￼ So there’s been a lot of buzz about NIS America’s new title, Mugen Souls. The game looks like it’s a blast for moe lovers and JRPG fans, but there’s one issue that has probably received more attention than the game itself. Censorship. Yes, censorship most likely due to pressure from Rating Boards and the fear of Puritanical outrage has yet again stepped in to ensure that the North American and European localization of a Japanese game is tampered with and certain content is removed. For purists and anti-censorship advocates like myself, this is frustrating and heavily discourages the support and purchase of said censored product. To me, it matters less what is censored and more that something is censored at all. Why should we have to bend knee to a bunch of suits and soccer moms who want to nit-pick at games that they will never play or come into contact with? So the question remains, what exactly is being censored in Mugen Souls? I sent an e-mail to NIS America inquiring about it. For legal reasons, I cannot post the exact message but I’ll paraphrase the information. The NIS America Support Staff told me that “the only major thing” which was removed from the game was a small mini-game.
Apparently, in the Japanese version of the Mugen Souls this mini-game was optional and you could still receive the benefits (which comes in the form of stat boosts) even if you didn’t play it. In additional to that, there are some post-game scenes that were also removed because they were “similar in nature” to the mini-game. They assured me that everything else remained the same. So what’s the mini-game that is so offensive it had to be removed from the North American and European versions?
There you have it. One of a variety of scenes in which you bathe the characters and they respond with embarrassed and naughty giggles and protests. That was so intense that they had to remove it for fear of an AO rating. Unrealistically drawn, cute anime girls in sexually suggestive situations are simply too much for the American market. However, inflicting unspeakable horrors upon people, realistically depicting war, and having games that place you in the role of terrorists where you slaughter innocent people is fine and dandy so long as you slap an M rating on it. Other games have strong sexual content and get away with M ratings. The God of War games have MINI-GAMES WHERE YOU HAVE SEX WOMEN WHILE OTHER TOPLESS WOMEN WATCH YOU. How is that acceptable but a few ecchi bath scenes in a game with unrealistically drawn anime girls requires censorship? I asked them the reason for the censorship. NIS America responded thus… “…however, in the case of Mugen Souls, we have decided to cut out the parts we felt was against our belief and the core value to delivering the morally acceptable entertainment for everyone.”
There you have it. “Morally acceptable” values are to blame. Even though other games have completely visible depictions of sex and realistic graphic violence, this is just too far. My only guess as to why this would ruffle people’s feathers is because some of the characters are sort of amorphous moeblobs that could be interpreted as looking young. Honestly, does it really matter? They aren’t photo-realistic children being molested. It’s a bunch of moeblobs and busty women. Am I still going to buy the game? I’ve pre-ordered the Limited Edition plus Figure Set version of the game, but mostly because of the potential collector’s value and because the game looks fun. The bath scenes are available on Youtube for those who wish to view them. I just hope they don’t cut out all the very tame but cute hot spring scenes for the same reason. If they remove that much content, I might send it back. NIS America always does a great job and utilizes clever or minimal censorship (like saying Rorona is 17 in the game manual instead of 14 in the first game, which is technically true at the end since the game takes place over 3 years; I don’t know why they even bothered to change that though) and translates the jokes and references in generally acceptable ways so I have faith the game will be true to the original despite the omitted content.
I’m not saying the stuff isn’t perverted, just that we shouldn’t have to change it because a bunch of people who will never play the game would disapprove. If you are worried about kids seeing “offensive content” then just utilize the great parental controls that exist in the PS3’s OS. Don’t make the experience worse for all the adults who want to play the game in it’s original form just because some parents are too lazy or detached from their kids’ hobbies and interests to monitor them properly.
Here’s a translation of the song from the Atelier Meruru soundtrack that I posted yesterday. I find this song to be reminiscent of anime theme songs from the 70’s and 80’s such as the openings to Cutey Honey, Casshern, or even Saint Seiya. I’d like to note that in lieu of a direct translation I decided to apply some creative interpretation to reflect the feeling and attitude of the song. If you’d like to see the more literal and direct translation feel free to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll provide it for you. Here I’ve included the original, the romaji transliteration, and the English translation. Enjoy!