Will we preserve the freedom of expression through art? Or will we face an onslaught of censorship in anime?
We are living in the age of “cancel culture.” As more and more political correctness inserts itself into pop culture, you can’t help, but watch certain animes and realize that some of these characters from the animes would be cancelled. Master Roshi from “Dragon Ball,” Mineta from “My Hero Academia,” Happosai from “Ranma 1/2,” etc.
I would deem Japan as very diverse in their creativity and their openess to push certain boundaries that the west wouldn’t dare touch. A lot of it includes how they deal with sexuality and the creation of niche and peculiar cultures like the “Japanese Muscle Girls Bar.” There are very specific arts that comes out of Japan and anime is one of them.
Countries like China, Outright Banned Certain Anime/Manga like “Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人)”
China is its own country and has a government that likes to censor content. they deem too inappropriate for the public. Given China’s history with Japan (which had been brutal) and the government’s strong central control over their citizens, it can be a bunch of different reasons why they banned certain anime/manga from being consumed in China. The point I am trying to make here is as an American, we should preserve the freedom and expression to make art, even when we disagree with the content.
The American Arrogance of Applying American Racism to Japan
When the average American and Japanese consumes the same content, you are going to get different perspectives because people are from different countries, different upbringings, different experiences, different cultures, different interpretations.. I can go on and on about how different we are. That is what makes the world so complicated and complex. The fact that we are now connected through the World Wide Web, we get to see what is so amazing about the different cultures of the world. Japan is a mostly homogeneous country that really acts on a group-think mentality. Not saying that this group of people are not different from each other, but in general, their values are mostly aligned.
The most discouraging comments that I have seen, have been about racism. For example, Canary from “Hunter x Hunter,” would receive criticism regarding how she looked and possibly her being a ‘slave’ to Killua’s family. We’ve seen Mr. Popo’s skin color from Dragon Ball literally change from black to blue because of his representation being perceived as racist. Mr. Popo’s character is to literally serve God or ‘Kami’ in the “Dragon Ball” and early “Dragon Ball Z” series. This God is literally a green colored alien from another planet. This is where the controversy of my opinion may possibly spark outrage in the west. This is where I would argue the arrogance of putting American perspectives and views onto other cultures, as if they lived and experienced the same thing. I strongly doubt that anyone in Japan pointed to Mr. Popo and was like, “that’s exemplifies what a Black guy is.” One last question to woke would be, “why teach someone to be offended when it shouldn’t be offensive?”
With the strong push for “Critical Race Theory,” in our public schools, Anime may soon be on the chopping block. Soon we may find censorship and or even taking China’s governmental approach to racism. I can see the reasons now. “Watching this show continues the oppression we face in (said oppressed group).”
What Do We Do When the Worst Case Scenario Comes?
When you see potential battles and wars being fought, you have to determine which side you will be on. You have to come to the conclusion and think deeply about your reasoning on your conclusion. So, if you conclusion is to save anime if it ever becomes banned or censored in America or in the west, what will you do? Ultimately, it becomes freedom versus feelings. Which side will you be on?
I know I am going to butt heads and disagree with people. Still, I am open to many people’s opinions and hope to have respectful discourse. That is what makes America great, the freedom to have different opinions. Let’s protect what we think is best for humanity because we like to pretend that we are that protagonist in our favorite anime that tries to do the right thing.
Please comment below what you guys think about this issue!