If you are a long-time fan of anime, you know the industry has a complicated censorship history. Over the years, the medium has gone to bizarre lengths to cover up potentially NSFW images, but Boruto fans did not think they needed to worry about such issues.
That is, until the anime came after one of Orochimaru’s human experiments.
This week, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations went live with a brand-new episode, but its last moments rubbed some fans the wrong way. The release detailed part of Mitsuki’s past before the boy came to the Leaf Village. Having lost his memories, Mitsuki went on a mission with his father Orochimaru to get them back, but they were held up by a mysterious man named Log.
As the episode later revealed, Log turned out to be an older clone of Mitsuki who Orochimaru made. The revelation helped the young boy realize his own path, and Mitsuki turned away from the elder ninjas to forge his own destiny. Orochimaru and Log were left to talk cordially once Mitsuki bolted, and it was then TV Tokyo went into its odd censorship mode.
In the aired episode, Log is shown holding up a lighter to his mouth, but there is nothing in-between the ninja’s parted lips. A raw image from the anime’s creators confirmed Log was supposed to be smoking a cigarette, but TV Tokyo simply erased it from most of its broadcasts.
Fans took to the Internet to criticize the shoddy censoring, but they cannot say they are too surprised by the move. Anime screenings in Japan are subjected to complex censorship laws, and smoking is usually a no-go for primetime series. In the past, anime titles have had to replace cigarettes with things like lollipops, but fans of Boruto shouldn’t get too riled up. After all, poor Asuma had to deal with this kind of censorship for years.
What is the weirdest case of anime censorship you can recall? Hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to let me know and talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!