krpalmer: (smeat)
[personal profile] krpalmer
It's discovered that a popular manga has been edited for its North American release (a villian captured by other villians was originally strapped to a cross in Japan; the retouchers turned it into a slab of rock), and anime and manga message boards fill up with posts complaining about it and talking about whether to boycott the company that publishes the manga or just the release... and I have the numb feeling that I've seen this song and dance before. Controversies over popular manga being edited to take out things that somebody somewhere might find offensive seem to pop up every few months.

To begin with, I should admit that I'd prefer to not have to worry about manga being edited... but part of that is the feeling that all of this does little more than draw out uneffective complaints and make everyone feel miserable. There can be a two-pronged and yet somewhat contradictory element to the complaints, too: the change can be dismissed as something they shouldn't have bothered with in the first place, but the original work also becomes so fragile that breaking the symbolism inherited from another culture shatters it entirely. Still, at least there's some bite to a "taking out a religious symbol" complaint. The more usual complaint about covering up "fanservice" (or cheesecake art) leads to the very crass conclusion that that was the whole point of getting the manga in the first place...

There can be a sort of apocalyptic utopianism to anime and manga fandom at times, a feeling that if the nasty North American companies were only to go out of business, we could all download fan translations and live happily ever after. (The possibility that the Japanese production now depends to some extent on licensing fees doesn't get considered quite as often.) In the real world, though, all of this seems to end up in my buying a lot of titles from Del Rey's manga division. When they get discovered, they can be shamed into changing things back...

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