Whether it’s One Piece, Attack on Titan or more recently Tokyo Revengers, many manga and anime have fallen victim to censorship.
It is not uncommon for manga or their anime adaptations to display content that is considered racy. It can be nudity, gore or even some controversial everyday objects like alcohol or cigarettes. Some broadcasters, and even some countries, allow themselves to censor certain scenes from our favorite manga and anime.
Of course, this censorship is not put in place to stupidly censor and simply. But rather in order to protect an audience that may be quite young. Here is a selection of ten censorships observed in Japanese animation.
Netflix is censoring a scene from Hunter x Hunter
In case you didn't know, Yoshihiro Togashi’s work, Hunter x Hunter, will be coming soon back ! To the delight of fans. It’s in 1998, after the success of Yu Yu Hakusho, that the mangaka published for the first time the adventures of the young Gon Freecss. The 12-year-old boy decides to follow in his father's footsteps to become a Hunter.
In 2011, Hunter x Hunter was adapted into an anime and would be released a few years later by the American giant Netflix. And it is precisely the streaming platform that is at the origin of a rather indelicate censorship. In Episode 135, part of the Chimera Ant arc, Meruem dies poisoned alongside Komugi, the blind girl with whom he played Gun-gi throughout the arc. This scene, which includes some particularly emotional dialogue between the two characters, has been removed by Netflix. However, it is available on the DNA platform.
Malaysia censors Attack on Titan
A little over a year ago, the final chapter of Attack on Titan was released. Since then, what we thought would be the last part of season 4 has aired to make way for the announcement of a third part of the anime, third part which should be released in 2023. But it is in Malaysia, neighboring country of Thailand, that censorship has been spotted and has caused a lot of talk about it.
Indeed, the country felt that the Titans had to be dressed up and added shorts or a playsuit (for the female Titans) to them, whether in the anime version or the manga version. A decision that may seem surprising given that, although the Titans are naked, they do not have genitals, which could offend the sensibilities of the public.
The Tokyo Revengers swastika
In Asia, the swastika is a symbol of peace. However, in Western countries, this symbol has a completely different symbolism since it is reminiscent of the Nazi swastika. Although the meaning of the square brackets is not the same on the two symbols, it is particularly easy to confuse them.
The manga Tokyo Revengers has been regularly censored for this reason. Indeed, the symbol of Tokyo Manjikai represents a swastika. It is also not the only manga to use this symbol. In Naruto, it’s the symbol that is used as a cursed seal on the foreheads of members of the secondary branch of the Hyūga family. In the anime, this symbol has been replaced with a simple cross.
One Piece censored by Cartoon Network
Cartoon Networkis a channel of American television which specializes in broadcasting animated series. Among the series the channel aired was the hugely popular One Piece. And these are not simple censorships for once.
Indeed, Cartoon Network has made many changes such as turning the weapons into water guns, replacing Sanji's cigarette with a lollipop or even simply removing Ace from a scene.
Pokémon was also censored
It seems like no anime from our childhood escaped censorship. Pokémon, an anime adapted from the video games of the same name, has also been the victim of censorship.
The best known censorship is certainly the one where the match of Meowth is replaced by a birthday candle. Nevertheless, even the most recent versions have been censored. In Pokémon the Series, Sun & Moon, in one of the episodes, our young heroes have to use shurikens which are replaced by children's toys in the American version.
The way of the apron, or when China doesn’t like tattoos
You should know that in Asia, tattoos are not as well accepted as in the West. Indeed, whether in Japan, China or Korea, tattoos often refer to the mafia. And the manga The Way of the Apron, which follows the daily life of a Yakuza-turned-houseman, was censored by the Chinese government.
Tatsu's tattoos, the main character, have simply been deleted.
Cartoon Network dislikes Naruto
Again, Cartoon Networkis allowed to censor an immense classic of Japanese animation. Published between 2000 and 2016, Narutohas become a classic for a lot of manga and anime fans. While there was already censorship in the anime related to the symbol of the cursed seal of Neji, the channel went further.
Indeed, it took the side of removing all traces of blood that may refer to violence or suffering. Some have also been completely revised so that the corpses are no longer visible to viewers.
Sailoor Moon or awkward transformations
You might not believe it, but Sailor Moon also had its share of censorship. Like Naruto or One Piece, censorship has affected anything that mentions violence or alcohol. But not only. Indeed, for those who are not aware, Sailor Moon features magical girls who, with the help of magic accessories, can transform themselves.
In the original version you could see the transformation being done, in the censored version some body parts are hidden.