Hi Score Girl Manga Recalled After SNK's Copyright Charges
posted on by Egan Loo
Square Enix is voluntarily recalling all print volumes of Rensuke Oshikiri's Hi Score Girl manga after police searched the publisher's headquarters due to alleged copyright violations. 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.
Square Enix is also halting 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.
However, the manga will continue to run in Square Enix's Monthly Big Gangan magazine. Also, the publisher told the ITmedia News website that "there are no changes" to the plans to adapt the manga into anime. 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.
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. The manga also uses characters from Capcom's Street Fighter II, Sega's Virtua Fighter, Namco's Genpei Tōma Den, and other games. ITmedia News contacted Capcom, Sega, and Bandai Namco Games, and each one said that it gave formal consent for the manga to use its games' characters. The endnotes for the manga's first volume includes the copyright notice pictured left.
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.