Top 10 Worst Censorships in Anime

Written by Brandon Stuhr Ah censorship, the bane of anime purists. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we are counting down our picks for Top 10 Worst Censorships in Anime. Special thanks to our users Ashjbow and Leo Lazar Jakšić for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Brandon Stuhr

Top 10 Worst Censorships in Anime

Ah censorship, the bane of anime purists. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we are counting down our picks for Top 10 Worst Censorships in Anime.

#10: Invisible Guns

“Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters” (1998-)
Anyone who grew up watching anime on western television knows that 4Kids is a top offender when it comes to anime censorship. In “Yu-Gi-Oh!” there are multiple instances where our main characters are actually held up via loaded guns by thugs or bandits. After 4Kids got their hands on the show however, things got a little weird. As American audiences are somewhat senetive to the issue of gun violence, 4Kids decided to just go with the ever menacing pointed finger. Stick em up Yugi! Or, pull my finger?

#9: Negatives During Gore Scenes

“Tokyo Ghoul” (2014-15)
In Japanese broadcasts, violence is often censored by using a black bar thrown across the screen to cover the gore. Notably in “Tokyo Ghoul” however, a more stylistic approach was taken. By reversing the colors and giving the moment of blood a film negative-style look, audiences can see the bloody action, but not be traumatized by the red, I guess? As though it’s the colour red that really scares people away and not the horrific screams and squishy sound effects. While it is a more stylistic approach to censorship, a show that uses violence as a plot device doesn’t need to be censored to begin with.

#8: James’s Bikini

“Pokemon” (1997-)
If there is one thing that Japan trumps us on is over-sexualization of characters, regardless of gender. Since the age of consent in Japan is much younger than Western society, they tend to get away with a little more than we’re used to. In this hilarious beach episode, Team Rocket members Jessie and James enter into a beauty contest against Misty. In order to compete, James has inflatable breasts that can change in size. Once “Pokemon” made its way overseas however, this whole scene was left on the cutting room floor. Fans of the series don’t call it a lost episode for nothing.

#7: Cigarrette’s for Candy

“One Piece” (1999-)
By now, we understand that there is plenty that will fly on Japanese markets in comparison to the Western world. For example, the lovable chef of the Straw Hat Pirates has a serious love for smoking cigarettes. This obviously wouldn’t go for 4Kids, so they took liberty and changed his cigarettes to something a little more appealing to children. Instead of a simple censoring though, 4Kids redrew his new lollipop for every scene in which Sanji appears in their localized version. Now with his new found candy addiction, Sanji will become an even better influence for his young fans.

#6: Hell is Actually HFIL

“Dragon Ball Z” (1989-96)
Okay we have to face the facts...people die in “Dragon Ball Z”, especially Krillin. After one of Goku’s many deaths however, he is tasked with running across Snake Way and falls into the Dragon Ball Universe’s version of Hell. Unfortunately for fans of the series, censors tried to clean up the death and afterlife references, and most especially remove the word hell which is still considered a curse word. So when Goku meets his first two demons, Goz and Mez, he is welcomed into the “Home for Infinite Losers” also known as HFIL.

#5: Zabuza’s Invisible Sword

“Naruto” franchise (2002-)
While Germany is well known for their strict censorship, nothing was censored as badly as “Naruto”. While the series has suffered major cuts, mercenary ninja Zabuza Momochi suffered the worst. In the original German broadcast of the show, his sword, known for decapitating his victims, was completely censored to the point where only a hilt remains. In a world filled with swords, weapons, and plenty of violence, it’s so strange to think that a cartoonish, comically-large sword is what had to go.

#4: Excessive Gore Censorship

“Terra Formars” (2014-)
Our next censors need to take a good hard lesson in Photoshop. Known for its excessive levels of gore, “Terra Formars” has essentially been rendered unwatchable due to poor censor jobs. In order to hide the headless corpses and over the top violence the series is known for, the team simply covered them up with black bars or black dots. This has to be the laziest form of violence censorship we’ve ever seen. There are even moments where up to 70% of the screen is just covered by a black bar. What’s the point of even watching?

#3: Jelly Doughnut Rice Balls

“Pokemon” (1997-)
Everyone knows that the United States and Japan have two very different cultures, each with their own rules on what is and isn’t acceptable. When it comes to cuisune, the American market isn’t as accepting to foreign foods as Japan is. In order to localize “Pokemon” for American markets, plenty of the foods was changed for reasons that, we’re not quite sure. The change is most notable when it comes to rice balls, as they have been changed to a more American friendly food, the doughnut.

#2: The Shadow Realm

“Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters” (1998-)
Similar in case to “Dragon Ball Z”’s HFIL, the Shadow Realm is 4Kids clever attempt to hide violence and death from young viewers. Instead of being killed, 4Kids created the Shadow Realm, a place where characters went instead of dying. Afterwards, they could be theoretically rescued when someone else defeated the individual who sent them there. We’re sorry folks, but that is not how death works. This is pretty extreme, as it adds an entire plot element to the show that isn’t present at all in the Japanese version of the series.

Before we incorrectly censor our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions.
Spikes Turned into Plungers
“One Piece” (1999-)

Blurred Out Cigarettes
“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” (2012-)

#1: Lesbian Partners Turned Cousins

“Sailor Moon” (1992-97)
We still live in a time where same sex relationships, especially in children’s media is pretty controversial. It’s no wonder that back in the 90s when Sailor Moon war brought over to the US, they decided that the lesbian couple, Sailors Neptune and Uranus had to be dealt with. As a result two characters who could have been progressive and positive icons were changed into cousins rather than lovers. This causes many awkward moments as Neptune and Uranus’ actions are not censored down the road, and instead audiences were left with some borderline incestuous moments. How is this better exactly?

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite unnecessary censorship in anime? For more intriguing top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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