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Toonami Producer on Editing Process 247

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the worth-a-read dept.
Bonker writes "Anime News Network is featuring an interview with Jason Demarco, senior writer and producer for Cartoon Network's 'Toonami' block. Mr. Demarco explains why and how the editing process for several anime shown on Toonami, Midnight Run, and Adult Swim happen, as well as the pressure they're under to produce a product acceptable not only to fans but to parents as well. " Gives an interesting perspective on what CN goes through to get certain anime on US TV. I've said it before, but I'd still love a Toonami channel that didn't need to edit (or maybe just less). I watch more Toonami then any channel.
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Toonami Producer on Editing Process

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  • why the 18+ (Score:2, Interesting)

    Why does the adult swim have to be so highly rated if they censor it? I watch anime to see lots of action (with blood of course) and at least some partial nudity. They might as well censor it down completely if they cut that stuff out.
    • Re:why the 18+ (Score:4, Informative)

      by kesuki (321456) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @10:09PM (#3122554) Journal
      Cartoon Network isn't running seperate feeds for east coast/west coast. Sceptics should check the showtimes [cartoonnetwork.com].
      That means that a show in adult swim is showing in the same time block as primetime, which means they need to keep it to primetime TV standards and that is TV-14. Remember all the trouble MTV got into for not having standards for Beavis and butthead? They aired it in prime time, but had too much swearing and violence and ended up putting the show into the 11 PM eastern time slot. Sticking to the TV-14 standards makes sure the shows are edited down to what you can see in shows like NYPD blues. If they ran the seperate feeds for each coast and aired around the time southpark does they could loosen the standards a little.
      Oh and the 18+ is what is known as a 'marketing' gimic. They know there are a lot of anime fans out there. If they can get more of them to watch slightly edited 'adult swim' blocks it makes more animes possible to bring over.
      BTW TV-14 does allow brief nudity, so they could for instance have run un-edited tenchi if it had been an adult swim program instead of a toonami block. I also hope they do more of the uncut midnight run. Gundam wing was shown uncut there and that was really awesome of them. I know you have a Tivo so if they do more uncut midnight runs you'll be sure to catch them.
      • Cartoon Network isn't running seperate feeds for east coast/west coast. Sceptics should check the showtimes [cartoonnetwork.com].

        It goes a bit further than that though - I'm in Australia and watching all the same programming. They do take into account the different time zone (so the midnight run is on at midnight) but don't seem to change much else. All the shows seem to appear on /. at the same time they appear on my TV set.

        Australia of course, has an entirely different rating system to the US (largely based on the same ideas) so I would expect that CN is not only paying attention to what the American ratings allow but also what the Australian ratings allow. Same goes for audience complaints, they could come from anywhere.

      • Re:why the 18+ (Score:2, Informative)

        by Zogg (238055)
        Actually, what you're seeing there is an error in the Cartoon Network online grid. If you're on the east coast, check your local listings (as well as your TV) and you'll see that everything is shifted 3 hours later than what the online grid says. (Why is it like that? Got me, however that grid tends to be flakey on a regular basis.)

        Cartoon Network does in fact have 2 feeds, 1 for East and 1 for Pacific. Mountain people get the Pacific feed (putting their showings 1 hour later than pacific) while central gets the east coast feed (making those showings 1 hour earlier.) So, that means... Adult Swim airs from 10pm - 1am (East/Pac), 11pm-2am (Mountain), 9pm-12am (Central). Given that primetime runs until 10pm (I believe), this would put the last hour of AdultSwim in this "less stringent" zone you speak of.

        The truth is, the editting has nothing to do with the timeslot regulations, and everything to do with the Cartoon Network policy of not going over TV-14. It doesn't matter when it airs, CN wants any time to be at least "relatively" kid-friendly. The fact that AdultSwim got TV-14 at all is simply an experiment based on Toonami: The Midnight Run's ratings.
        • It's my understanding from friends in california that CN only runs one feed. I could be wrong, but at least two of my online friends from california get the shows at the same time I do. Either they have DSS systems and only have an easten feed or else your local cable broadcaster is running on a 3 hour taped delay. AFAIK the website has never had diferent time listings for eastern/pacific in the last 6 months. If you're right either all the web guys for CN are busy making java games for the kids or they can't debug a simple thing like a listings guide(I should hope it's the former though).
      • Re:why the 18+ (Score:2, Informative)

        i think thats 'CmdrTaco (editor)' not 'CmdrTaco' the editor. so no, you prolly dont know if user #564483 has a tivo.
      • They do run separate feeds, but you do raise the important point that as Digital cable and satellite systems that carry both feeds proliferate, and automatic PVRs that enable time-shifting proliferate, the whole issue of when is an appropriate time to show a show is moot. Ultimately, preventing kids from watching naughty stuff will have to rely exclusively on restricting programs based on ratings.
  • by tb3 (313150) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:33PM (#3122419) Homepage
    Q: How do you determine what to edit?

