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Offline Mr Silmero

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Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« on: April 02, 2009, 08:58:45 pm »
I will keep this short to make it easier to reply


"Did and has anime censorship ruined our favorite anime or helped it to conquer the airwaves?"


Early examples:

Dragonball Z
Cardcaptor Sakura (Cardcaptors)
Outlaw Star
Tenchi Muyo


My Take: Many people complained that when anime first started out that dubbing and censoring it was ruining or watering it down. I would have never got into anime if it was not for Cartoon Network. So now that the internet has come and anime companies have gotten their act together I believe that censored anime still has it place for the current generation and their families.


Offline AnimeMatrix

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2009, 12:35:59 am »
I like think there are two (maybe three) types of anime fans in the world.

Their's the casual fan, who one day flipping channels came across some weird cartoon where the characters had wild hair or their was a giant robot and it looked very different from other cartoons that they had seen so they watched a little bit of it and found that the stories were more grown-up and their was more sophisticated characterization than any other cartoon that they had watched and so they started watching the show daily, which may have then been followed by another similarly styled show that also piqued their interest. Then they discovered that these cartoons were from Japan and it was something called "anime." As they delved deeper into this fandom, they realized that they liked some of the shows, but not all aspects of the fandom. They might prefer watching it dubbed because maybe they don't feel like reading or maybe they connect to it better if it's in a spoken language that they understand. They aren't into cosplay and they don't have a desire to learn Japanese, but they like the shows they like (usually the more mainstream ones), and that's about it. And if there's an anime convention in the area and they've got a Saturday off, they might swing by to see if they can buy the shows they like (but the cosplayers scare them).

Then theirs the anime fan. They started out on their path to nerd similarly as the casual fan, but once they discovered that these cartoons were from Japan, they wanted to learn Japanese so they could watch the shows they liked in Japanese (with occasional subtitles). They wanted to learn about Japanese culture and cuisine so they could understand what all that bowing and "-san" stuff meant as well as what that oddly shaped rice thing was. They actively seek out anime that aren't shown on TV (whether through begging parents for money, borrowing from friends, or stealing from the internet) and when they discover that alot of the shows they like are based on these black-and-white comics called "manga" that's also from Japan, they actively seek out those as well. And sometimes, if they find a character that they really connect with or like or they just like their clothes, they might make a replica of that character's clothing and then wear it to an anime convention, where they can buy more anime, manga, and character goods as well as imported products from their favorite fandom's country of origin. These fans, even if VERY busy, will still set aside one day in their busy weekend that the convention's in town to travel for maybe hundreds of miles to this event to support the fandom they love. Most (if not all) will arrange to have to the weekend off making new anime-fan friends, buying anime or Japanese related products, and generally having fun.

Now the reason I say their might be a third group is because, as with everything, you can have too much of a good thing. Legends speak of an anime fan that is the OTAKU, a Japanese word that originally means "your house," but in modern times has spawned a new meaning. As in, you're are so involved and love a particular hobby so much, you spend perhaps too much time locked inside "your house" to have time for anything else including human interaction (but this can include outdoor hobbies as well). Once again, most may start out like the casual fan and they go through a phase like the anime fan, but these otaku not only have a respect and interest in Japanese culture and cuisine, these fans want to BE Japanese. They wish they'd have been born in Japan, have a Japanese girlfriend/boyfriend, and live and work in Japan. Anything and everything Japanese they love and hoard with an obsessive almost OCD determination. Their homes are often mistaken for Japanese toy and/or import stores with perhaps the largest collection of cels outside of Japan.

Please keep in mind that this is not the only way people get into anime, but it is the most anecdotaly- cited reason as far as the rise in popularity in anime in the last few decades go. Also, think of these three groups as a Venn diagram as their is alot of crossover and mixing between the groups that might resemble something like (albeit very oddly shaped) oval. This diagram might also include other fandom circles such as though not limited to video games (or gaming in general), American comic books, science-fiction, and fantasy.

So, to go back to your original question, I think dubbed and censored anime is like a gateway drug (but a good drug) and like crack, your first one's free. Some people never go beyond the gateway and skirt about the edges of the fandom oval while other people do cross the threshold and they discover this whole new world. In honesty, I don't think it's good or bad but it is what you make of it. I usually like subbed anime, but sometimes I don't feel like reading. Plus dub work gives alot of talented though otherwise unemployed actors a job that do, quite honestly, make anime more accessible because most Americans shy away from things that aren't in English.

