The reason why Japanese anime production studio A.P.P.P. recently halted distribution of its Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures anime series has now come to light. A.P.P.P. and manga publisher Shueisha have temporarily ceased distribution of Hirohiko Araki’s fantasy story in response to complaints from Islamic protesters.
The sixth episode of the Jojo prequel OVA series, originally released on September 28, 2001, includes a scene in which villain Dio, who happens to be in Egypt at the time, takes a momentary break from reading an Arabic text to order the execution of his enemies. The animation used a randomly selected passage of Arabic text. However, seven years later observers noticed that the Arabic text is actually an excerpt from the Koran, leading Sheikh Abdul Hamid Al-Atrash, chairman of the Fatwa Committee the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, to declare, “The scene depicts Muslims as terrorists.” The same scene in the original manga does not depict any legible specific language, and manga creator Hirohiko Araki was not aware that the animation had used a recognizable language.
Araki’s manga, though, is apparently not guiltless, as apparently both the manga and anime depict “buildings that look like mosques” during fight scenes. Considering that Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures is an action manga that is partially set in the Middle East, this fact shouldn’t be surprising.
In response to Islamic outrage, Shueisha and A.P.P.P. have made a formal public apology and have ceased sale and distribution of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures anime and manga until all offending scenes have been altered.