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Classification of anime films

Classification Board

The Classification Board (the Board) is aware of concerns about the classification of certain Japanese anime genre films, specifically Sword Art Online: Extra Edition, No Game No Life, and Eromanga Sensei Volumes 1 & 2, and about comic books featuring manga style drawings not being classified by the Board.

The Board classifies films in accordance with the Guidelines for the Classification of Films (the Film Guidelines). There are not specific or separate guidelines to classify animated films. Films can be classified in the classification categories from G to R 18+ (with the X 18+ category limited to films containing sexually explicit activity). If a film contains content that exceeds the scope and limits of content that is permitted in the R 18+ category, it will be Refused Classification (RC). Films in the anime genre have been classified across a range of categories, including M, MA 15+, R 18+ and RC.

The Film Guidelines require an assessment of impact of six classifiable elements (themes, violence, sex, coarse language, drug use and nudity); not an assessment of the genre type or whether the film depicts ‘real’ people or animated characters. The Guidelines state “Context is crucial in determining whether a classifiable element is justified by the story‑line or themes. This means that material that falls into a particular classification category in one context may fall outside it in another.

In addition to determining the classification, the Board must determine consumer advice for a film. The purpose of consumer advice is to draw attention to only the most impactful and frequent content relating to the six classifiable elements. Therefore, not all the content in a film will warrant consumer advice. The classifications for the named films are:

  • Sword Art Online: Extra Edition is classified M with consumer advice ‘sexualised imagery, sexual references and animated violence. 
  • No Game No Life is classified MA 15+ with consumer advice ‘strong sexual themes’.
  • Eromanga Sensei Volumes 1 & 2 are classified MA 15+ with consumer advice ‘strong sexual themes’.

Regarding comic books, only submittable publications are required to be classified. The Board classifies submittable publications in accordance with the Guidelines for the Classification of Publications. It is the responsibility of distributors of comic books to decide if the comic book should be classified. States and territories are responsible for classification enforcement legislation which includes offences for selling an unclassified submittable publication.  

The Board is aware that a campaign has been launched about the sale of Japanese manga and anime in Australia and that in the context of the Government’s Review of Classification Regulation this issue has been raised. The Board welcomes this review.

Margaret Anderson
Director, Classification Board

Media Contact:
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

media@communications.gov.au or 02 6271 1777