The controversy over NYMPHET, the planned American version of Kaoru Watashiya’s KODOMO NO JIKAN ust keeps going. Now Watashiya-san has addressed the controversy in her diary. As this translation shows, however, there is still some confusion:
There are differences in the border [between what’s acceptable and not] for representations of young girls in each place, time, and culture, so if the people there have decided that it’s unacceptable then that’s that. To those commendable Americans who wanted to read it, I’ll say “There’s always the original.”
I especially felt the difference between cultures in regards to the comment [by Seven Seas president Jason DeAngelis] that the 2nd volume and beyond were problematic. I wondered what was in the second volume that would cause a problem that wasn’t in the first, so I used a web translator to look at the BBSs over there and “incest” was pointed out, so that’s probably about Reiji [Aki’s cousin, currently taking care of Rin] and Aki [Rin’s mother].
However, it wasn’t the second, but the THIRD volume that was the problem, as Seven Seas’ Jason DeAngelis explains in his brand new blog:
Their opinion may be due to some inaccurately translated scanlations out there. Or, if you’re just looking at the pictures and can’t read Japanese, you might miss the gist of what is really happening in this scene. But for me, this was the scene that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, changed my mind about the appropriateness of this title. See, my whole defense before was based on the idea that Nymphet was not so bad because it was about a girl who tries to sexually entrap her teacher but fails because he in no way reciprocates. But in this scene in the third volume, it shows him getting literally, physically aroused by her (the original Japanese text unmistakably and unequivocally backs this up.) This is what completely crossed the line for me, and showed me that I could no longer defend releasing this title. Yes, there are other questionable scenes as well, but it isn’t my job to go through a graphic play-by-play of all the objectionable material. Suffice it to say that this one scene crossed the point of no return. I don’t see how anyone can possibly defend this scene. ‘Nuff said.
These scenes have been shown on a blog somewhere, but I managed to lose the link. If someone has it, please send and I’ll put it in so everyone can judge for themselves.
This cultural divide thing is fascinating stuff, and as we hinted earlier, we’ve heard many theories about why showing a grown man becoming sexually aroused in Japan just doesn’t offend (or alarm) the way it does here.
We did have one of our correspondent’s point out something that we’ve heard many times over the years: that a lot of the so-called “shojo manga” is actually read by middle-aged salari-men. Yes, can you believe it? Middle aged men getting off on the adventures of teen-aged girls. That’s not to say that stuff like NANA or the work of the Forty-Niners doesn’t have a loyal female readership. You could probably write several books on the issues of voyeurism and repression all of this brings up. Maybe someday when we have time.