We have ketchup chips, Kinder Eggs and house the fantastic, and recently completed, Toronto Comics Art Festival, but even we here in Canada aren’t perfect. It saddened and concerned me to read this bit of news over the weekend, credit for which goes to Ash on Twitter.
RightStuf has posted the following warning on all four volumes of SuBLime‘s boys’ love series, Bonds of Dream, Bonds of Love by Yaya Sakuragi:
“Note: This item is banned in Canada, and will be seized by Customs if ordered.”
From what I can see, this is the only SuBLime title to have a note about being banned. We can assume it’s a note made based on a particular incident, though of course this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard negative stories about manga going over the border. Anime and manga have become buzz words of sorts for customs’ agent which see the youthful drawing of some characters, and sexual nature of others, reason to blanket the medium as pedophilia and pornographic in nature.
As for Bonds of Dreams, Bonds of Love, I can see why they might ban it – with disclaimer I don’t believe in banning artwork like this – but it’s still not a series I’d ever viewed as being an obvious trouble-maker. Of course I speak from the viewpoint of a seasoned manga reader who is used to the distinctions of age and art style. One of the leads in this series is a teenager who very forwardly pursues an older man whom he’s known since he was very young. Though the young one is the more aggressive of the two, it still follows a budding sexual relationship between an adult and a teenager and the age discrepancy is heavily emphasized in the way they’re drawn.
Interestingly, I actually received volume three of this series from RightStuf just a couple weeks ago and didn’t have any issues. Then again, being buried among many other items certainly helped. The requirement to buy $250+ worth of material to get the free Canadian shipping from RightStuf ups the chance that any supposedly-risky material like this can glide through in similar fashion. Of course, this depends on if RightStuf will actually choose to deny** the ordering of these books from Canadians or leave it to the buyers’ own risk.
For Canadians looking for the books, who don’t want to risk border bans, you can still order the books via Chapters/Indigo, Amazon.ca and your local book stores via special order.
**May 16th Update: RightStuf has since updated the warning to the following: “Note: We cannot ship this item to Canadian addresses, and it likely will be seized by Customs if ordered.” So no more ordering even allowed for Canadians of these books anymore. An unfortunate turn of events, one that could set a very bad precedent for other material from one of the mediums’ most prominent supplier.