Their silence on what has happened with Nobuhiro Watsuki is disappointing, to say the least.
On Tuesday, Nobuhiro Watsuki (real name: Nobuhiro Nishiwaki) was charged with possessing child pornography. According to the Tokyo Metropolitian Police, Watsuki had numerous DVDs with naked girls in their early teens. And in his deposition, he was alleged to have said that he “liked girls in late elementary school to around the second year of middle school.”
That essentially is a line that’s unacceptable for any publisher. Who knows exactly how long Watsuki has had this fetish? Why would he have those DVDs if he’s already married? All of these things are bad. And yet, it’s been reported Shueisha has indefinitely suspended publication of his latest Rurouni Kenshin story, and they’re still deciding what to do with the rest of his series. But the English publisher has remained silent.
So, what exactly is Viz waiting for?
Well, my theories are as such:
- It is a holiday week.
- I imagine there have been discussions on what to do with not just all of Rurouni Kenshin, but also of Buso Renkin as well. I also imagine Shueisha may also be a factor in talks as well.
- It’s not quite so easy to take down all the manga of the series just yet, and for Buso Renkin, they have not only the manga, but anime rights, from streaming to home video releases, as well.
- The big problem is the others not involved with Watsuki that are now hurt by his decision. This will be a long trickle down effect, and they have to get that stuff sorted out.
Also, Rurouni Kenshin is one of the more well-known gateway series. As the anime aired on Toonami, the manga has been published by Viz since 2003, with various editions of the title being released (VizBIG versions and a 3-in-1 version), and making appearances in the English version of Shonen Jump. Rurouni Kenshin: The Hokkaido Arc, has been published in English Shonen Jump the same day as Japanese chapters. The Rurouni Kenshin anime aired on Toonami in 2003, and is streaming on Crunchyroll and Netflix. FUNimation released the live-action Kenshin series last year. So in some ways, this is as important as Viz’s Dragon Ball, Death Note, etc. It’s a big decision, and I understand that Viz will want to make the right one.
The problem is this should be something they’ve responded to already.
Already they’ve made the decision to no longer host the Hokkaido Arc or Side-Story: The Ex-Con Ashitaro arc as of now. But they haven’t said why they’ve taken them down. Imagine for them if what is already bad news about one of their artists to be caught with child porn somehow gets worse? If this gets somehow darker than normal? Well, they’ll still have one of their most popular shonen titles for people to purchase, apparently.
So yes, Viz should consider actually announcing what they plan on doing with Watsuki’s works going forward. I do expect they will say something, at least this upcoming week.