Before exploring why a K-pop idol is asked for recommendations, here’s a brief context on an “idol” image.
As per the K-pop culture, a celebrity is idolized for their moral values, ethics, dedication to work, promoting a healthy lifestyle while inculcating discipline among the young fandom, restraining themselves from smoking or abusing substances, maintaining rigid Korean standards, not getting involved in scandals… and the list on this moral compass goes on.
Basically, an idol is hailed on a pedestal that is humanely unattainable solely because they have such a drastic influence on the youth, especially children.
Most idols practice staying true to morality as their duty in the parasocial responsibility. But once in a while, they all slip up. Although the mishaps are inevitable, the latest mass K-pop idol scandal seems too big of a fire to die down anytime soon.
On November 20, 2023, TXT leader Soobin was criticized for recommending the anime “Made In Abyss.” Woozi from Seventeen received similar criticisms for the same, while NCT 127’s Taeyong is under fire for owning volume 11 of the manga series. The manga, created by Akihito Tsukushi, has strong undertones of pedophilia, child abuse, sexual assault, torture, and mutilation. Hence, fans were irked by K-pop idols recommending the problematic dark anime, including Wooseok, Dex, and Ateez’s Mingi.
What Is Made in Abyss Anime Really About?
The premise of the manga is actually pretty decent–
A young orphan, Riko, and her half-robot friend, Reg, are curious about a giant hole in their town, Orth, that descends into an unimaginable depth. However, this abyss is a test for the “cave raiders” who encounter various mythical creatures along the way.
But the issue arises after Tsukushi’s subtexts take a dark turn. The manga harps in great detail on pedophilia throughout its 12 volumes.
Even after the manga was adapted into a 2-part anime series, the depictions of child abuse, sexual assault, mutilation, and torture were too graphic for young, impressionable minds.
Hence, people concluded that this anime is best suited for acquired taste and must be best left in the abyss. Read here for an in-depth analysis of “Made In Abyss.”
However, the anime is back in resurgence after a bunch of male K-pop idols added it to their recommendations list.
Soobin, Taeyong, and Woozi Receiving Backlash On The Verge Of Cancellation For Recommending an Anime
Aespa’s Karina was under scrutiny by Chinese netizens for recommending “My Hero Academia,” considering the portrayal of Imperial Japan atrocities in China. Netizens were split on the opinion of whether Karina deserved the harsh criticisms.
However, this recent case has strong currents of disdain and disagreements from a majority of netizens, given the sensitive nature of the subject matter.
Soobin, the leader of TXT, has found himself in hot waters after recommending the anime “Made In Abyss.”
At the same time, Seventeen’s Woozi was heavily criticized for including ‘Made In Abyss’ among the list of ‘Uncle from Another World,’ ‘Komi Can’t Communicate,’ and ‘Jujutsu Kaisen.’
Even though NCT-127’s Taeyong did not utter the anime as a recommendation, fans noticed volume 11 of the manga series in the background of one of his pictures.
Other K-Pop idols reviewing similar backlash are Wooseok, Dex, and Ateez’s Mingi, as well as LESSERAFIM’s Sakura, who were also seen promoting the anime to their young fanbase.
Netizens Lend Their 2 Cents On The Issue
First, here’s one side of the spectrum–
“I’m sorry, but I don’t care how much you like Woozi, Soobin, Taeyong, or anyone else who read this or watched the anime.. they deserve the absolute worst. I’m sick to my stomach, bro. What a shame.”
“Sorry, but if you stan txt Soobin, svt Woozi, nct Taeyong, ateez mingi, dex, and any other idol recommending and consuming that disgusting anime, please hard block me, I don’t want to see these weird men in my tl ever again.”
“The genre for Made in abyss is dark dystopian fantasy. Finding out that the anime was heavily censored in Korea and broadcasted on national TV, and a lot of Koreans are unaware of its paedophilic innuendoes, not defending Soobin and Mingi woozi, but please read.”
Then, on the other end, netizens find this cancelation ridiculous–
Now, I am passing the thinking cap to you– what is your verdict on the cancelation? Do you think Made In Abyss propagates harmful connotations?
Should the K-pop idols be criticized for recommending the anime? Let us know in the comments section below.