PMC Ryodan: How anime-inspired youth movement got embroiled in the Ukraine-Russia war

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadMar 03, 2023 | 15:34

PMC Ryodan: How anime-inspired youth movement got embroiled in the Ukraine-Russia war

Ukraine and Russia point fingers at each other over Teenage anime sub-culture violence. Photo: HunterHunter Manga, Twitter

It is 2023, and the Ukraine and Russia war isn't limited to politics and hyper-nationalism. It's time for teenage anime fans to be embroiled in the war. Kyiv and Moscow are now busy pointing fingers at each other for "exporting" an anime sub-culture to destabilise each other's nations.

Are you also wondering how anime fan clubs are now being used in war and politics? We are too! 


What's happening?

  • An anime fan group called PMC Ryodan or Redan PMC has reached the notice of the upper echelons in the Kremlin and Kyiv.
  • It started in Moscow, Russia. Last week, videos of a mass brawl between teenagers at Aviapark shopping mall in Moscow went viral. 
  • Apparently, the fight broke out after one group objected to the other's matching unusual clothing, featuring checkered pants and black T-shirts with a spider graphic and the number 4. 
PMC Ryodan members in Russia. Photo: Twitter
...negative pseudo-subculture that doesn’t offer anything good to our young people.
- Kremlin Spokesperson (RT)
  • The Russian police arrested some 30 people involved in the scuffle. 
  • A similar scuffle was also reported at a subway station in Moscow. The scuffle seems to have broken out between PMC Ryodan and anti-Ryodan gangs. 
  • The teenagers are said to be using Telegram to show up at designated locations as flash mobs. 

  • Russia claims the PMC Ryodan groups have beef with "football hooligans" and oppose ethnic minorities from Russia’s Caucasus region.
  • Ukraine also found out that similar groups known as Redan PMC were organising mass brawls on the streets of Kyiv, Kharkiv and elsewhere on Telegram.
  • Ukrainian police blocked some 18 Telegram channels and identified some 245 participants from Khakiv alone, most of them minors. 

The finger-pointing: 

  • In Russia, the notoriety of an anime-loving teen culture has become a national issue, with the Kremlin saying it is monitoring the situation. 
  • However, there have been calls to investigate whether the Russian youth sub-culture has been a result of manipulation by Western countries and Japan. 
  • Kremlin-aligned Free Internet League which advocates for online censorship has also floated the idea that Ukraine is behind the sub-culture. 
But they (Ukraine) made a mistake in this case because the trend has spilled over into their territory and kids are doing the same thing there.
- Ekaterina Mizulina, Free Internet League
  • On the other hand, Ukraine has blamed Russia for exporting Ryodan's negative influence to its country through a disinformation campaign via Telegram. 

What's the PMC Ryodan sub-culture and where does it come from?

  • The anime in question is the super popular Hunter x Hunter series. 
  • In Hunter x Hunter, Gen'ei Ryodan, or the Troupe, is a group of diabolical thieves. 
  • The PMC suffix or prefix in the Russia and Ukraine sub-culture refers to Russia's most famous acronym right now "Private Military Company". It is meant to be a joke and fitting during a period of war. 
  • Bellingcat, an investigative journalism group, claims that the PMC Ryodan groups are not the violent, national security threats as they are made out to be. Instead, the clashes are being instigated by anti-Ryodan groups, who are hyper-nationalistic and supremacist groups intolerant of the funky outfits worn by the Ryodan groups. 
Last updated: March 03, 2023 | 15:37
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