This Wednesday, a St. Petersburg court has banned the Death Note, Tokyo Ghoul, and Inuyashiki anime after concerns that teenagers would mimic on-screen violence.
During the trial, the prosecution screened episodes to underscore its argument. According to The Moscow Times, the district court stated, “Every episode contains cruelty, murder, violence.”
In mid-December, five lawsuits were filed against 49 Russian sites distributing anime. State prosecutors also called for the court to ban other shows including Elfen Lied and Naruto in yet-to-be-decided suits.
According to the website Meduza, Oleg Erlikh, an expert from St. Petersburg Academy of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education, said Death Note was “potentially dangerous for a modern child.”
The ruling bans two websites from distributing the Death Note and Inuyashiki anime and one website for Tokyo Ghoul. The Moscow Times points out that the state-run RIA Novosti news reports the ban only impacts these specific sites. However, Meduza explains that Russia’s censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, could interpret the ban as a more encompassing ban on these anime.
Death Note debuted as a manga in 2006 and went on to spawn successful anime and live-action adaptations.
As Kotaku previously reported, there have been calls to ban Death Note since 2013. At that time, a fifteen-year-old girl died by suicide and in her room, four copies of the Death Note manga were discovered. Some blamed the comic for the girl’s death, and a group of parents even appealed directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin to ban the manga on the grounds that it was harmful to the country’s youth.