Maybe in the future I will also make a video of it, who knows.
In the meantime, let's start immediately by saying what a censorship is: "Examination, by the public authority or the ecclesiastical authority, of the writings or newspapers to be printed, of the posters or notices to be posted in public, of the plays or films to be represented that the purpose of permitting or prohibiting its publication, posting, representation, etc., according to whether or not they comply with the law or other requirements. "
This process is used all over the world and it comes as no surprise.
Its use may be due to the caution of not showing acts of violence or profanity ... but the aspect with which it is often represented is the repressive or political one, to prevent the spread of real information that warns the people.
An example of censorship in Italy is that which occurred in the world of music which occurred for political reasons during the fascist period, as the contents of some songs were considered gory according to the moral codes of the period in the fifties and seventies. If we do a search on the list of censored songs of the time, we will discover that they had nothing bad about them.
Today, however, in a more cheerful tone; we will devote ourselves to its misuse in cartoons.
With the aim of protecting minors, associations such as Moige (MOvimento Italiano GEnitori) put all those cartoons under analysis, in particular Japanese cartoons, which could contain disturbing elements for the young audience.
But what these associations do not know, or do not realize; is that most of these shows are not aimed at children at all and it is inevitable, therefore, that you will find strong scenes that can disturb. As I said in my video dedicated to animation (which you can find on the LaPonto Youtube channel), some productions are made especially for an adult audience but parents often don't understand this and they blame them. Since 1998 there has been an association that fights against the censorship of cartoons: the ADAM-Associazione Difesa Anime e Manga, which maintains contacts with expert journalists in the comics sector.
The main complaints often concern the elimination of violent or explicit scenes or dialogues.
But the adaptation of the program to a very young audience can often lead to the distortion of the program itself, especially when the complaints have to do with rather ridiculous things or are badly done. And we have plenty of examples.
And I'm not talking about simple changes of persona names because that is referred to as "adaptation", which instead has a different meaning.
In Italy we have pearls of censorship that are still made fun of by fans all over Italy: we have friends in romantic attitudes who become cousins (Sailor Moon), people who do not die but are only made to disappear because death does not "exist" ( Yugioh!), Men who when they transform become women and then are replaced with twin sisters (always Sailor Moon) and so on.
The first anime broadcast in Italy on private networks were almost never censored, even when they contained vaguely erotic scenes like in Lady Oscar and Georgie, while on public television only some scenes deemed too violent in robotic and science fiction cartoons were cut.
The first anime to be systematically censored was probably Alpen Rose, broadcast in Italy between 1985 and 1986, set in the Second World War. It even cut 9-10 minutes per episode, practically almost half of the original episode, to avoid any reference to the war. Even the cartoon of the same production house and of a similar war setting, Julie rosa di bosco, was censored, cutting out any reference to Italy: the plane that killed the protagonist's parents was Italian.
Imagine what could have happened when Hokuto no Ken landed in our country.
You know, I might understand the censorship on violence and nudity, but some of them are so stupid that I can't help but laugh.
The most famous that everyone knows is that of the two protagonists of the Sailor Moon saga: Sailor Uranus and Neptune, mentioned above. In the original version, these two beautiful girls are having an affair; it is more than evident that these two love each other, and they are in a loving attitude throughout the comic! But since society doesn't like to see the beautiful love of two lesbians, they decided to twist their role by turning them into cousins… which obviously backfired, as romance is more than evident in the animated adaptation. I don't know what they did in the Sailor Moon reboot… but those of my generation still remember this well.
Well, Italian censorship is a thing… but in other countries the issue is even more serious.
In the USA, for example; cartoons are much more censored: in fact, the US censors do not limit themselves only to cutting a few scenes, but to graphically modify even some elements, for example by replacing cigarettes with lollipops and real guns with toy versions ... or by eliminating them completely, leaving empty hands pointing menacingly at people.
The US censorship is more sophisticated (so to speak) than the Italian one in that the computer graphics allow US censors to cut scenes or modify some images so perfectly that many censorships are not at all obvious to the viewer.
But there are even more ridiculous and meaningless censorships, made up of absent or final episodes that are altered / eliminated (which therefore leave the story in abeyance) or of plot twists or erased cultural traditions.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters is one of these examples: concepts that did not exist in the original version but omnipresent in the censored version (the Heart of the Cards and the Kingdom of Shadows) were introduced, violent scenes were cut, the original music replaced with other choices from 4Kids, modified many images and also almost completely reinvented the plot with entire distorted dialogues.
Then there is also the question of Japanese cultural references. This, I must say, is no longer obscured, thank goodness, thanks to the growing interest in this amazing land, but once the question was different: Flags, maps, writings, as for most of the censorship of the culture of reference for reasons of comprehensibility, in the past they were often eliminated with still images or cuts. In some cases, despite the plot of an anime taking place in Tokyo, it is preferable to give the city a fictional name and never mention the word Japan or Japanese. These facts, like the change of names, are another evident case of cultural simplification, with the inevitable impoverishment of the work and, paradoxically, with consequences on its very comprehensibility. Often, for example,
A limiting example is "F", where whenever an inscription in Japanese characters appeared, for example in a newspaper, a shop window or on the billboards on the track, the scene was completely eliminated, making the plot of the episode a little hard to undestand. References to religions were also eliminated, both to the most widespread in Japan, Shinto and Buddhist, and to the Christian one.
It just seems like some people don't like a lot of things.
We Italians may well be bigots, but in some countries the problem is so serious that it touches the dangerous areas of cancel culture.
Someone will say "eh, but this happened in the 90s" ... well, from what I happen to see around on the web, this thing still happens. Maybe the censorship targets are different, but that doesn't mean they are for the "safety" of children.
For many of the censored elements, such as alcohol or smoking, it would be enough for the parent to intervene in person to explain to the child why only adults can do those things and why, sometimes; turn into bad habits. In this way we satisfies their curiosity about it and invites them not to try them while they are is so small.
Then there are issues that should instead be explained to sensitize them, such as sexual orientation. Nowadays a lot of screenwriters are boldly creating same-sex characters who fall in love with each other (I speak in cartoon series, not movies), breaking down those taboos that television and society have always forced to hide. Thoughts now prehistoric, in my opinion. The beauty is that finally a type of spectator will see itself represented and will think that there is someone like them ... and if some young listener instead fails to understand the reason for a kiss between two women or men, it would be enough to simply explain how the love for certain people, so that you treat them normally.
To conclude, censorship should be applied more correctly and above all where it could really harm a young spectator, not to hide something that is part of the everyday life of a culture.