    A: Whiny parents screaming, "Won't somebody think of the children?"
  • Subtitles? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It'd be really nice to have a Toonami channel that had only subbed anime (for those of us who don't prefer dubs). It'd certainly save me money, as I waste my money on tons of DVDs.
  • by micromoog (206608)
    Tonami Producer on Editing Process

    It's good to see our subscription dollars hard at work, with CmdrTaco always finding new and more obvious ways to misspell the headlines.

    • You forgot then/than his favourite silly mistake.

      I watch more Toonami then any channel.

      I really don't understand how he can keep making it. The keys are nowhere near one another (different fingers & rows man!)

    • I'm pretty sure that 'Tonami' was my mistake, and that Taco fixed it after it was posted.
    • So what its just a typo. The sad part is that the "face of linux" and a cabal of geeks just won't implement a spellcheck for their articles. Its just helps to make this forum look more juvenile than it really is. Imagine what newcomers think, "The grammer is terrible and the interface isn't so hot."

      • Quoth gad_zuki!
        Imagine what newcomers think, "The grammer is terrible and the interface isn't so hot."

        Well, if the newcomers can't even spell grammar correctly, I seriously doubt they'll spot any of CmdrTaco's other little typos. :-)
  • There's more to Toonami than Anime. (Although not much more these days) I know this may put me in the vast geek minority, but I'm just not a big anime fan. And for the record, it's really annoying now that SGC2C is down to once a week...
  • I mean do it like a movie on TV skip the violent scenes, skip the adult scenes, and for the foul language insert phrases like, Son of a Gun, and don't let me beat you up.
    • to quote from the article "it requires that the producer know each episode of the show like the back of his/her hand, to ensure that a scene isn't cut from episode 22 that has major ramifications in episode 50."
      • Cutting the whole scene could, but cutting the blood fountain out of the death scene is not really important for later episodes.
        • What if key dialogue occrus during the "fountain of blood"? What if important things happen in the background, or foreground? What if the entirety of that death scene is a bloody mess, but it's crucial that the viewer be aware that this character has been killed for continuity reasons?

          Like the man says, it's not easy.

          Personally, I applaud them for putting so much effort into trying to keep the story and feel of the original while making it possible for the show to be shown on TV at all.
  • BUY DVD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wuss912 (464329)
    juat buy DVD thats Unedited.
    and higher quality
  • Well you know... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:41PM (#3122461)
    Nothing's gonna solve the editing problem. It's on a network aimed at children, and children do watch.

    Only way to get around that here in the states would be to have sci-fi suck it up and show it uncut with a (frequent) TV-M rating (though many shows would be unfairly labeled as such).

    Even then, many of the best shows won't ever make it on TV here, simply because they don't have the style of Bebop, the Action element of gundam, and the "crap" that somehow attracts people like Dragonball Z does.

    Editing will likely bar some shows entirely from network TV. ADV, who holds the N. Am. license to Evangelion have said it won't be licensed for TV if it has to be edited.

    Or sometimes it's politics. The head of Toonami is a BIG Rurouni Kenshin fan. Problem is, Media Blasters can't show their (the original version) on TV. If kenshin ever hits the air in the US, it'll hit as "Samurai X," a hacked up, rewritten version of the original show (not related to the ADV release of the Kenshin OAVs as Samurai X).

    Screw TV. I'll stick with my DVDs thank you.
    • While I think Kenshin could air on Adult Swim with a TV-14 (and should), you raise a good point that a lot of anime has to be edited significantly even to bring it down that level. But why should they? Certainly parents will object, but we're not talking about shows for kids anymore. At some point CN is going to have to suck it up, ignore the parents, and start pitching AS to the advertisers for an older audience. Many, many shows get away with much, much more than CN is allowing.

      One question that wasn't asked and I wish had been is: would Adult Swim, under the right circumstances, be willing to produce TV-M shows? For popular shows like Evangelion, Berserk, Love Hina, and so forth, that's what it will take. If they can do that, THEN we can really start going down the unedited path.