*Note that this is written very tongue-in-cheek and isn't meant to be the Complete Analysis of the American anime fan... that was a little tongue-in-cheek too*
« Last Edit: April 03, 2009, 09:22:58 pm by AnimeMatrix »

Offline Trumby

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2009, 01:43:50 am »
I agree with most of what was posted up there ^^^

I'm not sure if I can differentiate between censored dubbed and uncensored dubbed. All I know is every anime I started out with (DBZ Outlaw Star, Gundam Wing, Lupin III, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Akira, GITS) I saw first dubbed and now I almost can't watch any of those in Japanese because it feels..weird. I don't know how many of those were censored for US tv (though I do know DBZ was censored and Outlaw Star was when it was on Toonami, but not when it was on Adult Swim) but whether they were censored or not they certainly got me into everything else I've seen and done these days.

To answer: I'd say that dubbing and/or censorship helped me personally get into it so I think it still belongs as it will always draw more people in like it has done to myself and many others to seek out more.
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Offline Wuntvor

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2009, 12:00:31 pm »
I fall fairly firmly in the anime fan category.  Lots of the shows playing on FOX and CN have been censored quite severely,  I think the most noticable one would be One Piece.  The guns are painted green and cigarettes are turned into lollipops.  Smokers name was changed from the original and both his cigars were edited out, he still has smoke around his head though.  Most of the blood, cuts, bullet holes, etc. have been removed from characters that had them in a scene.  Another show that got major hacking was Sonic X.  Sometimes whole scenes where removed and the story altered to show that a character didn't die, but just never shows up again.  I still laugh at what they did to the episode that had Knuckles entering a bar and they replaced the bottles of whisky with a bunch of hamburgers and frenchfries.  I know that one episode of Outlaw Star never even aired.  Tokyo Mew-Mew became Mew-Mew Power, and every single character had their name changed from the original.  Card Captors had a new opening created and had the shows aired in a different order, as well as having some shows removed.  Ditto for Yugi-Oh.  InuYasha seems to have come through unscathed, but I haven't watched all of the original shows yet.  I think Code Geass and DeathNote also came through OK.  I know that they painted swimsuits on the girls in Tenchi Muyo and replaced sake with tea that made people act strangely after drinking it, and was served in tall thin bottles.  I am sure there are other instances, but these are the ones I know from personal experience.

My over all opinion is that the US does more censorship than most other countries, and that if it is on Adult Swim it really doesn't require any.  I found it strange that the Sonic X that played in France on Jetix Disney channel was totally different than the Sonic X that played in the US on Jetix Fox and Disney.
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Offline nikkiolie

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2009, 12:07:00 pm »
I like think there are two (maybe three) types of anime fans in the world.

Their's the casual fan, who one day flipping channels came across some weird cartoon where the characters had wild hair or their was a giant robot and it looked very different from other cartoons that they had seen so they watched a little bit of it and found that the stories were more grown-up and their was more sophisticated characterization than any other cartoon that they had watched and so they started watching the show daily, which may have then been followed by another similarly styled show that also piqued their interest. Then they discovered that these cartoons were from Japan and it was something called "anime." As they delved deeper into this fandom, they realized that they liked some of the shows, but not all aspects of the fandom. They might prefer watching it dubbed because maybe they don't feel like reading or maybe they connect to it better if it's in a spoken language that they understand. They aren't into cosplay and they don't have a desire to learn Japanese, but they like the shows they like (usually the more mainstream ones), and that's about it. And if there's an anime convention in the area and they've got a Saturday off, they might swing by to see if they can buy the shows they like (but the cosplayers scare them).

Then theirs the anime fan. They started out on their path to nerd similarly as the casual fan, but once they discovered that these cartoons were from Japan, they wanted to learn Japanese so they could watch the shows they liked in Japanese (with occasional subtitles). They wanted to learn about Japanese culture and cuisine so they could understand what all that bowing and "-san" stuff meant as well as what that oddly shaped rice thing was. They actively seek out anime that aren't shown on TV (whether through begging parents for money, borrowing from friends, or stealing from the internet) and when they discover that alot of the shows they like are based on these black-and-white comics called "manga" that's also from Japan, they actively seek out those as well. And sometimes, if they find a character that they really connect with or like or they just like their clothes, they might make a replica of that character's clothing and then wear it to an anime convention, where they can buy more anime, manga, and character goods as well as imported products from their favorite fandom's country of origin. These fans, even if VERY busy, will still set aside one day in their busy weekend that the convention's in town to travel for maybe hundreds of miles to this event to support the fandom they love. Most (if not all) will arrange to have to the weekend off making new anime-fan friends, buying anime or Japanese related products, and generally having fun.

