You can’t fight city hall, unless manga’s involved.
If you’ve been in this hobby long enough, non-profit organization Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF, henceforth) should be pretty familiar. The group, which provides legal and educational resources in the fight to protect comics, has been intertwined with the manga world across the past decade.
This week, though, the group led the defense in a Jerome, Idaho middle school. The institution fought to keep Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad in the school’s library after a challenge. They describe the case as:
CBLDF this week took the lead in defending the manga volume Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad after it was challenged at a middle school in Jerome, Idaho. Following receipt of a letter from CBLDF and other members of the NCAC’s Kids’ Right to Read Project, a review committee yesterday unanimously voted to recommend that the book remain in the Jerome Middle School library. The Jerome School District Board of Trustees will make a final decision on the book’s fate.
Sword Art Online: Aincrad, the first volume in a manga series by Reki Kawahara, was challenged by a Jerome Middle School teacher on behalf of a student who found both language and drawings in the book to be “inappropriate.” The images that perturbed the student were apparently “a female character wearing underwear and sharing a bed with a male character.”
CBLDF and other members of the NCAC’s Kids’ Right to Read Project offered a letter supporting carrying the book in the library and explaining that, as dozens of students have checked the book out from the library this school year, review committee members should not prioritize one student’s objections over the freedom of other students to read what they want.
The CBLDF released an update on the case on Monday. The organization reports that, during a Monday meeting to discuss whether the title would be retained. It was ultimately voted that the title will remain on the shelves in the school library.