      Also, I find it ironic that the two most heavily edited shows in the AS lineup air late at night, after FCC guidelines no longer apply. I don't understand why they can't just go back and splice in the original dialogue and scenes - it's easier than painting them out, that's for sure.
      • Look at his answers:
        Unfortunately, the shows put in for the premiere of the Adult Swim block were all slated to run on Toonami and were edited as such.
        The two late shows (Outlaw Star and Tenchi) were both inherited directly from Toonami. Future shows added to AS will be edited straight to TV-14.
      • Re:Well you know... (Score:2, Informative)

        by Microlith (54737)
        Kenshin COULD air, but would get a TV-M for many of it's 2nd season episodes. And it's unlikely Sony would be willing to let CN air the original version, and would push them to air their "Samurai X" hack and slash job.

        Just so you know, parents in Japan complained about the violence in Evangelion, and Berserk aired at 2:30 AM on a cable network.

        Regardless of the intention of the content, and the time, parents will be irresponsible and let their children watch, and will bitch and whine no matter WHAT they want.

        This is why a network with an overall direction towards a more mature audience would have to pick up the slack.

        Not that I REALLY care, since they will show it dubbed and I don't particularly like watching dubs (though I won't be hurt if I have to).
        • I already knew that. Nobody expected Evangelion to be the way it was, so it ended up being shown (inappropriately) at 5:00. But they didn't pull it. Berserk, obviously, would have to be the latest of the late night. (2 sounds about right).

          Since the swordplay in Kenshin rarely gets anyone killed, and borders on fantasy, they should have no problems showing it (not if they can show worse stuff on Cowboy Bebop anyway). There was only one scene in the whole series that I think deserves to be cut out (the one where Shishio cuts that guy in half).

          I also prefer subs, but I don't expect them on TV - however, more anime on TV means more audience in general, and therefore bigger budgets and larger staffs to pick up and translate more shows for the video market. Possibly even rentals at the video stores. Actually since I mainly watch fansubs, that doesn't affect me much either.

    • by Ryan Amos (16972)
      Heh, while Evangelion is a great series, it's definately not a kid series. There are some very heavy subjects that Eva deals with, and it's not presented in the most easily digestible fashion. This is more the reason Eva will probably never make it to TV. Well, that, and End of Evangelion isn't licensed for the US (ADV got screwed out of the license, and nobody has officially released it here,) and the series is about 100 times better if you cut episodes 25 and 26 and just show End of Eva.

      The only way Eva and other similarly intense shows (X TV, among others) will ever hit American TV is if Toonami spins off to its own channel (which is seeming more and more likely, as Toonami is already most of CN's lineup, it'd make sense for them to spin it off) and they show more "mature" stuff at night (Eva is pretty much the definition of "mature" anime, hentai and the like is usually actually very juvenile.) It'd be nice to see all this stuff on TV, but I think we'll just have to settle for buying the DVDs and downloading fansubs.
  • by Eddy Johnson (467614) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:42PM (#3122466)
    A friend and I were just discussing Cartoon Network's current juggling act of all the material everyone wants to see, especially us not getting our fix of old-school cartoons. They should split into three different channels:

    TOONAMI: The current anime lineup, as well as stuff for "more mature audiences" later for the hardcore adult animers (or some undersexed, anime-hooked nerds like those who will read this reply, and therefore will mod it down, wrecking my karma. Meanies.)

    CARTOON CARTOON: Move all those goddamn annoying "Cartoon Cartoons" to this network. You know, stuff like Cow and Chicken and Sheep in the Big City. Some of it is good, but a select minority. Most of it is trash, but it brings in ratings from the little ones.

    OLD SCHOOL CARTOON NETWORK: My favorite. Scooby-Doo (all sans Scrappy), Hong Kong Phooey, Superfriends, Wacky Racers, Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Pink Panther, Snagglepuss, Huckleberry Hound, and all the good old stuff that I miss.

    Divide and conquer, Cartoon Network, by heeding the call of the wild Eddy Johnson!
    • That would be a good idea. It would put the animation meant for little kids on a separate channel from the anime stuff making it more reasonable to do a lot less editing. They wouldn't have to worry about when little joey sneaks downstairs at night and hits the channel he usually watches "Courage the Cowardly Dog" on and instead gets Faye of "Cowboy Bebop'leaning over a table ripping some guy's shirt off because she thinks he has a tattoo of a snake. I have a feeling that's a significant part of why CN keeps editing their late nite blocks. After all, it's still a child-centric network.

      Whether this is economically feasable, however, is another story.
    • There is an old school network it's called 'Boomerang' [cartoonnetwork.com] look for it from you dish or digital cable provider. Perhaps they'll make a toonami channel someday, they've already brought the 'toonami' brand to WB kids. As far as Cartoon Cartoons go, well they're never on when I watch CN.
    • They already have your third option. It's called "Boomerang", however, it's not on the second tier of DirecTV so I haven't seen it.

