Judge rules slapping girl in the face did not constitute promoting violence towards women.

Soccer saga Captain Tsubasa is one of the most popular sports anime ever made, and not just in its home country of Japan. It’s also a generations-spanning hit in Europe and Latin America, so much so that Chilean public broadcaster TVN began rerunning episodes of original 1983 Captain Tsubasa TV series in 2019.

But while this was a nostalgic trip to memory pitch for fans, not everyone enjoyed what they saw, and a lawsuit was brought against TVN claiming that Captain Tsubasa promoted violence against women. The accusation wasn’t aimed at the star Tsubasa himself, but rather at the titular captain’s childhood rival, Jun Misugi, for the moment shown below, where the middle schooler is asked a question by his club’s equipment manager, Yayoi Aoba, and chooses to let the back of his hand do his talking.

Shortly before the scene takes place, Yayoi spilled the beans about Jun’s poor heart condition, which he’d been keeping a secret, to Tsubasa, asking the series’ star to purposely throw the upcoming match between their two teams. This went against Jun’s sportsmanship ideals, and apparently he could think of no better way to explain his perspective than with an open-hand strike to the face.

The episode was broadcast in Chile in July of 2019, and a verdict was reached in the initial trial in February of 2020, in which TVN was ordered to pay a fine of roughly 5.11 million pesos (US$6,934). The broadcaster appealed the decision, though, and on Tuesday a Santiago court ruled in favor of TVN.

In explaining the rationale for overturning the initial ruling, the presiding judge said:

” [Captain Tsubasa] is not a violent program…it is an animated story that depicts children dedicated to soccer, their development, and the competitions they engage in. One of the main characters suffers from a heart condition which he’d been keeping a secret and a girl that he considered a friend revealed it to his rival, and he slaps the girl in a fraction of time that is less than a minute, because he felt that she had no right to tell him, because it removed his rival’s desire to compete, and he indicated that he did not want her to further intervene.”

That sounds startlingly close to “It’s OK to smack people around as long as you have a reason and you do it really quickly before you calm down.” Still, the court ruled that Yayoi’s gender played no part in Jun’s decision to slap her, and so in turn that Captain Tsubasa was not promoting violence against women, and thus TVN would not have to pay any fine.

As for Jun and Yayoi themselves, the pair seems to have put any hurt feelings from betrayals of trust or physical violence behind themselves, and in Captain Tsubasa’s currently ongoing manga arc, the two are grown adults in a long-term romantic relationship, with the assumption that they’ll eventually get married.

Sources: Yomiuri Shimbun via Livedoor News via Otakomu, The Clinic via Twitter/@lautarogodoy via Hachima Kiko
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