Anime censorship is the reason I’m fine with the industry NOT expanding on an international level.
Or at least not in too many countries like China or South Korea (a hot bed for censorship).
The USA these days is getting sh*tty for censorship as well.
But the reality of the situation is – it’s not that simple. Because the anime industry is struggling to turn over a healthy profit. And pay their employees and artists a fair amount.
Plus all the money being made isn’t just within Japan.
Though It doesn’t help that artists are in poor working conditions either, depending on which studio we’re talking about. And that “sort of” puts Japan in a desperate position going forward.
If anime declines on their home turf, how will anime studios make money and stay in business?
With the internet and technology the obvious answer is go global. But that comes at a price as I’ll get into.
Here’s what we can expect going forward.
The Problem With Anime Censorship:
1. Art should be genuine, NOT watered down
Let’s focus on the most important part of this problem: art should NEVER be sugar-coated.
Imagine listening to NWA’S “f*ck the police” song with censorship plastered over it. Or watching Higurashi: When They Cry WITHOUT blood and the violent scenes that come with it.
Or how about the insanity of shows like Gintama and the “fan service” that comes with it in certain scenes?
The whole point of creativity is to express how an artist FEELS without restraint.
That’s what makes art so pure in the first place. Whether it’s a painting, music, entertainment, writing, or a product design.
Art is the purest form of authenticity. It’s how an animator (in this case) feels about the anime and the characters they’re portraying. With a story that pieces everything together.
Censoring this because of politically correctness gone mad, or because of peer pressure and SJW behaviour is wrong.
At that point it’s no longer art, it’s “just” a product with a bullsh*t agenda.
Surprisingly – even anime shows like Demon Slayer have been “censored” in 2019 (In China). The markings on the earrings changed because it might have “offended” the public.
So they say.
And any anime that doesn’t conform to certain beliefs is banned outright. Which is an extreme version of censorship in itself.
2. Anime censorship ignores the opinions of the community
Anime fans, no different to any fan of any industry never asks for censorship. It’s always someone outside of the community trying to dictate what we should like, just because THEY don’t like it.
And when it is someone within the community, it’s usually greedy companies outside Japan trying to flip the agenda by changing the dialogue.
Or simply political correctness taken too far.
It’s pretty f*cked up when you really think about it.
Consumers and fans are the ones who HELP the industry survive and thrive. We’re the ones who support the industry and pay for services, after all.
But when these products (anime shows) hit overseas markets, companies no longer give a F about the community or what the community thinks.
And yet they expect us to “support” them in spite of the sh*t they wanna force on us.
This is the definition of exploitation and depending on the company, culture vultures profiting off something while dictating what should and shouldn’t be allowed.
That’s even if the original product says otherwise.
3. It’s disrespectful to the creators and the effort they’ve put in
I can’t imagine watering down my message for anyone. Or avoiding certain words just because someone claims I’m offended them.
How I write and how I create is true to who I am. That’s a fact that every creator shares regardless of the industry they’re in.
So why should it be any different for anime creators and animators who work hard to make GENUINE products without censorship or unnecessary modifications?
Censoring anime takes away from all that effort, and disrespects the whole point of the message that’s being portrayed in these works of art. Meaning anime.
If a designer creates something in the way they want it to be created, I don’t wanna see a mediocre version of that drawing. Otherwise what’s the point?
It defeats the purpose of what the creators intended if it’s only gonna be censored. Especially if no real harm is being done.
Here’s what could happen in the future with anime censorship:
1. Each anime will change depending on the country it’s licensed to
Picture this scenario – you’re in India, and a new version of My Hero Academia is released in your country.
Sadly for you the anime is heavily censored and certain “scenes” are so sugar coated it’s not worth watching.
But somewhere across the world – In the UK for example, this “imaginary” version of My Hero Academia has “little” censorship.
And the action scenes, plot, and dialogue is so much better it makes you envious. Yet you can’t do ANYTHING about it because India’s your home country.
And to make things even more insulting, as a UK fan you discover that the USA has the “non censored” version of the anime. And now you feel frustrated because of the drastic changes.
Yet you can’t do sh*t about it because you’re native to the UK. And “moving country” is a ridiculous notion just to watch an anime without censorship.
This is a real possibility for the anime industry in future
Anime is exploding all over the world.
It has been since the 1990’s, but these days it’s started to become more “mainstream” and countries are paying attention.
If anime gets so big that every country starts to embrace the industry, and wants to “air” anime in their own countries, each country will have its own degree of censorship. If at all.
As an anime fan – you can only imagine how aggravating that’s gonna be. It’ll be the equivalent of a video game having better DLC in one country over the other.
2. Japanese companies will take the “Google” approach
Anime streaming outside of Japan comes down to Crunchyroll and Funimation. The two biggest anime streaming companies in the west.
Funimation merged with Aniplex, and now they’ll have a footprint in over 40+ countries for worldwide distribution.
The problem with anime streaming (and the business) right now is – with this approach there’s gonna be different levels of censorship. Depending on the country.
Not to mention “region blocks” and so on.
Now depending on how serious Japan takes it, they’ll end up creating their own streaming services and keeping it in Japan for themselves.
Think of it like a “Google” version of anime streaming where we all go to watch our favorite anime series.
If that ends up being the case, then like Google, certain countries will end up blocking this “imaginary” Japanese streaming service because of the content that’s within the anime.
In this scenario, anime fans in China wouldn’t be able to watch anime because the Chinese government would end up blocking it.
There are more benefits to this approach if Japan takes it, but it’ll be at the detriment of fans NOT being able to watch anime in its purest form. Depending on where in the world you live.
One benefit is Japan won’t have to rely on international companies anymore. Unless they’re willing to bend over backwards and “sugar coat” their product.
What are your thoughts on anime censorship?
I’m the Founder of Anime Motivation.
The 1st anime I watched was Dragon Ball Z. Followed by Claymore, Inuyasha, Attack On Titan, and the rest as they say is “history”.