By Erica Friedman
Viz Media was the center of what might have become an ugly controversy this week, but its swift and supportive response made all the difference in the world.
It began with iconic manga translator Rachel Thorn noting on Twitter that she had been left off the credits of the new release of Hayao Miyazaki’s classic manga Nausicaä Valley of the Wind and that she had been deadnamed in a release of Akimi Yoshida’s Banana Fish. Not only had she been deadnamed, so had Nausicaä translator Dana Lewis.
This week, Viz Media also released the fifth season of the enduring magical girl anime Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon Stars, with a translation that bowdlerized the relationship of characters Tenoh Haruka and Kaioh Michiru – a relationship Viz had promised to preserve in all current translations.
After a public, polite, strongly worded letter (disclaimer: by me) to Viz, which garnered popular support, Viz was quick to respond, decisively and positively. Within hours, Viz had released a statement about the booklet being incorrect and a replacement being planned.
Far more importantly, Viz reached out to both Thorn and Lewis with apologies and promise of corrections in upcoming releases.
In the middle of a 50th anniversary LGBTQ Pride Month in which companies ride rainbow coattails, Viz Media has shown the rest of the industry how allyship can be done.