Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dragon Ball Z Kai: How Do Censors Satisfy Anyone?

As you might already know, I'm a fan of the animated series Dragon Ball Z and have been enjoying the abridged version, Dragon Ball Z Kai. The series is heavily self-censored, but I find the pacing and density of the material is more than enough to make up for it. However, I simply don't understand why the producers censor the way they do, and how they can hope to satisfy any parents who might get offended.

For instance, in a recent episode an anti-villain, Vegeta, is fighting an android in the street when suddenly a truck pulls up to them. Not caring for the trucker's safety, Vegeta fires an energy blast at the android that explodes the truck and a large portion of the road, causing all the debris to go down the cliff. It is obvious that the trucker died in the explosion, yet, to "censor" the death, the trucker's voice actor shouts "Dude! My truck!" to make it sound like he survived unharmed. (After being blown up and falling down a cliff? Pfft.) The oddity comes later in the episode, when the android kicks Vegeta and breaks his arm. The scene was surprising and brutal, and hardly censored too, showing Vegeta's arm bending in the opposite direction. For something that's supposedly edited to be made more appropriate for a younger audience, that's pretty intense. You can even see his arm dangle briefly as if it had no bones in it, showing the extent of the damage.

So why do the censors feel the need to make look alive a trucker who died in an explosion, even though he went up in smoke and with no visible body damage (he was just vaporized), but they're alright showing a very graphic scene of someone's arm getting broken? It's so inconsistent!

That's not the only instance either. Earlier in the series they showed, though with the screen largely colored black, someone getting their hand chopped off, but later within the same season the characters are bizarrely censored so that they say they're trying to "grab" someone's tail even though they're obviously trying to cut it off. Furthermore, all the characters never say the word "death" or "dead" even as corpses are visibly laying about. How odd it is that words can be considered offensive while the actions they denote are apparently okay to show.

If the producer of the dub isn't going to have consistent and clear standards on their editing, then why bother? Are parents actually satisfied by these measures?

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