Censorship: The Blame Game

Censorship has once again become a hot topic in the anime world as of late when FUNimation announced that they had acquired the license to Dance in the Vampire Bund. People rejoiced, until FUNi subsequently released a statement saying that they were cutting out scenes which are not relevant to the plot that ‘may possibly’ offend ‘some’ people. Worse than that, they are making these cuts on the TV aired versions AND on the official DVD and Blu-Ray releases. This came as a shock, especially when they also announced they were still releasing Strike Witches uncensored.

Clearly, this did not sit well with the fans. Many people declared they were boycotting FUNi, some promised to simply boycott Bund and all other future FUNi releases that will be censored, and some even openly admitted they agreed with FUNi’s decision to censor this show, which I find to be just insane.

I will point you to my blog on the anime industry where I discussed this issue previously. I explained there how censorship really turns fans off and makes them reluctant to buy official releases. FUNimation handled censorship the right way previously with Yu Yu Hakusho. They censored it on television, and then released both censored and uncensored DVDs of the show so that the viewers could choose which to buy. While companies don’t have the money to release anime this way nowadays, that choice still makes it very clear that FUNimation is aware of how censoring negatively impacts their sales. While I am not surprised that yet another anime is going to be censored, the fact that they are doing this on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases as well is something I find downright shocking. Why in the world would they do such a thing?

Well, many people have blamed it on the Handley case. For those that don’t know, Handley is a man that was recently convicted in court for crossing state lines with pornographic material in the form of loli manga. Many people have theorizied that because of this high-profile case, FUNi is being extra careful to not release anything that may be deemed illegal or inappropriate by authorities or parents. This pisses me off.

Why? Because once again this falls into one of the most insanely frustrating things in this world: Parents and officials blaming outside content for the actions of a person. If a kid watches a violent movie and then goes out and shoots up his school, it has nothing to do with the movie, it’s the kid that’s the problem. Rather than try and mask anything that could be twisted into something negative, we should be working on getting help for those people who would take those ideas and use them in wrong and hurtful ways.

Parents would rather blame these kinds of things for their children’s actions than admit that something is wrong with their child, or that they perhaps didn’t parent correctly. Officials would rather point at a manga and say that it is the reason that a person may sexually assault a young girl than try to get said person some help and try to figure out why he would ever have such tendencies in the first place (I am NOT saying that this was Handley’s intention, I am using it as an example). It’s all about putting the blame on someone else, and it instills fear into our country and causes us to be overly-sensitive about what we expose ourselves to entertainment-wise.

So what am I doing about it? Well first off I am not boycotting FUNimation. I think that is just silly and will only serve to drive yet another anime company out of business. However, I will most certainly not be buying Dance in the Vampire Bund from FUNi. I am not really a fan of the show, but even if I was, I would not be purchasing it because I am adamant about my opinion that censorship is wrong. It infringes upon our right to say what we think, it stifles creativity, and it keeps those who wish to view the censored content from getting the full range of what said content has to offer.

An Addition
I was just about to post this when a friend of mine tweeted to me about a 3 year old girl who died when she accidentally shot herself with a handgun. Her father said that they owned a Wii remote shaped like a gun and she mixed the two up. Rather than question why the hell her father had a handgun within a 3 year old’s reach, the media is now pointing at the video game industry. It is this exact kind of thing that I am talking about here. It seems as if the media will do anything to not have to look at the grim reality of faulty parents in this world.

Feel free to comment if you wish with your own opinions!


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Shay Guy said,

    My stance is mostly the same. I don’t know if Funimation did consider the Handley verdict and decide that it wasn’t a fight they could afford to get into, and I don’t know if it was the right decision. I do, however, think they’re underestimating the value anime fans place on “uncensored.”* They’re used to DVDs being where they go to GET the “real” version, and now, in a very real sense, Funimation’s made the version on BitTorrent the “superior product.” It’s hard enough to sell DVDs without that disadvantage. (I wouldn’t be surprised to find a dual-audio video rip on BT with the subtitles and dub from the US release and the video from the Japanese release.)

    I wasn’t planning on buying DitVB anyway, so luckily I don’t have to decide whether this is a game breaker for me. But many have declared it to be a game-breaker for them, and given how Internet-geeky American anime fans as a group are (thus how representative the sample likely is), my prediction’s leaning toward “big-time backfire.”

    On the blame-the-media thing — I think the main problem is that there’s confusion because child pornography IS illegal, and for a very good reason — the harm done to children by their being in it. If there is any “encouragement” in that rationale for illegality, it’s a very small part. Porn with rape isn’t illegal, after all, or Quentin Tarantino’s films despite their glorification of violence. But child porn is different because of the actual, definable, inherent harm involved in its creation — a distinction, as we know, that vanishes when it’s drawn without a model, as most comics are. But the juries forget that; they hear “child porn” and saliv– uh, respond like Pavlov’s dog.

    *Also overestimating their ability to sell it to Twilight fans based on the “Vampire” in the title. The manga market is DIFFERENT, folks.

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