See no evil, hear no evil


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Are cartoons really just for kids? Anime censorship in and outside Japan has always been a thorny issue with fans... But rather than getting frustrated over it, let's take some time to appreciate the crazy lengths that censors go to for their work.

Violence

Here's a first dose of censorship logic: For some strange reason, red blood is generally deemed scary and violent, while black, blue, green, or even white blood is perfectly okay.


Grimmjow's black blood in Bleach
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More heavy-handed censors may blank out violent scenes entirely with shadows or blinding white light. If they're feeling creative, the violence may be kept off-screen with some careful angling and audio cues (i.e. screams).


Fingers of doom replace guns in Yu-Gi-Oh (4Kids dub)
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As for weapons like guns and knives, broadcasters sometimes replace them with sticks, pointed fingers and, er, showerheads. Sadly, this often kills the suspense, and adds a dose of unintended humour.


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Death is also a big taboo, especially in overseas dubs. Such events often get glossed over as simply "going away" or, with some imagination, "vanishing into the Shadow Realm".

Cultural references

Ah, localisation. It seems American broadcasters initially found anime a little too Japanese for their children, and did their best to replace the foreign elements with suitably American ones.


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Thus, we get gems like "ice cream sandwiches" and "jelly donuts" in "Pokemon's 4Kids" dub - better known as rice balls, or onigiri.

Smoking and Drinking


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Many popular anime series have at least one offender in this category, as part of plot or character design. So what do the censors do?


Is that… water?
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That's right, the alcoholics now get drunk, sorry, dizzy, on harmless liquids like milk and tea. But at least they drink something; the smokers tend to get it a little harder with unlit or omitted cigarettes.


…Where does all that smoke come from?
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But still, nothing can beat this infamous lollipop:


Credits to: youtube.com

- SL

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