UPDATE: The BBFC have responded to our request for comment regarding the change in certification for High School DxD BorN between its initial 2016 release, and Manga UK’s 2021 re-release:
We re-classified High School DxD BorN 18 for sexualised images, nudity in 2020. Since 2016, our Classification Guidelines have changed. Our large scale research in 2018 found that attitudes towards sexual threat and sexual violence have moved on. People also told us that they expect the strongest sexual material, in particular material that uses the language of pornography, to be classified at 18. Our guidelines reflect this demand, so we reclassified the series 18.
Manga Entertainment have today announced a product recall of High School DxD BorN, the third season in the risqué dark fandtasy series, due to an error with the release’s displayed BBFC classification. In a post on their website, Manga Entertainment urge customers to seek returns with retailers they have ordered the product from, or to contact them at email@example.com with your name, address, contact number, and order number by 5pm on Friday 12th March if purchased directly from them. Manga Entertainment note that new stock for the title will be available in between 4-6 weeks.
Manga Entertainment’s release of High School DxD BorN was printed showing a 15 certificate, and although this was the rating awarded to the series’ previous 2016 release by Anime Limited (under their then-distribution arrangement with Funimation), the BBFC’s website notes that the third season was resubmitted for classification in January 2021, and awarded an 18 rating. Manga Entertainment describe High School DxD BorN as follows:
Issei and his harem of hotties are back to take on their biggest, boldest, bounciest adventure yet as they fight to prevent Ragnarok (aka the end of the underworld)!
With summer vacation just around the corner, Issei’s got one thing on his mind—spending sunny days with bikini-clad babes. Unfortunately, the Chaos Brigade is planning something big, and with heavy-hitters like the Norse God Loki in their corner, the House of Gremory is going to have to survive Rias’ underworld boot camp if they hope to stand a chance. While they prepare, dark forces gather strength behind the scenes, Koneko’s family reunion turns into a real catfight, and Asia must survive an indecent proposal from a high-ranking demon. With plenty of balls-to-the-wall battles and bare-it-all beauties, fans of High School DxD should start making room on the shelf—their perfect pair is about to become a ménage à trois.
Originally broadcast in 2015, High School DxD BorN is the third anime series adaptation of Ichiei Ishibumi’s light novel series, and the last by animation studio TNK, before Passione (Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou) took over the franchise for the fourth season, High School DxD Hero, which was broadcast in 2018. Once revised copies of this release hit the market, all four seasons of High School DxD will be available on home video by Manga Entertainment. Yen Press have recently started releasing the original light novels in English, as part of their Yen On imprint.
Recently, forum member tarabeesley contacted the BBFC regarding the 18 rating applied to MVM Entertainment’s Yuuna and the Haunted Hotspring, another recently released fanservice driven anime, and was informed informed that:
The Classification Guidelines state that nudity with no sexual context is in principle acceptable at all classification levels, but will not generally occur more than occasionally at U. Nudity with a sexual context will receive a higher classification. Where the principal purpose of depicting nudity is to sexually arouse it will usually only be passed at the adult categories (18 or R18).
In the case of Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Spring there is a focus on the sexualised nudity of childlike characters who are identified as being under the age of 18. As such the episodes are classified 18.
We have reached out to the BBFC for clarification on the reasons behind the rating change between the 2016 and 2021 releases of High School DxD BorN, and will update this article if we hear a response.
Source: Manga Entertainment, Anime UK News Forum Member tarabeesley, BBFC correspondence.