Manga and censorship

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Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:20 pm

Recently I have been disturbed to see Viz has started censoring art work in some of it's titles. Some really petty things infact. Take the newly released Yugioh R volumes. The original manga went uncensored for the whole 30 or so volumes so why is this one.
An example of this can be seen by some of the cursing being removed (I've read the original Japanese) and censoring Pentagram images which really does spoil some of the scenes in my view, particularly when dealing with magic.
I know the anime was ruined by 4kids censorship but I'm very much suprised Viz are doing this as there is no contractual agreement with 4kids to do this, or any reason for them to start doing it now.

Why should something so harmless be altered?

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:54 pm

Simple answer: because they're afraid, and are pre-empting even the possibility of trouble further down the line. The same reason the government's new proposed legislation will make Alan Moore's Lost Girls technically child pornography because it deals with underage fictional characters in sexual situations with other underage fictional characters. We live in a society where the threat of possibly offending someone is absolutely terrifying to publishers and those in positions of authority because taking legal action at every perceived offence has become second nature to some people.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:31 pm

It's a shame that the USA does seem to not allow freedom of expression in it's comic formats anymore. I can understand religious intolerance to a pentagram but end of the day your still altering someones work and thats just not cricket.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:40 pm

Hourglass wrote:It's a shame that the USA does seem to not allow freedom of expression in it's comic formats anymore. I can understand religious intolerance to a pentagram but end of the day your still altering someones work and thats just not cricket.
Thing is, it isn't just the US. It's an international problem! It was the thin end of the wedge when Marvel decided Wolverine and Nick Fury were no longer allowed to smoke cigars, I reckon.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:48 pm

I'm so happy I'm moving to Japan once I've finished my Masters Cool I doubt you'll find censorship in their comics (they no longer even pixalate stuff).

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:19 am

Hourglass wrote:I'm so happy I'm moving to Japan once I've finished my Masters Cool I doubt you'll find censorship in their comics (they no longer even pixalate stuff).
I take it you prefer to read them in the original Japanese? Though moving to Japan seems an extreme way of satisfying your authentic Manga habit... Sad

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:30 am

I'd be moving their for research purposes (and a job if I get it) in order to attain my PHD. The comics issue just is a happy coincidence.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:08 am

Hourglass wrote:I'd be moving their for research purposes (and a job if I get it) in order to attain my PHD. The comics issue just is a happy coincidence.
Manga used to have a reputation for being pretty violent and unpleasantly graphic, but that no longer seems to be the case. Was their former reputation unjustified?

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:35 am

Yes. The problem stemmed from the first animes imported. Legend of the overfiend for example is an exceptionally graphic hentai (porn anime) with a lot of guro (mutilation). Sadly it became notorious in the media for a while and a bad rep built up about Japanese cartoons. This wasn't helped by the release of Dirty Pair (a mild anime with women in skimpy outfits) and AD Tank Police which featured nudity and violence.

Sadly the USA at the time couldn't seem to grasp that not all animes were for kids, and the negative press became a campaign against it. Even now in the UK people think anime equals porn or violence.

This effected the Manga industry as it is related to anime (either a manga is made and then the anime but sometimes it's the other way around), and I'm guessing because people noticed the style matched, and with the negative press on the first anime's released it didnt help. Neither did the release of hentai comics like Slut girl or Bondage fairies in Mangas early establishment in the west.

Also Manga got a lot of slate for drawings of minors naked (lolicon) which people took to be child porn (another common insult I got thrown at me at school for reading manga like Love Hina). Now Japan does have some very disturbing lolicon (or gay Shotacon) but the early mangas were plainly innocent. For example in Love hina the character would walk into the bathroom, the girl is naked, she kicks the crap out of him in an amusing fashion. However some couldn't look beyond the fact she was naked.

So the problem really stems from not very smart commercial desicions in the early stages of the Anime industry by introducing hentai, and also cultural misrepresentations.

A lot of Manga is violent as battling is a major Japanese theme, but what's important to remember is not all manga is aimed at children and that's another factor why it got a bad name early on as people diidn't realize this..

