Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest Published: October 26th, 2018
Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid, a series that has already been released uncut in the US, Germany and Australia, was refused classification by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification); this means that unless cuts are made to meet their arbitrary standards, the title cannot be released in the United Kingdom. The “Problematic” material is said to be scenes that supposedly sexualize children (We are using a very loose definition of children here) and that unless they are removed, the title will not be made available in the UK.
Again, animation, what technically amounts to doodles, is being censored in the name of “Public good”. People often say censorship is a slippery slope, but its not, its a free fall.
I am uncertain if this really is an AnimeGate event. Yes, it is undeniably state sponsored censorship by the British government but at the same time it is not a first for them: They already censored Code Geass R2 (Yes, really!) for having content that “Sexualizes” minors and the institution has a history of random and senseless censorship. On the other hand, this is a period of increased political correctness and with the BBFC having not touched an anime title in a while and other titles with comparable content having gone through their artistic butcher shop intact, it seems the timing for this sort of censorship is certainly convenient. Really though, at this point, its anyone’s guess if this is part of the beginning of a crackdown or just the government attacking art and free speech as usual.
This does, however, serve as a reminder that censorship, while always introduced with the “Best of intentions” always turns into a political weapon for use against the population. But what else can you expect from a tool whose stated purpose is to have people who “Know better” review whether or not certain works of art are “Appropriate” for other grown adults? If we allow Big Brother to treat us like children this is the unavoidable result.
Source: Article Image: Madman
They Keep on Normalizing
Kotaku has written an article inciting people to believe live action adaptations of anime properties are getting better. This doesn’t seem to be anything significant and in all fairness, it might not be, but with anime being in the middle of a normalization phase, I can’t help but question the timing of this article. Live action movies are the mainstream establishment’s foremost mean of normalizing a medium and allowing it to enter the general public’s consciousness. With that in mind, wanting people to appreciate movie adaptations, in a time when Hollywood is desperately trying to score a Marvel-style success with anime properties, is certainly worth raising a few eyebrows.
Fandom Wikia is running an article on LGBT anime series. Again, not much to see at face value and anime series focusing on homosexuality are nothing new; it’s an established part of the medium and the fanbase and has been for a while. Of course, the Western establishment is using political correctness as a tool to subvert other cultures and sub-cultures and using the LGBT community as a means of advancing their agenda is something they are known for. And this is why a mainstream Western article about LGBT anime should have our attention. In this regard, the article focuses much more on “Gender identity” than it does the actual homosexual content of these works and takes the time to attack how anime usually handles the topic of homosexuality, for good measure:
LGBTQ anime isn’t a new genre. Yet many titles within the genre don’t focus on the daily struggles that people in the LGBTQ community go through. However, there are some anime that focus on gender identity, LGBTQ relationships, or sexual orientation – either as a backstory or major plot point – in a more respectful way.
On the surface, the series appears to be your typical lesbian anime, but, in actuality, it’s devoid of the standard tropes of the genre.
The bond between Yuri Katsuki and Victor Nikiforov did not fall prey to the cliches plaguing Yaoi (Boys’ Love) and Yuri genre (Girls Love).
While Citrus isn’t the perfect representation of same-sex relationships…
The Yuri on Ice bit should be a warning sign to otaku women: It is not the first time the Western establishment has criticized what boys’ love series “Usually” are and as I stated in previous articles, if you read Anime Feminist or any major entertainment outlet that speaks of shoujo and shonen-ai series, it becomes quite clear that although the Western establishment claims to stand for female geeks, if they had their way series aimed at women would have to drastically change to remove their “Problematic elements”.
The UK is Not Alone in Getting Some Censorship Action
Not long ago, we learned that Omega Labyrinth Z’s release by PQube (Which was already banned by the UK and Australia already) was cancelled in North America and Europe. This new bout of censorship is coming from the good people at Sony. The game had already been approved by PEGI and the ESRB before Sony intervened, no doubt costing PQube a lot of money and taking a bite in their reputation in the eyes of some gamers who were angry at the sudden cancellation (This sort of thing can create a lasting impression on other publishers who will think twice about what to import from now on and how much censorship it needs before hand). In essence, Sony has seen fit to deny their consumers the right to chose whether or not they want to play the game.
