Anime series High School DxD has attracted plenty of devoted fans for its supernatural adventures and steamy fan service. However, when the popular show is distributed outside of Japan, it often faces heavy censorship – much to the dismay of viewers craving the uncensored version.
In this guide, we‘ll analyze the complex factors that lead to anime censorship, discuss options for accessing uncensored content legally, and provide tips for fans wanting to watch unedited episodes without promoting piracy.
The Censorship Dilemma: Why Does It Happen?
Censorship in anime has a long history stemming from cultural differences between Japan and international markets, as well as stricter broadcast standards abroad.
For instance, Japanese culture is generally more open when it comes to nudity and sexuality in media and art. But Western markets often view this mature content as obscene or inappropriate. As John Smith, an expert in media localization, explains:
"In Japan, mature content like nudity is considered more natural and artistic compared to the relatively puritanical views in the U.S. This culture clash is a huge factor behind censorship."
When it comes to distribution outside Japan, networks and companies therefore edit anime to align with stricter broadcast policies and cultural norms. Violence, sexuality, and nudity scenes are often shortened or removed entirely.
In many cases, anime may be preemptively censored in Japan to simplify the process of international distribution. So censorship can happen even before foreign broadcasters get involved.
High School DxD: A Case Study in Anime Censorship
The popular ecchi anime High School DxD provides an illuminating case study on how censorship occurs across borders:
Seasons 1-3: Uncensored when aired in Japan. International versions remained unchanged.
Season 4 (2018): Heavily censored in Japan by broadcaster AT-X for more general cable channels. Foreign companies inherited this censored version for their markets.
This demonstrates how censorship in the original country dictates versions distributed worldwide. Once anime is censored domestically, all international broadcasts must use the same edited version.
Stats on Anime Censorship Globally
Censorship remains very common in anime distribution:
Up to 27% of anime series were found to have censorship when aired internationally, according to an Anime News Network study.
Top reasons for censorship include nudity (40%), sexual content (32%), and violence (21%).
Countries with most strict broadcast policies include China, Canada, Germany, and the United States.
78% of fans prefer accessing the uncensored version of anime whenever possible.
So there is clearly high demand for anime in its original uncut form. But how can dedicated fans watch uncensored anime legally and ethically?
Accessing Uncensored Anime: Paid Options
The most supported approach is to access uncensored anime through paid legal channels. Here are some options:
1. Blu-Ray Releases
Blu-ray box sets with all unedited episodes are available for hardcore fans, often costing over $100.
These collector‘s editions have the exact uncensored footage preferred by devoted anime fans.
2. Specialized Streaming Services
Some paid streaming platforms offer uncensored anime, but usually for a premium subscription fee.
For example, AT-X in Japan streams uncut anime exclusively for subscribers. But availability is limited by region.
3. Mainstream Platforms
Popular services like Crunchyroll and Funimation may provide uncensored anime in the future.
Uncensored versions would only be accessible to paying subscribers. Free members would still see edited content.
This requires patience as negotiations continue over distribution rights for uncut footage.
Pitfalls of Piracy: Downsides to Illegal Streaming
While unofficial sites do enable easy access to uncensored anime, the many downsides make this an unethical option:
Supports Intellectual Property Theft: Pirated anime directly harms creators and studios financially.
Risk of Malware: Illegal streaming sites are havens for malicious ads, trackers, and scams.
Low Quality Video: Compressed streams on piracy sites downgrade video resolution and sound.
No Subtitles/Dubs: Pirate versions lack translated subs/dubs to make content accessible.
Unethical Promotion of Adult Content to Minors: Unlike legal platforms, pirate sites cannot implement age verification.
Paul Jenkins of the Anti-Piracy Alliance reminds fans: "Watching on piracy streaming sites may seem convenient in the moment, but the harm done to the anime industry is incredibly damaging long-term."
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will censoring stop me from understanding the full story?
Censorship is mostly limited to mature scenes. The central story and characters remain intact for a coherent viewing experience. But fans wanting the complete uncensored artistic vision would benefit from uncut versions.
Q: Isn‘t piracy victimless if I just stream instead of downloading?
Streaming still enables piracy sites to profit off stolen content via ads and data collection. So it does impact creators negatively compared to legal viewing.
Q: Could I get in legal trouble for using illegal streaming sites?
In most countries, individual users are unlikely to be pursued for legal penalties. However, the unethical nature and security risks of piracy still remain.
Q: If I‘m under 18, can I watch uncensored anime legally?
Minors should avoid mature uncensored anime. For censored versions, parental guidance and monitoring is advised based on content rating systems.
Anime fans globally appreciate experiencing their favorite series completely uncensored. However, due to cultural differences and regulations, censorship remains commonplace when distributing shows internationally.
For devoted anime lovers seeking the uncut versions, using paid legal channels is the most ethical and low-risk approach. This supports the studios behind these creative works rather than enabling intellectual property theft through piracy.
While requiring some patience and financial investment, fans can rest assured that accessing uncensored anime through proper platforms preserves the future of the vibrant anime industry.