teacher/doctor/whatever is higher, at 20.

    In contrast, in most states of Australia, the age of consent is 16 where the older partner is not in a position of authority over the younger. The age of consent in the latter situation is 18. There are apparently various exceptions/defenses available, some to protect our kids right to have a normal sexual development with their peers etc, except with odd laws like Sexting laws where your kid can become a criminal for sending a selfie deemed too risque.

    So that’s where the majority of difference between what is acceptable in Anime/Manga comes from – assuming we’re talking consensual “teenagers fooling around like teenagers do”.

    Where it gets even more difficult to track down an answer is “fan service”, which even when the character is fully clothed, may break some laws in some countries (Australia). It seems strange that we have laws that allow consenting partners to do whatever they want, but as soon as that crosses into a fictional character, it becomes illegal.

    I think more than banning Anime/Manga (and indeed, any work of fiction, regardless of media), we should be having a comprehensive review of our laws to ensure they are consistent with the impact of the thing they’re legislating, using evidence and independent expert evidence, and not religious/political reasoning.

  • Last time I checked SAO was classified as M with the appropriate sexualised warnings. So not exactly “for kids” so the whole think of the children argument goes out the window..

    Second since SAO is a work of fiction and an animated one at that labelling it as containing “child abuse” is basically labelling every adult work of fiction as “child abuse” from the infamous Lolita or a someone mentioned above episode from Law and Order.

    So basically the ratings is working as intended but we as a conservative need to push it back to the 80s think of the children moral panic again because you know…. we need something to distract the plebs and be a rallying banner because we need a reason to exist and explain what we do with our tax funded pay check in senate.

  • “undoubtedly features the abuse of children”.

    So do hundreds of movies and TV shows and yet they are ok?

    Or is he makign this an argument that becuase this is a cartoon that chldren might watch it. That is rediculous as the show has a rating which is for… wait for it… Mature Audiences.

    I have watched Sword Art Online and enjoyed it. At no pointdo I recall any instances of abuse which ‘crossed the line’.

    This is a show set in a fantasy virtual world where combat, battle, monsters, demons, fairies, etc all coexist and bettle it out.

    In what way do you make the argument that this is equivalent to real child abuse. Or any abuse for that matter.

    This is a complete FANTASY. It has no basis in reality at all.

    I think the bigger concern is that this senator chosen to goven us has no way of separating fiction from reality.

    I think if senators are going to make these arguments they MUST be made to provide citations for any experts they got advice from.

    “Their argument was that imaginary images, unlike real child abuse, mean that no-one is actually hurt. I don’t buy that argument. Child pornography, even in animated form, is child abuse material. There is absolutely no question about it.”

    Ok that is your opinion. You are going to have to back it up with an explantion. Saying ‘I just don’t like it’ is the same as a child saying ‘just because’.

    In the end as long as material is restricted to adults it should not matter.

    If he is making the argument that even adults can’t handle the material and that it will cause them to go abuse children then he is going to need some solid eveidence backing that up.

    I think the thing that scares me most about this kind of thing is gradually more and more of our freedoms/rights get restricted and taken away by conservatives using knee-jerk reactions to things and in the end we will be like a middle-east country.

    Abosultely restrict the content and don’t let kids watch it but I think stopping it in cartoons but then allowing some of the extreme violence you see in movies and tv shows in general is hypocritical at best.

    It is almost like there is a complete disconnect from reality occuring in the world right now.

    Focus on the real issues of child abuse instead of fantasy cartoons which most perpatrators of child abuse don’t watch anyway.

    Someone else said it stright. This just looks like scapegoating.

  • A full ban is heavy handed and unlikely.
    Unfortunately we are dealing with a medium from a different (Japanese) society with different values and ethics.
    I am kind of on the side of the senator is some cases.
    So many animes are sexually exploitative of underage characters (and we all know a huge majority towards females) in ways that serve no benefit to the theme of the anime or the story.

    An example is ‘A Certain Scientific Railgun’. It is a story that on the surface would seem to be about female empowerment and badassery. Misaka is supposed to be an uber-bad ass that deals with problems herself. But they just gotta have that Beach episode, or that swim club episode, or that modelling photo shoot episode. It doesn’t serve the story they were telling, it doesn’t serve the initial theme of the anime. It is just there to exploit this female character. (PS I think Misaka Clones as a collective are some of the coolest Side Characters in any Anime. Love the dead-pan.)

    Now an example of an overreaction is No Game No Life, which is specifically mentioned.
    It came out on Netflix, I decided to give it a shot knowing nothing about it. It was a little unconventional as far as Animes go as it straight up introduces the characters with ages (most like to leave it ‘ambiguous’) Sora is 18, ok, all G for whatever. Shiro is 12, no G where are we going with this? They introduce Shiro with a classic risque upskirt shot (one of many) and leave Soras and Shiros relationship kind of vague other than blood brother/sister (none of that ‘step’ technicalities here). So almost immediately my red-flags are going of. However as the show goes on you quickly realize this is a adult comedy anime, Sora and Shiros relationship is mainly one of mutual sibling love, Shiro specifically calls out things that are ‘lewd’ or ‘R’ rated and they show has an MA 15+ rating.

    I don’t know where I am going with this, just my anecdotal response I suppose.
    I guess just don’t be a Steph.

  • Will this senator also ban south park? Several episodes focus on sex or nudity with kids, such as ike and his teacher, jimmy and the hooker, cartman getting naked in the ninja weapons ep. Then theres the simpsons where nearly every episode shows bart being abused by the choking from homer, and the scene in the movie where barts dick is literally the focus point. Its the scene where he’s skating nude, and its not always covered.

    Oh and then there’s big mouth. That needs no explanation.

  • This senator is a complete IDIOT. This is fictional world, it isn’t REAL. No children were actually HARMED.

    Another thing; I have the manga’s, most of them anyway, and so far none of them have depicted what he falsely claimed. The closest I think is the more recent manga where it was featured *once*. Hardly “abundant.”

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