Now the reason I say their might be a third group is because, as with everything, you can have too much of a good thing. Legends speak of an anime fan that is the OTAKU, a Japanese word that originally means "your house," but in modern times has spawned a new meaning. As in, you're are so involved and love a particular hobby so much, you spend perhaps too much time locked inside "your house" to have time for anything else including human interaction (but this can include outdoor hobbies as well). Once again, most may start out like the casual fan and they go through a phase like the anime fan, but these otaku not only have a respect and interest in Japanese culture and cuisine, these fans want to BE Japanese. They wish they'd have been born in Japan, have a Japanese girlfriend/boyfriend, and live and work in Japan. Anything and everything Japanese they love and hoard with an obsessive almost OCD determination. Their homes are often mistaken for Japanese toy and/or import stores with perhaps the largest collection of cels outside of Japan.

Please keep in mind that this is not the only way people get into anime, but it is the most anecdotaly- cited reason as far as the rise in popularity in anime in the last few decades go. Also, think of these three groups as a Venn diagram as their is alot of crossover and mixing between the groups that might resemble something like (albeit very oddly shaped) oval. This diagram might also include other fandom circles such as though not limited to video games (or gaming in general), American comic books, science-fiction, and fantasy.

So, to go back to your original question, I think dubbed and censored anime is like a gateway drug (but a good drug) and like crack, your first one's free. Some people never go beyond the gateway and skirt about the edges of the fandom oval while other people do cross the threshold and they discover this whole new world. In honesty, I don't think it's good or bad but it is what you make of it. I usually like subbed anime, but sometimes I don't feel like reading. Plus dub work gives alot of talented though otherwise unemployed actors a job that do, quite honestly, make anime more accessible because most Americans shy away from things that aren't in English.

I'm between the two I believe XD

Offline Mister_manji

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2009, 05:30:20 pm »
I think that censorship ruins a show. Ideally, there should be a TV edit and release, then an unedited release soon after, for those of us who can deal with the fact that Flay is nailing Kira, or that people smoke in real life, or that sometimes, even children die by violence or accident.

Bottom line: I enjoyed my favorite shows when clipped and dubbed for US TV, and I enjoy them even more uncensored.
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Offline Man of the Public

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2009, 06:48:03 pm »
Now the reason I say their might be a third group is because, as with everything, you can have too much of a good thing. Legends speak of an anime fan that is the OTAKU, a Japanese word that originally means "your house," but in modern times has spawned a new meaning. As in, you're are so involved and love a particular hobby so much, you spend perhaps too much time locked inside "your house" to have time for anything else including human interaction (but this can include outdoor hobbies as well). Once again, most may start out like the casual fan and they go through a phase like the anime fan, but these otaku not only have a respect and interest in Japanese culture and cuisine, these fans want to BE Japanese. They wish they'd have been born in Japan, have a Japanese girlfriend/boyfriend, and live and work in Japan. Anything and everything Japanese they love and hoard with an obsessive almost OCD determination. Their homes are often mistaken for Japanese toy and/or import stores with perhaps the largest collection of cels outside of Japan.

What you just described there is not an otaku but rather a weeaboo.

Offline Mr Silmero

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2009, 09:17:42 pm »
Did somebody say Weeaboo?

Offline Man of the Public

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2009, 09:44:02 pm »


Also back on topic I find censorship in most cases to be a necessary evil, Back when Dragonball and DBZ were airing on Toonami for the first time they censored the nudity and some of the more questionable material out. If they had not done this it would not have been able to air and many of us would not have gotten into anime.

However censorship should never be on a DVD release.

Offline XFD

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2009, 09:52:08 am »
There are many more grades of animu fans than the two listed; it really is a gradient.

-There is the casual interest person, yes the one who flips through and likes the style but doesn't care too much. - censored/filtered stuff gets a lot of these people. The impression I'm getting from kumoricon is that they want to get most of these people.

-You get the dedicated person. They're familiar that the things come from Japan. They enjoy the style/stories/ideas and will often go looking for more where they can (movie rental stores, etc) - These people tend to be oblivious to the amount of filtering thats going on.

Then there are two variants of the next grade
-Pleasurable fan. These people really enjoy it, mostly get a little elitist about subtitled animu over dubs as they're appreciating the original voice actors' talent. These people will actively seek out other friends with similar interests. This is the point they find out how much is cut to make anime "Disney compatible."

-Weeaboo. These are the Lowest Common Denominator of the fan base. They're fans for the sake of being fans to be a part of a group of fans. They'll enjoy whatever the latest popular show is, then discard it when the next one comes along. They usually 'squee,' and yell and make it so that everyone knows that they have the hots for Sasuke/Ed/etc. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP5lz2CYNR4     -  These types know about the filtering and only care about seeing the unfiltered if it lets them look cooler than their counterparts.

