When it comes to anime, censorship can be a pain.
Cultural shifts between the east and west sometime prompts cable networks and programs to alter series - and the Dragon Ball franchise has been no exception. Since the anime franchise skyrocketed to international fame back in the 1990s, the Dragon Ball anime series have been censored left and right. And, now, ComicBook.com is going through some of the most noticeable and controversial alterations so far.
Mr. Popo Goes Blue
Oh, Mr. Popo. You may be one of the nicest characters in Dragon Ball Z, but not even Kami could save you from 4Kids. When the licensor got their hands on Akira Toriyama’s popular anime, they took one look at Mr. Popo and fretted over how the character could ditch his racial stereotype. Fans were beginning to criticize the character thanks to Mr. Popo’s ‘dark’ aesthetic, so 4Kids decided they would just turn the character bright blue. To do away with Mr. Popo’s blackface roots, the gardner and peaceful advisor was repackaged with a brand-new color scheme.prevnext
If you have watched Dragon Ball, then you know that nudity is not something the series shies away from. In the original anime, Goku is a precocious child who is curious about the human body, and his mentor Master Roshi is all too eager to fill the Saiyan’s head with inappropriate thoughts. In Japan, the rules regarding nudity and sexual innuendos were approved with ease, but American licensors had near aneurysms over some scenes. Some risqué shots were cut out entirely like the one where Bulma lifts up her dress to distract Roshi while others were just edited. And, if at all possible, licensors were quick to cover-up Goku and his full-frontal nudes with all kinds of properly placed foliage.prevnext
Gore Hits The Cutting Room Floor
Dragon Ball Z is known for its intense action, and the anime has never backed down from its grittier tone. Unlike Dragon Ball, the continued series saw Goku and his comrades go all-out and get themselves bloodied on a regular basis. While the action never got too gory, it was enough to make licensors fear backlash from concerned parents, and they were quick to scrub Dragon Ball Z of lots of blood and gore. Festering wounds were often toned down, bleeding wounds rarely looked red, and pooling blood was an absolute no-no for any episode that aired live.prevnext
Hell For Infinite Losers & Religious No-No's
It’s no secret: lots of people die in the Dragon Ball franchise. Even main characters like Goku and Vegeta find themselves sporting halos, and fans watched as the warriors continued to train during the afterlife. However, you don’t want to say they are dead. While mortality is still a mainstay in the franchise, licensors were hesitant to let heroes talk so openly about death. Instead of dying, characters were simply transported to other worlds in some instances. And, even when they were dead, any terminology relating to heaven or hell was often revoked. In one filler arc, Goku stumbles upon hell and two of its residents, but that name was changed in the American dub. The damning locale became known as Home for Infinite Losers and even Mister Satan’s name was changed to Hercules abroad to cut off his connections to the occult.prevnext
Thailand & Everything
If you are a fan of anime and live in Thailand, then it is a miracle to see much of any series. The country is famous for its stringent censorship laws and will brutally blur out anything involving blood, violence, skinship, and even bare feet. Shows like Sailor Moon and Fairy Tail have laid before Thailand’s censors, but Dragon Ball has a special place with the country’s oversight. Entire scenes of Dragon Ball Z can be censored just because Goku is shirtless, and many fans have found the series to be unwatchable in Thailand because of its excessive broadcast requirements.prev