      I agree about "Cartoon Cartoon", it seems like when Dexter and Johnny Bravo, etc, were new, most of the "Cartoon Cartoon"'s were pretty good, but nowadays they've gotten annoying. Even JB isn't as good as it used to be.

  • From the article:

    "Any direct references to religion, especially juxtaposed with violence, sexuality or hypocrisy, is not allowed. ... Anime is often full of stereotypes surrounding race and religion that non-otaku will not understand and will take offense to. ... People in America generally don't want that kind of thing in their cartoons, however you and I may feel about it."

    Maybe if Americans had the chance to see cartoons with that kind of thing, they'd change their minds. Of course this is probably a mixed blessing, as Evangelion is already incomprehensible enough without TV-Y7 editing...
    • I think the only thing that will top the maelstrom of parents and the religious right screaming about all the sex, violence, and religion in Evangelion, will be the fans screaming a disbelieving "What the hell is this?!" when they air the last two episodes.

      LOL... Evangelion with a TV-Y7 rating would be about 30 minutes long.
    • Well that and:

      ADV has said repeatedly that they will not license TV broadcast rights to any network that will have to edit the show.

      Thus why many PBS stations show it (subbed even) in its entirety, HBO could do it, and Sci-Fi maybe late at night.

      CN? Never.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Of course Merry Melodies and countless pre-1970's era cartoons (especially earlier in the century) were full of stereotypes and underlying racial/political/religious/nationalist things. And they were geared soley toward adults.

      But even now you still see them on CN. And even on normal network stations at 10am on a saturday morning for kids to suck up.

      Which reminds me... whatever happened to saturday morning cartoons? I'm in my early twenties but even I can remember back when ABC,CBS,NBC,UPN,FOX all had hours and hours (about 6am to 3pm) of cartoons and kids would sit in front of the tube enjoying them all morning, like a kid should.

      Now it's all infomercials and purchased religious programming with a few political shows and a martha stewart thrown in here or there.
      • Now WB and Fox have to compete with Nickelodean and Disney/ABC. The market is oversaturated and not particularly profitable, which is why Fox is bowing out.

        Plus, I don't remember a time when UPN ever had cartoons, seeing as how they're only a few years old.
        • UPN had Saturday morning cartoons. I can't vouch for them anymore however. But they used to show stuff like "MIB" and Jumangi and actually they aired DragonBall Z (maybe that was only the station I recieved) and Technoman (Tekkaman Blade). Let me tell you, tekkaman blade is FUCKED UP. I think they got away with it though because it was on way too early for the adults to notice what their kids were watching. Or maybe people noticed and complained and they decided it was crap and dumped it. Got me.
          • Are you sure this wasn't just your local UPN affiliate broadcasting syndicated cartoons? That wouldn't be the same as the UPN network having a cartoon block. It used to be many cartoons were syndicated, before the networks got involved.

            For the record, MIB is a WB production, and DBZ is now basically a WB property since they took over Cartoon Network.
    • Somehow, I get the feeling that a depiction of the angel Samael in the opening sequence (or the sephirothic system, for that matter) would cause a great deal of trouble among some of the more knowledgable parents.

      Though I do recall hearing rumours that Eva was shown on the west coast on cable television about two or three years ago... never heard for certain one way or the other, though.

    • by Glowing Fish (155236) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @12:11AM (#3122864) Homepage

      I can imagine the edited, inoffensive Evangelion.


      Pen-Pen walks out of the shower, shakes himself, and then walks away.

      The rest has to go.

  • Is there that much quality anime that would warrant an entire toonami channel? I'm not an anime expert, but I can barely count off ten titles that are worth showing repeatedly, let alone in the 23.428 minutes that CN gives the anime shows...
    • Oh Good Lord! You have no idea! It would be too easy to fill a Toonami channel. There are more themes in Anime beyond just big robots, "big" girls in big robots, reluctant boy with 6 girlfriends, etc.

      The editing requirements could be Promethian, however.
      • I'm starting to get interested. I don't care if I never see a big Voltron-style robot again, but some of that other stuff could be pretty good.

