In a saddening turn of events, animators and staff working on the currently airing Bleach TYBW anime have come out and expressed concerns on X (formerly Twitter) over the threats and harassment that they had been facing from a section of fans on the platform.
There were a series of tweets from unsatisfied Bleach anime fans, which targeted the staff working on the anime, including scriptwriter Masaki Hiramatsu, series composition and storyboard artist Tomohisa Taguchi, animation director Leo Kawamoto and other animators who are working currently working on the Bleach TYBW anime.
The dissent partly stemmed from a slightly suggestive scene in the manga involving Orihime, which was cut from the anime adaptation.
An illustration of the scene was revealed by Kawamoto, however, the sequence itself did not get adapted.
This led to disgruntled viewers demanding an explanation and harassing the staff, to the extent where they were forced to come out and express concern at this behavior. In addition to tagging these staff members, the harassment also extended to the replies in their posts on X.
Kawamoto was one of the staff members who was overburdened with questions from fans asking for explanations, after he made the illustration of the Orihime sequence in question, asking why it was omitted from Bleach TYBW episode 22.
“Why was it cut? I don’t know! I don’t know! I’m not a main staff member and I don’t know anything. I can only do my best to work on the episodes I’m in charge of. Also, I usually respond to all the replies and RTs, but there are so many that I can’t handle them, so I’ll send a ♡ to the person who says ‘thanks for drawing it for me’. Sorry, ” Kawamoto wrote in his post.
The animation director added that he had only drawn the illustration of the that particular cut-scene because he found it cute and said that he might not draw fanarts and illustrations in the future if it affects him in a bad way.
“I didn’t mean to stir up any controversy about the cut scenes in the source material of the anime Bleach! I wanted to see that scene from the original story too, so I drew it! It’s cute, right? That’s all. If it affects me in a bad way, I’ll stop drawing fan art and promotional pictures.“
The staff members, especially scriptwriter Masaki Hiramatsu, repeatedly pointed out that they are open to criticisms made by fans, however, the extremist behavior exhibited by a section of the fanbase is what put them off.
“I’m sick of this every time…You are free to express your opinions on social networking sites. You are free to give both positive opinions and criticize. However, please do not comment directly on the staff’s social networking sites with your requests for the work. Individual staff members do not have the authority to respond to such requests, and if they do, it will cause problems,” Hiramatsu said in their post on X.
“Naturally, there are responses and reflections from the creators, and not everything you want to do can be done.
Many people are involved in creating [anime], and they do their best to make it as good as they are allowed to.
And what is released to the world is the answer. From now on, anyone who comments with such questions or requests will be blocked on the spot without fail. That is all,” the scriptwriter added.
In addition to the dissent over the omitted scene, complaints about the animation quality too were brought up in an unseemly manner. While these complaints were stated to originate from “fake Bleach fans”, the nastiness in these criticisms seems to have come to the notice of the staff members.
One of the animators working on Bleach TYBW, who goes by the name “sakai” on the social media platform, did not point fingers at anyone, but they did ask the perpetrators to stop with the threats and warnings.
According to them, if the threats and harassment continues, the core staff of the anime might leave the project, which will eventually result in a decline of quality.
“Well, it’s okay to complain, but I think you should stop threatening or threatening to harm. If you do, the main staff may get tired of it and leave, which could lead to a decline in the quality of the work,” the animator said.
“People like myself, who are like a monster that lives in the work, don’t leave so easily, but people who take on this work as a legitimate job might make a decision to avoid dangerous situations, and that’s natural,” the animator wrote in a separate tweet.
However, the controversy did not end here, some people tried to add fuel to the fire, by dissing the staff who had come out to express their concerns.
An inter-fandom war too creeped into this scenario, with some people pointing out that fans of other anime were unnecessarily trying to stir more controversy by blaming the staff and the animation quality.
Overseas fans of the anime too were blamed to a certain extent for making matters worse and taking things out of context.
But, before the controversy blew out of proportion, Bleach loyalists banded together to show solidarity for the animators and the staff.
They created a new hashtag on X, ‘#Thank_you_to_all_bleach_Staff’. Within a day, a multitude of posts flooded this hashtag, wherein fans praised the staff for their work and asked them to ignore the negativity that was spewed by the minority.
“Thank you for all of your work, it is really appreciated! Try to ignore the negative comments which are small in comparison to the love and support you all have from us,” a user wrote.
Creators and staff of anime and manga have always found themselves in a tricky position on social media platforms when it came to meeting fan expectations. While they strive their best to put their best foot forward, there is always a section of fans that are disillusioned by the end product.
However, instead of constructive criticism, a majority of these disgruntled fans choose to lash out. This has created controversies in the past and led to staff members discontinuing their work altogether sometimes.
The most prominent one is recent times being Attack on Titan director Terayuki Omine locking his X account after fans harassed him for not including the soundtracks they loved in the episode.
Source: X (formerly Twitter)