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Australia's Classification Board Responds to Senator's Criticism of Anime Content

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

The Australian Classification Board responded to South Australian senator Stirling Griff's criticisms from early this week where the politician accused the board of rating media in isolation from criminal law. Classification Board director Margaret Anderson responded that the Board is aware of the concerns involving "Sword Art Online: Extra Edition, No Game, No Life, and Eromanga Sensei Volumes 1 & 2". The Board rates content with the same criteria whether it is live-action or animated.

The Board classifies films in accordance with the Guidelines for the Classification of Films (the Film Guidelines). There are not specific or separate guidelines to classify animated films. Films can be classified in the classification categories from G to R 18+ (with the X 18+ category limited to films containing sexually explicit activity). If a film contains content that exceeds the scope and limits of content that is permitted in the R 18+ category, it will be Refused Classification (RC). Films in the anime genre have been classified across a range of categories, including M, MA 15+, R 18+ and RC.

The Film Guidelines state that context plays a major part in selecting a film or television show's rating. The Board gave Sword Art Online: Extra Edition an M rating for "sexualised imagery, sexual references and animated violence" and No Game, No Life and and Eromanga Sensei an MA 15+ rating for "strong sexual themes."

Senator Griff drew attention this week after he called attention to sexual situations involving underage characters in anime. Senator Griff used the series Eromanga Sensei as an example of media depicting "child exploitation" that "heavily features incest themes" and stated "many scenes are so disturbing I just won't, I just can't, describe them."

In Australia, it is illegal to produce, possess, or distribute pornography or abuse material depicting a person under the age of 18. In 2008, a New South Wales Supreme Court judge ruled that a pornographic cartoon depicting characters from The Simpsons was child porn.

Director Anderson wrote in her letter, "The Board is aware that a campaign has been launched about the sale of Japanese manga and anime in Australia and that in the context of the Government's Review of Classification Regulation this issue has been raised. The Board welcomes this review."

Source: Kotaku Australia (Alex Walker )


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