Monday, October 18, 2004

Tokyo Tribes gets an Extreme Makeover (in more ways one) 

I thought it was pretty interesting that Santa Inoue, creator of the Tokyo Tribes manga was going to be on Extreme Makeover. I read from somewhere that the kid was really into manga, and that's why they picked him to redo the kid's room. Unfortunately, according to FigNewton, the manga aspect was totally glossed over, just saying his name and that he was from Tokyo.

I can see them being worried about the content of his manga being associated with the show, but geeze you'd think if they had a celebrity guest they could at least allude to his occupation. It isn't like most people would know his comic was out in the US anyway.

Of course the Tokyo Tribes release has had its share of controversy in the manga community due to big black bars added over nudity. Personally, I'm not as much up in arms as a lot of other people are. It seems like Santa was ok with getting the age rating down slightly for better distribution and gave specific instructions on how to have things covered up.

My main reason for not being too perturbed is that while imagery of what is going on is being blocked out, you aren't being misled. In the Initial D editing, the company was trying to cover up a pretty important aspect of a character's story. Even in cases where a swimsuit is drawn over someone, that can change the dynamic of what's going on.

In this case the black bars almost seem like a subversive form of self-censorship, since everyone still knows exactly what is going on, but have to imagine part of it and (just as in many good horror movies) the imagination may make up something more graphic than was there to begin with.

It actually seems like an extesion of thinking from what has gone on in Japan for many years, where the most messed up stuff is possible to be made as long as certain things were mosaiced out. And as much as we might think of that sometimes as an oddity in Japan, the US is certianly no exception. For instance bleeping out swears on TV when it is totally obvious what is actually being said. Or stuff that happens on COPS or Howard Stern or whatever.

People might accuse Santa of caving in to pressure, but in a way this almost seems like beating the system. Instead of misleading readers into thinking the manga isn't so graphic, those aspects have actually been emphasized even more, without actually changing the story itself.... Hmmm...

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