Adult Animation channel accused of pedophilia

MOSCOW Russian adult animation channel 2X2 is under fire again from screen watchdogs who claim its anime series, “GTO — Great Teacher Onizuka,” promotes pedophilia.

The channel came close to losing its broadcast license in October after allegations that cartoons including “South Park,” “Happy Tree Friends” and “The Adventures of Big Jeff” were too violent for younger viewers.

“GTO,” about a 22-year-old ex-criminal gang member who becomes a teacher in Japan hoping to bed his pupils’ attractive mothers, is produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex, a Japanese anime and music production and distribution enterprise owned by Sony Music Entertainment (Japan).

An expert commission set up by federal broadcast watchdog Rossvyazkomnadzor found “GTO” lacked meaningful narrative and was full of close-ups of half-naked bottoms of teenage female cartoon characters. It concluded that the series contained elements of child pornography, sexual aberrations, violence and cruelty.

“This cartoon transmits unusually damaging ideas for our young people,” says commission member Vladimir Annushkin, who is deputy dean of Russian literature and intercultural communication at the Pushkin Institute of Russian in Moscow. “It is propaganda for pedophilia although it does not do this in an outright way; it supports this and other ideas in a humorous way such that viewers get the idea that to be a prostitute or thief is quite all right,” he tells Variety.

Rossvyazkomnadzor, which extended the channel’s license for five years last month after receiving a promise that content would be reviewed, said it was unlikely to take further action following the commission’s report.

“GTO” is based on Tohru Fujisawa’s manga comicbooks and was first produced as a cartoon in 1999. In addition to the comic and anime cartoon, “GTO” has also been a successful live-action TV series and film, both of which were considered mainstream.

A spokesman for Sony in Japan said: “The show ran without any comment or controversy on channels in Japan and other countries. At the time it was designed to highlight ways that societal problems could be overcome, and in no way was any offense intended. “

A spokeswoman for 2X2 said the channel was aware of the commission’s views but had received no formal complaint.

Mark Schilling in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more