One Piece mangaka Eiichiro Oda has received a wave of backlash towards his recently announced upcoming interview with Nobuhiro Watsuki due to the Rurouni Kenshin mangaka’s widely known child pornography conviction.
On March 4th, Japanese news site Oricon News reported that “a dialogue between Mr. Kazuki and the author of “ONE PIECE”, Eiichiro Oda” would take place on April 24th to commemorate the opening of the 25th Anniversary Rurouni Kenshin Exhibition.
Following the announcement, fans took to social media to express their discomfort and disbelief towards the coming interview, with many specifically criticizing Oda for his continued association with a convicted pedophile due to Watsuki’s 2017 arrest and subsequent conviction for possessing “multiple DVDs with videos of nude girls in their early teens and other materials.”
Here are my thoughts on this One Piece thing. Nobuhiro Watsuki was convicted of having child porn. If I knew someone that was busted with that shit I would disown them. Pedophiles are trash.
— YellowFlash (@YellowFlashGuy) March 6, 2020
First mangaka in history to interview a pedophile? Oda steady breaking records! #GODA https://t.co/C0YlHuugaP
— Geo 🍁⚔ (@Geo_AW) March 4, 2020
This interview better be held in prison. Also I’m disappointed in Oda for even agreeing to this 😔 https://t.co/hNyEOlXaR7
— SEN |🎨COLORING REQUESTS OPEN $🎨| (@SenEto99) March 4, 2020
Oda deciding to do an interview with Watsuki while he’s on his
Kenshin press run says more about him than it does Watsuki and that’s all I have to say about that.
— YonkouProductions 🤝 (@YonkouProd) March 4, 2020
Chibi Reviews also weighed in on YouTube.
Oda was chosen for the host of the interview due to his early work on Rurouni Kenshin as an assistant under Watsuki, and contrary to many criticisms, his appearance in no way expresses approval for Watsuki’s illicit and illegal tastes.
Due to cultural differences, the criticism appears to come primarily from Western fans, as Japanese fans have been more forgiving of Watsuki’s crimes.
At the time of his conviction, Watsuki received a light punishment of being ordered to pay a 200,000 Yen ($1,900 USD) fine, and after paying his debt the author subsequently saw the return of his then-running ‘Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc” to the pages of ‘Jump Square’ after the series had been put on hiatus following his arrest.
As of writing, none of the involved parties have publicly responded to the backlash.