For this one particular medium, The Other Wiki did a lot of studies on the Bowdlerisation subject. Now that's a lengthy article.
It also needs to be pointed out that many of the anime edits—at least in North America—only apply to the television broadcast version of the shownote Reasons for this include network executives' view of cartoons as still being part of the Animation Age Ghetto and their fear of Moral Guardians (due to their tendency to either start boycotts or, in America's case, lawsuits); also, the government broadcast authorities—FCC et al—usually have very strict regulations on content meant for children. The home video version of that same episode will usually be unedited (exceptions include the English-only versions of Zatch Bell! and Digimon, as well as the entirety of 4Kids's output).
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North America - 4 Kids
Pretty much all of the anime properties dubbed by 4Kids Entertainment (such as Yu-Gi-Oh!, One Piece, and Pokémon) have fallen victim to bowdlerization, to the point where you can pretty much consider some of them crushed down to a fine powder in terms of relative quality.
The 4Kids version of One Piece may be the most infamous case:
Sanji no longer smokes, but he has a lollipop.
Zoro's swords no longer cut people open, and so there's a memorable scene where his blade cut through a giant stone mallet and then "knocked out" the guy beyond it.
When Mihawk sliced Zoro open across his whole chest, they removed all the blood from the image. A similarly extreme example happens in the fight with Mr. 1, in which the blood from Zoro getting hit in the chest with Mr. 1's drill-bit like arms is removed.
A case of bowdlerization making something WORSE, cause instead of just being killed, she's imprisoned and presumably enslaved by Arlong until she eventually died.
Nami is afraid that Arlong will hurt people, and she hates him because he fills people with fear, not because he shot her mother right in front of her, or rather, imprisoned her mother when she was ten.
In a case of So Bad, It's Good, Captain Smoker Chaser (even "Smoker" was too edgy) no longer smokes several cigars at once, but he has "smoke breath" from his Moku-Moku Fruit, a DevilCursed Curséd Fruit that enables its user to turn into smoke.
They renamed Ace Portgaz D. Trace. Apparently, even "Ace" was too edgy.
They replaced all guns in One Piece with water pistols or pop-guns, except one, which was replaced with a mallet on a spring!
When a man is shot point-blank by one of Shanks's men (to show how ruthless and powerful they are) Shanks informs the bandit that the gun was full of blanks and the man simply fainted.
Which is actually a really, REALLY irresponsible change, as this delivers the message that blanks are perfectly safe to fire at people. The truth is that Nothing fired out of a gun at a person is guaranteed to be non-lethal, especially so if you're firing point-blank, at their freaking temple. Ironically, this is the exact opposite of the original point of the scene, which had Shanks warning some bandits not to point guns around unless they were fully prepared both to kill with one and to die by one.
Nami uses a "rubber knife" to stab Usopp, then tells him to fall in the water. In the original story, she stabbed her own hand instead of Usopp, getting her blood on him, and he fell into the water out of shock, only realizing that Nami had planned for him to escape after making it to safety.
What makes this worse is that she constantly keeps mentioning how much it's a rubber knife. Just to drive home that she isn't really stabbing him. Initially, the viewers, like Johnny, would come to the conclusion that she had really killed Usopp.
Krieg's dart-firing gun was changed to fire poisonous suction-cups. Even then, the visual representation of the 'poison suction-cup' part only came into play AFTER they made their mark. And when Luffy pulls them out, they fall to the wooden deck with an audible metallic 'clank'.
The removal of the Laboon arc which replaced him with an iceberg that Luffy destroys, possibly because the backstory implies that Laboon's crew, which hasn't been seen in 50 years, must be dead (They died, but one came back to life), or because of Luffy fighting against a whale. Which would've become a major problem had the dub continued as a later arc, Thriller Bark, has ties with this story. What's more this was the arc the crew got their Log Pose (Grand Compress) from which originally was given to them by Laboon's keeper who fills them in on how the Grand Line works. Instead the Compress just falls onto the deck of the Merry and some of the crew state they have knowledge of the Grand Line gotten while growing up (with clips reused from previous episodes to showcase this). Likewise the removal of Little Garden which drew plot holes for Alabasta.
