Russia’s Media Ban Spree Continues, Latest Wave Includes First Attack on Titan Live-Action Film

Source: Attack on Titan Part 1 (2015), Toho

Hot on the tail of their banning of the iconic anime film Akira, the Russian government has once again moved to block access to even more ‘nerd’ related media, including the first live-action Attack on Titan film, the Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge animated film, and the cult-favorite Happy Tree Friends series.

Source: Attack on Titan Part 1 (2015), Toho

According to a post published to the official Telegram account of the United Press Service of the Courts of St. Petersburg, the court ruled on July 7th to “declare [a mix of five different films and series] as prohibited from dissemination” within the Russian state, including the three aforementioned titles as well as two animated films, Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic and Dead Space: Downfall, based on the Visceral Games video games of the same names.

Archive Link Source: United Press Service of the Courts of St. Petersburg Telegram

Noting that this latest ban wave was handed down, like those that came before it, out of concern for the well-being of the country’s youth, the United Press Service also shared the collective findings of several outside experts regarding the given content in each respective piece of newly prohibited media in an attempt to explain their reasoning behind the court’s recent ruling.

Archive Link Source: United Press Service of the Courts of St. Petersburg Telegram

“Scenes of extreme cruelty prevail in the cartoon, bloody martial arts, dismemberment of bodies, elements of cannibalism, similar to X-rays of damaged bones and organs, dark night landscapes are painted in a blood-red color, in the Russian translation there is an obscene abuse and jargon,” said the experts of Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. “Watching a cartoon can have a motivating effect on aggressive, auto-aggressive, or self-injurious behavior.”

Source: Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge (2020), Warner Bros. Animation

Of “Attack on Titan Part 1”, incorrectly identified by the court by the End of the World given to the novelization of both movies, the second of the two Japanese produced films based on Hajime Isayama’s popular manga, experts found that “the footage includes scenes incomparable in cruelty: naked titans tear people apart and devour, devour children, rivers of blood are shed, before the final scene of the film, a depressing mood of powerlessness and hopelessness hovers in it.”

“Watching this film by minors can harm the mental health and spiritual and moral development of children, the formation of phobic reactions in them,” they added.

Source: Attack on Titan Part 1 (2015), Toho

Turning to Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic, the experts described how the film was filled with “bloodshed, killed warriors and birds of prey fluttering above them, naked bodies with hypertrophied forms,” and noted that “erotic scenes are moderately demonstrated.”

Source: Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic (2010), Film Roman

“The cartoon is replete with scenes of bloodshed, violent death of people, dismemberment, use of weapons,” warned the experts of Dead Space: Downfall. “The ending of the cartoon is extremely pessimistic, it includes scenes of the death of the entire crew and the possible transition of monsters to an approaching spaceship. Scenes of murder, dismemberment of human bodies indirectly increase the level of risks of deviant behavior of a child under their influence.”

Source: Dead Space: Downfall (2008), Film Roman

Interestingly, the experts appeared to have taken the most issue with Happy Tree Friends, particularly with how the violent animated series ” is designed in the style common for American animation” yet features “elements of cruelty.”

“The series includes several hundred cartoons up to 3 minutes long, cartoons about small cute animals, with which various difficult accidents constantly happen: they are crushed, torn to pieces, and so on,” said the experts. “Watching the animated series undoubtedly harms the spiritual and moral uprising and the development of young children, it contradicts the humanistic nature of upbringing inherent in Russia.”

Source: Happy Tree Friends Season 3 Episode 13 “See You Later Elevator”, Mondo Media

As with the numerous bans previously enacted by the Russian state, the ruling by the Courts of St. Petersburg ostensibly only targets specific outlets, usually pirate sites, which provide access to the given media without running any sort of age verification check.

However, as noted by Russian pop culture news outlet GameMag, such bans have already led one Russian streaming service, Kinopoisk HD, to remove a legally licensed series, Tokyo Ghoul, from their library of offerings after it was prohibited for distribution by a previous court ruling.

Source: Tokyo Ghoul (2018), Pierrot

What do you make of this latest round of Russian bans? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!

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