Censorship is a common practice in anime, and we’ve especially experienced that back on the 90s where companies go as far as editing the scenes to remove offensive content like panty shots, sexual jokes, even censoring smoking, drinking, and redraw Japanese food items like onigiri to Western foods like donuts. Even in the modern age, anime still gets censored, but it’s no longer that extensive like what companies did a few decades ago. Fortunately, though, you can get the uncensored versions of the anime through officially published Blu-rays and DVDs. This tactic entices fans to buy these discs, and in turn, gives these companies profit to encourage more anime. It’s a perfect balance--buy anime; get rewarded.
However, some of these BD/DVD releases are still censored due to many reasons like culture insensitivity, moral stance of a publishing company, and even racism. The worst thing is, the censors were so subtle, you may not even notice it at first glance. To give you a few examples, Honey’s Anime has compiled 3 anime that you didn’t know were censored.
3. Nisekoi (Nisekoi: False Love) — Self-censored by Studio Shaft
- Episodes: 20
- Aired: January 2014-May 2014
Like any high school romance anime, there is the obligatory beach episode or the onsen episode, and, obviously, it’s the most awaited episode apart from the ending. This sort of episode is usually focused on the fanservice with half-naked girls running around the onsen and get a few boob shots. In TV broadcasts or simulcasts by Crunchyroll, these scenes were blurred out or the girls were obscured by steam or lens flare (depending if it’s an onsen or beach setting). Nisekoi’s episode 9 has steam covering the privates on the TV version, and one would think the BD version had the steam removed because, well, that’s what fans paid for, right? Right?
For some odd reason, Studio Shaft has censored the onsen episode with even more steam, like adding extra clouds not present in the original broadcast. This self-censorship has effectively made the BD version of Nisekoi inferior to the TV broadcast, and what is Shaft’s reasoning? They said the addition of more steam made the scenes closely resemble the manga. If you smelled this statement was a load of crap, then you’re not the only one. Even if this was true, it’s an odd choice and has probably discouraged a lot of fans. New fans will embrace Nisekoi though because they’ll never know censorship has occurred.
2. Sankarea (Sankarea: Undying Love) — Censored by FUNimation
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2012-June 2012
Sankarea is a story of a boy named Chihiro who has a fascination with the undead and wished to have a zombie girlfriend. Chihiro managed to create a resurrection potion to save his pet cat, but unfortunately, it went into the hands of a beautiful girl named Sanka Rea. She drank it and turned into a zombie. Chihiro’s wildest dreams came true, but at what price?
Fans who bought the anime were distraught after they found out the official DVD release of Sankarea: Undying Love by FUNimation was censored, that the company used the same censored TV broadcast version. Fans voiced their complaints to FUNimation, and the company made a statement saying “the company (FUNimation) had originally released this set with the materials provided to us.”, meaning the company has used whatever content Japan has provided. Yeah, we’re smelling crap too. Fortunately, coming from that same statement, FUNimation has recalled the censored version and re-released Sankarea: Undying Love in its truly uncut version.
It’s not clear why FUNimation released the disc version censored, and it could be a number of things like your usual nudity shots and hints of necrophilia. Knowing the contents of the anime, one would speculate it’s the latter. Just saying there’s nothing wrong looking at a naked zombie girl.
1. Angel Cop — Dialogue was rewritten due to an anti-semitic storyline
- Episodes: 6
- Aired: September 1989-May 1992
Watching Angel Cop is like an OVA in the 80s with its glorified violence, blood, and gore. At first glance, Angel Cop is just a story of Japan becoming the last superpower and terrorist groups are out to ruin the economy and eventually turn the proud country into a dump site for nuclear waste. To prevent this from ever happening, a special police force was established to stop these terrorists in their tracks. In the official subtitles by Manga Entertainment, the main bad guys were an American conglomerate who would stop at nothing to destroy Japan. However, if you know a bit of Japanese, you’ll notice the main bad guys in Angel Cop aren’t Americans, but rather the wealthy Jewish bankers. The story pointed out that the Jews had bought every powerful nation in the world for more money and Japan is the last nation who refused to sell their dignity.
Yeah, Japan did something crazy. Again.
Is Angel Cop anti-semitic though? Absolutely not. Anime or any form of media is just fiction, and shouldn’t be compared to real life. Censoring anime portraying people negatively, especially the Jewish people, only reinforces the stereotypes, and making things worse. Did horror movies inspire millions of its views to murder their fellow man? Did video games inspire millions to go on a killing spree? Unfortunately, not all people see the world this way, and Angel Cop has its dialogue edited to avoid any backlash.
Still, Angel Cop is a balls to the wall action anime and it doesn’t matter if the bad guys are Jews or Americans.
Censorship even in BD releases is unavoidable but it’s rarely going to happen now because anyone can voice their concerns unlike the pre-internet of the old days of VHS and CRT TVs. If the voices are loud enough to express our concerns, these companies, especially Western ones, will think twice to censor their anime to paying customers.
What do you think of these 3 anime? Do you know an anime no one knows was censored in the official DVD/BD releases? We’d love to hear them, so please leave a comment below!