In Korea: A number of Korean protestors called for the cancellation of the Hetalia: Axis Powers anime. The protest was based around the title’s Korea character, which is present in the manga, but not the anime. In particular, the complaints stemmed from a part of the manga’s storyline, which was considered offensive to Koreans.
In America: Fans were met with a surprise at the Alamo Drafthouse, when Mari Iijima made an appearance at a screening of Super Dimensional Fortress Macross. Iijima-an joined Vic Mignogna, Tiffany Greenfield, George Manley, and Matt Greenfield. After the show, she answered questions from fans.
In Japan: A large public outcry arose in Japan after the kidnapping and murder of an elementary school girl in Nara. CASPAR, a Japanese non-profit, campaigned for regulation of material depicting minors in adult magazines and video games. The group collected material for five to six years, from various publications, arguing that these forms of media clearly intend to portray elementary school-aged children.
The organization collected over 7,000 signatures to have the Japanese legal code revised, in respect to “virtual child pornography.” (Does that term sound familiar?) Sixteen members of the Japanese Diet also pledged support.
In America: The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) announced that 4Kids CEO Al Kahn would be inducted into the Murray Altchuler Licensing Hall of Fame on June 22, for continual and outstanding contributions to the licensing industry over ten years.
In Japan: BBC reported that a Japanese court found a manga publisher guilty of selling obscene materials. Honey Room creator Monotori Kishi was sentenced to one year in prison, followed by a three year suspension. Kishi appealed to the Tokyo Supreme Court, citing infringement of freedom of expression.
In America: The New York Times posted an interview with Satoshi Kon, to coincide with the release of Tokyo Godfathers.
In America: The New England Anime Society announced the first Anime Boston would be held from April 18-20, 2003. The convention was held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, and was chaired by Adam Ferraro. Pre-registrants could get a three-day pass for $25.00. I actually covered this event in my early years at Anime Dream. Fun times, indeed.