This took me completely by surprise... NOT.
Okay, we briefly talked on this in the weekly comics shopping list, but I honestly think it warrants a discussion on its own... it's a serious issue for any fan of imported comics, and can arguably be thought to affect comics as a whole in the sense of what can and can't be censored.
A little background:
Tenjho Tenge (hereafter shortened to TJTG) is a comic from Japanese creator Ogure Ito, more commonly known by his pen name Oh! Great. It follows the stories of several characters, past and present, in a school where the extracurricular activities ALL revolve around fighting... from traditional martial arts, wrestling and boxing to the more fantastical fighting styles seen in video games like King of Fighters that focus on chi attacks and taking the human abilities beyond their known limits. This is a Fighting School.
And make no mistake, Tenjho Tenge has a LOT of racy content. Ogure began his comics career in the porn market, drawing a lot of very sexually explicit material (in the US, likely the most well-known would Eros Comics' imports of Silky Whip and Silky Whip Extreme). IN the past decade, Ogure moved into the mainstream market with TJTG and Air Gear (about inline skaters of the near future), but he's never shied away from what is traditionally referred to as "fan service" (bare breasts, panty shots and sexual content). It's a part of his art, who he is and the stuff he creates... and if it bothers you, then you shouldn't be reading the work of Ogure Ito any more than you should read the works of Hugh Hefner.
Apparently it bothers the editors at DC CMX quite a bit, because their licensed release of Tenjou Tenge hit the shelves March 2nd, and the fans found out that this version is quite a bit different from what they were expecting (or at least hoping to see).
The following list comes from ListerX, and notes 32 individual edits of visual and story content:
Please note that page numbers match between the original tankubon and the CMX release.
Cover - Tenjho Tenge title placed over Aya to obscure panty-shot
Page 19/ Panel 2 - Smash used instead of kill
Page 32-33/ Panel 4 - Zoom-in on Aya's upper body, bra added to cover exposed breasts
Page 34/ Panel 1 - Zoom-in on Nagi to delete image of Aya's breasts
Page 34 Panel 4 - Bra added
Page 35/ Panel 3 - "Other trouble-maker" used instead of foreigner
Page 36-37/ Panel 2 - Bra added
Page 38/ Panel 3 - Bra and panties added
Page 41 - Fight(Chapter) number moved to cover Nagi's middle finger
Page 50/ Panel 4 - Large "LEAP" effect used to cover Aya's panty-shot
Page 85/ Panel 2 - Bra added
Page 85/ Panel 4 - Zoom-in on Chiaki's upper body, bra and extra shirt folds added
Page 86-87 - Panties and extra shirt added to Chiaki
Page 88/ Panel 1 - Zoom-in on Bob and Chiaki's faces to delete breasts
Page88/ Panel 2 - Bra and panties added
Page 93/ Panel 4 - Sexual reference played down
Page 115/ Panel 1 - Extra shadows added to obscure Chiaki's Breast
Page 115/ Panel 2 - Extra shirt added
Page 115/ Panel 3 - Extra shirt added
Page 115/ Panel 4 - Zoom-in on panties to delete butt cleavage
Page 116/ Panel 1 - Zoom-in on Chiaki and Ryuzaki's faces to delete breasts and pubic area
Page 117/ Panel 1 - Zoom-in to delete part of breast
Page 117/ Panel 2 - Laundry added to cover breasts
Page 117/ Panel 3 - Zoom-in and shadows added to obscure silhouettes
Page 122 - Zoom-in to delete Chiaki's unclothed lower half, bra added
Page 136-137/ Panel 4 - Bra added
Page 149/ Panel 1 - Nagi's apology to Bob omitted
Page 159/ Panel 1 - Zoom-in on movie screen to delete sexual content
Page 166/ Panel 4 - Chiaki's sexual comments omitted
Page 167/ Panel 3 - Chiaki's sexual comments omitted
Page 172-173 - 4-koma omake omitted
Page 174 - Omake image omitted
Word is spreading fast in forums and blogs about this censored title. It would appear that the official line from DC is that they had complete permission from O!G to make "minor edits", but I find it very hard to believe that this is what he had in mind. Sadly, I don't find it hard to believe that somone told the artist that if his work wasn't censored, then it wouldn't sell. And that, as we all know, is a bald-faced lie.
While the majority of edits are based on the visuals, let's not get completely hung up on the bras and panties... It could be argued by some that the lack of nudity on the title doesn't really affect the content of the story in a seriously negative fashion.
But the edits go beyond that... they've also apparently edited the dialogue and gone out of their way to cover up other visual elements such as Nagi's one-finger salute at one point... Dialogue that goes into indicating the mature nature of Bob and Chiaki's relationship has been changed (here's a shocker: they're high-school-age teenagers who live alone together and HAVE SEX!! *gasp*swoon* the scandal!!). Dialogue indicating that Chiaki was raped by the villainous Ryuzaki is also changed, and for some reason Nagi's apology to Bob (in which he admits that he's been acting like a loser) is changed... why they would edit out THAT, I have no idea, but it actually changes the way the reader percieves Nagi's character.