-The Connoisseur. This is the fan that started getting into fansubs at the end of their Pleasurable Fan phase. They're getting into the technology of the day and actively hunt for the next best thing (how many of you were watching Haruhi a few hours after it initially aired in japan? Macross Frontier? etc). These fans are awesome because they're appreciative of the art and they will actively include Pleasurable Fan and The Dedicated Person in their group to share with. - Any filtering is nothing other than diluting a high quality product into marketable trash for the masses. So this person is a purist.

The end game breaks down into two groups again:

-The Professional (The Ascended Otaku)- This person really loves the stuff. No longer just for the surface features of anime, but because of the origins of the story (Do /you/ know the original tale of Sadako? Momotaro? etc), the music that's used (introducing them to actual music besides pop), cultural nuances; the list keeps going. This is the person who has taken some Japanese. They are pretty likely to cook several japanese dishes. They have, however, lost some of their 'glazed' view of anime and instead of using conventions as an excuse to be an obnoxious brat, are very laid back (most convention staff are these types). The professional does not really interact with anyone outside The Connoisseur for sharing anime with. - Filtering anime for this group is seen as very wasteful. It isn't quite the blasphemy it is to The Connoisseur, but The Professional will skip buying a state-side release because of what was done to the product state-side. Instead they'll go download the copy they can find.

-The Artisan - This person shares most of the same traits with The Professional. Instead of becoming more socially inviting to others with showing product, this person went and really did learn Japanese. They're very active in adapting their new skills and applying it to shows. They'll hunt out raw anime and cut their teeth on shows, just trying to figure it out. These people generally join fansubbing groups and start producing product for everyone above in this list. You get a very pure product, which is what The Artisan loves. They give their work away (along with someone elses' paid-for works) in an unfiltered, unmodified, un-censored manner. As they get better, they dig into eastern philosophy (GITS:Innocence), cultural references (GALS!), technical discussion (InitialD/WanganMidnight/Capeta), Science (Moyashimon), and many more refined aspects of the language AND culture. These people are the anti-filter. They offer the purest form of the product for free. - Those who make filtered crap hate these people. It would be one thing if the filtercorps made a 1:1 product between the fansub (some do!) and the commercial release, but they often don't. The upper echelons of the fans have a decision to make: buy a legit copy of a show but know it's very inferior to the free product (and we know what the end result is, typically).


So to really answer the question now; like all things it depends. If you want to simply have a mass market full of the same kinds of people who would bully you in school, pick on you for being a nerd, or any person who tends to dislike things that haven't been refined into a McDonald's cheeseburger level of manfuactured simplicity, then you need filtering/censorship. The kind where a significant amount of effort it applied on the fly to say what is and isn't okay, done by several different people who have different standards each. (Anecdotal example that has been my experience at K-con: Guy in a brown bear suit? Hell no. Furry with a sign on his back that said, "yiff" with an arrow pointing down to his butt? That's just fine.) It is, in a way, very similar to Comcast's bandwidth cap. Some people get different numbers than others, and rarely are you told what criteria you're graded against. All that you're left with is a very sanitized product and most people don't lilke eating soap.

The other direction is how K-con was a few years ago, and how Sakura-con was back in 2000-2002 or so. It's a giant club. Everyone is pretty open. They'll try shows that they may well not like, or even be offended by (Hey, it's sailor moon! I love sailor moon! Why did this kid just drop his pants infront of ChibiUsa?... WHY IS HE WAVING ******** OH GOD >_< ) certain things. But these people exchange one or two irks for getting a great group of friends who share most things. These are the people who gave Anime in the states momentum to even get on the radar of Cartoon Network. I wouldn't give CN credit for introducing a lot of good people into anime; those people would very likely get influenced by the good fans. Main stream sanitization trades off our quality product to invite the masses. Personally, I don't want the masses participating in what I enjoy precisely because they will influence the product I buy to the point it's garbage.

Offline Man of the Public

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2009, 12:18:32 pm »
To the bit about the Connoisseur watching show a few hours after it aired in Japan.  Most people I know like that, myself included, watch it as it airs in Japan, thanks to many live feeds and streaming programs on the web.

Offline Negima

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2009, 01:15:32 am »
Censorship, in my opinion, is fine to an extent.

Just to get this out of the way, I don't have any quarrels with dubbing or subbing or any of that so I'm going to skip that topic.

The kind of censorship I actually despise is the kind where they try to change the feeling of the show itself.  To this day I still refuse to say the English title of Cardcaptor Sakura after the censoring they did to that show.
Best way I can describe my "too much censorship" description is if they tried to make "The Dark Knight" a G-Rated movie but still used the same footage but audio and scenes were allowed to be edited.  People who were fans of the original would probably be up in arms over it.

