Looking into Rurouni Kenshin Mangaka Scandal: Why is Nobuhiro Watsuki so controversial?

Rurouni Kenshin TV Anime 2nd Cour What will it be about (3)

As the anime unveils its captivating narrative, the troubling fact that the Rurouni Kenshin Mangaka, Nobuhiro Watsuki, faced legal trouble related to possession of illegal materials still lingers. In this piece, we will delve deep into the Rurouni Kenshin Mangaka controversy and answer the burning question: Should you still watch Rurouni Kenshin?

Why is the Rurouni Kenshin mangaka Nobuhiro Watsuki so controversial?

Top 5 Live Action Anime Adaptations of Anime and Manga series
Rurouni Kenshin Live Action | Image via IMDb

Nobuhiro Watsuki, the creator of Rurouni Kenshin manga, has stirred controversy within the anime industry due to his actions. In November 2017, Watsuki was apprehended for possessing DVDs containing explicit child content. This led to the suspension of the ongoing manga instalment, “The Hokkaido Arc,” which had commenced only a few months prior.

As of late, the Rurouni Kenshin author scandal has yet to leave the masses’ attention. With Anime fans not letting go of this serious situation.

What were the consequences faced by the Rurouni Kenshin Mangaka?

In 2017, Nobuhiro Watsuki, then 47 years old, faced charges related to possessing child pornography and was fined a mere 200,000 yen, roughly equivalent to less than $2000 USD. Consequently, the serialization of the “Hokkaido Arc,” a continuation of the Rurouni Kenshin manga that had commenced a few months earlier, was temporarily halted.

Surprisingly, it recommenced within just six months, in 2018. Fast forward to September 23, 2022, when the Aniplex Online Fest unveiled a fresh trailer showcasing a reboot of the Rurouni Kenshin anime, produced by Liden Films.

Why are fans so upset about the Rurouni Kenshin Mangaka controversy?

The frustration for fans primarily stems from the perceived inadequacy of the punishment. Watsuki’s situation did not result in a conviction but rather a relatively small fine, which appeared insufficient.

  • Furthermore, the period following the hiatus was characterized by an abundance of positive sentiments, accolades, and achievements that far outweighed the imposed fine. While determining his exact earnings from the series is challenging, asserting that he earned nothing would be overly optimistic.
  • A more substantial fine, a more protracted hiatus, complete cancellation of the series, or even a legal penalty might have been viewed as more appropriate. In the absence of these, had Watsuki offered a more comprehensive and sincere apology to his audience, there could have been a slight chance for forgiveness. I emphasize that this wouldn’t have guaranteed forgiveness, but the possibility would have been more significant than negligible. In the end, what followed was Watsuki’s apology in the inaugural issue released after the hiatus:

I deeply apologize for causing trouble and worrying everyone. I will do my sincere best.

Nobuhiro Watsuki, June 4, 2018

The brevity of the message in relation to the gravity of the issue is striking. Clearly, attaining forgiveness wouldn’t have been straightforward, and a significant number might have remained unforgiving. Nonetheless, envisioning a slightly more extensive apology than a mere 15 words is not beyond the realm of possibility. It’s conceivable that the reception to the reboot could have been somewhat improved had fans been provided with a more substantial apology.

Should you let the Rurouni Kenshin Mangaka controversy decide whether or not you should watch it?

A still from Rurouni Kenshin anime
A still from Rurouni Kenshin anime (Image via Liden Films)
  • The abundance of conflicting emotions tied to this franchise is a direct consequence of the profound resonance its story has achieved with its audience.
  • Rurouni Kenshin exists as a period drama infused with grandiose elements, yet it delivers its narrative of justice and redemption with an unwavering sincerity that consistently strikes a chord.

This is precisely why being a fan of Rurouni Kenshin can be challenging. The perpetual allure of its narrative is juxtaposed against the uncomfortable reality of its creator’s misconduct. The dilemma of “what course to take now?” lacks straightforward solutions, particularly ones that could be promptly addressed.

Enthusiasts have the option to completely disengage from the story or to detach it from its creator. Both choices are imperfect, but they are the outcomes of navigating through an inherently flawed circumstance. What remains universally acknowledged is that, regardless of one’s affection for this franchise, no one should ever disregard the actions of Nobuhiro Watsuki or the rapidity of his absolution by the publisher and the industry.

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