Luffy and Crocodile's first fight which originally ended with Crocodile stabbing Luffy with his hook and holding him in the air. It was awkwardly edited to make it looks like Crocodile was holding him upside down.
One infamous case of Bowdlerization in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX centers around Professor Cobra's final fate. In the original, Yubel gives him a false vision of his son still being alive, using it to lead him off the edge of the elevated duel arena he was dueling Judai on to his death, before transporting everyone else to another dimension. Since 4Kids can Never Say "Die", Cobra's death walk was hastily cut out, abruptly jumping from the very start of the false vision straight to the dimension-hopping. Bizarrely, they left in Professor Stein falling to his death in an extremely similar fashion, an event which happened around six episodes previously.
During Judai's duel with the Gravekeeper's Chief, the Chief summons Gravekeeper's Assailant. For her first attack, she uses a Flash Step, giving Judai no time to react. For her second attack, she moves at normal speed, giving Judai enough time to activate his face down cards and save himself from losing. Enraged, the Chief slaps the Assailant in the face and yells at her, saying if she had used a Flash Step like before, he would have won already. The dub cuts out the slap and just has him yelling at her. Judai's disgust at the Chief's cruelty remains.
The original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime was notorious for this as well, particularly with the use of the Shadow Realm. While Shadow Games were part of the original story, they were far less common than they were in the 4Kids dub and often had different consequences. In the original version of the story, the Shadow Realm did not exist. Shadow Games could be played in another dimension (which was the basis of the American Shadow Realm), and the penalty for losing said game could involve being sent to a prison dimension. But in the dub, the "Shadow Realm" was, with a few exceptions, simply a replacement for death. In one notable example, a battle involved the contestants being locked in place with a "spinning shadow disk" edging close as life points were lost. If the disk touched the player (because their life points reached zero), then they'd be "sent to the shadow realm". In the original version of this story, the disks were simply buzzsaws that would dismember the loser.
http://www.yu-jyo.net/ Showcases all the differences between the original episodes and the candy-land versions that 4Kids aired. The sheer amount of (often clumsily-done) censorship is staggering.
In an episode of the VR arc, Seto and Mokuba are tied to crosses in the original. The crosses were edited to become vaguely shaped hunks of rock when the show came to the US.
In any given episode where guns are used, the gun will be edited out, leaving characters (including intimidating guards) pointing their fingers at each other — though that doesn't stop anyone from acting like they're holding instruments of harm. For instance after Bandit Keith loses to Joey he pulls a gun out of his pocket and points it at Pegasus' head, but in the edited 4Kids version he points his finger at his head. And he still talks like he's going to shoot him. They realize that guns can't be deleted during Solomon's flashback in Egypt. Ahmet instead threatens Solomon with a slingshot.
Apparently, religious references are also off-limits — in the arc Digital Nightmare of the original series, all Bible references, including allusions to The Apocalypse, The Flood, and The Creation, were edited out. In fact, the main antagonist's deck was called the "Seven Days of Creation" in the original, which went missing, yet again, from the dub.
Though it should be noted that The Flood is still none-too-subtly implied when the main antagonist, by name of Noah, uses a card called Shinato's Ark as his Deck Master. Anyone even remotely familiar with the Bible would realize that it was an allusion to Noah's Ark.
They cut a reference to Mai having been a casino dealer on a cruise ship prior to playing in the tournament. Let that sink in. They cut a reference to gambling in a show centered on a card game. And yet gambling cards in Jounouchi/Joey's deck are perfectly fine.
They toned down the torture Marik received during his childhood and changed his motivation from avenging his father (he doesn't know he's the one responsible) and freeing his family's destiny from being tied to the Pharaoh to becoming the new Pharaoh of the entire world, making him less sympathetic in the process.
Many of the cards that originally portray religious symbols, nudity, violent weapons and gore were modified for overseas Trading Card Game and anime. You can see the list on this page with examples like Monster Reborn changed the ankh to a stylized crystal and Destiny Board's message from "DEATH" to "FINAL".
Similarly, the Dark Magician Girl has her bust reduced by editing out cleavage lines, the pentagram brooch replaced by a red jewel, and a single shot in her first appearance edits a close up of her legs to include a mini-skirt (which is gone in the next shot, and from that point on is never seen again). Then again, you can see why some of the cards imagery was toned down. Check out the original art for cards like Last Day of Witch, Final Flame and Soul of the Pure. ...Oh, and Fiend Comedian.
