Last December, China announced plans to increase regulation on explicit and inappropriate online games and it was only weeks ago when China decides to ban hip-hop culture and tattoos from all media outlets. Anime seems to be next on the list. Chinese regulators are making moves to clamping down Japanese anime on video streaming sites Sina reports (in Chinese). Most recently Baidu’s video streaming service iQiyi was asked to take down two popular anime shows from its platform—the DARLING in the FRANXX and Slow Start. Both shows have garnered a lot of attention and fans in China.
The Ministry of Culture has begun investigating platforms that post inappropriate anime videos on the internet. The clean-up aims to protect underage children from anime videos that are deemed too bloody and violent, which the government fear could be detrimental for the physical and mental health of children. This time, the crackdown seems to direct toward mainstream online video platforms like iQiyi.
Currently, the government division responsible for internet culture has ordered take-downs of more than 279 thousand anime videos, banned 771 explicit online video games, and blacklisted 1079 user accounts who appear to have violated the policy.
Many speculated that the ban of the popular DARLING in the FRANXXX might signal the tightening of online content regulations. It is rumored that the government will require all future imported content to be reviewed before releasing on streaming platforms—the domestic anime market and Japanese anime industry could both take a huge hit from the policy change. China is the currently the largest buyer (in Chinese) of Japanese anime and Japan has profited from the explosive popularity of anime in China in recent years.
iQiyi told local media that they do not plan to acquire less anime content in spite of the ban. If the government decides to implement the policy and further tighten its policies on online content, it will for certain influence online streaming platform’s content acquisition strategies.