To Studio DEEN: Put the Korean character back.
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Axis Powers Hetalia is a satirical webcomic and anime series created by Hidekaz Himaruya, focusing primarily on the events in World War II (though dealing with other history periods as well, from the medieval days to the present), with the countries represented as anthropomorphic characters. Such characters display exaggerated national characteristics of their respective countries, such as USA being energetic while holding a hamburger and soda, Germany being stern and extremely rule-abiding, and UK having thick eyebrows.
The anime adaptation of the series by Studio Deen was originally scheduled to launch on Kids Station on 24th January 2009. In response to this, nationalistic groups in Korea protested against its launch by making an online petition, based on the allegations that their country was portrayed in an offensive manner, despite the fact that the anime did not even include Korea. The matter was taken up in the National Assembly in Korea, where the series was denounced as equivalent to criminal conduct. These allegations were supported, bizarrely enough, using a mixture of manipulated comic strips and, even more preoccupying, using fanart (that is, illustrations and drawings made by fans, as opposed to official artwork.)
On 16th January 2009, it was announced on the Hetalia official website that due to circumstances afflicting the broadcast station, the broadcast has been cancelled. Instead, it would be available via online and mobile phone distribution.
Information of a new petition by overly nationalistic Koreans has started to circulate, where, supposedly, they advocate for the attack of Japanese websites connected with the series so that the series will cease its distribution.
We believe this is an instance of over-reaction on the part of nationalistic Koreans. Axis Powers Hetalia is a satire of the events of World War II, and other countries were accorded similar treatment (by being represented as anthropomorphic characters displaying exaggerated national characteristics of their respective countries). As such, although they may have their own reasons for disliking the portrayal of Korea, their allegations of criminal conduct are completely unfounded.
We, as individuals, and as a group, urge Studio Deen to put the korean character back. The anime is not broadcasted in Korea, so, we think there's no problem animating the korean character.
The korean character is very popular between the fans. It's unfair that the other characters, even the ones that didn't appear in the original manga story are going to be animated and this character not.
To continue accepting threats would not only be humoring censorship, but would empower any group who feels offended by any creative production to follow this example and continue to lampoon any material they disagree with, in a world where freedom of expression is an undeniable right, as is the freedom to ignore that which we do not agree with. This is furthermore grave considering that the manifestations of dissent have grown from mere opinions to encouraging actual, criminal acts (cyber-terrorism): to submit to them would be as good as saying that criminal behavior is a valid way to make demands in this world, and would fuel future repetitions of this conduct.
In conclusion, the below signing would like to encourage Studio Deen to animate the korean character and keep the continue the regular distribution of Axis Powers Hetalia.