She's just one of many who have their busts reduced for the international release. While most of these edits also involved covering up cleavage, some, such as Lady Ninja Yae and Helios - The Primordial Sun, are purely for the sake of reducing bust sizes, and Deep Sea Diva doesn't appear to have gotten any smaller but has had her clothing slightly recolored to de-emphasize them. Apparently large breasts are considered Harmful to Minors even if they're fully covered.
When Yusei's getting marked as a criminal in that dub, he utters, "Is it supposed to tickle?" Compare the Japanese equivalent:
Yusei: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! *falls on the floor and starts writhing in pain.*
It's also difficult to claim that the change makes Yusei more Bad Ass, seeing as how the laser that burns the marker onto Yusei's face in the Japanese version is just changed into a harmless spray for the English dub.
In Episode 57 of the original Japanese release, Rudger Goodwin (Roman in the dub) cuts off his left arm (the one with the Signer birthmark), places it in a capsule of preservative liquid, and gives it to his brother Rex. In the dub, Roman does not cut off his arm, and somehow "seals" his birthmark in the capsule.
Yet in episode 26, they show Rex reaching into the capsule when the other marks are being set off, and the arm is not edited out in any way. Talk about consistent...
In the same episode in the original Japanese release, after being defeated by Yusei, Rudger blows up his prosthetic arm, destroying the bridge they were dueling on and sending Yusei plummeting into a reactor. In the dub, since what happened in the original could be seen as committing suicide, it's the destruction of Roman's Earthbound God/Immortal Uru that causes the bridge to blow up.
When Yusei is watching the tapes of children being tortured by Sayer, Jack's assistant kindly points out that the children are not in pain, in fact they are creating the electrical shocks surrounding them. However this does not explain the shown child screaming his head off. Instead of being killed by the shocks, the kids go "missing" in the dub.
In episode 35 Yusei gets a large shard of glass embedded in his stomach after falling off his Duel Runner. In the dub, however, the shard and blood are edited out and instead of screaming in pain as he does in the original, Yusei says "Ah, my gut!"
In the original, Carly is thrown out a window and falls several stories before crashing through the roof of another building, which kills her. In the dub she is just shown disappearing into a cloud of smoke and her body is not displayed. However the implication that she died is still there.
Another, but a rather interesting one - CITV airs Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's over in the UK. For some reason, the scenes in which Jack punches Yusei in episode 43 is cut. Jack grabs Yusei and then it cuts to Jack glaring before going into the next scene. Then a few minutes later, Yusei is on his knees, and around 10 seconds later, he's lying flat on his face. What REALLY makes this jarring though is that Yusei's "Why did you punch me?" line was not cut out. A fight scene edit from a network that also airs shows like Ben 10 and Huntik...
And there's the duel against Lotten. In the original, he calls off the duel and tries to escape, but Kiryu catches up to him and forces the duel to continue. But since Kiryu's final move involved his monster shooting Lotten in the head (never mind it was just a hologram) the dub changes this to Kiryu catching up to Lotten and arresting him, declaring that he's not going to bother finishing the duel since Lotten was a coward and abandoned it.
Sonic X was frequently Bowdlerised. "Real" firearms became lasers (quite tricky when you consider there was a large backstory involving a military organisation), several shots of human-shaped characters being hurt were removed, all upper-front shots of the character Rouge were eliminated, there was no swearing, and some scenes made no sense whatsoever. Some say the Bowdlerising of the final episode was so blatant it actually knocked several scenes out of sequence.
What made it even more amusing/wall-banging was that they put in lasers, but didn't edit out the spent cartridges ejecting from the guns. In another example, the first episode with Eggman after the premiere cut out all of his robot's rampage at the beach and through the city, going almost immediately from the robot emerging from the water to Sonic fighting it atop a building.
In episode 59, when Sonic confronts the Chaotix, there was originally a shot of Espio holding a knife. This was cut from the dub.
