Charges Filed Against 16 in Square Enix's Hi Score Girl Manga Case
posted on by Kyle Cardine
Japanese news source Sankei reported that the Osaka Prefectural Police filed charges against 16 people, including Hi Score Girl author Rensuke Oshikiri and members of the editing and publishing department at Square Enix, for copyright infringement on Monday.
According to Osaka Prefectural Police, Square Enix only obtained the rights to use video game characters from three companies out of 20 companies cited.
All suspects denied the charges. "I thought Square Enix obtained the rights," said Oshikiri.
Square Enix stated, "Currently, we cannot confirm all the facts of the case. We will clarify the claim in court."
SNK Playmore filed a criminal complaint against Square Enix, 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. As a result, police raided Square Enix's headquarters on August 5.
Later in August, the editor-in-chief of Square Enix's Monthly Big Gangan announced that the magazine will temporarily halt serialization of the manga, in light of the 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.
Capcom, Bandai Namco Games, and Sega said that they gave formal consent for the manga to use their games' characters. However, a Sega representative added that the company gave permission only after one of its characters had already appeared in the manga.
Square Enix filed a counterclaim against SNK Playmore in October, requesting the Osaka District Court to confirm that the manga does not violate SNK Playmore's copyrights.
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.
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