        As for the editing, I have an idealistic rant on that topic:

        Why do we need editing at all for these things? What is wrong with seeing someone naked, or drinking alcohol, or swearing? As Bennett Haselton pointed out [peacefire.org], cuss words are just syllables. Bodies are just bodies. This insanity pervades society, and I'm sick of it! It isn't just just religious right wackos who sold their brains to God and think that the rest of us have sold our souls to the devil, it's common among just about everyone you walk up to, at least where I live. Kids in school will curse copiously at each other and call each other "gaywad!" and "jewish!", and it is overlooked. If one of them curses in front of an adult with a word like fuck, however, they'll be scolded in a burning fuse tone of voice. Why the hipocrisy?

        Nudity is natural. A little artful nudity can add an excellent touch to something that would stand without it, as a rule. So why is it so near ubiquitously percieved in America as "harmful to children"? Why do films containing suggestive scenes like the one in Zorro actually carry warning labels?

        I wish someone would come along and end our society's insanity. But most likely these things will be washed away by time. I await the future.

    • Are you kidding? There's no end of shows they could air. Anime has been going on a looooong time in Japan.

      The main thing would be to bring the titles that haven't made it to the American video market either to mix up the subject matter. Lupin, for instance, was a huge series, but only the movies and a couple of episodes have distributed commercially.
    • There is plenty of good anime. However, I'm not sure
      how much of that would really be very successful on American television.

      For Example:

      I don't think showing Love Hina would survive through the censorship ringers. If every
      panty shot and accidental incident of the male
      character walking in on the females while they
      are naked is removed, there wouldn't be that much
      to put on air.

      Nadesico is just full of parody and references to other anime. I don't think most American viewers
      would appreciate the show within the show, Gekigangar 3, very much.

      InuYasha is probably too heavily based on Japanese
      mythology. Plus, while it is an excellent series,
      it has lots of violent fighting that would probably
      be destroyed by censors.

      And showing Evangelion would probably make Toonami the target of every religous, human rights, parenting, whatever group in the country unless they edited it so much that it wouldn't be the same series.

      ....

      Though there is probably plently of lucritive opportunity for someone to start a tentacle pr0n channel on Pay-Per-View. (Joke)
      • If you really want a Toonami channel that doesn't edit, that shows subtitled in the wee hours of the night the only model that can be followed is the premium channel model.
        In order to get good quality anime on the air you have to provide it by subscription model and Prove that you can make money doing it that way. Toonami has a name advantage and if they keep on having good results with adult swim and midnight run they might be able to manage to run a 24/7 premium uncut anime channel under the toonami brand.
        As long as advertisers have input on what can be shown and as long as parents can complain and be activists against you then you'll always be forced to edit. The minute you go to subscription model it is the consumers of the content who decide what you can or can't do. If Anime fans are in charge it wouldn't be edited.
  • The title. (Score:3, Funny)

    by saintlupus (227599) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:51PM (#3122496) Homepage
    I thought it was "Toonami."

    Posted by CmdrTaco

    Ah, there's the culprit. And we're expected to pay for this?

    --saint
  • by Maul (83993) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @10:03PM (#3122531) Journal
    Typically, I've seen a few types of editing of anime when they make a US version, especially for TV. Here are just a few:

    Crappy 80's Hack and Slash:
    We saw this with "Robotech" and "Voltron," where
    huge portions of things were hacked out. In the case of Robotech, they combined multiple series, that had no relation to one another, into one. Thankfully, most people remember Robotech for the sections that were really Macross.

    Pointlessly stupid cultural editing:
    This includes changing the names of characters to
    sound more American, and attempting to remove all
    hints that the characters were originally supposed to be Japanese, living in Japan, etc, even though it is obviously Japanese animation.
    God forbid that little Timmy realizes that there are other cultures out there that aren't American.

    Pointless Censorship
    This is mainly what Toonami has to deal with.
    Typically, people feel the need to edit out "Bad Stuff". However, it always seems that people FAIL at this. An example is that there was a drink that was supposed to be sake in an episode of DBZ, and they ended up making it milk or something. This is all fine and good, but this is a series that features huge muscled guys blowing eachother up with high powered energy attacks. I guess it is
    important that we sheild Junior from alcohol, but
    showing him acts of superhuman violence and fights that span several weeks worth of episodes is OK.
    • I guess it is important that we sheild Junior from alcohol, but showing him acts of superhuman violence and fights that span several weeks worth of episodes is OK. That's something I've noticed a lot on TV. Violence is perfectly fine, but sex, religion, and politics are not to be discussed. And people blame videogames?
    • I think Voltron involved joining two unrelated series (Go-Lion and Dairugger XV, IIRC).

    • An example is that there was a drink that was supposed to be sake in an episode of DBZ, and they ended up making it milk or something. This is all fine and good, but this is a series that features huge muscled guys blowing eachother up with high powered energy attacks. I guess it is important that we sheild Junior from alcohol, but

      but that's really to convince kids to drink milk!

