Some viewers were upset over content shown on TV during prime time.

It’s been less than a year since Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba The Movie: Mugen Train became the highest-grossing movie of all time in Japan, and so it was a major TV event when Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV aired it in prime time last month. Since the movie is a direct follow-up to the first season of the Demon Slayer TV anime, Fuji TV also showed two recap specials earlier in the month, containing extensive footage from the TV series.

While fans were happy for the refresher course in the series’ events and lore, not everyone else was pleased. Following the airing of the specials, Japan’s Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization media watchdog organization (also known as the BPO) received a number of complaints about “the primetime broadcast of an anime work with a famous movie,” a description that only fits for Demon Slayer during the time frame in which the complaints came in. Among the complaints were “There are too many scenes of bloodshed and cruelty” and “I was incredibly uncomfortable at the grotesque depictions of people being eaten, an arm being torn off, and other terrible acts of violence.”

▼ Preview for Demon Slayer’s upcoming second TV season

As a non-government organization, the BPO doesn’t wield the authority that, for example, the FCC does in the U.S. Still, its status as Japan’s most prominent organization of its type means that its investigations, statements, and recommendations to broadcasters carry a certain amount of clout. So how did the BPO’s Youth Committee members respond to the Demon Slayer complaints?

With these two remarks:

“The popularity of the series and movie suggest that its content has been deemed acceptable.”
“In addition, the concept of voluntary viewer discretion while watching is widely understood and accepted.”

The reaction might come as a surprise to some, but it’s important to note that despite the fretful, hand-wringing impression a name like Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization might conjure, the BPO isn’t necessarily organizing witch hunts to bring down what it feels is a wicked entertainment industry. The group’s mission statement says it wants to “promote higher ethical standards while ensuring freedom of speech and expression,” and evidently it’s not interested in sacrificing the latter for the sake of the former.

This isn’t the first time members of the BPO’s Youth Committee have come to the defense of an anime after receiving a complaint either. Last year some members also went to bat for the prostitution-centric Interspecies Reviewers, the most controversial anime broadcast in recent memory, and they might find themselves fielding a few more red-light complaints when Demon Slayer’s second season, set in Tokyo’s former real-world pleasure quarter, premiers this winter.

Source: BPO (1, 2)
Top image: YouTube/アニプレックス YouTube チャンネル
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[ Read in Japanese ]