At Aniplex Online Fest 2022, one of the biggest announcements was the Rurouni Kenshin remake, though following its reveal, fans online have begun calling for a boycott.
For many anime fans who grew up in the 90s, Rurouni Kenshin was among the most popular, and it has received a hit live-action series thanks to this.
But in the last couple of years, many fans of the series have dropped their fandom due to author Nobuhiro Watsuki’s actions.
Back in 2017, Watsuki was referred to prosecutors over possession of child pornography.
According to reports, police found about a hundred child pornography DVDs in Watsuki’s home. Following this, he was fined JPY 200,000 or around USD 1,500 in February 2018.
During the investigation period, Watsuki’s Rurouni Kenshin: The Hokkaido Arc was put on hiatus, though it resumed serialization on Jump Square in June 2018.
Many fans believe Watsuki has gotten off lightly despite the severity of his crime. Because of this, anime fans have called for fellow watchers and manga readers to refrain from consuming new Rurouni Kenshin content, including the upcoming remake.
Fans took to Twitter to remind others about Watsuki’s history. There are also calls for fans to not support this new anime remake.
While manga creators aren’t always heavily involved in the creation of anime adaptations, many fans believe that authors still get royalties or at least payments for anime adaptations.
Because of this, the movement online continues to boycott the Rurouni Kenshin remake.
Though it will remain to be seen if this remake will be carried by a streaming service in the West. After all, following Watsuki’s charges, VIZ Media stopped releasing The Hokkaido Arc and has not resumed its publications since.
While many called for a boycott, other fans had different takes. Some say that fans can still watch the remake, albeit in a way that won’t support the creators. Others say that they can separate the art from the artist in this situation.
The upcoming remake is being made by Liden Films and will star Soma Saito as Kenshin Himura and Rie Takahashi as Kaoru Kamiya. Directing the series is Hideyo Yamamoto who is joined by character designer Terumi Nishii.
The Rurouni Kenshin remake will be released sometime in 2023 on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block.