Why is Attack on Titan banned in some countries?

The part of the answer to the question in the title of this article probably comes as a no-brainer for most Attack on Titan fans, because, as the St. Petersburg Court in Russia finely put it, the anime “includes scenes incomparable in cruelty: naked titans tear people apart and devour them, devour children, rivers of blood are shed before the final scene of the film, a depressing mood of powerlessness and hopelessness hovers in it.”

Okay, we can all admit it, AoT isn’t exactly for the ones with a weak stomach and the animation studios did such a great job animating the gore parts – so great they may cause vivid nightmares for some viewers (this sentence sounds overly dramatic, but people as a species are overly dramatic, so it seems fitting).

Graphic content and violence have gotten many other anime shows banned in the past as well: Tokyo Ghoul got banned in China and Russia, Parasite met a similar fate, and Death Note got institutions all over the world panicking and making petitions to ban the show after their kids started making their own “Death Notes” and writing the names of the people they disliked in it. And it’s not just anime, cartoons, movies, and series from all around the world get banned on these grounds regularly, take Happy Tree friends as an example (no one can blame Russia, Malaysia, and others for being concerned about that one though).

So, brutality and bloodshed are one of the reasons China and Russia banned Attack on Titan for their citizens (Russia banned the AoT live-action movie adaptation), but is there more to it? Some of the leading themes in the anime are: the oppressed seeking freedom from the oppressors, opposing authorities, fighting against the regime, disobeying and questioning the government and its teachings – the themes some countries wouldn’t really like to encourage. Also, the parallels between some plot points in the series and certain happenings in WWII are open for interpretation, but many do see those parallels referring to the relations between China and Japan from that period. We’re not trying to get too political here, but those are some interesting theories regarding the matter, wouldn’t you agree?

Nevertheless, a show like AoT being banned is such a shame. What are your thoughts? Do you think the series can negatively impact younger viewers and “damage society”?

Larthian & Syanka

Afar Anime is a co-managed site operated by a husband and wife anime-loving team. Since an early age, they have both shared a love for all things anime. Some of their favorite titles include Naruto, Sailor Moon, and Hunter X Hunter. Post are published weekly and old articles are updated accordingly. If you are interested in collaborations, feel free to reach out at animeafar@gmail.com.

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