Cultural customs change from border to border, and what’s okay in one place has the potential to be devastating in another. Anime has spread across the globe, but because of this, some people still aren’t sure what to make of it. Since everyone seems to have an opinion about what should (or shouldn’t) be on TV, audiences have heard all sorts of different justifications for limiting access to certain shows. Most of the reasons on this list are pretty over-the-top, but just remember: they all worked. Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Famous ANIME Shows Banned Around The World For Shocking Reasons.
Attack on Titan
Known for their harsh stance on censorship laws, apparently the Chinese legal system takes childhood very seriously. At least, that was their official position when they announced a ban on the popular Japanese series Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin). Citing that it was too violent, the censors justified their decision by saying the young audience would internalize the imagery, and become delinquent. The same argument people used to make about rock and roll. Censors cited the move as a public rejection of vulgarity. But instead of safeguarding their morality, the laws only encouraged fans to find other ways of watching it.
France is an artists paradise. With it’s rich culture and history of greats, it seems like the ideal place for out of the box ideas. Except when it comes to Nazis. In an attempt to write a character that was a quote unquote “good nazi” the anime series Kinnikuman got itself banned there. France has rock-hard hate speech laws that inform what can and can’t be shown on television. So when the swastika-clad Brocken Jr. appeared on screen, legislators tore the show apart. Less than half of the series’ episodes made it to air, and the manga is banned outright.
Transformers: Robots in Disguise
The devastating events of September 11th, 2001 have forever changed the way North American audiences consume media. And since then, the World Trade Center’s iconography has been treated with respectful sensitivity. Many writers have shied away from imagery that conjures up memories from that day. And it’s for this reason that the debut episode of 2001’s Transformers: Robots in Disguise was pulled from circulation. The episode which had aired just three days prior showed Optimus Prime crashing through a towering skyscraper. And given the social climate at the time, the network no longer felt comfortable with the episode, and ended up pulling it from rotation.
Have you ever wondered what the countries of the world would look like if they were people? Hetalia has the answer. Beginning as a web comic, the series gained a massive following and was made into a T.V. show. Not all countries were excited to be personified. South Korea argued the character structure reduced entire cultures to stereotypes. The show removed the character associated with the country, but that wasn’t enough. Citizens were insulted that the program continued to run on some networks, and a petition for the local broadcasters to remove it entirely circled the country. One exec even alleges that station personnel were receiving death threats because of it. The tactics worked, and the show was taken off South Korean air.
Pokémon is a certified phenomenon with followers worldwide. Boasting cards, toys, and video games to name a few, there are tons of ways for fans to engage with the pocket monsters. The recent smartphone release of Pokémon Go shattered download records, proving that decades after it’s creation, the franchise is still going strong. But not everyone loves the adorable creatures. In 2001, Saudi Arabia banned all things related to the series. After mistakenly interpreting what the word “Pokemon” means, religious authorities labeled it as Zionist propaganda. And argued that the central premise of the game resembled a form of gambling, something “good” kids are not supposed to do.