      "Kids! Want to be strong and blow people up? Drink Milk!"
    • I was more annoyed that they avoid the concept that characters were getting killed and not sent to the "next dimension". Really, don'tcha think the kids should get a realistic understanding of how the universe works? I mean, the bad guys even get killed in Disney movies (not as graphically, mind you, but Ursula was stabbed to death if I remember). But somehow, DBZ has to remove all references to death. It just seems quite absurd.
      • Given how trivial getting killed in DBZ is, the next dimension isn't that far off of a description. How many characters have been "killed" and then brought back to life? They may as well be getting sent to the penalty box.

        Didn't Goku have a string of episodes in the afterlife "training" while they waited to resurrect him?
  • bah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @10:07PM (#3122549) Homepage
    What I don't understand is how a network show on primetime like NYPD Blue can show real life nudity, but a cable show on at 11 pm can't show cartoonish nudity.

    Just makes no sense.
    • by Xerion (265191)
      NYPD is not aimed at children, where as cartoon is supposed to be for kids.
      • Re:bah (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Ahhh yes. Another boob who thinks anything animated *must* be for children. It's that kind of closed mindedness which causes the US such troubles.

        Tell me, please. What is it that you think makes anything with live visual actors more inherently valuable than something with animated actors? And why is something with special effects (like Terminator) any different from animated special effects? And what do visual effects have to do at all with content in a story? Do the visuals really have any effect on the value of the cultural criticism? The action? The expressive dialog?
    • by BlackGriffen (521856) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @11:34PM (#3122761)
      For some odd reason, a lot of people in the U.S. think that cartoons are only for kids. Thus they assume that any cartoon should be suitable for junior, and get pissed when their presumption is wrong.

      I've got a better question, why can't we show nudity? I'm not talking about sexual acts with nudity, I'm talking about plain old nudity. The U.S. really needs to get off it's damn hangups and realize that there isn't anything inherently dirty about the nude human body. If anything, the fear of nudity causes more problems than it could possibly be solving.

      BlackGriffen
  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @10:14PM (#3122567) Homepage
    A large part of the problem is that the shows on Toonami were originally made for an older age group than the group they are marketed for here in the US.

    Take for example a popular Toonami show, Dragonball Z. When it was originally aired in Japan back in the early 90s, it was primarily for 13 & 14 year olds. But here in the US, it's marketed towards 9 & 10 year olds. So, the cartoon has to be largely censored to meet the new age group. Indeed, when DBZ is aired on the international channel in Japanese, it is rated for 14+, IIRC. (P.S., its been a few years since I've seen that show on TV, so if any of this has changed, correct me!)

    Another large part of the problem is the cultural background difference. In Japan, what gets aired for their younger children is far less censored for the same children here in the states. What happens is you wind up with matter being heavily censored in the import to the US. When Midnight Run used to air Gundam Wing, they would air the uncut version of the episode they played earlier that day. It's a shame every episode couldn't be aired like that, it was far more enjoyable.
    • That's partly because of the endless marketing grab. 14-16 year olds don't buy toys and stickers and shit like that any more (well - most don't), nor do they badger their mommy to buy them a Dragonball Z beach towel and matching shampoo.

      8-10 crowd however, does. Ergo, make the cartoon palatable to (them | their parents) and you have a winner in terms of scondary marketing, even though the edit might take away some of the cartoon's storytelling value.

      Imagine what they would do to the first Heavy Metal movie if they had to market it to 9 year old kids.

      • You're right that 14-16 year olds don't buy stickers and "shit like that." By that age, they buy style. All it takes is a little effort to put together something more tasteful than an ugly orange shirt with gotenks on the front.

        A good example of good old fashing effort would be the gundam models and their marketing. Sure, I doubt they sell a lot, but the presentation isn't "HOLY SHIT LOOK! AWESOME DBZ SHIT! YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT NOW!" It takes a bit higher thought process to really comprehend.

        I admit, it would be harder to market stuff for something like Cowboy Bebop with very little familiar images. However, it wouldn't be too hard to sell the CDs, since its really part of what makes Cowboy Bebop complete.

        I suppose the biggest hurdle is having a united marketing front. Its a hell of a lot harder to market things when company A makes the cartoon, company B translates and distributes the cartoon, and company C gets the rights to the figures, and company D gets TShirt sales. I'm sure there's a term for it, but I'm no marketing major. It works best when company A makes the cartoon, and pays to manufacture and promote the "accessories." Of course we're dealing with US-localized anime, so company B brings it to the US, but can't afford the down payment to get the extra shit as well, or perhaps is denied it by the maker for their own use.

