The recent announcement that a film adaptation of the hit series “Demon Slayer” was rated R (Restricted) ahead of its release in the United States has made some wonder how the film, known for its occasional depictions of violence, was filed in his house. countries, and sparked an even bigger question: What do movie ratings in Japan really mean?
An independent organization called the Film Classification and Rating Organization, commonly known as Eirin in Japanese, is responsible for rating films in Japan.
Renamed in 1956 from its previous incarnation, Eirin currently has eight experienced reviewers in the film industry who review more than 800 submissions, including films, trailers, and promotional flyers, each year. It has four rating levels: G, PG12, R15 + and R18 +.
G, short for “general public”, means that there is no age restriction. PG12 states that parental “advice and guidance” is necessary for anyone under the age of 12. Movies rated R15 + and R18 +, on the other hand, are only available to people aged 15 or older and those aged 18 or older, respectively.
The movie “Demon Slayer”, titled “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train”, was rated PG12 in Japan. Unlike the R rating of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in the United States, which requires “accompaniment” by adult guardians for anyone under the age of 17, the PG12 in Japan does not go so far as to require that adults accompany children under 17. 12 in theaters, essentially allowing children of all ages to watch movies on their own.
Eirin and the MPA both warn audiences about bloodshed in the film, a sequel to the animated television series about a young swordsman battling demons to save his sister.
Violence, however, is not the only element considered in Eirin’s assessment, which is based on eight categories of potential maturity: violence, nudity, sex, crime, drugs, terror, language and theme.
Eirin officials say reviewers base their decisions on a category that contains the most sensitive material: a two-hour movie with an extremely sexual scene of just 10 seconds, for example, may be rated R18 + even though it is. otherwise perfectly harmless.
“In such cases, we ask (a production company) to modify or cover up the scene in question if they really want their movie to be rated G,” said Tomoharu Ishikawa, executive director of Eirin.
The question of what rating should be given to a film is not always easy, but there are generally characteristic representations of each of them. For example, depiction of children breaking the law, such as smoking, drinking, and riding motorcycles without helmets, typically gives a movie a PG12 rating, according to Eirin officials.
Likewise, graphic representations of violence and sex are typical of films rated R15 + or higher, a principle that applies not only to live action films but also to animated films.
“Even in the anime, if there is a direct portrayal of someone being shot in the head and spitting out blood, this scene takes on a certain sense of reality and can be considered R15 + worthy.” , Makoto Ozaki, one of Eirin’s reviewers, mentioned.
The same goes for sex scenes, depending on the thoroughness with which they are presented.
“If the screen is magnified to a point where a man at the top can be clearly seen moving his hips, then he is likely to be rated as high as R18 +, but if the scene is magnified to show only his stomach , it could end up with R15 +, ”said Ozaki.
But sometimes there is only a thin line separating each note.
In the case of “Demon Slayer”, for example, its profusion of violence, according to Eirin officials, was somewhat offset by the fact that the killings took place between humans and demons, as opposed to the humans slaughtering of. other humans. Likewise, humans killing zombies tend to be viewed with more tolerance due to the feeling of unreality, they said.
“Additionally, in the movie ‘Demon Slayer’, swords often emit water and fire when slicing through enemies, camouflaging blood and mitigating violence as a result,” said Takaki Sekine, another evaluator of ‘Eirin.
Movies with a fairly high amount of sexual content could also be rated PG12. According to Eirin officials, the depictions of female nudity are not themselves rated R, unless they evolve into more sexually active scenes, such as petting breasts.
Eirin, however, says the rating he gives doesn’t reflect his thoughts on the quality of each movie.
“What we are evaluating are only representations. In other words, we don’t judge the storylines or messages of the movies. Even a movie in which a person behaves in an extremely disagreeable manner can be rated G if it does not contain any problematic portrayals, ”Ishikawa said.
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