When the Chaotix introduce themselves to the viewer in episode 39, they had an image of them on the screen while they talked about themselves. Espio's had him holding a throwing knife, the background was covered in blood, and while this was shown he talked about how he was responsible for the attacks. 4kids replaced the images with reused clips of the character talking, and what Espio said was completely different.
Originally, the episode had Charmy rent some Sonic X DVDs in as a way for the Chaotix to figure out what's going on, as they don't know what the newspaper is talking aboutnote "ARK was falling?" What's ARK? What was falling down?. They realize they don't have the right kind of device to watch them, so Espio steals a DVD player. 4kids didn't want to have Espio stealing, so they removed everything related to the DVDs and added a long montage when Vector reads the newspaper which he now understands completely.
Maria was changed from having been killed by GUN to having been "captured."
They couldn't remove Cosmo's death scene completely, so they instead tried to remove emotional depth. Tails manages to keep it together enough to say 'goodbye', whereas in the Japanese he's barely able to manage to do anything more than screaming, crying, arguing, and slamming his head on the control panel for the Sonic Driver.
In episode 67, Chris getting stabbed is changed to him being punched and knocked out.
Almost all blood was erased. Almost being because in episode 73, Shadow has a small cut above his eye at one point, which 4kids either didn't see or forgot to erase.
On another note regarding Pokémon, the title is sometimes accused of being the product of bowdlerization due to the original Japanese title translating to Pocket Monsters. In reality, the localized title was a portmanteau to dodge legal issues with an existing toy line called Monster In My Pocket.
The term "Pokémon" is used all the time in the Japanese originals, though; it wasn't invented by the translators. "Pocket Monsters" rarely ever appears other than in the titles of the anime series and some of the games.
Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum acknowledge that "Pokémon" is short for "Pocket Monster" in the English version. A minor NPC mentions that the "Pokétch" is short for "Pokémon Watch", which ultimately makes it short for "Pocket Monster Watch".
The most infamous anime Bowdlerization of the modern era (prior to 4Kids) was, without a doubt, Sailor Moon. The numerous visual cuts and dialogue edits made by Dic/Cloverway/Optimum Production to the series are legendary, and have certainly contributed to the series' current indefinite stay in licensing hell.
While one of the most infamous dialogue changes was Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune being changed from Schoolgirl Lesbians to "cousins", the edits rarely extended to any of the original visual innuendo—making them incestuous lesbians, which is hardly new to anime but probably wasn't Cloverway/Optimum's intention.
In Sailor Moon S, Lita implied that she had a mom who was allergic to cats (in the original, her parents died in a plane accident — which is the reason why Lita has a fear of airplanes and lives alone).
Raye's grandfather was originally very lecherous (he still is in the dubbed version, but it was toned down in some places). New dialogue helped here, but in one episode from Sailor Moon R, Raye shows Grampa a magazine ad. The dub claims it's an ad for ladies' wrestling lessons at his dojo (that Grampa accidentally made into a two-page spread instead of a one-inch ad with Grampa freaking out over how much a two-page spread is going to set him back), but it originally was a warning for girls to look out for a dirty old man in the neighborhood.
Little things like that were always being changed in the DiC dub (and, to a lesser extent, the Cloverway dubs); in one episode, when chasing Zoisite (who is about to steal a Rainbow Crystal supposedly inside a little girl) into a narrow alley, Sailors Moon, Mercury, and Jupiter cram themselves in and are unable to move. Sailor Mercury attempts her bubble attack, which requires a certain awkward pose, and trips, leaving her bent forward with her backside in the air, unable to actually fall forward. Jupiter, behind her and much taller, has a close-up view of her posterior—and she blushes and stares, wide-eyed, as Mercury struggles to stand up. In some airings, Mercury fell half-way down but not completely and Lita's blushing was digitally removed from her cheeks.
Several episodes that aired in the U.S. feature Serena going to a party and proceeding to get "sick" because she drank too much "juice". By the third such time, they weren't even trying.
And of course, in the original, Makoto says that she should get a certain role in a play because she has the largest breasts; in the dub, Lita says it's because she has the most talent. That said, the voice acting and visuals gave away the Dub Text pretty quickly.
Fish-Eye is gay and sometimes changes gender to fit whatever disguise he's using that episode. In the dub, they just made him a girl just like with Zoisite. But then one episode has "her" in a Shirtless Scene; later airings would have it edited to a close-up on Fish-Eye's face, but in its first run, there were no edits because it was an ordinary male chest.