    • Re, In Japan, what gets aired for their younger children is far less censored...

      Sailor Moon was originally written for little girls of 9 to 12. In one Sailor Moon special, all the original "pretty soldiers" (junior high-aged girls themselves) get bloodily massacred one by one as they save the world. I have to say I was astounded.

      There are some pretty deep cultural differences here that go beyond censorship standards.

      Personally, I'm dubious about showing kids cartoons, or reading them stories or even non-fiction that will promote the idea of glorious, spectacular self-immolation. Sept. 11 shows what happens when people get into that frame of mind.

      I prefer the mindset of the guy who, when a grenade landed in the back of a truck carrying a bunch of troops including him, picked it up and threw it back out again. Of course, you can't extract much drama from that.

  • One of my local PBS stations (KTEH San Jose) shows unedited, subtitled anime from time to time (usually Sunday nights). They have in the past shown the whole Evangelion series completely unedited, and are currently running Dirty Pair, but unfortunatly they have been very inconsistant with running Anime. But still, they seem to be the only "network" willing to show pure uncensored anime. They might be our only hope for the time being. It wouldn't hurt to write or call your local PBS station to ask for some anime programs. The only bad part about PBS is the constant begging for money.
  • What mean last sentence?
  • by Rogue_F (202461) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @10:29PM (#3122614)
    Escaflowne online has a site [escaflowneonline.com] about the editing/censoring that
    The Cartoon Network has done on one of their shows Outlaw Star.

    It's quite interesting the changes that were made. Some are simple digital edits that add clothing for nude characters, removal of blood, to whole scene cuts, and even in one case an episode cut.

    Cartoon network has changed a lot of the series they show (DBZ's Mr. Satan to Hercule...even digitally changed on some of the signs the fans hold up). Some are for good reasons, some are probably them being over cautious.

    Don't forget the REAL service that cartoon network is serving in exposing people to other forms of animation that they may end up liking. Some of the big anime conventions like Fanime [fanime.com] and Anime Expo [anime-expo.org] have gained a whole new fan base because anime has been shown on Cartoon Channel (and even Fox when it was showing Escaflowne).

    Someone earlier slammed Robotech, and some of the earlier anime which was brought to the US by Harmony Gold, but without it, a number of us may have missed out on a whole genre that is quite appealing.

    If Cartoon Network is going to censor stuff, let them. If you dont want to see their censored versions, go out and buy some of the multitudes of anime dvd's you can find for sale. And believe me there are many more great series out there that Cartoon Network won't be showing. Not because they don't want to, but there's just so much to choose from.

    -Alex
    • With the exception of one side plot point (information about the odd ammunition the lead protagonist uses), that missing Outlaw Star episode was pretty much just an excuse to fit in nudity. It really isn't something that could have been shown properly during any time slot without signigicant editing. Trust me, I've seen it, and you're not missing all that much.
    • I have that episode as well, and while it is mostly about fan service, the plot point about the casters
      (which I always thought it was spelled castors...like in castor oil) was worth the whole episode in my opinion.

      I had seen the whole cartoon network run of Outlaw star 2 or 3 times, and after watching that episode it made much more sense. The name, why they were so rare, and why they were able to defeat the pirates' magic.

      -Alex
    • even digitally changed on some of the signs the fans hold up

      Digitally changing signs is standard practice in preparing anime for US consumption, as most signs are in Japanese.

    • I don't know much anything about the TV edits, as living in Finland, I don't get all the US channels. I could probably get some satellite and cable channels if I cared to find out which are available and for how much.

      So, I judge Anime by the DVDs, which I hope most often means uncut. Sometimes I see same title twice in a shop, with one reading "uncut" (and a little higher pricetag). In those cases I always get uncut.

      Because, I believe that the US so called "morals" are just crap - aunts for children or whatever associations there are pushing the standards. Seems to me that the Japanese have a lot more sane view of the world (generally, as in Totoro, not as in Eva or tentacle-porn) than the US.

      No, I wouldn't show Grave of the Fireflies to young children, but neither would I show any other "war is horrible" -title, Hollywood or animated. It always amazes me why titles like Escaflowne and Tenchi are always used as examples about "anime that must be edited for children", while stuff like Grave of the Fireflies, Area 88, and Wind Named Amnesia are not even mentioned. Is it just so that these titles have no hope for ever to be shown on TV because they're not for children, and adults won't watch "cartoons" (and what, pray tell, is Simpsons, South Park, or Beavis & Butthead? Worse for children than most anime titles edited for showing to children).