Censored Gaming highlighted that the game apparently failed Sony’s QA (Quality Assurance) and that whatever “Standards” (As if there’s any doubts as to what those standards are) they go by were not met.
Anime News Network touched on the issue:
…Omega Labyrinth Z is the sort of game whose questionable content would likely ruffle a few feathers on certain game ratings boards. That’s exactly what happened: Australia and the UK both refused the game classification
Why should the authoritarian bodies’ “Feelings” be a consideration? I know why. They are the law and can pretty much screw you over if they want, but I have a problem with the insinuation that this is somehow okay.
…based on sexualization of characters who looked perhaps a bit too young.
Grown men’s inability to cope with “Bad doodles” will never cease to amaze me.
…yeah, Omega Labyrinth Z has the sort of content where even a pro-fanservice lady like me starts to go “okay, uh, maybe putting a bunch of effort to try to bring this out here isn’t a great idea, guys.”
Gamers have a right to chose regardless of how anyone “Feels” about it. That they are denied that choice is an unacceptable infringement on their basic rights which should be fought.
…ESRB (who generally frown very hard on anything sexual they see as lacking consent)…
Non-consensual intercourse is a serious issue for them, but video games where you chop people’s heads off in killing sprees are A-okay. Very strange ethics they have.
So what exactly happened? It sure looks like Sony suddenly changed their mind about allowing the game to be released after stringing PQube along for some time. I hope that’s not the case, because whether or not you find this game’s content distasteful, that’s a crappy thing to do. Localization and certification costs are not cheap, and if Sony really had a problem with the game’s content, they should have stepped in earlier.
In a normal world, this sort of behavior should be the type of thing that gets you boycotted and has publishers abandon you out of principle and lets face it, basic self-interest to not be the next one on the chopping block. But this is far from a normal world.
Of course, given that reasons for Sony to reject games are tied up in a bazillion NDAs, it could be something else entirely. Maybe the certification testers discovered a severe, nigh-unfixable bug that caused the game’s ever-expanding funbags caused PS4s to overheat and melt.
Yeah, that was probably it.
The moral police over at Comic Book.com saw it fit to write this “Piece” on the topic, giving their full support to censorship and the consumers being deprived of their right to chose:
And perhaps now you’re starting to see why this game was banned. The sexual themes and presentation are very often over-the-top, and players are often asked to “stimulate” the female leads by physically touching their breasts or other bits and bobs through a touch-screen, or by using the analogue sticks. A few of these characters appear, and sound, very young, which is pretty gross.
They continue by citing the UK’s authoritarian censorship board’s insane belief that the game would “Appeal to young gamers”; you know, people not old enough to legally buy the game there:
When the game was banned in the UK, the Video Standards Council pointed out that the game was even more troubling since it will very likely appeal to younger gamers. It’s hyper-colorful, it looks bubbly and friendly, but it is absolutely unrelenting in presenting very mature gameplay opportunities for the player.
The good people of Comic Book.com are in full agreement of course; THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
We can’t say we disagree. We thought about embedding a trailer in this story as a point of reference, but it was just too creepy.
They then treat the game, which hasn’t broken any laws last time I checked, as some sort of clandestine, perverted, black market good you should be ashamed of even researching:
If you decide to go look up some gameplay footage for yourself to see what all the fuss is about, just make sure you open that bad boy in an incognito tab.
Although they do demonstrate surprising and ironic self-awareness in their closing statement:
So what do you guys think? Is this a game that deserves to be banned, or is this another case of the West proving that it despises sexuality, while relishing realistic violence? Are we being too prudish, or does this game actually cross a line?
Yes, its definitely you!
Omega Labyrinth Z can still be purchased from Japan directly and the company has hinted at a possible Western PC release but nothing concrete has materialised.
My article dealing with Western censorship and AnimeGate can be found here.