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:04 am

Cultural preconceptions. In the UK, of course, 'comics' is synonymous with 'for kids' to most people despite the fact that the earliest examples of the form were satirical swipes at the news stories and famous figures of the day, very much for adults. Thirty years after the likes of Moore and Miller began to slowly drive home the point that comics could be for adults too in America, that perception of them as a sub literate distraction for the under tens is still prevalent over here and shows no signs of going away. It's infuriating.

I have to admit, my perception of Manga was basically formed from news stories centred on the kind of ,material you mention, and articles that highlighted the less savoury aspects of the medium.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:14 pm

Have you read any titles Tony?

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:20 pm

Hourglass wrote:Have you read any titles Tony?
I've dipped into the genre occasionally over the years, but never really to any great extent. About the only series I ever followed (and then only for a short time) was Dirty Pair, which had an energy to it that I liked. And, going back many years, something called Lone Wolf & Cub. I'm open to recommendations, though...

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:24 pm

Well what type of genres are you into and I'll give you some suggestions.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:35 pm

Hourglass wrote:Well what type of genres are you into and I'll give you some suggestions.
The most obvious one is science fiction. Are there many SF Manga titles?

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:37 pm

Theres lots. Elfen Lied (really dark sci fi), Armageddon are really good. Heres a nice comprehensive list of sci fi titles
http://www.onemanga.com/directory/sci-fi/

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:07 pm

Hourglass wrote:Theres lots. Elfen Lied (really dark sci fi), Armageddon are really good. Heres a nice comprehensive list of sci fi titles
http://www.onemanga.com/directory/sci-fi/
I shall investigate! Many thanks, HG. Very Happy

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by felneymike on Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:38 pm

I don't really like Manga at all, the only one i'm reading is supposed to be one of the best (Death Note), but beyond volume 8 it seems like it's being needlessley dragged out just to make more money (as Penny Dreadfuls used to be - the reissue of Sweeney Todd extended the story hugely with a load of pointless rubbish). That said The Boys' Friend did the same thing with it's serials in the early 20th century, a serial would start off with instalments about 2 pages long, but the end of a story would be dragged out in tiny chunks to keep people buying issues. Of course this makes collecting the century-old crumbly tabloid sized things a nightmare.

THAT SAID, when i was at school i was a budding Otaku (snapped out of it luckily, just like i escaped from a US comic addiction - imagine it, a Briton knowing all about X-men but staring blankly when you mention Modesty Blaise, i've seen it happen!) and that was around the tail end of the "perverted japs" stereotype. I used to go off on spontaneous, furious rants within earshot of old people about it. I like to think i offended a few of them into changing thier minds.

I may also move to Japan in the future, because my girlfriend lives there! (Yes, we have met for real, no, she didn't just say "i like u 2" on MSN to be polite, we fell in love for real at a metal festival in Leeds). I'll probably end up getting into a few of the phonebook sized weekly comics they have there (still printed on cheap non-glossy paper!). But i'll be importing old British story-papers for my main reading. In fact, should children be in my future they're going to be raised on Charles Hamilton!

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:47 pm

felneymike wrote:I don't really like Manga at all, the only one i'm reading is supposed to be one of the best (Death Note), but beyond volume 8 it seems like it's being needlessley dragged out just to make more money (as Penny Dreadfuls used to be - the reissue of Sweeney Todd extended the story hugely with a load of pointless rubbish). That said The Boys' Friend did the same thing with it's serials in the early 20th century, a serial would start off with instalments about 2 pages long, but the end of a story would be dragged out in tiny chunks to keep people buying issues. Of course this makes collecting the century-old crumbly tabloid sized things a nightmare.
I have a stack of issues of Those story pages somewhere which I've never yet got around to really reading. I did notice the length of the serials, though; kids' attention spans were obviously rather longer, pre-war!


THAT SAID, when i was at school i was a budding Otaku (snapped out of it luckily, just like i escaped from a US comic addiction - imagine it, a Briton knowing all about X-men but staring blankly when you mention Modesty Blaise, i've seen it happen!) and that was around the tail end of the "perverted japs" stereotype. I used to go off on spontaneous, furious rants within earshot of old people about it. I like to think i offended a few of them into changing thier minds.
query: Otaku?

