Once again, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is part of a real-life struggle between the good and evil to be found in the human heart.

Freegate is a bar in Kochi City, the capital of Japan’s Kochi Prefecture. It’s not just any bar, though – it’s an otaku bar. In addition to anime enthusiasts, Freegate says it happily welcomes fans of manga, video games, collectible trading card games, board games, and pen-and-paper RPGs. They’re even currently running a special where customers who come in cosplay outfits get a free drink.

So the atmosphere is definitely one filled with comradery for anyone who enjoys those pop culture niches. Unfortunately, one recent customer committed a major otaku party foul.

Freegate’s interior decor includes all sorts of anime and video game-themed touches, and with Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba being by far the hottest series in Japan at the moment, the bar has a number of Demon Slayer figures on display. But in the above photo from Freegate’s official Twitter account, you’ll notice there’s a conspicuous empty space, because someone decided to steal the figure of Demon Slayer’s female lead Nezuko that used to be there (and yes, that’s a different Nezuko figure next to the empty space, since she’s a very popular character).

Being the victim of a crime can make you feel powerless, but Freegate actually has an ace up its sleeve. After noticing the figure was missing, the owner took a look at the bar’s security camera footage, and not only does it clearly show the moment when the figure was taken, the thief’s face is clearly visible too. But rather than turn the evidence over to the police, Freegate is giving the thief a chance to come clean and make amends. The text accompanying its tweet reads:

“To the male customer who visited us the other day,

Please return the Nezuko figure that was in the space circled in red to our bar. If it is not returned by mid-July, we will turn the security footage that shows your face and you taking the figure over to the police, filing a criminal report, and pressing charges for damages.”

If Demon Slayer-related theft, as well as Freegate’s reaction, is sounding familiar you might be remembering the incident last month when someone stole 20 volumes of the manga from a hot spring’s relaxation room library. Just as in that case, the victim’s willingness to forgive and forget as long as the property is returned is being met with divided opinions among Twitter commenters, whose reactions have included

“What he did is grounds for an immediate police report and prosecution.”
“No need to be so accommodating to a thief.”
“I think this is really compassionate of Freegate. They’re giving him one last chance to do the right thing.”
“Hate the crime, not the criminal.”
“If they just go to the police, press charges, and quietly resolve the issue, it won’t help prevent future thefts as much as putting this story out on Twitter will.”

In the end, the hot spring manga thief returned the books, and here’s hoping that Freegate gets its figure back in a timely manner too.

Update: The figure has since been returned, safe and sound!

Related: Freegate website
Source: Twitter/@freegate20181 via Jin
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!