Escapist News Now: Bravely Default Censored in Western Market

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Bravely Default Censored in Western Market

Square Enix's upcoming Japanese role playing game Bravely Default for the 3DS is coming to North America next month, but it won't have the same outfits seen in the Japanese version.

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I was born in 1980. I'm actually surprised at how little comparatively gets censored. Regardless, I can get behind desexualising fifteen year old girls.

I wouldn't see this much as censorship as much as what it actually is: localization. Western audiences tend to frown on underage sexualization.

This is actually to comply with culture... The Legal Age of Sex in Japan is 13 which is why, in theory, they can get away with some of the amines and video games coming out of Japan have more younger sexual images. In Western Countries the average age of consent is 16-18 and bringing the age up to 18 would make sense for western audiences.

If it was left at the ages they were, how many people and groups would call foul? Mother's groups, etc.

EDIT Thanks for the spelling correction.

I would cry foul if this didn't involve sexualising obvious minors. You win this one, Square Enix.

No, seriously, I take this issue rather... seriously, if only because I'm fed up with all those loli-faces in the fanservice-sphere. But my reasons for that are tied into what every other poster thus far has said. You may be a small bunch thus far, but a smart one.

Also, the age of consent thing in Japan is a little more complex than what IKWerewolf described. If you wish to learn more, might I suggest the Nostalgia Critic's review of Sailor Moon.

IKWerewolf:
This is actually to comply with culture... The Legal Age of Sex in Japan is 13 which is why, in theory, they can get away with some of the amines and video games coming out of Japan have more younger sexual images. In Western Countries the average age of consent is 16-18 and bringing the age up to 18 would make sense for western audiences.

If it was left at the ages they were, how many people and groups would call fowl? Mother's groups, etc.

Shoot man, I'd probably call foul. I'm not saying I'd start a boycott or anything, but I wouldn't buy the game. I don't think it would encourage or promote child abuse, but it's an issue that is too prevalent in the states for me to be comfortable with in a game. I agree that this seems like a localization issue and not censorship. Censorship might be too strong a word for this anyway.

how many people and groups would call fowl?

P.S. Is it calling fowl or foul in this context? Lol, I've never tried to write down the phrase before, but it seems like one has you yelling about birds. :p

Jeff Grigsby:
I wouldn't see this much as censorship as much as what it actually is: localization. Western audiences tend to frown on underage sexualization.

Agreed, this seems more like localization than it does censorship to me. Now an example of censorship would definitely be from Nintendo of America in the 90s removing pretty much anything that could ever even possibly hint at religion. I always see people question though why Japan does this, but some people have to remember that the age of consent in Japan is actually only 13 years old, while in most European countries it's 16-18 and in the US it's 18.

Edit:

IKWerewolf:
This is actually to comply with culture... The Legal Age of Sex in Japan is 13 which is why, in theory, they can get away with some of the amines and video games coming out of Japan have more younger sexual images. In Western Countries the average age of consent is 16-18 and bringing the age up to 18 would make sense for western audiences.

If it was left at the ages they were, how many people and groups would call fowl? Mother's groups, etc.

You Ninja'd me! >.<

This isn't censorship, it's tact.

I'm not saying dress them in full nun garb but the fact the whole cast looks like a 12 year olds swimming party is disheartening.

I just had a thought, in Japan are females over 20 seen as past there peek sexually? Everything in the media is all about young girls, being 20+ in Japan must be like being 50+ in the western world.

I wouldn't really call this censorship, either. I agree with the point about it simply being localisation. Generally speaking, I am all for the artistic direction being kept, as oppose to losing gore etc... but this I would say is fair play. Japan's age of consent is indeed rather grey...

Omega616, I would not say that they are seen as past their peak. In the west we sexualise 18 year olds for the most part, but I personally wouldn't say a 28 year old is past their prime. A lot of Japan sexualises teens - AKB48 is a fantastic example, where they "graduate" from the band when they reach a certain age - but there is currently a 25 year old in the group (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuko_Oshima). Aaaas you can see though, she will be graduating soon...

