I’m not a fan of censorship. That being said, I understand the guidelines of why it is necessary. It could be due to timeslot, target audience, content or even controversy. Why am I saying this now? It is because of the debut of Dokuro-chan 2. On the 2nd half of the episode, censorship covered a scene lasting approximately 33 seconds. I am not talking about some small restriction you see in Hayate no Gotoku! or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. I am talking about the full-blown suppression of a scene. Nothing was shown – no characters, scenery, animation. Nothing. Zip. Nada. It was probably the longest cutting I have ever experienced. This is far worse than an animation studio airing an incomplete episode of an anime due to time constraints and budget issues. In the entire episode, you never actually see Dokuro-chan beat the crap out of Sakura with her Excalibur using her own two hands.
There is nothing wrong with censorship. I may not like it, but I respect it. It gets the job done if necessary. It fulfills an obligation that protects the station’s corporate responsibility. What really annoys me is when production studios do not know the boundaries of how far censorship can constrict an anime.
I’ll give you an example. As you may all remember, Moetan aired a recap episode this past week. Many wonder why it was aired instead of episode 6. ANN reported that:
Takayuki Nagatani, a producer of the Moetan moe television anime series, posted on the official series blog that the next episode will be replaced by a highlight clips episode in Japan “for various reasons.” Episode 6 “Hajimete no Date” (“The First Date”) will be only available on DVD, while Episode 5.5 “Sumi to Ruriko no Moetan Diary” (“Sumi and Ruriko’s Moetan Diary”) will takes its broadcast slot. The TV Osaka affiliate has previously edited its Moetan broadcast by fading the entire screen to white in some sequences.
This is an appropriate action taken by both sides. The producer realized the content may not be appropriate to broadcast standards. Therefore, he made a wise decision by pulling the episode in order for fans to enjoy it uncensored. It may come at the price by purchasing the DVD, but in my opinion, that was the right assessment.
This is where Dokuro-chan 2 failed. Remember The Simpsons episode where Bart was in juvenile jail and was watching an edited version of Itchy & Scratchy? That’s what Dokuro-chan 2 episode 1-2 was. Luckily, I did not care as much since those episodes bored me to death before even the halfway mark.
Heavy censorship helps no one. It does not help the TV station nor does it please the fans. It leaves everyone bitter. This was just a poor decision made by the producer who is responsible for Dokuro-chan 2. There is no upside to this. Fans are already well aware of the franchise from its first season or from the novels. For that reason, the episode should not have aired since it is targeting its existing fans. It is not reaching out to new audiences because if you did not like the first season, your opinion will probably remain unchanged about the second season. The DVDs will sell themselves without any extravagant advertisement. Why air an episode that was going to be spliced heavily due to gory scenes of limbs flying all over the place?
Is it better to show something censored than not showing it at all? Yes and no. Hayate no Gotoku! demonstrated that censorship may interfere but it has no effect to its main objective of the anime. Dokuro-chan’s trademark was torturing Sakura with her Escaliborg and guts being spilled all over place. If you take that out, what’s left? It would just become another unoriginal anime filled with fan service. In the end, this anime episode should not be aired if censorship obstructed its true intent.
Censoring is a medium that tells you when you have crossed the line. It is up to producers to realize if their content fits the TV station’s regulations. In other words, producers have everything to lose if they make the wrong choice.