Deletion of whole episodes I can understand IF there's a good reason and they don't affect the storyline.  In the case of Outlaw Star and them cutting the hotspring episode, they did it in such a way that I didn't even notice it until long after.  Same goes for Pokemon.  They had to cut episodes due to controversy or health risks.

Minor edits I don't mind but if there are a lot of them then it's a case of too many annoyances amounting into a large one.  One Piece would fall into this category.  The censoring doesn't change the show but it makes the audience wonder, "why bring it over and translate it if you're going to change so much of it?"

Tenchi Muyo didn't really go through this (as far as I can tell) probably because the censoring was very minor.  Tea and swimsuits and a few re-translations, that's about it.  Plus those moments were short and most people who saw the original would probably go, "Huh, they changed that. *shrug*" and move on.  In these sort of situations I'm glad they did what they did because the end result is they were able to bring it over to the US and keep it mostly intact.  More people come across it and more fans (of any stage) are created.

Hmm, I think I'll stop my rambling here.

As a random side note:
What always gets me about censoring anime (in a "huh, that's funny" way) is when you look back at old cartoons like Looney Tunes.  Do you realize how much stuff they had in there that would be shunned now?  Guns, drinking (though never really mentioned by name but still implied), guys dressed as girls (Bugs), guys kissing guys (Bugs again), smoking and those are just the ones I can think off the top of my head.

Offline XFD

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2009, 08:52:36 am »
As a random side note:
What always gets me about censoring anime (in a "huh, that's funny" way) is when you look back at old cartoons like Looney Tunes.  Do you realize how much stuff they had in there that would be shunned now?  Guns, drinking (though never really mentioned by name but still implied), guys dressed as girls (Bugs), guys kissing guys (Bugs again), smoking and those are just the ones I can think off the top of my head.

 I'm really surprised you didn't bring up the blatant racism and stereotyping along with rampant instances of sexism. Things which are actually really bad.

Guns, booze, dressing in drag, smoking and being gay (odd item to include with that list) are not illegal things. When marketed to children, you would think it'd be looked down upon, but most parents these days couldn't be bothered to pay attention to what their kid watches. Then you have to come up with really good reasons why censorship is needed, what actual grand harm comes from the things we're censoring?

-Edited for clarity.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 09:11:51 am by XFD »

Offline cosplay_manda

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2009, 12:24:01 pm »
Before I post anything I do want to add a mini disclaimer as was done before. I don't have anything against subbing or dubbing or anything else. This is just my personal opinion.

In truth, I think that censorship has a place in entertainment, but not on a mass scale. The "parental controls" and personal preferences of people can be taken into account, but I definitely feel that this should be on a much more individual basis. I mean, I love some R rated movies, but I'd really kinda like to be able to choose not to hear the f word all the time. So, rather than rally and try to force people on mass to release a version of the movie that doesn't offend me, I watch them at home with a fast forward remote or in a place where I can turn them off.
I guess the difference is I would never try to force my moral standards on other people. I think that's the only reason that censorship somewhat annoys me in anime. There are a lot of people in the American culture that feel strongly that nudity is inappropriate, even when it is sexually innocent.  So they change the show to fit that standard, whether it be by cutting out episodes or scenes that have it in there, or by *shudder* DRAWING bathing suits on naked anime girls in Tenchi.
So, to specifically answer the original question, I don't believe that it has done either. I think it has just been another part of the process of anime becoming more popular. I believe it has had both positive and negative effects, but I guess.... what hasn't?

Offline Negima

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2009, 02:46:27 pm »
As a random side note:
What always gets me about censoring anime (in a "huh, that's funny" way) is when you look back at old cartoons like Looney Tunes.  Do you realize how much stuff they had in there that would be shunned now?  Guns, drinking (though never really mentioned by name but still implied), guys dressed as girls (Bugs), guys kissing guys (Bugs again), smoking and those are just the ones I can think off the top of my head.

 I'm really surprised you didn't bring up the blatant racism and stereotyping along with rampant instances of sexism. Things which are actually really bad.
*slaps forehead*
Man, completely forgot about those episodes. :-[

Offline BlackjackGabbiani

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Re: Anime and censorship- a serious discussion
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2009, 03:21:23 am »
Here's something else--dubbing does not automatically equate with censorship. Most often it's because what you see on TV, the stuff that's been edited for broadcast standards, has been dubbed. But take away those restrictions and dubbing is just translation, no more or less reliable than subtitles.