Monday, March 08, 2010

Funimation to Edit Dance in the Vampire Bund

Funi announced on Friday that they will be slightly editing both the streaming and home video releases of Dance in the Vampire Bund due to some "controversial elements which, when taken out of context, could be objectionable to some audiences". Here's the entire statement:

FUNimation Entertainment is known for releasing the titles we license in their original, uncut form, as their creators intended. However, after viewing the unedited as well as the Japanese broadcast edit of the series Dance in the Vampire Bund, we have determined the series contains controversial elements which, when taken out of context, could be objectionable to some audiences.

With this in mind and with approval of the licensor, we will edit select scenes from the series in streaming and home entertainment release. These are scenes which are inappropriate for U.S. viewing and are not essential to the storyline.

Dance in the Vampire Bund is a complex and dark drama cited by press and fans as one of the best anime series out of Japan this season. Its strong story is what brought the series to our attention and why we are bringing it to the U.S.
Now, anyone who has seen it knows what we're talking about here (i.e lots of half-naked Lolicon Vampires), though the question that begs an answer is why Funi decided to edit Vampire Bund, but will still be releasing Strike Witches uncut? Granted, Strike Witches is a 'pantsu' fetish show, and Vampire Bund is all 'lolicon', but from the point of view of an outsider I don't think there is much in Vampire Bund that could be taken 'out of context' that Strike Witches is not also guilty of. Perhaps we are finally seeing some indirect fallout from the Handley case, which is still fresh in everyone's mind (especially those of us in the industry), and the producers at Funi want to play it safe for now. I know that a lot of you are going to complain (I'm not happy about it either), but given the current environment Funi really probably has to do this, and frankly should have probably edited Strike Witches too as I wrote last year (not that I want them to, I'm just being pragmatic). For the past couple of years the industry in Japan, for better or worse, has pretty much kept itself afloat by making more and more lolicon and hard fetish type Anime series, and as those shows finally start to filter their way over here the studios will have to tread carefully in order to ensure the material doesn't get anyone sued (or worse yet, indicted). Don't forget, other countries (like Canada) have actually proposed or passed laws calling out 'lolicon' themes specifically as child pornography, and Canada in particular falls within the boundary of Funi's R1 license and release target.

There is a VERY LONG discussion thread regarding this over here at ANN.

5 comments:

Jeffrey said...

I'm all for being pragmatic, but if Funi does censor the DVD release, it makes me wonder: who exactly do they intend to sell to? DitVB is not exactly a mainstream type of property to begin with. If they're trying to cash in on the Twilight craze, this is the wrong series to do it with, at least without major misrepresentation in the marketing.

Otaku can get the basic viewing experience online (from Funi itself!) and eventually the uncensored version via torrent if they really want it. Of those that would pay, many will not pay for a version that is clearly inferior to the "free" one. One pays for more, not less. And if the title is niche and the otaku won't buy it, who will?

Censoring the webcast I can understand (and support). DVD standards are different from broadcast though.

Espeon said...

My complaint is mainly a company that releases uncut retail dvd's of anime picks up a title then releases it's got some nudity or such then wants to edit it, I would have to say don't license stuff with out looking at the show first. Also for people complain about the loli's, Would you rather edit a show for the few buyers or uncut for the many buyers.

Robert said...

I'm all for being pragmatic, but if Funi does censor the DVD release, it makes me wonder: who exactly do they intend to sell to?

I imagine even with all the pandering online, an edited version would only washout a small percentage of potential buyers, but that small number are probably still required to make the title profitable, thus the change of heart for the DVD release.

Of those that would pay, many will not pay for a version that is clearly inferior to the "free" one.

That would simply be Funi's fault for making a free version available to begin with, which they should not. That whole ‘simulcast’ model is never going to work in R1. This is not Japan. Most people here don't want to watch Anime on their cell phones or computers. They want to watch it in HD on their big Plasma TV in their living room.

I don't see why an uncut version of DVB will be any problem, but it will be up to Funi to decide what their potential liability would be for the content in any given show.

Robert said...

it's got some nudity or such then wants to edit it

That's not really the issue, the issue is that the naked girls in DVB might be perceived by some as 'looking' a little young. It's absurd, but so is our legal system.

I would have to say don't license stuff with out looking at the show first.

Indeed. How can you know what you need to do with a show (or even if you want it) when the material hasn't even aired yet? Why would you want to? It's a mystery to me. That's the problem with this whole dumb 'simulcast' idea - the theory is to try to diminish bootlegging, which will never happen. The studios still can't get their minds around the investments they've made in an industry where 95% of the potential customer base are crooks ('ie' torrents, etc), so they come up with one dumb idea after another to try to sway some of those folks back into the fold. "Hey, maybe we can at least graft some advertising revenue off those other fans if we offer a free simulcast..." "Maybe we can figure out a way for Anime to produce multiple revenue stream for our company..." Maybe, but the hope that any of those people will ever come back and support the industry monetarily again is as dumb as a bag of hammers.

Tom said...

Personally I don't care. Lolicon Animes are disgusting in my opinion. I realize that there are big differences between Lolicon and child pornography but at times one seems to be an extension of the other. That court case while way overblown did see the defendent confess to an unhealthy mental state, at which point he stated that he was interested in children in sexual settings. Thats disgusting. So while I don't approve of censorship as a whole I don't think we should be releasing content that would allow some of these freaks to further their twisted minds. Yes those of us who are normal have to suffer (the few ruin it for the many) edited shows but considerign whats at stake I can accecpt that.