If you have kept up with the manga world for some time now, you will know the creator of Rurouni Kenshin isn't someone to admire. Nobuhiro Watsuki was convicted a few years back of possessing child pornography, and while his career in the West has faded out, he still enjoys success in Japan. And now, a slew of popular artists are being raked over the coals for honoring Watsuki with a recent mural.
The ordeal came to light when fans in Japan took pictures of a mural in one of Tokyo's subway tunnels. It was there fans found a special promo celebrating Rurouni Kenshin, but things only got worse from there. After all, the piece featured art by a slew of mangaka, and the creator of Naruto was amongst them.
"Congratulations to my friend (and convicted p*dophile), Nobuhiro Watsuki," is a statement you'd think most artists in the field would want to avoid. And yet... https://t.co/VR4sWa8Lnp— the reason pancakes come from Sweden (@SPD4649) January 19, 2021
According to the mural, artists such as Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Hideaki Sorachi (Gintama), Mitsuoshi Shimabukuro (Toriko), Takeshi Obata (Death Note), and more took part in this mural. A total of fourteen artists were asked to participate, and all of them have ties to Shueisha which publishes Rurouni Kenshin presently.
As you can imagine, fans are less than thrilled about this show of support. Watsuki's reputation was damaged beyond repair following his arrest in 2017. Police announced that in November they found underage pornography in Watsuki's Tokyo office, and further investigations found more videos at the artist's house. At the time, Watsuki's work on Rurouni Kenshin: The Hokkaido Arc was put on pause during the ordeal but returned in June 2018 after Watsuki was formally fined for his crimes. Clearly, fans have not forgotten about the upsetting situation, and they want answers from Shueisha as to why such a tribute like this was ever approved.
What do you make of this controversy? Are you surprised to see the artists on this list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.