The Kolpinski District Court based in St. Petersburg, Russia has made further rulings regarding the distribution of anime in the country. The new ruling placed a limited ban on certain anime series that fall under the isekai genre. Isekai is a very popular sub-genre of anime, manga, and light novels where the central premise is that the protagonist is transported or reborn into another world and is typically caused by their untimely death.
So far, the specific isekai anime affected by this limited ban are KonoSuba and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. The ban will be enforced on websites that do not already contain a content warning for the shows. However, the court has announced that it doesn’t intend to stop now and will push for all isekai anime series to be properly labeled for harmful content. Other anime banned at the same time include Zombie Land Saga, Princess Lover, and Nekopara.
The ruling that the district court came to mentions that isekai anime tells audiences that “after death, there can be a more full and interesting life [that’s] free from the control of one’s parents.” The main contention that the court has with the genre is that it may push vulnerable viewers to suicide, citing such anime series as Konosuba, giving the false impression that you can die and reincarnate into a better world, as the protagonists of these various anime series do.
Anime has a contentious place in Russian society. For instance, the anime Death Note has been the center of controversy since 2013, when the pressure group known as the Parents Organization of the Ural Federal District of Russia personally wrote to President Vladimir Putin to ban the manga to protect its harmful influence on children. Local news at the time stated that the group sought to raise awareness of an incident in the city of Yekaterinburg, where tragically in February 2013, a 15-year-old girl committed suicide. The police had found in her possession four volumes of the Death Note manga. However, the investigation showed that there was no connection between the suicide and the manga.
Death Note itself recently came under a ban by the same district court, alongside Inuyashiki and Elfen Lied. The official report, stated by Kommersant, gave the reasoning that these anime series were banned from these websites due to the fact that they violated age restrictions regulations for the titles. However, the courts and the prosecutors went further to denounce the content in the anime itself, with one court prosecutor going as far as to say that “every episode contains cruelty, murder, [and] violence.”
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