Back in 2006, manga publisher Seven Seas Entertainment licensed a manga called Kodomo no Jikan (lit “A Child’s Time”) for release in 2007, under the title “Nymphet.” The manga soon became the target of heavy controversy, as anime fans and fandom thought leaders spoke out vehemently against its coming to the US, eventually resulting in its cancellation.
Kodomo no Jikan tells the story of Rin Kokonoe, a precocious third-grade girl, characterized by her constant romantic and sexual advances on her new teacher. This is where fans’ problems with the series began. Lolicon is a contentious issue in the anime fandom. Some anime fans are okay with it, others would rather it not exist, and both sides clash often.
That same debate is now poised to rear its head once again.
Digital Manga Publishing, under its Project H erotic manga line, is pursuing the Kodomo no Jikan license, as well as the funds to localize and print the series, via Kickstarter. In a 40-day long campaign started on May 26th, they’re seeking $157,000 ($72,240 of which has been pledged at time of publication). In addition, they’re working closely with Kaoru Watashiya, the mangaka of Kodomo no Jikan, to ensure a faithful localization and release.
In 2007 following the controversy and cancellation of the “Nymphet” release (It should be noted that the name “Nymphet” was a suggestion by Watashiya herself), Watashiya-san posted a blog entry expressing her disappointment about the controversy. With this recent Kickstarter, she’s expressed a great deal of excitement at the prospect of her work finally reaching US readers.
News of Kodomo no Jikan’s potential return is not without controversy, however. Though Project H is doing their best to address concerns about the manga’s content, many fans have taken to social media to express their disgust with the idea of the series finally coming to the US, with some even accusing Project H of misleading people about the exact content of the manga.
Kodomo no Jikan has been available scanlated for some time. People who really wanted to read it have had plenty of time to do so since 2007, and those who did have since naturally brought it to discussion. Part of that discussion is a question of the content’s intent. Namely, it’s up in the air whether Rin’s sexual behaviour is meant to be taken by the reader as titillating or concering/disturbing.
From an artistic standpoint, works like Kodomo no Jikan are important. It’s important that art be allowed to address controversial issues. It’s really easy to look at Kodomo no Jikan and dismiss it as smut, but anybody who’s bothered to look into Kodomo no Jikan beyond a surface level will find that it’s not all ecchi and lolicon, and that it tackles some heavy issues and gets very serious and down-to-earth.
While it remains to be seen whether the campaign will be successful or not, Digital Manga and Project H have shown that they’re willing to face controversy head-on by opening up this can of worms that was believed closed in 2007. Time will tell if it pays off for them.
If you wish to support the Kickstarter campaign, a link is provided below.