Warning: Anime and Manga may be harmful to your health

It’s absolutely true.  Today, in the 21st century where we’re supposed to be open minded peoples, people are being thrown behind bars for…wait for it…manga and anime.

What is Manga and Anime?

I’m not going to go into the full depths of this question, as a true fan might be tempted to, but in a nutshell it’s a Japanese animated cartoon.  Anime is short for “animation.”  I don’t know what’s popular today since I haven’t watched nor collected any anime since 2005, but in my day Tri-Gun, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, Vampire Princess Miyu, Hellsing, and of course Vampire Hunter D were what was in.  Of course there’s Sailer Moon, Pokemon, Dragon Ballz, and all those that can be considered anime as well.

Manga is the Japanese word for “comics” and consists of comic and print cartoons.  Think graphic novels, but done in the Japanese style.

Why the heck are Japanese cartoons and comics going to land me in jail?

Good question, and this one can’t be answered as simply as what is Manga and Anime.  The issue is, in the name of cracking down on kiddie porn, western governments are going after people who have anime or manga that depict cartoon children in sexual acts.  Sexual manga and anime do have a special name, that’s hentai.  I remember my first introduction to it.  I thought I picked up a anime horror cartoon called the Necronomicon (book of the dead) but in the middle of the story there were some pretty spicy lesbian scenes.

However, there’s a sub-genre of hentai that features underage girls (though it’s really hard to tell if all the cartoon girls running around in their school uniforms are really over 18 in the first place…) that is obviously underage girls.  I really don’t know much about lolicon beyond the obviously underage girls, except that it really isn’t my thing.  Neither is hentai, but hey, I know for a fact it sells.

So anyways, due to lolicon and other porn cartoonists that do parodies with popular cartoons such as the Simpsons, there are some Western countries who have focused on this type of cartoon instead of going out and finding people who really are destroying REAL children’s lives.  A very noble cause and good use of resources, if you ask me.  Oh, if you couldn’t pick up on it, that last sentence was dripping with sarcasm.

Australia: I could go on a long rant about porn in general in the land down under, they’re nuts.  They have a zero-tolerance policy in any type of media that depicts children sexually, to the point that they’ll happily confiscate any “barely legal” or “teen” type porn travelers or citizens drag in overseas.  I know for certain that the porn industry has been fleeing Australia and relocating, and this is why.

I remember a few years ago a guy in Australia was convicted of having child porn due to sexually explicit cartoons of The Simpsons were found on his PC.  The Australian court decided against the chap because the animated (as in, not real and can never be real) children could be considered real people.  Um, alright.  Sure, cartoons are now real people.  Good to know…

Canada: I just saw a news article today about bringing in anime and manga from abroad that prompted me to muse over this particular subject.  In it is a story about an American guy in his 20s who went to visit a friend in Canada.  Yea, it happens though we Americans don’t speak of it.  Just kidding.  Anyways, had some anime or manga on him, the authorities caught him and decided that they needed to protect those cartoon youths, now the American guy has been charged of possession and importation of child porn and faces a minimum of a year in prison if convicted.

Now why was the guy arrested? Canada has a law that prohibits the importation of “obscene” material into the country.  Evidently customs agents love seizing something as tame as Sailor Moon so the lesson here? Just don’t bring your anime or manga along on your trip.  There is, however, a Comic Book Legal Defense Fund that’s been set up for this guy that brought his anime with him.  We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.

United Kingdom: Yup, the Brits also have a law that makes cartoon porn of minors illegal.  April 6th of 2010 marked the point in time that thousands of fans of anime, hentai, and graphic novels in England and Whales face a max of 3 years in prison for their love of anime.  This is called the Dangerous Cartoon Act.  Yup, news flash, in the UK cartoons can be dangerous.

Now, I can get behind a ban on lolicon since that’s obviously children…but fans of Watchmen and Lost Girls might be at risk of going to jail and being convicted as a sex offender under this law.

United States: The land that will confiscate and fine you for having a chocolate egg called “Kinder Eggs” or that declares bubble wrap as a toxic substance (true stories).  Well, we all know that the wacky right would love to abolish all porn and anything that offends their delicate sense of morality and self worth…but what’s the current status of anime and manga? I’m sure this is a huge and complex issue that I don’t have time to research in full.  However, from what I’ve found the US treats simulated child porn in 3 separate components: simulated, porn, child.

What I do know is the Supreme Court at some point did ban depictions of sex between children, even if not obscene and not involving real child victims (lolicon in other words).  So no Lisa Simpson porn…even after 23 years of the show.

Final Thoughts

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t condone child porn at all.  It’s sick, twisted, and people who put kids in danger like this or can even THINK about putting children in these situations should be swiftly ended.  What I don’t agree with is people getting in trouble for what “could” be depicted as child porn.  If today, I took my DVDs of Vampire Princess Miyu (either OV or Manga) into Australia, Canada, or the States, am I going to be at risk in getting arrested? It’s been years since I watched it, but I know she can’t be 18 and there are some scenes that are a tad racey.

Or how about my copy of Necronomicon with its hidden Hentai scene?

Personally, I think this is all insanity and as I said before, I think all the time, effort and resources countries are putting into policing and patrolling anime and manga could be put towards saving REAL children from the horrors of abuse.  I don’t think the now 20 something Lisa Simpson or Sailor Moon cares since they’re not….REAL.


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