For those of you who want a cursory glance at the ages of the rest of the "band", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AKB48#Members - I say "band" because it really is just young models pretending that they can sing...

omega 616:

I just had a thought, in Japan are females over 20 seen as past there peek sexually? Everything in the media is all about young girls, being 20+ in Japan must be like being 50+ in the western world.

During the second Monday of January there is what is known as 成人の日, or Coming of Age Day, and it celebrates when people turn 20 years old as they are indeed recognized as full-fledged adults for the first time, sorta like how being 18 is considered being an Adult in the US, but you can't do everything until your 21. It's celebrated to commemorate all of those who turned 20 in the past year, and is celebrated by a festival. However there has been increasingly low attendance due to the fact that Japan is going through a population problem in that not many young people are having couples, and the life expectancy in Japan has increased over time.

As I said on the other thread, I am okay with then changing the ages of the characters, but I didn't like the clothing changes, so I won't buy it.

omega 616:
This isn't censorship, it's tact.

I'm not saying dress them in full nun garb but the fact the whole cast looks like a 12 year olds swimming party is disheartening.

I just had a thought, in Japan are females over 20 seen as past there peek sexually? Everything in the media is all about young girls, being 20+ in Japan must be like being 50+ in the western world.

Boy, you don't know how close you are.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ChristmasCake

In case you don't want to waste your evening browsing TVTropes, basically japanese woman over 25 are undesirable for marriage because they are "too old". As the page says, it's becoming a discredited trope, but it's not uncommon and it shows up a lot on media.

Based on those images, they've gone from cuckoo-bonkers-oversexualized-15-year-old girls to just bonkers-oversexualized-18-year-old girls-who-look-like-15-year-old-girls.

Progress?

I said it in the other thread and I'll say it here again: this is fine because really the art style doesn't really lend itself well to making the characters look "sexy", no matter their age. If the art style was more realistic and the characters were deliberately designed around sexiness, ala the Sorceress from Dragon's Crown or all the girls from DoA, then these changes would probably have more impact.

I agree with people who say this feels more like localization than any true form or censorship.

That said, I'd prefer the game as originally intended or at least have the loli-setting for the 'purist'. It's merely a preference though, this isn't news that would influence my buying decision in any possible way.

What bothers me, is that the company looks at the west and thinks "Better make this more chaste. Those guys are sensitive.". The reason that bothers me, is that they're right, the west is highly, especially in the states.

No one is going to become a pedophile because of this game, they're cartoon characters, it has nothing to do with reality. I wish it was that simple for everyone.

Addendum:
Actually, it just occurred to me that this is a kind of preventative censorship and that we're missing out. Don't get me wrong, this doesn't offend my sensibilities or interest me; In fact I'll likely never play the game.

However, the most important works in media are the ones that challenges our perspectives, provokes a response and forces us beyond our boundaries.
I'm not saying this game has a message to send or that it's important enough to be bothered by, but it is a symptom of a possible problem. What else are we missing out on?
How many games, movies and books have in some way been altered by middlemanagement or accounting to widen the market?

It's an interesting thought, to me at least.

You know, I am somewhat ok with it when I saw the compared images but in saying so realism is never a thing in video game!

Smilomaniac:
What else are we missing out on?
How many games, movies and books have in some way been altered by middlemanagement or accounting to widen the market?

Hard to know for sure, but it is a solid point. It's sort of annoying because, on the one hand, the game developers use what they know (their own personal culture, mores and beliefs) to craft their games; an unaltered product, straight from the heart, would be the least tarnished. But at the same time, game developers need game sales to stay in business, so they have to temper what they think and feel to cater to a wider market... or become an indie dev, I guess.

In this case I don't care one way or the other, 12 year old cartoon characters don't look sexy whether they're in full plate or a bikini. I just want the armor they wear to match the aesthetic of the world they're in, and not be artificially altered from the original to placate some herpderps who have no sense of cultural significance or no ability to look up age of consent laws in the game's country of origin to figure out why it might be the way it is.

