Now...the Japanese are a lot less restrained with the things that they put into their media because, let's face it, the readers and viewers are a bit more mature and not so...iffy about...well sex and more importantly...who's having it with who. Yeah...we're about to go into a danger zone, but PLEASE keep your...political and social opinions about the...issue of same sex romantic relations to a polite minimum so as not to step on any toes and lets just be civil alright.
So, about a week ago in Washington a little ten year old "huge anime fan" was in her local library and somehow (the EXACT process by which this happened can probably be dismissed as a simple case of the child not paying too much attention to the label on the book) ended up with a number of Manga titles in her hot little hands including this one which in case you couldn't already tell by the cover is yaoi, female stories in which men have sex with other men or at the very least engage in romantic relations that ultimately lead up to sex! The child was dropped off by her grandmother but it was her father, Travis De Nevers, that contacted the library and made the complaint saying that he "couldn't believe what I saw inside, most likely taken aback at the sight of men having "rather violent" sex. Now, this whole thing is available at Anime News Network as is my FAVORITE part where the library basically says that parents are responsible for what their children check out and that you can't complain for the content. This is due to his letter which has this to say:
How can it be that a young girl can check-out this book? Why would it even be located in a place where children would have easy access to it? It was by chance that I happened to pick up the book from a pile of her library books and noticed the label.
I do not want this to happen again to my niece or other children. I am asking that you review your check-out practices and make the changes necessary to prevent it. Please send me a response detailing your steps to correct this serious situation.
Once again, this whole thing is on Anime News Network, as I'm a little concerned that I'm plagiarizing and if I am, I apologize. Anyways, in a nutshell the library replied with what I said above. You as a parent are responsible for what your child checks out. Now, I think I've finally reached a bigger point in this whole thing so now I feel better. Parents, don't make the mistake of reading this and thinking that all manga contain images of dudes having sex especially if it's only yaoi which tends to be rather tame in comparison to bara, yaoi for gay men and porn in general. Some manga, especially that aimed at boys is...rather shameless with it's fanservice but they're going to see it anyways so it's not like it doesn't exist. What you should take from this is that YOU are completely responsible for the stuff your kids are reading and watching. If you're concerned, watch and read it with them, make your own opinions and don't make the mistake of denying them access to it because the moment something becomes forbidden, it becomes the best thing ever. Instead, sit down and express your opinions and try to relate to your kids. Also, don't complain about how they turned out because like I keep saying, you as parents are responsible for the content your child takes in. Do some research and make your conclusions based on that. Explain to kids what certain things mean and don't try to hide it because it's stupid to simply pretend that stuff like this doesn't exist. It does and they should have it explained to them from your point of view and to you from theirs. Certain series are intended for older audiences and far moreso here in America where we're so sensitive to everything we often need to alter anime when it's dubbed in America and aired on children's television networks. In Japan, anything labeled as shonen is intended to be read by boys between the ages of roughly 10 to 18. The same is true of it's opposite shojo which is intended for girls between those ages but some girls like shonen and some boys like shojo. You only really need to start worrying when the label says it's intended for people past a certain age but series like Ruroni Kenshin, Naruto, Bleach, Shaman King, Case Closed, YuYu Hakusho and Psyren can be read by boys of any age and the only real thing to be worried about is violence and blood content.
This doesn't extend strictly to Anime and Manga but to ALL media including Western Cartoons, Video Games, Comics, Movies, and Tv Shows as well as Websites. Not everything that looks like a cartoon or a comic is intended for children. Anime and Manga in particular are able to be enjoyed by a wide range of people regardless of age, race, gender, religion (well maybe), or sexual orientation. The problem is that here in America, we're very narrow minded about the media we take in, specifically the media taken in by children because of their oh so impressionable minds. There's a way to fix that, and it's explaining to them the difference between reality and fiction. In addtion, forbidding children from having access to a certain type of media is, while actually advisable when it comes to extreme violence and graphic nudity and sex, kind of dumb in the long run from a logical standpoint because it's as if denying the existence of something means that it doesn't exist when it actually does. Parents need to fully explain why they're forbidding something from their kids but in the case of most anime and manga, if the kid is past the age 12 it's almost impossible. So why fight it when you can let your kids know that you trust them and it grants both of you something. It will grant your children Autonomy, control over their own lives,which for the record is best learned now than later when every discussion with your teenage son or daughter is a war, and you'll be able to observe the effects it has on your child. Plus, kids make mistakes and better that they learn from them now than later. To wrap this up, dear reader, if you're a parent of a child who's into anime and manga please make sure you avoid the idiocy of the parent from Washington. Please be sure you're at least casually aware of the general content of the manga your kids read or the anime they watch and don't start complaining if they manage to slip something past you. Learn about it with them and encourage their interest in it. Because as we all know...I'm not sure. But just remember that complaining about the content won't do much good! All you can do is embrace it and try to accept it and make sure you're kids know this and can come and talk to you about it. For the full article on this Parental Idiocy and the response given by the library, go here!
This is John Corey Turner and it feels good to be here!