Nendoroid Maker Good Smile Sued Over Claims It May Violate US Obscenity Laws

Former vice presidents Guy Brand and James Young-sik Kim are suing Good Smile Company over allegations of discrimination, tax evasion, licensing schemes, and “distribution of potentially obscene sexually explicit anime products” that depict underaged characters. The filing is a cross-complaint in response to Good Smile’s 2020 suit, alleging Bran and Kim breached their employment contracts by “stealing” property, employees, and trade secrets.

In a legal battle first reported by Polygon, Brand and Kim claim that Good Smile directed them to “engage in national original discrimination” which targeted “employees not of Japanese nationality during the Covid-19 pandemic.” The former VPs say that Good Smile excluded them from private company meetings, only allowing Japanese employees in after they had voiced concerns over tax evasion, licensing issues, and the sale of lolicon—erotic media depicting underage girls.

The cross-complaint states that both Brand and Kim, along with other unnamed employees, found it “unethical to sell and market Lolicon in the U.S. to customers of all ages,” and that there were no age restrictions on Good Smile’s website for buying sexualized toys. They also recalled an instance where Warner Bros. allegedly contacted Good Smile on behalf of Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins to cease its partnership with the toymaker after Jenkins discovered “sexualized female figures were being sold on the Good Smile website next to Wonder Woman branded Toys.”

Good Smile is most famous for its line of Nendoroid and Figma toys, largely based on anime characters. It has also entered into partnerships with other media such as creating toys for live action films and television series.

The lawsuit claims that Good Smile was involved with 4chan (an imageboard frequented white supremacists). Polygon’s report includes one source that said Good Smile is “a passive investor” in 4chan. Brand and Kim’s allegations include an instance where Good Smile coordinated marketing campaigns with 4chan, and say the company ignored their concerns over affiliations with 4chan after a white supremacist (whose manifesto and video were uploaded to the site) murdered 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand. They claim that Good Smile management instructed them to not disclose the company’s relationship with 4chan to its licensing partners.

Good Smile’s original suit was filed late last year, alleging that Brand and Kim breached their employment agreements when they formed their own company “for the purpose of competing with Good Smile.” The main complaints in Good Smile’s filing involve a Stranger Things deal with Netflix, which the company says both Brand and Kim used their former employer’s resources to take the opportunity for themselves.

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Andrea Shearon
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Andrea Shearon is a news editor at TheGamer who loves RPGs, mobile games, and anything horror related. You can find her on Twitter at @Maajora

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