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Sega Also Has Copyright Complaints Against Hi Score Girl Manga

posted on 2014-09-03 09:00 EDT
Virtua Fighter character appeared in series before permission was granted

Japanese news source Sankei reported on Monday that Sega representatives received a request from Square Enix to use characters from its Virtua Fighter series in Rensuke Oshikiri's Hi Score Girl manga approximately two years ago, but a character appeared in the serialized manga before permission was granted. Sega never publicly took legal action, but "strongly objected." Sega then gave Square Enix the permission to use the characters, on the condition that the company could check the parts of the manga in which the characters were being used before the chapters were published. Sega gave permission to Square Enix on the merit that the inclusion of the characters would be PR for the game.

ITmedia News previously contacted Sega, as well as CAPCOM and Bandai Namco Games, and each one said that it gave formal consent for the manga to use its games' characters. The end notes for the manga's first volume includes the copyright notice.

An SNK Playmore representative told ITmedia News that there were "absolutely no" requests or discussions by Square Enix to obtain consent to use SNK characters.

SNK Playmore had filed a complaint, asserting that the manga features over 100 instances of characters from The King of Fighters, Samurai Spirits (Samurai Shodown), and other fighting games owned by SNK. Police searched the publisher's headquarters last month. The editor-in-chief of Square Enix's Monthly Big Gangan posted a message to its readers announcing that the magazine will temporarily halt serialization of the manga in light of alleged copyright violations.

Square Enix also issued a voluntary recall on all of the manga's print volumes and halted the sale of the manga's digital release, as well as sales of the manga's official fanbook in print. Square Enix Holdings' public relations representative emphasized that the publisher is not acknowledging that the allegations of copyright violations are true, but it decided on the voluntary recall in light of the tumultuous situation.

The publisher previously told the ITmedia News website that "there are no changes" for the planned anime adaptation. However, Square Enix's public relations representative then told the Gadget Tsūshin website that the publisher has not decided whether to cancel or continue the anime plans.

The story of the "90s arcade romantic comedy" manga begins in 1991, during the heyday of the 2D fighting game boom. Sixth-grader Haruo spends practically his entire day at an arcade in the seedy part of town, oblivious to the world around him. However, one day at his usual arcade, he encounters Akira, his female classmate with good grades and money. She may look out of place at the arcade, but she is actually a top-class gamer. Akira completely outmatches Haruo in one Street Fighter II round after another, and their relationship develops from this unlikely encounter.

Oshikiri launched the manga in Square Enix's Big Gangan magazine in 2010, and Square Enix published the fifth compiled book volume of the manga in December.

[Via Hachima Kikō]


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