I may also move to Japan in the future, because my girlfriend lives there! (Yes, we have met for real, no, she didn't just say "i like u 2" on MSN to be polite, we fell in love for real at a metal festival in Leeds). I'll probably end up getting into a few of the phonebook sized weekly comics they have there (still printed on cheap non-glossy paper!). But i'll be importing old British story-papers for my main reading. In fact, should children be in my future they're going to be raised on Charles Hamilton!
They could do a lot worse! Smile

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by felneymike on Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:05 pm

Otaku originally meant "honourable house", so called because Otaku spend many years in the homes of thier honoured ancestors.

Erm, yeah. Otaku is used by fans of anime and manga and "all things Japanese" (but not Shinto, or Sushi, or Mount Fuji, or Toyotas... and i'd love to see the look on thier faces when they first encounter a Japanese toilet). Roughly-speaking it means "nerd", and in Japan you also see "train otaku", what we'd call Train Spotters, at stations.

But it also has a more negative connotation, because some bloke who was into lolicon manga and the like killed and ate some children in the late 80's, and this led to the popularisation of Otaku as a term for "an obsessed fan", who are generally looked down upon.

You'll hear extreme definitions, though. Some people will say going to Japan and calling yourself an Otaku will get you respected, girls falling at your feet etc, because you love Japanese culture and not horrible, heathen westen culture. Others will say that going to Japan and saying you're an Otaku is like going to Germany and saying you're a Nazi... but in reality it's in between the two. And probably depends on wether the Japanese person you're talking to is a nerd or not.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:22 pm

felneymike wrote:I don't really like Manga at all, the only one i'm reading is supposed to be one of the best (Death Note), but beyond volume 8 it seems like it's being needlessley dragged out just to make more money (as Penny Dreadfuls used to be - the reissue of Sweeney Todd extended the story hugely with a load of pointless rubbish). That said The Boys' Friend did the same thing with it's serials in the early 20th century, a serial would start off with instalments about 2 pages long, but the end of a story would be dragged out in tiny chunks to keep people buying issues. Of course this makes collecting the century-old crumbly tabloid sized things a nightmare.

THAT SAID, when i was at school i was a budding Otaku (snapped out of it luckily, just like i escaped from a US comic addiction - imagine it, a Briton knowing all about X-men but staring blankly when you mention Modesty Blaise, i've seen it happen!) and that was around the tail end of the "perverted japs" stereotype. I used to go off on spontaneous, furious rants within earshot of old people about it. I like to think i offended a few of them into changing thier minds.

I may also move to Japan in the future, because my girlfriend lives there! (Yes, we have met for real, no, she didn't just say "i like u 2" on MSN to be polite, we fell in love for real at a metal festival in Leeds). I'll probably end up getting into a few of the phone book sized weekly comics they have there (still printed on cheap non-glossy paper!). But i'll be importing old British story-papers for my main reading. In fact, should children be in my future they're going to be raised on Charles Hamilton!

Death note is over rated and sadly a lot of it's elements are lost in translation. A lot of the imagery deals with Japanese religion and folk religion and as someone doing this at MA level I can tell you it gets bloody confusing trying to explain aspects of it.

I recommend (if it's not now banned) Excel saga. The anime is pants but the manga is one of the funniest things I have ever read. The beauty is the in the fact for the first 10 volumes it doesnt make any advancements in the plot and knows this Very Happy. I love it when it parades it's own failings.
The characters are exceptional. You basically have two groups of characters. ACCROSS who want tot take over the world but don't want to push themselves to hard too soon so they just try take over this city. Their leader is bonkers, his henchmen (women) are Excel- a hyperactive bafoon who can't do anything right, Hyatt- A women who keep spitting out rivers of blood, dying and for some reason coming back to live, and Mince- A dog who excel adopted and became ACCROSS's emergency food supply and chief Combatant. Next you have Dr Kabapus F city security division which is made up of one geeky comic book guy, one man who flunks every relationship, an OTT womens lib secutary, A genius scientist with a lolita complex (Japanese joke) and his mother who it's hinted at being a transvestite. Basically it's there job to protect the city. Half the humor is they live next door to each other and don't realize their neighbours as the people they are fighting.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by felneymike on Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:10 pm

Ah right, i most liked Death Note for the neverending duel between the ultimate detective (well, second most ultimate, Sexton Blake would have wrapped it up in 5 minutes and then dismanted a Yakuza syndicate on his way to the airport) and the ultimate "criminal". Except then the duel ended but the story didn't!

