Salida dear readers,
my name is Jim aka "OpiumHerz" and as some of you may already guess by that nickname: I am german. With the blog series "The worst thing about censorship is ███████ " I want to simply give you a little insight in videogame censorship, which is still pretty much alive and kicking here in Germany (but I won't restrict myself to Germany exclusively). I started this blog in 2013 and consider this series to be now in Season 2. Fuck yeah! After getting frontpage-famous I'll continue to take stuff from my colleagues at Schnittberichte and recycle that stuff for your enjoyment.
This episode is about Turning Point: Pokemon
Alright, as an intro for this: this isn't completely video game related. But since it's all Pokemon, I consider it all VGR. I will go through multiple things here and there might be easily enough content for a second entry. But because I let this one slide for far too long now, sorry guys, I will make this one a bit longer.
The Pokemon manga was very clearly censored. As manga are sometimes, this one was a bit too sexy for the west. Jesse's brests were clearly reduced in size and Misty's outfit was also made a good bit less skimpy. In general the manga had quite some erotic undertones in it that really can't be found in the anime series or games we all know and love. It also shows clearly the target audience was a different one than intended in the US. There were also some slight violence censorships done.
Sometimes pictures like this were edited, as seen below. In some instances however it sufficed to move speech bubbles over characters or something like that. It somewhat changes the overall tone of the series and thus is the kind of censorship that can hardly be overlooked, if you want to get the original experiences.
The Pokemon anime got censored in multiple instances too. One of the most well known episode was episode 38, called Computer Warrior Porygon. This episode had some flickering scenes in them which were animated in a way that they would cause epileptic seizures, nausea and other symptoms. It was basically a strobe light kids were staring into. I even remember this making it to national news here in Germany. Shit was quite big.
There exists actually an edited version of this, which was apparently even bought by the US publisher 4kids entertainment and even dubbed. But because the Japanese basically banned the episode it was completely scrapped.
Now of course 4kids took it on them to protect our youth from the vile Japanese people. In episode 18 called Beauty and the beach all female characters enter a beauty pageant. James from Team Rocket gets inflatable so he can also compete. This is used for comedic effect and of course the prude murricans didn't find it funny. The episode was skipped. Later when WB picked the series up they dubbed the episode and presented it as a "lost episode", which was of course total bullshit. This episode was knowingly skipped. The episode was also apparently just shown once on US TV and not on the DVDs. Apparently the US version was edited too.
There were also some "cultural fixes" done. Some things were apparently far too japanese for the US market and people feared kids' heads would explode when they see people eating rice balls. So, guess what happened?
Then there is also the Pokemon trading card game. Yes, the card game was censored too. There were apparently A LOT of changes in regards to content from the japanese originals. Unfortunately I don't speak japanese, so I have to believe that and focus on the pictures here.
One of the most known changes is about the Pokemon Jynx. Their skin color was changed from black to deep purple, most likely she was dangerously close to being a blackface, even though it's assumed to be unintended. It garnered enough attention to get an own article in the magazine Black World Today - which I have no idea of if it's a big deal or not. However, people were offended, people cried, and Jynx was edited.
The Grimer card was also a subject of censorship. Poor sob can't even look up in the US card anymore. Well, the possibly underage schoolgirl might come into play here too.
Misty was again censored too. Her card, where she is basically nude (even though nothing is explicit here) got a completely new picture.
Oh, and can you imagine what was the problem here? Of course it can only be assumed, but the fact that Sabrina's hand looks like she is slightly giving the finger in the original might have been problematic.
Now let's talk about the games a bit. There, of course, isn't really much to censor here. But wait, what is this? A censored sprite? Correctly. The Registeel sprite in Diamond/Pearl was changed for the european release. It had an outstretched arm which looked basically like the Hitler greeting. Suffice it to say that was kinda problematic over here. Nowadays the censored sprite has become the worldwide standard for Registeel.
Pokemon Heartgold/Soulsiver were censored all outside of Japan too. The problem here was gambling. While the japanese version has slot machines, the rest of the world got a card game called Voltorb Flip. The irony here is: while you can SOMEWHAT estimate where the right cards are in this game, it's basically still a game where luck is required and thus can be considered still gambling.
Comparison of the original slot machines:
With the Voltorb Flip game:
The slot machines were also removed in the Platin version of the game, by the way. This time, however, they were completely cut out of the EU version. You can't earn coins anymore by playing, but you find a random amount every day. The amount you find is random and between 5 and 20 coins. The kicker about this is the prices of the prizes you can get for said coins. The cheapest item is already 1000 coins (this means you have to find the maximum amount of coins 50 days in a row to get the cheapest item), the most expensive one is 20.000 coins! You do the math on that one.
That's it for today. Covered quite some ground here. There is still a lot more to cover. You can google yourself: there are dozens of censorship articles out there about Pokemon articles. Cards, episodes, mangas, games - we're not done with this series yet and I'm sure I'll revisit it at some point later again.