I wouldn't be opposed to a different version of the game specifically for those people, like Bravely Default: This Time For the Sexually Insecure, but at least keep the original available as well :/

Which do you prefer? Devs tiptoeing around outdated sensibilities or feminists and conservatives deriding a game for its outfits? Decisions, decisions.

I wish people would get over the underage thing. Child porn is banned so that children aren't exploited. I have no idea why anything that does not at any point involve an actual sexual act by a child is persecuted. And I don't even consider these kinds of characters sexy. They're too cute for that.

Lastly, I think I prefer the censored versions because they're not blatant fanservice and probably make more sense in-game, but I don't think they should exist because of irrational bullshit.

Y'know its funny.... When I was 15 I had no problem with the sexualization of 15 year olds. But now that I am an adult, I find it pretty creepy (go figure).

IKWerewolf:
This is actually to comply with culture... The Legal Age of Sex in Japan is 13 which is why, in theory, they can get away with some of the amines

I don't mind sexualization of amines, but amides and nucleotides is where I draw the line! (Sorry, I had to, your overall comment was actually great and you make an excellent point that I have nothing to add to except my agreement.)

OT: Honestly I don't really care about this one way or the other. This is a sprite based 3DS game meaning the characters are quite small. If I were a person who got turned on by 15 year old girls in skimpy outfits I'm not sure I would squint at my screen just to get my fix. If I were a person who got offended by it I wouldn't have noticed unless it was pointed out to me.

HOWEVER the fact that it does bother people makes it a good idea to do these small changes. As someone else have already pointed out this is primarily a matter of tact rather than censorship.

The outfits look better now.

omega 616:
This isn't censorship, it's tact.

I'm not saying dress them in full nun garb but the fact the whole cast looks like a 12 year olds swimming party is disheartening.

I just had a thought, in Japan are females over 20 seen as past there peek sexually? Everything in the media is all about young girls, being 20+ in Japan must be like being 50+ in the western world.

Though their kinda getting over it, traditional Japanese values expect a woman to be married young, and to retire after doing so (in some cases they're expected to only take a job to find herself a husband). An unmarried woman over 25 is considered past her peak, and may have trouble finding a husband. Again, they seem to be getting over this, but slow steps.

Its also a case of who these games are targeted at - teenagers and young adults. Older demographic ahows/games/manga feature older characters (such as the weekly manga Shooting Stars in the Twilight aimed at the over 60's)

MeChaNiZ3D:
I wish people would get over the underage thing. Child porn is banned so that children aren't exploited. I have no idea why anything that does not at any point involve an actual sexual act by a child is persecuted. And I don't even consider these kinds of characters sexy. They're too cute for that.

In short, as I've said elsewhere, there's a worry these might be used to groom children. Specifically, someone showing sexualised art or hentai anime/manga featuring underage characters to minors and using the fact its a cartoon, game or comic to normalise abuse.

The above reason was used to have the anime Adventure Kid have its name changed to Adventure Duo in the UK (aside from the usual mandated BBFC cuts for content).

Why is everyone here worried about sexualization of fictional characters? They don't exist.

I hate censorship with a passion, and whilst I don't see this case as a particular problem (since it's only a few pixels), it's what it opens the gate for in terms of changing art and videogames. "IT MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE" is not grounds for changing things.

"Western audiences are uncomfortable sexualising 15 year olds"

LMFAO all the way to Japan!

Has anyone watched a music video lately or an ad for a girls makeup set or dolls like Brats... FFS Western corporations have been sexualising kids from 10 up for as long as product marketing has existed. This is just a product that happens to have been noticed and targeted likely for more to do with the fact that its a videogame. Its just a point in history where games are under the spotlight, if they were little dolls made by Matel no one would have batted an eyelid, but if they are pixel action well hold the phone a minute, this needs to be dealt with!

For better or worse games are the current "Elvis's hips" topic of the moment...

The question everyone should be asking themselves is why do we popularise these products that DO in fact sexualise children to a degree its such a massive market??? I mean parents buy this stuff for their kids.... WTF is up with that ??

