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Russian Court Bans ‘Happy Tree Friends,’ Anime Films

“Happy Tree Friends,” an adult cartoon styled as a children's series, depicts three cartoon forest animals that die in graphically violent ways every episode. Happy Tree Friends

A Russian court has banned the distribution of adult cartoon “Happy Tree Friends” and several other animated films within the country, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday. 

Court-appointed experts determined that “Happy Tree Friends,” which is about three cartoon forest animals that die in graphically violent ways every episode, “contains elements of cruelty” and “is designed in a style common for American animation,” RIA Novosti reported.

“Watching the animated series undoubtedly harms young children’s spiritual and moral education and development and contradicts the humanistic nature of upbringing inherent in Russia,” St. Petersburg’s Oktyabrsky District Court press service told RIA Novosti. 

The court also banned the films “Dante's Inferno: An Animated Epic,” live-action manga adaptation “Attack on Titan Part 1,” “Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge” and “Dead Space: Downfall.” 

The court experts concluded that the anime “Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge” can motivate aggressive or self-harming behavior while “Attack on Titan Part 1” can harm children’s mental health and spiritual and moral development.

State prosecutors had asked the court to ban the series and movies, which had been posted on YouTube, Rutube, Watch.Cartoons and Lords.Film without any age restrictions. 

The St. Petersburg court on Tuesday also banned Japanese anime “Akira,” citing possible damage to children’s health and psychological development, TASS news agency reported 

Russia has been cracking down in recent months on anime films that it says have a bad influence on children. In January, the country banned “Death Note,” “Tokyo Ghoul,” and “Inuyashiki” over their depiction of violence, murder and cruelty.

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