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Square Enix, SNK Playmore Settle Claims Over Hi Score Girl Manga

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
SNK drops criminal charges; Square Enix free to continue selling manga

Square Enix issued a press release on Wednesday stating that, as of Monday, both Square Enix and SNK Playmore have settled their claims regarding Rensuke Oshikiri's Hi Score Girl manga. Square Enix and SNK Playmore, through holding company Ledo Millennium Co., Ltd. (a holding company of Leyou Technologies, which recently acquired an 81.25 percent stake in SNK Playmore's shares), have mutually decided to settle the case in its early stages, choosing to see the use of each company's characters as a chance for a cooperative effort.

SNK Playmore officially sent a document to the Osaka District Court on August 24, stating that it is dropping its criminal charges, and the Osaka Prefectural Police has officially received the document. The press release clarifies that Square Enix can now continue publishing and selling Hi Score Girl.


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 2013. Big Gangan announced in December 2013 that an anime had been green-lit. Oshikiri also launched a new manga series titled Guranba in Gentosha's Comic Birz in May, and published a "traditional fantasy" one-shot manga titled "Hell Fire" in Shueisha's Jump Square in June.

SNK Playmore filed a criminal complaint against Square Enix in August 2014, asserting that the Hi Score Girl 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 that 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 Osaka Prefectural Police then formally filed charges against 16 people, including author Oshikiri and members of the editing and publishing department at Square Enix, for copyright infringement in November.

[Via Hachima Kikō]

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