'[New Life+] Young Again in Another World' Anime's Protagonist, Novel Creator Cause Controversy
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
The announcement of the television anime adaptation of MINE's [New Life+] Young Again in Another World (Nidome no Jinsei o Isekai de) light novel series is causing a controversy among Chinese- and Japanese-speaking net users. Twitter user @SonmiChina, whose Twitter bio describes them as a Chinese person born in Japan, described the controversy in a series of tweets on Thursday.
The Twitter user explained that the original light novels center on a Japanese protagonist who killed more than 3,000 people with a Japanese sword in the Second Sino-Japanese War, a conflict between China and Japan that ran from 1937-1945 and became part of World War II. After living to the age of 94, and killing another 2,000 people through the course of his life, the character gets reborn as an 18-year-old man in another world.
Some net commenters believe it is inappropriate to make an anime centering on a character who killed thousands of Chinese people during a real-world historical event. On the other hand, some commenters said that the more than 3,000-victim figure is an exaggeration, and the story is a work of fiction, so making an anime about such a fictitious story is not problematic. However, other commenters said that using such a hyperbolic figure still demeans China, especially in light of the many real casualties of the war.
Online commenters are also criticizing Mine for more than the content of his light novels. @SonmiChina posted images of Mine's tweets from 2013-2015 that appear to criticize China. @SonmiChina describes the tweets as "hate speech" toward China. In addition to expressing controversial opinions, the tweets refer to China as "bug country," using kanji characters that may have the same pronunciation as the word "China" in Japanese. Additionally, @SonmiChina posted images of Mine's tweets from 2012-2014 that appear to contain anti-Korean sentiments and similar derogatory euphemisms for the country of South Korea.
Many online commenters agree with @SonmiChina's opinion that adapting [New Life+] Young Again in Another World into anime is inappropriate. @SonmiChina believes companies associated with the production showed poor judgement, and the Twitter user wants people to consider the feelings of Chinese people who like Japanese anime.
The anime is slated to premiere in October. Keitaro Motonaga (School Days, Jormungand, Digimon Adventure tri.) is directing the anime at Seven Arcs Pictures (Basilisk: The Ouka Ninja Scrolls).
J-Novel Club is publishing the novel series digitally, and it describes the story:
When death tapped Renya Kunugi on the shoulder, he smiled and went willingly. After enjoying a nice, long life of 94 years, he was looking forward to shutting his eyes for the last time. He was, therefore, understandably upset when he woke up again in an empty space, devoid of memories, with a young girl in a tunic rambling on and on about how she's God. So, he did what any reasonable person would have done under those circumstances: he sent the girl flying with a kick to the face. It turned out that the girl was indeed God, and she was in a pinch. She urgently needed someone to do some interdimensional Resource smuggling, and Renya fit the bill. His mission: cross the boundary into another world, then chill for a few decades. God would handle the rest. To sweeten the deal, she offered him an eighteen-year-old body and a whole laundry list of ludicrously powerful skills, yet he remained hesitant. Then, she mentioned the food — an exotic world comes with exotic delicacies — and this sealed the deal. The next thing he knew, he was standing in a foreign land, younger, stronger, and more clueless than ever. Will he survive this world? And more importantly, will the world survive him?
MINE launched the novels on the "Shōsetsuka ni Narō" website in January 2014, and the series has since garnered over 189 million page views. Hobby Japan began publishing printed novels for the series starting in November 2014 with illustrations by Kabocha. Hobby Japan published the 18th novel in May.
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history