New Dragon Ball anime Blu-ray removes flipped birds, ruffles fan feathers【Photos, video】

Throwing planet-smashing energy beams at one another is OK, but those martial arts masters better keep their middle fingers down.

As one of the very greenest of anime’s evergreen hits, it’s easy to forget just how old Dragon Ball Z is. The most popular and influential arc of creator Akira Toriyama’s generation-and-galaxy-spanning martial arts epic, Dragon Ball Z’s first TV episodes aired all the way back in 1989, and if you go back to its anime predecessor, Z-less Dragon Ball, that anime premiered in 1986, with the manga it’s based on starting in 1984.

In the decades since, attitudes about what is and isn’t acceptable in anime primarily aimed at young children have changed, and that’s manifested in a way that’s extremely upsetting to Japanese Twitter user @nappasan.

今月5日に東映ビデオより発売されたドラゴンボールZのBlu-rayソフトにおいて、中指を立てて挑発する表現がデジタル修正されていました。公式側による告知や但し書きなどは何も無く、過去の映像作品における表現の問題に関する重大な背信行… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


ナッパ教信徒 (@nappasan) December 15, 2018

The above tweet shows a brand-new Japanese Blu-ray release of Dragon Ball Z, which went on sale from publisher Toei December 5, on the left, and the original version of the same scene on the right. While fan favorite Trunks used to be seen flipping the bird to his adversary Broly, he’s now just raising a clenched fist, in a much less aggressive/offensive gesture.

▼ Video comparison

映像による比較をしてみました。2カットに渡ってトランクスの中指が修正されているのが判ります。なお画面右側で使用している「オリジナル版」の映像はAmazonプライムビデオにおける配信映像であり、今回発売されたBlu-rayはこれと同… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


ナッパ教信徒 (@nappasan) December 15, 2018

What’s got @nappasan, and presumably the many people who have retweeted his comparisons, especially upset is how this digital altering of the anime’s visuals doesn’t seem to mesh with what’s written on the back of the Blu-ray box, which promises:

“A portion of ths anime’s visuals and dialogue are considered to be inappropriate in the current era, but in recognition of the importance of the work’s historical value, the existing original materials are presented in their original form. Thank you for your understanding.”

▼ The notice, boxed in red by @nappasan, as it appears on the Dragon Ball the Movies #6 Blu-ray.

なお「原版のとおり収録」の文言が書かれているのはここです。 https://t.co/U4j2hOoqaI


ナッパ教信徒 (@nappasan) December 15, 2018

It’s definitely odd that Toei would go to the trouble of printing such a confidently worded disclaimer on the box only to do the opposite. “This is an upsetting and serious betrayal of past visual expression,” Tweeted @nappasan, who later came across yet another example of middle finger-repositioning in the new Blu-ray.

『復活のフュージョン!!悟空とベジータ』におけるベクウの場面でも同様の中指ジェスチャーへの修正が行われていることを確認しました。 https://t.co/lhZE60L4Al


ナッパ教信徒 (@nappasan) December 15, 2018

The digital self-censorship highlights an evolution of how flipping the bird is seen in Japan. @nappasan claims that the gesture used to be less widely recognized in Japan, and was something that could fly under the radar without causing widespread offense.

▼ The raised middle finger pops up in Toriyama’s original manga as well.

鳥山作品おいては昔から度々使用されてきた中指を立てるジェスチャーですが、当時日本ではあまり認知されていたわけではなく、「分かる人にはわかる」程度の挑発サインでしかありませんでした。今回のように規制対象になるまでにタブー化したわけで… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


ナッパ教信徒 (@nappasan) December 15, 2018

Raised middle fingers actually enjoyed a brief spurt of

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