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Anime Maker Seeks Arrest of Hyakko Critics


The maker of nondescript school anime Hyakko may very well be planning to pursue criminal slander charges against persistent online detractors who have been brazen enough to call the not universally well received anime “rubbish”.

Slander is a criminal as well as civil offence in Japan, with substantial prison terms possible.

We see the following exchange in a Hyakko thread:

“Hyakko is a crap anime.”

The response:

“In the Hyakko thread, some guy who called Hyakko crap looks to be getting hit for slander. It’s not surprising, as calling an anime ‘crap’ or ‘rubbish’ is completely slanderous, so if the police come knocking at your door, it’s your own doing.

Don’t blame the guy who reports you, ok?

The poster quotes this mail posted in another thread:

“Thank you for your report.

We think this one is the same person from the last case. They’ve been reported occasionally since around the time the anime started airing.

I get the feeling this malign commenter is operating on the principle of ‘if we call white black enough, eventually the world will think it is grey’. We’ve been in talks with the publisher since they started in December, and discussions with a lawyer specialising in these matters are ongoing. We’re requesting his details with a view to assembling a slander case against him if possible.

I’ve been extremely busy, so unfortunately I’ve not a chance to gather information myself – as a result I’m very grateful for your reports.

If you see any further posts which look like they may be from this person (it doesn’t matter if you’re not sure) or are otherwise similar, please do report them to us. If they’re from the past, that’s ok too.

Thank you very much.”

This mail’s from the makers. You’d better get ready. It’s a real shame, but you went too far, as expected!”

This exchange took place in a Hyakko thread on 2ch. Plenty of astonished responses follow, along with a number praying for the arrest of more wicked Hyakko haters.

Hyakko itself has been the subject of substantial criticism for its mediocre production values, and has not been a substantial success, so the actual criticism of the show is unsurprising.

It looks as though determining the veracity of this apparent suit will be difficult at this stage. The company planning it (presumably Nippon Animation, the makers of Hyakko, or perhaps the production committee) clearly will not let slip that it has such action underway for a variety of reasons.

The actionability of the statements seems plausible enough, although it’s not clear whether calling a title “rubbish” is truly likely to sustain criminal charges – the posters certainly seem to think so. If it is, the 2ch anime boards are likely to become much quieter…

There are any number of incidents where comments on 2ch have led to charges of slander, with prison sentences of over a year reported, though it seems this would be the first case in which a publisher has attempted to silence criticism in the various fan communities present on 2ch.

Certainly, many thin-skinned anime producers would likely want to remove the frequently vitriolic criticism they receive in such venues, which seems often to be inappropriately interpreted, by those perhaps not familiar with the workings of online “debate”, as being akin to traditional calumny.

However, 2ch is not designed or managed with the interests of would be censors in mind, though it certainly does cooperate with law enforcement to an extent.

These kinds of issues are precisely why the management goes to great lengths to shield the boards from legal assault; 2ch founder Hiroyuki has justified this by saying “there is no free speech in Japan”, a reasonable assessment if we consider the effects anti-libel laws have on those not well equipped to defend themselves from such.

Even should this be a fabrication, it is perhaps just as interesting as it represents something of an escalation in anime otaku efforts to defend a favoured series – the battle between pro and anti taken to the level of spreading legal terror in order to quieten detractors of a series; not a positive development by most estimations, although Hyakko fans have been quick to shortsightedly urge the arrest of the anti contingent.

The latest high drama from 2ch, or a chilling effort by a publisher to stifle criticism?

Leave a Comment


  • TakeAGuess says:

    That thick-skinned MF is thick-skinned.

    I knew the Japanese have things backwards. But to create horrible animu and not be called out for it? These circus clowns who make that crap can’t take the responsibility when everybody believes that it IS bad?

    I seen some of the first episode of this garbage. That’s way more than enough for me. Plus; I wondered why so many hacks get to be responsible for animu. Now I know.

  • I think the point here is that if enough people begin to listen to a random person it starts to spread to other people and in time everyone agrees just because it’s a cool meme to jump in on. So it IS true the more you say black is white the morelikely everyone will assume it’s gray, it’s a dangerous thing to let go without trying to fight.

  • But whether Hyakko is crap or not is completely beside the point. The point is that if this counts as libel in Japan, then something is seriously wrong with their anti-defamation laws. Someone jumping on 2ch and making up rumours about so-and-so taking money from prostitution rings or being involved in a murder is libel, because it’s slanderous to that person’s reputation. Someone jumping on 2ch and saying “Hyakko is crap” isn’t libel, it’s some jerk posting crap on 2ch and should be treated as such. If anime producers can’t hack anonymous bitching from an internet message board, then they’re seriously soft, and I’d hope that the Japanese legal system knows that their time is better spent not responding to their every whim and entertaining them just because they got a bit butthurt.

  • Definitely a great comedy i dare to say!!
    And dont say i should watch more anime because 650 is by no means a small number…
    If u like comedy, there is no way you can hate such an anime, unless u are a comedy hatter and then u might have a problem…
    In my opinion all mighty popular kanaggi was no better that hyakko, i had second thought about keeping watching kanaggi in early eps and with hyakko it was pure fun right on the first ep…
    I miss Suzu…

    But then again tastes differ from individual to individual…

  • I laughed.

    This shit won’t fly anywhere. Basic common sense applies, even if the court had some reason to grant this insane idea, it would absolutely overload and obliterate the court system as companies (And eventually individuals) race to silence every single critic, detractor and general annoyance to ever rally against them. Even if it somehow made it to the point of judgment, the company would need to prove damages and that they lost or inferred the loss of some relevant amount of money due to the damage caused to their name from the comment/s.

    Good Luck.

  • So, stating your opinnion about things now is a crime?
    What is this? Though-crime? Big Brother is watching us?

