Rurouni Kenshin and other problematic entertainment

So I mentioned in my post earlier today that I was thinking about getting back into reading some manga, and maybe finishing Rurouni Kenshin, though I was having mixed feelings about that, due to the creator’s arrest for possessing child porn. Well, I did some soul-searching on that. (And by soul-searching, I mostly mean that I checked reddit’s r/manga, r/anime, and r/rurounikenshin sub-reddits for other people’s opinions.) I decided that, since I already own all 28 volumes, and have already read the first 19, it won’t do any harm to read the rest and see how the story ends. And also that maybe I should make a donation to The International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. (I don’t want to imply that making a donation to a related cause “evens things out” in any way, but it helps, I guess.)

I’ve already gotten rid of the first 19 volumes of the Kenshin manga. I either included them with the big donation I made to Superheroes for Hospice in 2015, or to a more recent donation for a library sale. I’m not sure. Once I’m done reading the rest, I’ll probably donate those too, though I’m not sure how I’ll do that. (Or maybe I’ll sell them on eBay and donate the money.) Either way, once I’m done with them, I think that’ll be it for me and Kenshin.

I’ve been a fan of Kenshin for a long time. I just checked my Amazon order history, and I bought the Samurai X: Trust DVD back in January 2001. And I see that I was watching the regular anime series on Cartoon Network in 2003. (I’m pretty sure that I managed to watch the whole series, or at least all the episodes that aired on CN.) For the manga, I was buying it as it was being released by Viz starting in 2003 and running through 2006. I was reading it regularly for awhile, but fell behind, and then abandoned it at some point (along with a lot of other manga and anime that I was buying). But for a long time, Rurouni Kenshin was one of my favorite things.

In the wake of all the scandals that have plagued Hollywood since the Harvey Weinstein story came out, I’ve seen a few articles wrestling with the question of whether or not it’s still OK to watch Kevin Spacey movies or Louis C.K. comedy specials or Charlie Rose interviews. It’s pretty easy for me to answer “no” on all of those, since I wasn’t that big of fan of any of those guys to begin with. But figuring out what to do with Nobuhiro Watsuki’s work is a lot harder. I guess that finishing up the manga volumes I already own is OK, but after that, I should put it behind me and move on to something else. (Sigh.)

(And yes, as a disclaimer, I should say that I realize that I’m just agonizing over mindless entertainment, and my problems here don’t compare in any way to the problems of abused or harassed women, or abused children. “First world problems” and all that. I just felt like this was something I had to think through, write up, and get out of my head.)


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