Im not in favour of banning much in life or censoring much else, but we need to take a look at ourselves when a woman dresses in a school girl outfit and sings "hit me baby one more time" and we go for it in droves....

The Japs are no weirder than the next nation, they just seem to be less worried about projecting it in public. Maybe one day we will see the British Judiciary show us what they wear under their robes but for now, we can just enjoy being white folks poking fun at the odd little Asian types right?

Jeff Grigsby:
I wouldn't see this much as censorship as much as what it actually is: localization. Western audiences tend to frown on underage sexualization.

No they tend to just choose their vehicles of child sexualisation differently is all....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bratz

"New concerns over the body image and lifestyle the Bratz dolls allegedly promote were raised by the American Psychological Association when they established their "Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls" in February 2007. In their published report, they cited concern over the adult-like sexuality the Bratz dolls allegedly portray.[2]"

am i the only one who prefers everything to remain rather untouched no matter how creepy? hell these conversations are the reason why Yakiza 5 (main heroin becoming a pop singer) and the period Yakuza (in one Kazuma falls in love with a 13 year old Gaisha) games won't ever be localized.

SpyHunter29:

Also, the age of consent thing in Japan is a little more complex than what IKWerewolf described. If you wish to learn more, might I suggest the Nostalgia Critic's review of Sailor Moon.

Or you could just do a Google search. Even Wikipedia's bound to be more comprehensive than the Nostalgia Critic's coverage.

It does, however, put the Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" in perspective.

omega 616:
This isn't censorship, it's tact.

It's still censorship. The problem here appears to be that people dislike admitting censorship can be something other than evil. And while I'm reticent to support censorship, this is censorship, and that's okay.

Smilomaniac:
What bothers me, is that the company looks at the west and thinks "Better make this more chaste. Those guys are sensitive.". The reason that bothers me, is that they're right, the west is highly, especially in the states.

Something very unlikely to change about underage girls. About underage anyone, really.

Razorback0z:

No they tend to just choose their vehicles of child sexualisation differently is all....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bratz

Forget Bratz, did you ever see a Kidz Bop ad? I haven't had cable in a while, but early on they had little girls grinding to "Genie in a Bottle" (singing "gotta rub me the right way") and much later, they had them doing it to hip-hop and "This Love" (hopefully leaving out the fingers bit).

I would personally be more worried about child pageants and music videos with tween strip shows than either Bratz or Bravely Default. Thankfully, it's not either/or.

Zachary Amaranth:

Something very unlikely to change about underage girls. About underage anyone, really.

The question is, do we really want other parts of the world treating the west like oversensitive prudes?
The sexualization is just an example, it could be anything.

SpyHunter29:
I would cry foul if this didn't involve sexualising obvious minors. You win this one, Square Enix.

No, seriously, I take this issue rather... seriously, if only because I'm fed up with all those loli-faces in the fanservice-sphere. But my reasons for that are tied into what every other poster thus far has said. You may be a small bunch thus far, but a smart one.

Also, the age of consent thing in Japan is a little more complex than what IKWerewolf described. If you wish to learn more, might I suggest the Nostalgia Critic's review of Sailor Moon.

First of all minors are sexual beings, both boys and girls. I know I had sexual experiences before I was 18. At 15 most people have gone through puberty and had some sort of sexual experience, whether masturbation, kissing, hugging or heavy petting, or in some cases more.

I don't see anything wrong with the original ages or original outfits. Really the first outfit is revealing and sexually suggestive in both versions.

I don't like this kind of stuff because it implies that the original version was morally deficient, that it was bad, perverted and needed to be changed. I don't believe that is true, I don't believe there was anything morally repugnant about the original Japanese game and Nintendo is underestimating its audience in the west.

MaxwellMouse:
The outfits look better now.

They certainly are more tasteful. Then again, with the character models being what they are I find the whole idea of them being sexualized kind of strange since they're human in only the vaguest sense.

