Nartuo and censorhip

Whenever anime get localized into English for release in America, they inevitably get censored. Well, not the "mature" stuff, but show's like Naruto and Dragonball Z certainly get put through the censorship wringer. On some level, its understandable because these shows, from their inception in Japanese, are meant for a broad "young adult" audience. Shounen anime's are made primarily for male teenage audiences, and have a large cast of colorful characters, with a very convenient plot device to facilitate combat between them all. 

This is nothing new, and is pretty basic in comic books such as Marvel or DC when you think about it. They're rarely groundbreaking and just feed the need for adolescent violence that get such good ratings (not to mention merchandising ventures). These shows always have people getting punched through buildings, only to emerge with a torn collar. These kinds of anime, in their original form, tend to have blood, murder, foul language, and mild sexual themes. 

When Naruto became localized for the US, the blood was all but removed, being replaced by seemingly cauterized wounds. Any blood that is visible is turned black and looks like oil. Instead, characters just get dirt patches on their skin to indicate damage. Even the adult female characters have their cleavage erased, which makes women with massive breasts (all too common in anime) look outright ridiculous. 

Left: Censored.                               Right: Original.
But I digress. Recently, my friend noticed something peculiar during a recent episode of Naruto. While facing a particularly dangerous villain who, after tasting the blood of his opponent, becomes invincible to their attacks. The villain is defeated by accidentally being tricked into tasting his own blood, leaving him vulnerable to others attacks. Yet when he consumed the false blood, it wasn't red, but rather, clear. During the typical exposition about how he was tricked, the protagonist refers to switching DNA, never saying the word "blood" once. 

I just cant fathom why they would skirt around the perils of fighting like this. If you beat someone up, they will bleed, and if they bleed enough, they will die. This is what makes fighting so dangerous. Instead, they've found another way to remove the threat of physical violence, in a cartoon that is 100% reliant on violence! 

That's supposed to be what makes Naruto such a great protagonist. He's quick throw the first punch as a hot headed buffoon. However, after numerous confrontations he learns that fighting won't solve anything in the grand scheme of things. In fact, his greatest skill is his ability to befriend his deadliest enemies, and turn them to the side of good/justice. But with the threat of danger consistently removed from the censored version, it makes his trials and tribulations far less impaction. 
Ok, rant over.


Anonymous said...

Censorship, it makes me sick!

Anonymous said...

I still remember the misery of watching DBZ on cartoon network in the late 90's and early 2000's. They were not very subtle in their attempts to censor and resorted to cheesy tricks, like adding Batman-esque captions every time a character landed a face punch. This major annoyance was compounded by the fact that the distribution rights were not settled, so every time the series reached a climax on planet Namek, the cocksuckers would start the series all over again with fucking Radditz. Goddammit to hell, I hated those sunsabithches!!! They made me suffer with their needless censorship, frat-boy dubbing, and all-around mediocrity. I swore off Cartoon Network and American dubbed anime altogether for the longest time. I still avoid it, except when they put Cowboy Bebop into rotation... then it's cool beans. Anyway TL;DR... your blog kicks anal cavity

SpookyDonkey said...

@l3montree i agree whole fartedly.

@serg dood you shouldnt give up on cartoon network. adult swim is always golden, but thats like a different channel. the last two years has seen some realllllly impressive stuff from CN. check out sym-biotic titan. its voltron but WAY cooler, because its made by the guy who created dexters lab and samurai jack. also check out adventure time and regular show, for a new age of friendly comedy thats,,, wait for it,,, FUNNY!

and there are moments, in the dead of night, where out of nowhere radditz will show up and force me to start from the very beginning of whatever i was doing. i feel the pain to this day brother.