Furthermore, if CMX intends to continue to edit the content in this way, it would seem that in later volumes they'll need to excise entire pages and subplots, which will weaken the story. If Shin's girlfriend Kuzunoha doesn't seduce Mitsuomi, that takes away one of the events that drives the two to eventually fight to the death (and for that matter, her relationship with Shin is vital to understanding how Shin is controlled and manipulated by the Takayanagi Group). If Bob and Nagi don't encounter the many sexy bodyguards of Asshat (MUCH later in the series), then the entire character of Asshat is changed immensely... his whole character revolves around him being a sexual dynamo with a veritable harem of girls that protect him. It goes on and on... if anything, this title becomes MORE sexually explicit as the series continues.
In addition, the artistic edits can negatively affect the illustration and panel-to-panel work of the pages by changing composition and layout. It's one thing to paste on underwear, but when they clip, cut and enlarge panels in order to make edits, they're changing the way the panels work together. Truly, this censored edition of Ogure's work is a weakened product.
TJTG was never, NEVER intended to be read by children. It's a title for mature audiences, and even in it's country of origin it's considered very racy and it pushes the envelope (recently I asked a friend of mine who was visiting Tokyo to pick up some of the original manga for me, and he returned with a tale of being quite embarrased when the salesgirl realized what title he was asking for). So it seems very odd that CMX is attempting to make this title somehow palatable to younger American readers for whom it was never designed. Many other titles currently being released by ToykyoPop, Viz and Dark Horse contain material that is much more violent and sexually explicit than what is contained in the unedited pages of TJTG (Berserk comes immediately to mind, as does Battle Vixens), so it's not as though they can legitimately cite the market itself as a reason for this censorship.
At this early point, it seems that the best response is to make some noise... writing to the editors at DC and CMX (politely), writing to bloggers, columnists and media reviewers to encourage them to weigh in on the topic, and most of all, NOT BUYING THE BOOK. A title like this depends on the grass-roots support of a pre-existing fanbase to encourage new readers and sales to improve. But at this rate, the backlash of opinion from that same fanbase is going to have the opposite effect, hurting sales of this particular book, and potentially sales of CMX manga in general.
It may not seem important, but this is a case of blatant, outright content censorship. If it's allowed to pass here, where does it end?
This is doubly a slap in the face, given that the DC CMX mission statement claims that CMX will bring you manga that is:
Ooooohhh, we see the difference all right.100% the way the original Japanese creators want you to see it. In English!
CMX is putting the extra time and energy into getting it right. We're working with the best translators, some them hand-picked by the creators themselves! We're using the latest hi-tech digital production techniques and putting it all in a great package, because we care as much about these books as you do.
In fact, some top manga creators — ones who haven't let anyone near their work before — trust our dedication to their vision so much they they picked US to bring you the first-ever authorized editions of their work anywhere outside of Japan. Now, that's cool.
Whether you're a die-hard manga fan, a casual reader, or a first-timer wondering what the heck you've got in your hands, we think you'll see the difference.
noooo. tenjho tenge isnt as funny when it's edited like that.
glad i have my imports to turn to
If I could read Japanese, I'd be all over the imports. I already bought the first three for the art. Instead, I encourage piracy!
I don't even get this quote. "CMX is putting extra time into getting it right?" As opposed to the half assed job they usually do? Such an admission is hardly the projected image of any company I think.Originally Posted by Some jackass PR person
"Some of them hand picked by the creators themselves!" A sad attempt to validate the HEAVY editing done by the "Editor" (hey, whats what they do) Notice they didnt say, "Some of them hand picked by the creators themselves and then re-edited for content by John Doe!" Come-on, I'm not this dumb.
"We're using the latest hi-tech digital production techniques and putting it all in a great package, because we care as much about these books as you do." Might I recomend a Xerox machine? It might be cheaper and it dosnt accidentily add bras and shift lettering to cover naughty bits.
"In fact, some top manga creators — ones who haven't let anyone near their work before — trust our dedication to their vision so much they they picked US to bring you the first-ever authorized editions of their work anywhere outside of Japan. Now, that's cool." Errr.....Riiiight. Riddle me this Batman, why use the word "vision" when you have the actual body of work? "Vision" infers storyboards or script, but this is a complete body of work. Maybe by calling it "vision" I may be distracted enough to actually loose my common sense and think, for one second that Japan got ripped-off by not getting the "true vision" of the story??? What the hell is going on here?
Sheesh. This is too much. I'm out
Originally Posted by Pardot Kynes
Well, following that line of thought, then it's surprising that they licensed it in the first place.
I mean, jeez... if you wanted to stick with titles aimed at younger readers and avoid any potential issues with content, why would you take on one of the raciest titles in the pantheon of Japanese comics?
That's like deciding to take late-night Skinemax and put it on the Fox Box. If your intent is to aim for young readers, then licensing Tenjho Tenge in the first place is nothing short of retarded.
They also publish Preacher, and that had tits and ****s and dicks and ****ing and amputations and gay butt rape.Originally Posted by Pardot Kynes
I had heard of the series I belive Originally through You Ink, I was interested in the series, but can't read Japanese and aquireing them thru "other" means cough-bit-t-cough-orent-cough seemed like to much of a hassle since it had been liscendced and labled I belive as Mature I thought it was going to come over uncensored. Man that just really pisses me off! I will not purchase it, but I'm greatly dissapointed.
"Reality relies not on peoples ability to belive but rather on people's inability to dissbelive"