A delinquent group of Japanese anime lovers expands in Russia.

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Across Russia, “bad groups” mainly consisting of teenagers fans of the Japanese anime “Hunter x Hunter” are growing in power and becoming a social problem, causing brawls. Security forces detained hundreds of people in late February at large commercial complexes in Moscow and elsewhere. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned on Thursday that he was “watching it closely.”

‘The ban on Japanese animation’ erupts in a situation that could heighten social unrest. A member of the House of Representatives has argued that an investigation should be conducted to see if an unfriendly country is behind the move. There is a risk that the criticism will be aimed at Western countries, including Japan.

The members call themselves “Private Military Company Ryodan.” Named after the Phantom Troupe from Hunter Hunter, it seems to be a pun on Wagner, a private military company known for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is characterized by wearing black clothes with a spider pattern, and the number of social media registrants is around 200,000.

Members were reportedly detained throughout Russia, including in the Far East, and their presence was also reported in Ukraine. It is believed that dubbed anime versions were widely circulated in the former Soviet Union, and fan exchanges on the Internet increased.

In Russia, delinquent groups have emerged during times of economic crisis. In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, foreigners were attacked one after another by skin-headed “neo-Nazis.” At the same time, “Hooligan,” which is centered on soccer fans, also appears. Following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, the country entered a wartime regime last year.

In recent years, President Putin has promoted patriotic education by imitating Soviet-era youth organizations. The increase in the number of young people engaging in anti-social behavior shows a limit to the state’s control.

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