CHINA / SOCIETY
Chinese animation fans call for a classification system after removal of Japanese TV series Ultraman Tiga from video platforms
Published: Sep 26, 2021 11:44 PM
The photo taken on July 17, 2021 shows statues of some figures from Japanese animation series Ultraman in a commercial center in Chongqing. Photo: CFP

The photo taken on July 17, 2021 shows statues of some figures from Japanese animation series Ultraman in a commercial center in Chongqing. Photo: CFP


Chinese animation fans are calling for the country's TV regulators to formulate a classification system as they fear more of their beloved collections, such as Japanese manga series Detective Conan and popular British cartoon Peppa Pig, would be taken down from the shelves following the removal of the Japanese TV series Ultraman Tiga from video platforms. The move was allegedly triggered by worries on the impact of violent content on children. 

The feature film of Ultraman Tiga is unavailable on multiple video platforms including iQiyi, Tencent TV and Youku. However, some videos related to the series can still be watched. 

An official from China's National Radio and Television Administration urged online programs to run "special channels" and promote healthy content for children and teens, and firmly resist the broadcasting of cartoons that contain violence, blood and pornographic scenes, according to a statement issued on Friday night.

Many netizens believe that the removal might have been caused by parents' complaints about violent content in the series, while others speculate that the delisting is related to an investigation report released on April 6, by the Jiangsu Provincial Consumer Protection Committee on animation products that may affect the minors' growth. Ultraman Tiga was among the 21 cartoons it surveyed.

Ultraman Tiga involves violent plots such as armed confrontations, multiple intimidation, arson and explosions. In addition, among the 21 cartoons investigated, which also include Detective Conan, Peppa Pig, there were 123 scenes involving darkness, horror, and suspense, read the report.

According to a report by xdkb.net, which described itself as the largest mainstream metropolitan newspaper in Jiangsu Province, the delisting of Ultraman Tiga has nothing to do with the committee and the removal could be a voluntary measure from the video platforms.

However, the removal triggered a heated discussion online from many animation fans, especial manga fans, who fear that more cartoons will follow the step amid the new campaign.

Some said banning all cartoons is not a feasible way to regulate the industry. They suggested the top TV regulator should develop a classification system that allows the broadcast of animations to people above a certain age. Looser regulation could be implemented to cartoons for adults. 

In Japan for example, a country with a big animation industry and a special national culture, the classification system is very specific and is divided into ages, from 12 years old, 15 years old, 18 years old and other levels with different requirements. For example, there is a system for animations under 12 years old. For viewers aged 12, 15 and 18, a different standard was established, with some demanding a chaperone and others requiring prior scrutiny.

China has also begun to explore a classification system. Many short video and live streaming platforms have launched the "teenager mode" although it is not mandatory. 



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