Untangled: What Are Your Thoughts on Watching a Series That is Censored?
On Beneath the Tangles, we invite readers to ask questions of the staff. We’d love to hear your concerns and questions, and maybe give you our feedback.
A couple of weeks ago, VW, a Catholic Christian and anime fan, dropped in with a question. For the sake of space, I’ll just present you bits and pieces of her email:
Let’s take a series like Mashiro-iro Symphony. I found myself really enjoying it! It was a really sweet and endearing series, with positive views on friendship and relationships.
However, Crunchyroll aired the censored version. Apparently (and I’ve looked this up specifically to see exactly what it entailed), the uncensored version (BD release) has nudity. This is something that I really don’t like in my anime, and almost always sets me on edge or makes me feel guilty.
Oh yes, the censored version. I’m not really the anime enthusiast other anibloggers (and anime viewers) are, but I’ve certainly noticed that Blu-Ray releases in Japan frequently contain more questionable content that otherwise isn’t (or can’t be?) shown on Japanese television.
What I’m getting at is…I love this series, really. It was so good that I really want to re-watch it. But I love the censored version.
What are your thoughts on watching a series that is censored, knowing that there is uncensored nudity in the “real” version? Especially when the positives of the series are very strong?
VW’s question really made me think of my own viewing habits. I think there are three questions I ask myself when deciding whether to continue watching a series I’ve started – perhaps not actively, but these questions do bounce around in my mind:
- Is there a redeeming or positive element to this story?
- Am I enjoying this series?
- Does this series encourage me to sin?
The first is important to me personally for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that I want to watch series that espouse significant themes about which I can blog. It’s also just an exercise in faith to look at and learn from different forms of media. For VW, Mashiro-iro Symphony fits into this category.
The second is obvious; I’ve dropped a number of shows that were chock-full of terrific stuff to blog about just because they bored me to death. But as for VW, Mashiro-iro Symphonyis a series she definitely enjoys.
Note that the answer to one of these questions might be “yes” and the other “no” and I would still be willing to watch the show.
The last question is a little different. Much more as an adolescent than now, I was heavily influenced by the media I watched – sometimes obviously and sometimes subtly. Some series, even now, encourage me to think and act in ways that I would count as sinful. I believe there’s a line for all of us where we feel a show just might not be good for us. It’s our decision whether or not we continue with a series that crosses that line.
Luckily for VW, Mashiro-iro Symphony doesn’t cross that line – at least not the censored version. And so, I would take total advantage of that and enjoy the series! It’s almost like two different series – one VW would watch and the other she would not.
VW is really in a lucky position – there are too many series that scream “yes” to #1 and #2 but maybe “no” to #3. Off the top of my head, Tenchi Muyo! comes to mind – there was a big hubbub about Toonami’s “digital swimsuits” painted on the girls in the show when it aired long ago, but I was glad for these edits. I wish my DVD version at home had these censored items.
What about you all? Do you see any problem in watching a show, but knowing the real version might be morally troublesome?