I also got the first 3 issues of A.I. Love You from one of those "Booksale" shops that had got a job lot of assorted stuff and was selling them for 49p each. That was pretty funny.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:23 pm

felneymike wrote:Ah right, i most liked Death Note for the neverending duel between the ultimate detective (well, second most ultimate, Sexton Blake would have wrapped it up in 5 minutes and then dismanted a Yakuza syndicate on his way to the airport) and the ultimate "criminal". Except then the duel ended but the story didn't!

I also got the first 3 issues of A.I. Love You from one of those "Booksale" shops that had got a job lot of assorted stuff and was selling them for 49p each. That was pretty funny.

If you like that work try Love Hina. It's by the same author and it's much more comical.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by MR X on Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:23 pm

I think that it's ironic that the Japanese have the most uncensored, no-holds-barred comics on the planet, as well as the most sadistic, sado-masochist TV on Earth: yet in the main, their workforce are more industrious than most Brits.......their crime-level is also only a fraction of what we suffer here in the UK, where there is more official censorship.

Makes you ponder for thought as to why this should be......

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:29 pm

They have outlets for their aggression which more censorious countries don't, obviously. Something we could probably learn from. Unfortunately, we're heading in the other direction, particularly where television censorship is concerned. Half the stuff we got in the seventies wouldn't be allowed, now.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:10 am

I think the Japanese have a great maturity then we do. They see art for what it is, art. They see a horror film for what it is, a horror film, they dont go on a mass crucade about the perils of children copying it. Also they have a disapline system so harsh that if you dare try do something daft you'll certainly pay for it.
God I wish we had the Japanese system in our country. Except the Kneeling for buisness meetings as that position is awfully painful.

In other news theirs rumors circulating now due to an american man being jailed for possession of lolicon that some pre existing mangas now are going to be withdrawn from the shelves in the USA as they are arguably in conflict with the law. Once such version (and I cant see why) is the Japanese manga version of Romeo and Juliet.

Full story here: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-02-11/christopher-handley-sentenced-to-6-months-for-obscene-manga

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:19 am

Absurd. Predictable, but absurd.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:28 am

I wonder if you can claim compensation if you have tons of material (eg comics) which suddenly become illegal. Also do you arrest the person making them (eg Alan Moore) for the crime of drawing them.

What this amounts to is THOUGHT CRIME and its VERY dangerous to make laws down this line

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:45 am

Hourglass wrote:I wonder if you can claim compensation if you have tons of material (eg comics) which suddenly become illegal. Also do you arrest the person making them (eg Alan Moore) for the crime of drawing them.

What this amounts to is THOUGHT CRIME and its VERY dangerous to make laws down this line
I agree. Unfortunately, this is (it seems to me) only one of the ways in which we are now edging towards a police state. Over 1, 000 new crimes have been added to the books since Labour came to power. That's frightening.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by Hourglass on Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:50 am

tony ingram wrote:
Hourglass wrote:I wonder if you can claim compensation if you have tons of material (eg comics) which suddenly become illegal. Also do you arrest the person making them (eg Alan Moore) for the crime of drawing them.

What this amounts to is THOUGHT CRIME and its VERY dangerous to make laws down this line
I agree. Unfortunately, this is (it seems to me) only one of the ways in which we are now edging towards a police state. Over 1, 000 new crimes have been added to the books since Labour came to power. That's frightening.

On the plus side they wont get in this time (I keep my fingers crossed).
Has the UK comic industry spoken out about this? I know in the USA they have but not read much over the reactions here.

Oh and back on topic I noticed the recent reprint of Dragonball, Dr Briefs Cigarette has been airbrushed out of each panel. This is just getting idiotic.

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Re: Manga and censorship

Post by tony ingram on Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:59 am

I think most people in the industry are keeping their heads down. Except Alan Moore, of course. But then, he could pick a fight with his reflection in the mirror.

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