The transformation of an early adult-oriented anime Science Ninja Team Gatchaman into Battle of the Planets in the post-Star Wars space-show frenzy. Hermaphrodite villain Berg Katse became Zoltar and his "twin sister" (or similar-looking unrelated women). The youngest hero Jinpei was changed from a kid to a genetically engineered being with weird speech patterns. All scenes of violence and bloodshed removed, and a "narrator" would pop up to explain how the bad guys had been "temporarily stunned" by our heroes' weapons. Finally, a robot (animated in a completely different style) was inserted to pad the running length because so much had been cut. He would usually provide an Aesop at the end of the show.
Zark was apparently (to judge by the art) in the upper dome of Center Neptune. He served as narrator, including reassuring the kiddies that nobody was really hurt, when he wasn't taking credit for numerous good ideas and machines, or having really disturbing conversations with the early warning system on Pluto.
For some time, there was an urban legend that Jinpei/Keyop's speech patterns had been edited to remove swearing. The release of the unedited Gatchaman by ADV in the mid-2000s demonstrates that this wasn't true. It would seem that Sandy Frank made him a clone with an odd speech pattern to try to push the "sci-fi" angle further, and for him to have a "funny accent" to set him apart from the other characters. Before they went with the idea of him being a cloned child, his accent was to be a side-effect of him being an alien.
While the G-Force dub was less censored in comparison, the writers attempted to censor the deaths of Joe/Dirk's parents and say that Galactor "almost" killed them (while cutting the flashback to their death scene). When this proved to be a key point in a later episode, they forgot about their previous edit.
Saban's dub of the Gatchaman sequels, known as Eagle Riders, is another case of bowdlerisation. In an attempt to cover up a villain's death at the end of the first sequel and try to merge the two series closer together, the Gatchaman II villain is said to have been "transformed" into the big bad of Gatchaman Fighter. Other than that, character deaths were generally covered up or cut out, entire episodes were dropped while others were spliced together, and Saban's dubbing effort proved very inconsistent as the writers stumbled to get themselves out of plot holes they'd created.
Go Lion was itself pretty violent anime by non-Japanese standards. In the Voltron dub, all the violent and repulsive scenes were cut, as with the character deaths (examples being certain aliens and mutants changed into robots, as well as Takashe and Ryou Shirogane being one character rather than two). in addition, some episodes were given footage from Dairugger XV to pad their running length. All of the non-anime footage was used as the infamous season two.
As you might notice, Saber Rider might be a Gag Dub, as Bismarck is not really a space western. In fact the character WEP called "Saber Rider" is not even Second-In-Command in the team. For some reason the Bismarck space cruiser was given a voice in the dub, which was ironic because the voice was never used when the ship was in complete robot transformation (but knowing the ship didn't speak in in the original anime, some would disapprove of the ship voice. But given that said voice was Peter Cullen doing a John Wayne impression by way of Optimus Prime, maybe not). Although the enemy forces are from the same dimension as the good guys, the dub states that the enemies come from another dimension, and if they get shot or stabbed or such the enemies are said to be "forced back to their own universe for a short amount of time". a good example being the slain alien spy from the first episode appearing as a major character in some non-Japanese episodes, which were used to make up for the Bismarck episodes WEP did not want to pick up. Also, there was a handsome Anti-Villain whom the dub stated was human... but was originally not.
The English TV broadcast of Gurren Lagann edited a scene in the bath house episode where the heroes are seen floating along a glowing purple band through a group of well-endowed playboy bunnies. The band keeps you from seeing the heroes' heads rubbing across their funbags.
The very same episode had to be heavily edited before it was even allowed to air on Japanese television, removing almost all of its naughty bits (including the episode's main plot of Kamina wanting to see the girls naked), and turning it into a Recap Episode. Both versions are available on the DVD.
The Funimation dub of Kodocha blandly sanitizes many of Sana's more outrageous statements, starting with the title of the first episode — "I'm A Grade School Student With A Pimp" became "I'm A Grade School Student With An Agent". This practice stopped after the first four episodes. Fortunately, the subtitles for these episodes (or at least one of the subtitle options) retain the unsanitized lines.
