Love Live! Sunshine!! Director Comments on Twitter Harassment, Considers Legal Action
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Love Live! Sunshine!! director Kazuo Sakai made statements regarding online harassment he received, some targeting his family, on Sunday. Sakai wrote, "I think it's natural to receive various opinions because I have responsibility as the director of [Love Live! Sunshine!!]. However, recently there are intolerable replies that include family matters. I will look at the progression and block all of these types of accounts after this. Please understand." Sakai also said he will consider taking legal action if such behavior continues.
He added that the same goes for people deceptively using his name to tweet and for fan accounts using his name. Various Twitter accounts referencing Sakai or Love Live! previously shared photos and videos of prank-style behavior. For example, such accounts posted images and videos of people lying on the floor of a train and setting up cameras to film on sushi restaurant conveyor belts.
One such group of related Twitter accounts, which feature the image of the same T-shirt that mentions "Kazuo," uses the hashtag "Sakai Kazuo Shineitai" (the word "shineitai" can mean "groupies," "ardent fans," or "bodyguards"). The accounts have usernames with variations on Sakai's name and "Love Live!." The accounts recently deleted content, including an announcement from April 29 about the group's apparent dissolution. The announcement cited Sakai's mention of legal action as the reason for the group's dissolution.
A tweet on a related account responding to the dissolution announcement professed "undying" loyalty to Sakai. However, many online commenters have suggested that the "Sakai Kazuo Shineitai" fan group or groups intended to harass Sakai and make fun of the Love Live! franchise rather than offer support as they claimed.
Sakai's situation is similar to harassment that Yūichi Fukushima, former A-1 Pictures and current CloverWorks animation producer, endured on Twitter in April. Fukushima and DARLING in the FRANXX writer Hiroshi Seko received death threats after developments in the anime's romance triangle did not go along with some viewers' wishes.