      However, I must agree that even edited anime has it's place. If that's the only way to show anime in US, then so be it. And, Robotech was my first contact to anime, too.
  • by E-Rock-23 (470500)
    ...I'd like to see Encore (the Action Channel people) fire up two all-Anime, pay TV networks. One subbed, one dubbed. That way all types of fans are happy. Both would be unedited, and anything that comes in Widescreen would be shown as such. With all the options on Digital Cable these days, why not add these two?

  • Who is going to kill the Afghans of the future if they don't learn how to do it growing up?

  • (Gundam Wing) in one of the last few episodes Duo goes into a door, steps out again and says "That's definitely not what I expected to find!". What did they edit out there? I can't seem to find anything on the net about it.
  • by wbav (223901)
    I'm hooked on anime.

    I blame it all on Toonami.


    I've spent all day watching cowboy bebop.
  • If they didn't edit the shows, they'd have to call it "Poonami".
  • Gives an interesting perspective on what CN goes through to get certain anime on US TV

    Do you even know what they have to go through to show CowboyNeal Bebop? It ain't pretty.
  • why do they have to cater to the parents of children watching cartoons at 1AM??? or 3AM???

    shit, if my kid is up that late, chances are they are doing their own thing thats probably far worse than cartoon blood or what ever they are cutting out
  • Gives an interesting perspective on what CN goes through to get certain anime on US TV.

    I mean when did Pater suddenly become the guy who controls Anime on TV?

  • I wouldn't mind watching the cartyoon network if they subtitled everything instead of playing the dubbs - so far only gundam wing, armitage 3rd (only in english i think), and ghost in the shell - are the only ones where the english voices were dubbed decently(somewhat) - most of the time the characters voices are so annoying or far from the original that it ruins the show or worse - in the case of blackjack some of the plot actually changes(very little but still) if you watch it subtitled versus dubbed. and lets not forget about the bastardization they did with tenchi - ryoko the hottest character sounded like a fucking drag queen!
  • want unedited anime? (Score:2, Informative)

    by sl0ppy (454532)
    encore's action channel quite often shows unedited anime. no, it's not *usually* a series (although they've been known to), but at least it's a step further than CN on the unedited scale ...

  • You know (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @12:14AM (#3122871)
    This is a pretty good interview, but the interviewer is really a bit too hung up on specific edits. I realize that's the whole point of their site, but damn. "Why did you paint a bathing suit on this woman here?" "What about the bathing suits under the towels in this episode?"

    The interviewee made it pretty clear up front, I thought, that they've got guidelines to follow. It's clearly a decision made by the CN executives, and not this guy. Doesn't seem fair to make him defend himself repeatedly for it.
  • Say what you will about Canadians, but at least we get to watch a lot more unedited content :) Sure, the networks wait until after 9pm to show it, but at least you can watch it without wondering where the hell all the cool scenes went.

    I remember the first time I saw Vampire Hunter D, it was on TBS. We couldn't figure out why D was talking to his crotch the whole movie, and why it talked back. For some reason they edited out the mouth on his hand completely, so it always looked like he was looking down to converse with his groin, or a midget hidden in his pants.
    It wasn't until I saw the full version that it started to make sense (although how much sense does a mouth in the middle of your palm make, anyway?) :)
  • I just finished watching a VHS tape that had the last two weeks of Digimon from Fox on Saturday mornings on it. Digimon airs twice on Saturdays at 9:00AM and 10:30AM, and what do I see on it? A cybernetic monster biker shooting cute little creatures multiple times with his two double barrel sawed-off shotguns. The scene even slows down, Matrix-like, to show the shotgun shells blowing his enemies to bits. This has been typical of the last few years of Fox's editing of Digimon, which has previously shown one of the heroes being bitten clear in half, two full 30+ episode story arcs about a male and female angel ("Angemon" and "Angewomon") facing off against demons ("Devimon" and "Apocalymon"), a blood thirsty berserker hero creature that graphically slaughters his enemies, and numerous scenes where children have been beaten, tied up, taken hostage, or kidnapped.

    Cartoon Network, a cable channel, has no defense for editing violence, violence toward children, religious references, cursing, and most of the other things that it find objectionable out of the shows that it airs from 5:00-7:00PM (EST) in the afternoon if Fox, a network station which is held to much stricter legal editing standards, does not have to adhere to the same ridiculous editing standards with the shows that they play at 9:00AM and 10:30AM on a Saturday morning.

Air pollution is really making us pay through the nose.

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