    I really don’t agree with the guy… seriously, up ’till the episode I watched, had lots of fun with Hyakko.

    It’s not like a masterpiece, but still had fun with it.

    But doesn’t mean that others can’t consider it crap.
    This sounds more like fanboys or the author’s BAAAAWWWWWLLLINGGG

  • I may as well be an echo, but I’d just like to know why Hyakko and ONLY Hyakko has been getting a horrible rap for sub-standard production.. and not every other shitty anime that, once in a while, would have more viewers than Hyakko. Everyone seems to have forgotten about them if they didn’t like it, but people are going out of their way just to simply say “HYAKKO SUX!”. I’d want to nail and/or weld these idiots hands to their keyboards just so I stop seeing this spam, and I personally don’t even particularly like Hyakko.

  • If a series was that bad then just stop watching/buying it’s merchandise then the company would be gone for good.
    btw Then anime was great, its the only series I watch weekly last season.

  • Icy-nee-san says:

    How can you not like hyakko? I showed it to my anime-hating friends and they though it was the funniest anime they ever saw, except for one guy because he watched Azumanga Diaoh, but you all get the point XD

  • If criticism about “trash anime” is not allowed then the list of them can be veeeeeeeeeeeeeery long and anyway surely Hyakko is not a first rate anime but i liked it more than other surely more famous and with a bigger budget behind them…..

    • Honestly though, for some reason I’m siding with the prosecutor on this one.

      The commentor was rude and lacks proper criticism. If you enter a restaurant and yelled out loud how the food tastes horrible to himself but delicious to everyone else, surely those who have yet to taste the food would be discouraged from eating there? Thus the owner would surely be heartbroken or mad at the fact that after many years of hard work, his restaurant had been ruined by a mere fool.

      If you think an anime sucks, express yourself discreetly, and after venting out your rage, find the time to point out its flaws like a gentleman. Bear in mind that just because many anime pop out every year, that doesn’t mean they’re easy to make by the dozen. If you were to be part of the anime industry, and someone said your product sucks in public without any proper reason, then you do have a reason to get mad. Put yourselves in the other person’s shoes.

      It would have been easier to say “I don’t quite like it”. Because that would be an opinion which would be easier to swallow. Saying “it’s crap” would not be an opinion, because the sentence does not contain an “I” or an indicator that would state that it’s an opinion. It’s a blunt statement. The term “it’s crap” is descriptive in nature, and saying it to another person would give that person an impression about the object of criticism based on the description.

      Here’s an easier example:

      In terms of people, if you say “I think he’s gay”, then that would be an opinion, which stands to be proven/disproven with no definite conclusion. If you say “He’s gay”, then that would be an insinuation/accusation/conclusion. Therefore, as a sound individual, learn and mind your language before “accusing” anything based on your own sentiments which nobody cares about.

        • Its on a message board. It doesn’t matter, you have an audience that has likely SEEN it and are debating about it. This very small community is akin to saying to your neighbors some gossip or talking about said restaurant.

          It is not entering and badmouthing it openly. Do not take things to the extremes, censoring thoughts is not right and just because someone doesn’t go through the trouble of doing a list of reasons and why, makes it any less of valid opinion.

          A lot of things can be summed up with ‘it sucks’ then ‘Well… firstly I didn’t like the…’ Especially if the people you are talking to are hardcore fans and like-minded people.

          How many movie critics we have? Alot. Yet who are we more likely to trust, our friends or watch that 15-20 min segment, spoiling the plot from a professional critic?

          I’m getting away from the point now, but I stand that the opinions of one person in proper form should be protected as it is not extreme enough to be called slander on a public forum.

  • Wait, so you can seriously be sued in Japan for saying something sucks?

    Then again, I guess I’m not being fair, America has had its fair share of attempted lawsuits over someone bagging on a product.

  • Oh, FFS! ><

    Honest criticism of an anime is equal to slander? What a fat load of camel shit.

    Now, if the person who made the original assertation of the anime was doing it because he anted to damage the company making Hyakko in some way (ie; a disgruntled ex-employee), *that* I can understand being libel. But targeting legitimate commentors about the anime’s quality is just…. too much.

    • “Hyakko lacks in terms of story, the jokes are cold, and animation looks cheap.” in my opinion would be a critic. As it stated fields that it critisizes, while “Hyakko is a crap anime.” is just defaming someone without pointing relevant points.

      • look, ignoring your speech rights, “Hyakko is a crap anime” is still NOT defaming it because it’s an opinion, people don’t just put “I think” everytime they write because it’s already implied. If someone’s going to bring in the face that it affects the anime sales or anything, then they’d have to also be prepared to counter arguments that say every fucking thing anyone says might or might not have an effect. It’s a really, really weak case to bring a lawsuit for. It’s not impossible, but it really is….quite pointless, I think.

        • use to live in Taiwan where some dude got sued for saying “F ur mom” in public along with some other nasty words/hand signs, and paid a fine of 1 million dollars, which is equal to around 33 thousand USD so yeah… In some country, it is a crime.

        • Whether it’s illegal or not is up to the court, that’s what I JUST SAID (in that it’s a weak case). Which nation are you residing in anyways? Because to be honest, offensive comments aren’t slander, at least not where I live.

        • “You’re an idiot and I think you should burn in hell because you’re a piece of shit”

          Oh these are all opinions alright, but are they offensive? Yes, and are they illegal? Yes as well. Making something “YOUR OPINION” does not protect you from the law.

          p.s.the quote was not directed to you as I was just trying to make a point. : )

    • I liked Hyakko. That jump scene in the beginning brought me to tears lol

      Still, if you don’t like something you can express yourself the way you want, including calling something crap. Thumbs down for the publishers for not being able to accept that not everybody will love your stuff…