Following what was deemed a careless turn of phrase, Toei issued an apology via their Twitter news account.
Episode 12 of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid saw the sudden and tragic death of a fan favorite character, Kujo Kiriya, who transforms into Kamen Rider Lazer.
In response to the episode, Toei tweeted out a now deleted hashtag message via their Toei News account.
The message read “なんできりやすぐ死んでしまうん” or “Why does Kiriya die so soon”, which was a quote from the anime movie Grave of the Fireflies” (Originally “なんで蛍すぐ死んでしまうん” or “Why do fireflies die so soon”) replacing “fireflies” with “Kiriya”.
The hashtag went on to become a top trending topic on Japanese Twitter before it was deleted.
Grave of the Fireflies deals with World War II’s impact on civilian life and many viewers took offense to the usage of the quote, seen as trivializing the suffering of the era and the death of the character. The unexpected death came during the show’s Christmas episode, putting an extra dampener on viewer morale.
In response, one comment read “That’s our line!”
— ぎょざるぎょ (@kingyogyozaru) December 25, 2016
The Twitter account’s handler promised to keep personal feelings out of the account’s messages in the future until a replacement is found.
The production team are also very much aware of the love for the character and passed along a message reading:
“To those who loved the character, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much.”
Shortly after the episode aired, the Toei Fanclub app sent out notifications to viewers that orders are open for the Kamen Rider Lazer memorial T-shirt.
Source: Toei News Twitter