Smilomaniac:

Zachary Amaranth:

Something very unlikely to change about underage girls. About underage anyone, really.

The question is, do we really want other parts of the world treating the west like oversensitive prudes?
The sexualization is just an example, it could be anything.

Would you rather be seen as a prude when it comes to children in lingerie, or be seen like everyone else sees Japan, that creepy purveyor of pedophilia, used panties, train molestations, naked game shows, and treating women poorly?

And, if you want to talk more about the reality of Japan than just what most people think of it, Japan comes across a lot more prudish than the west. We have an issue with little girls in sexualized clothing in some games, whereas Japan censors their pornography, that thing that's supposed to be sexualized and titillating.

Censorship my fucking ass!!

This means there's costume options for the game but we don't get access to it, which is fucking bullshit!

Just include all costumes in the game and give us the option to choose what we want to see you bastards!

My question is whats with JRPG's having the dumbest, most nonsensical titles ever? And no, I'm not talking about Final Fantasy, there was a logical reason for that it just became ironic when it turned out to be successful.

No I mean games like this: Bravely Default...Infinite Undiscovery...Ys....Ar Tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel...ok seriously wtf? Hard to imagine they sound any less ridiculous in Japanese either.

It isn't censorship if the creator's do it of their own volition. That's just localization. This is really no different than Nier being released in the west with an older, burlier protagonist.

I'm afraid to say that regardless of the apparent censorship there is something distinctly wrong with JRPG art styles and art direction when it comes to female representation.

Don't get me wrong I'm hardly Anita Sarkeesian here but....seriously. Eastern depictions of females are distinctly wrong in any responsible adult's understanding of visual imagery.

Bravely Default is likely rather inoffensive but its the overarching unacceptability of eastern depictions of young girls that simply goes one step to far at all times. You can see the insidious influence it has even in western emulations...the Skyrim modding community is simply overwhelmed with pedophiles that are all rooted in this cultural acceptance of extremely sexualized children that comes directly out of JRPG art styles.

Now I'm not saying this stuff should be censored or banned, but I think its cultural and societal impacts should be considered and perhaps restricted to an adults only rating...cause to be frank, some of this stuff could get you put in jail, with cause, simply by possessing it on your computer, by a jury of your peers in America (Not referring to Bravely Default here...just in general).

And as sweet and innocent as you may believe your anime waifu to be, no matter how much respect you show for that depiction of innocence and beauty and strength and whatever other glowing positive word you want to associate with a non-existent female that embodies your ideals of what the perfect girl should be....somewhere on the internet, someone is having sex with it...and its their sister, or worse, their daughter. I apologize for the bluntness of that statement but it is a fact...not a supposition or an assumption. Feel free to look for your waifu on any japanese related Skyrim screenshot repository, or for the true art connoisseur, DeviantArt..she'll be there, usually stuffed with penises.

Now this isn't to say that all fans of this genre fall into this disgusting and horrifically imbalanced behavior...because they don't. But its the slow but sure creep of a cultural acceptance of "accepting the differences of another culture" that gives reinforcement to what is, in some people, truly an expression of mental illness. They think its okay because its not a real girl or a real person.....and its not okay. Fantasizing about murder is not okay...its not "okay" just because you didn't really do it.

Now you can't equate playing a shooter game to fantasizing about murder the same way you can't equate playing a JRPG to fantasizing about molesting underage girls. But the issue as it stands is we don't have an obvious issue of people directly fantasizing about murder due to shooter games(this isn't to say its not happening its just got a lot less direct visual evidence that you can find on Google)..whereas there is extreme and direct evidence all over the internet of people fantasizing about molesting underage girls and a good amount of this vicarious fantasy is based on JRPG and anime style characters...cause as compared to fantasizing about actual real underage females, people think that this is acceptable because it has no true intent of harm because you cannot harm something that doesn't exist...but that doesn't make it right. Its still a seriously imbalanced form of sexual expression....regardless.

So, no offense to fans of the genre and art style...you didn't make it wrong by liking it...someone else did by...well the obvious reasons they made it wrong.

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