A certain episode of Assassination Class is being delayed for over a week, apparently because some terrorist was shown in the news holding a knife. It doesn’t matter if the knife in question is completely harmless against people, or that the show is not about terrorism. All it took for not airing an episode was the shape of a knife, and some completely irrelevant abduction.
Remember when they deleted the twin towers from the Spiderman films because of 9/11? Many shows have scenes of nudity or gore being removed or censored, but in this case, there was nothing offending here, it was removed with the excuse that some people might be scared by something that is happening in the real world, and this way they won’t be able to enjoy the movie. In other words, episodes are delayed and scenes are removed for the sake of escapism. We need to keep reality as far detached from these titles as possible, while at the same time pretending that these stories take place in our world. Relatability with no backfire, that’s so ideal.
I grew up in the 80s when there was no such thing as censorship. Well, at least not in my country and not in such a ridiculous amount. A show would be made and it would stay as it was made. You think that anyone cared when Hitler was a major villain in a famous mecha anime of the 70s, such as Getta Robo? You think anyone complained, and demanded for it to be edited out? No sir, no such things happened back then.
But nowadays some guys make a threat over the internet and whole movies are canceled. Because we have reached to a point where you can get killed by watching Batman in a cinema, or get slaughtered by Muslims for drawing a cartoon of Mohammed. Technology has brought us so close to the point you say something and in ten minutes someone books a flight from the other side of the planet while holding a machinegun.
In past centuries you were not allowed to say what you want to say because monarchy was not in favor of free speech and there was no technology to have your words spread around too much. Now you have democracy, you have freedom of speech, you have mass media, and you still can’t say what you want because some people are very sensitive, and technology allows them to transform into living bombs.
I accept why censorship exists from an economical perspective. You censor all the gore and the nudity as means to air a show in a certain time slot, and to increase the BD sales. That’s understandable, everybody wins with this tactic. It waters down the viewing experience alright, but then you just beg the question “why the heck are you still watching television?” It’s a dying medium, limited in what it can show, when it can show it, and is constantly interrupting the flow of the story with commercials. Don’t blame television for censoring stuff, blame yourselves for not simply watching the BD version. Whenever you want, with no censorship, in as many parts as you want, and with no freaking intermissions for commercials.
I also accept why dubs usually need to change a few things in the dialogues. Japanese names sound very weird when a show is aimed at children, most puns simply can’t be translated, and many references to culture and traditions are impossible to make sense of, without prior knowledge. Changes in those departments are sort of essential.
But major changes in the meaning of the dialogues, and digital editing that completely changes the plot? This where you are crossing the line. It’s not simply offending for the creators and the fans, it also creates a completely different show that still pretends to be the same thing and uses the same name. I mean, the American version of the Power Rangers is based heavily on the Japanese footage of Super Sentai series but they are not using the same name. They are a completely different series despite using the exact same scenes.
The funny thing is that censorship can easily be used in a creative and positive way. The notorious tentacle hentai fetish is a result of not allowing animators to show genitalia. And before you know it, it became a subgenre of its own. And who can forget Ikuhara shows, where everything is symbolisms for sex. I don’t personally like any that shit but it’s still creative and it’s not black circles or white beams. Plus nobody is going to blow your brains out for depicting vaginas as flowers.