It’s one thing to be upset about your favorite manga being censored; it’s another to blame the wrong person for it. In a now-deleted tweet, Viz Media Digital Publishing Production Assistant D.J. Kirkland was accused of altering manga panels from Rosario + Vampire to cover up a character’s naked breasts.
However, Kirkland wasn’t employed at Viz when the manga was published.
The panel in question is from Chapter 6 of Rosario + Vampire: Season II, where a character flashes her breasts to distract an opponent during battle. In Viz’s release, the artwork is modified so that she is wearing a bra.
This edit exists in both the print and digital versions of the manga. While this is unfortunate, Kirkland is not responsible for it. According to the Right Stuf Anime listing for the volume, it was released on August 3, 2010 — over ten years before Kirkland was hired in March 2020. Changing artwork is also not something his department would have the ability to do.
Kirkland spoke about his duties at Viz on Twitter:
“My job is to make sure that the black values are consistent across an entire volume, make sure that pages aren’t awkwardly cropped around the edges, and make sure that double-page spreads line up when you’re reading them in landscape mode. By the time a manga is approved to be released on digital platforms and I start looking over it, the book has already been IN PRINT.”
These accusations come in the wake of a disinformation campaign instigated by Comicsgate rag Bounding Into Comics when Kirkland was first hired. In their article, writer Spencer Baculi points to a handful of tweets as evidence that fans should be concerned about Kirkland’s influence at the manga publisher.
Baculi’s article was cited on Twitter as the reason for believing that Kirkland was responsible for the censorship. As a result of this claim, Kirkland was harassed online all weekend, with some resorting to sending racist comments and death threats.
Censorship sucks, but it doesn’t excuse this behavior. Complaints should be directed at Viz, not their employees. Especially when those employees have nothing to do with it.
In addition to his work with Viz, Kirkland is also a comic book artist. His work includes The Black Mage and Aggretsuko, which is done in collaboration with writer Daniel Barnes.
[Source: D.J. Kirkland’s Twitter]