Brainwrecked Censorship In Triggerheart Exelica
Disclaimer: This post is about American censorship and the cultural norm differences between the United States of America and Japan. In order to do that, I’m going to have to show you some stuff that’s deemed perfectly acceptable in Japan but not quite so in the US. Not 100% safe for work. You have been warned.
I’ll be the first to admit there are things I just don’t know. I don’t know what my attraction is to anime is. I don’t know what drives my general disgust with censorship. And I don’t know what drives me to nit-pick details. But Triggerheart Exelica has pushed all these buttons. I love Triggerheart Exelica — it’s the first game in a long time that’s given me such an adrenaline rush trying to achieve lofty goals. But when I discovered that the game got censored a bit, what got censored, and the inconsistency of the censorship, it drove me bonkers.
First up is the Stage 1 Clear Result screen:
If you’re a male that has even a slightly positive outlook on anime, you’ve probably already got a good look at Exelica’s ass. Notice something a little too real? If not, here’s your excuse to look twice. If you haven’t noticed that Exelica seems to be anatomically correct, you’re probably too young to be looking at this right now. And at your age, I might forgive you for skipping past the scant background story that proclaims that the Triggerhearts are humanoid weapons — aka robots. So why does a robot need to be anatomically correct…in a game rated Everyone 10+?
OK, so the Japanese are more open than the US and the US is more strict than the Japanese when it comes to sex. (I didn’t say intercourse, I said sex.) You can’t say one culture’s norm is right or wrong, or better or worse. That’s why the picture only garnered a eye-roll from me. Silly Japanese, using female humanoid robots as an excuse to draw some anime soft-core. None of the other Stage Clear Result screens offer anything as revealing, so maybe the ESRB let one controversial thing go through for the sake of preserving the original experience?
That’s when I discovered I can change the wallpaper used when playing in Horizontal mode. This one got a lot more than an eye-roll from me:
As you can see, Faintear is…clean-shaven. In a game rated Everyone 10+. In fact, I didn’t even know the game’s ESRB rating until I saw this picture. I thought after that, the game would get a Teen rating for sure. I was wrong. Seriously, did anyone at the ESRB actually play this one, or do they still rely on video footage of game play sent to them by the company when they come across a game that doesn’t have the potential to cause a shit storm the size of San Andreas? Maybe they’re still reeling from the “consistency in ratings” crap after giving the original submission of Manhunt 2 an AO rating?
At this point, my curiosity was really piqued. Exactly “how bad” did Triggerheart Exelica get? What stupid shit got the axe for our virgin American eyes?
That’s when I found these two images, the first on Warashi’s game page, the second from a Japanese company called Kill Time Communications:
As we can see, not only is Faintear clean-shaven but butt-naked with a knack for sheer. In other words, there is no way in hell we’re going to see any Triggerheart Exelica merchandise on our shores.
Now here comes the really brainwrecked part. Here’s two screen shots, one from the Japanese arcade version (taken from Warashi’s game page) and the American XBLA version:
OK, so wait…it was too much for us too see Faintear’s sexiness in-game, but OK to see it in monochrome as wallpaper? And why is Exelica’s pose changed while Faintear’s is not? Actually, it’s the same pose but rotated clock-wise almost as if to hide boobage. What they flying monkey fart is that? You’ll hide Exelica’s boobs here, but give an anatomically-correct panty shot in about sixty seconds when we clear the stage? If you’re going to let the wallpaper with a huge clean-shaven Faintear in, you might as well leave the original pictures that come up next to the dialog intact. They’re less than half the size of the wallpaper.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is my problem with censorship — there’s no clear line and it’s never implemented evenly. I have no clue what Warashi changed willingly and at the ESRB’s direction, but I do know that someone had to get paid to go back in and tweak things a bit. And for what? For stuff kids around this age are probably staying up and watching HBO/Cinemax/Showtime/etc. for anyway. And even if you don’t have a subscription to a premium movie network with your cable or satellite TV provider, there’s other sources to go to. And barring any other sources, if this really does spark a discussion with your kid about the differences between the sexes, wouldn’t you rather it be this game? Honestly, the stuff presented in this game is rather tame. It’s not like Warashi is bringing this over to the US any time soon (that’s my job!):
That just begs the question, “When did Crueltear’s full-coverage-bottom body suit become a thong-bottom body suit?”