Animations criticized for violent scenes

2015-04-23 Editor: Li Yan

Earlier this month on April 16, China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, or SAPPRFT, issued an order for major video websites in the country to remove a batch of animations, including the renowned "Detective Conan", "The Last", etc.

The Beijing Television, or BTV, later conducted a research into the animation market in China and came with a conclusion that many animations, either in video forms or in publications are too violent and bloody for the young audiences.

"Detective Conan", a Japanese animation series which is quite popular among Chinese audiences, varied in their ages, turns out to be quite violent and bloody. For more than 700 episodes of the animation series, each will describe a murder story, and Conan, the protagonist, will give analysis of the whole murder process from plotting to implementation towards the end of each episode.

"Zombie Brothers", another quite popular horror animation from the Chinese mainland, is also filled with extremely gory scenes, for instance, wars of zombies, which would even horrify the adults.

Teenagers, who are major audiences of such animation works, give quite different answers when asked whether or not they would be terrified when watching these gory scenes. Some girls say they are scared when it comes to the murder scene, while some other boys say they are not feared, since they could protect themselves with their own "weapons" back at home.

Teachers and parents say that children who often watch gory animations turn out to be polarized in their emotions, some of them become timid and coward, while others tend to be crusty and moody, and tend to bring harm to their companions or even themselves, mimicking violent actions in the animations.

Zhou Lianxia, Party Secretary from the No. 9 Primary School in suburb Beijing's Daxing District, says that the pseudoscientific elements in these animations are even more harmful. Violence is included in these animations where a character is unharmed after certain action has been inflicted. For instance, they can never be beaten to death or burned to death.

Tragedies of this sort happen frequently here in China.

On April 6, 2013, a nine-year old boy Shunshun from the Lianyugang City of east China's Jiangsu Province, tied two of his companions to a tree and burned them to severe injuries, just to imitate the scene where the Big Big Wolf roasts the goat in a popular animation from Chinese mainland, named "Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf". The two boy severely injured are eight-year old boy Ranran and five-year old boy Haohao.

On July 2,2014,a seven-year old boy Qiangqiang from the Xuzhou City of the Jiangsu Province, also severely injured himself by poking his left hand into a running fan, trying to mimic the protagonist Logger Vick in the Chinese mainland animation series "Boonie Bears" , trying to make a super electronic fan.

Bai Ye, a psychology teacher from Capital Normal University Ping Guo Yuan High School, says that gory animations often carry strong infections on the teenagers, filling them with fear, anger or hostility, and even leading them into violence.

Currently, animation series could be easily accessed online, which secures no limits for bloody and violent scenes, since they often go on line without any censorship.

Back in 2007, a sort of weird notebook, known as "Death Note" that carries a black cover, was quite popular among students in Shenzhen City of south China's Guangdong Province, which sourced from a renowned Japanese animation.

On August 2, 2014, two middle school students, who were addicted to gory animations, scared passers-by when they went to a park dressed in black robes and carried in their hands fake sickles.

Similar cases were also found in Taiwan, where a fifth-year pupil lured a third-year girl in the same elementary school back to his home and took her nude photos by force.

Sooner after, another guy from Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, randomly killed one passer-by and severely injured another two, just because he believed in the theory in certain animations that to kill someone would help turn his fortune back.

Bai Ye, a high school psychology teacher, says that they have once conducted a relevant survey among their students, and found that more than 98 percent of the students are familiar with animations and 85 percent of them are quite fond of animations.

The psychology teacher says that addiction to these animations would keep the children away from their daily life, the real society, and their genuine feelings, who often end in aloofness.

Zhu Wei, an associate professor from China University of Political Science and Laws, points out that there have not yet been any established laws or regulations on animation production, especially a lack of proper rating system. Even though the SAPPRFT has issued relevant orders to put control on gory animations, it is far from enough, as it is vital to the mental health of the young generation.

In countries like Japan and South Korea which boast prosperity in their animation industries, strict rating systems have been put in place for decades to keep teenagers away from violent or sexual contents.

When it is still accessible to put some control on online animations, cartoon publications that also carry bloody and violent scenes are far more out of reach for legal inspectors.

In some book stores or newspaper booths around schools, cartoon books that are not legally published or without proper censorship are available to pupils and teenagers. In most cases, these cartoon books carry even more gory contents. Many students just drop in on their way to school in the morning and bring the cartoon books to their classes.

Professor Zhu Wei further points out that regulations and censorship for pre caution would be more important and effective than any remedy afterwards, because it would be difficult to trace the circulation of these cartoon books once they have entered the market.

Appeals are heard from parents and teachers in the country to provide kids and teenagers cartoon books that would help promote their mental and moral growth.

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