Naruto got this treatment in its American TV broadcast.
Although it's pretty good about it, the Cartoon Network broadcast version cuts several things as well — such as the Naruto/Sasuke kiss (even though they keep it in during the flashback when Naruto believes Sasuke is dead) or the part when Naruto stabs himself with a kunai (though a line of dialogue makes what happened obvious).
The uncut version of the dub restores the alcohol references, and also keeps the blood and sometimes adds (restores? depends on which they recorded first) profanity (like Shikamaru saying "we'll nail these bastards" in Episode 110).
Early on in the series, when some of Gato's thugs kidnap Tsunami and are about to kill her son Inari, she threatens to bite her tongue and kill herself if they do, which would leave Gato unable to use any hostages against her father Tazuna. In the dub, she says she'll do anything the kidnappers want, with a fairly threatening look on her face and tone in her voice. This is one of the few edits that wasn't changed back in the uncut version (possibly just as an oversight).
The broadcast version can also be noticeably random with was it does and doesn't edit. For instance Sasuke is allowed to wander through a street littered with blood-covered dead bodies but moments later a wipe that was clearly meant to look like blood was made bright green (a similar edit happened a lot earlier, but wasn't followed by actual violence). Gaara always kills people in silhouette, but Kankuro is allowed to stuff them in a box and stab it until blood pours onto the ground.
Another jarring cut is during the final Zabuza/Kakashi fight, when Kakashi stabs two kunai into each of Zabuza's arms to render them useless. The actual stabbing scenes are cut and the kunai are rotoscoped out, so it's extremely unclear what happens. Kakashi just spins some kunai and then suddenly Zabuza stops using his arms.
The edits to Naruto Shippuden on Disney XD are QUITE jarring at times. Sometimes there is Never Say "Die", and they won't allow anyone to get stabbed (which makes things really awkward when Sasori stabs Sakura through when she saves Chiyo, or when Sasuke stabs Yamato through the shoulder). The thing is, they rated it as TV-PG, which, under broadcast standards would allow such wounds.
The English dub of Gash Bell, aside from a complete title change ("Zatch Bell", because of the former being the name of a type of severe wound or a euphemism for female genetalia), had an edited broadcast dub like the rest of Viz Media's anime, but because it never had the same Cash Cow Franchise power as, say, Naruto, it was edited at an inconsistent rate. A big inconsistent edit is in the guns; sometimes they appear normally, but in the episode where Kyo and Gash/Zatch aid Li-en in saving her Mamodo partner Wonrei, the guns the guards have are painted green, but they fire regular bullets.
This series is also huge with the Dub Name Change trope (including the titular Mamodo). Just go there and see.
And the flamboyant singer Folgore had a signature song he sang for fun; in the Japanese version, he sang about his love of breasts; this was changed to a generic "let's have a good day" song in the English dub.
Most of the above statements were carried over in the translation of the manga as well.
Cardcaptors, the Americanized (or, licensed and dubbed by a Canadian company) version of Cardcaptor Sakura, is probably the third-most-infamous example after One Piece and Sailor Moon. It eliminated all of the series' crushes (not just the ones involving cousins or same-sex pairings), despite it being y'know, a romance show. Strangely, the same-sex crushes managed to get a lot more Dub Text through than the heterosexual ones. They also changed nearly all of the characters' names.
A very minor (mostly cosmetic) change made in Pioneer's translation of the Pretty Sammy series was to replace all instances of "Sexy/Sexual" with "Lovely" in Pixy Misa's incantations. This wouldn't really be noteworthy... except for the fact that in the subtitled versions, you can still clearly hear her saying "Pixy Sexual Fire," while the subtitles claim it is "Pixy Lovely Fire".
Infamously, the original English dub of Dragon Ball Z (handled in a joint effort by Funimation and Saban with voice actors from The Ocean Group) bowdlerized the many character deaths by referring to the afterlife as "the other dimension" and dead characters as having been "sent to the other dimension". In one episode, Goku visits Hell (here, simply a place in the afterlife) and meets two body-building oni wearing shirts that read "HELL" in block letters; Saban/Funimation edited the shirts to read "HFIL" and referred to the location as the "Home For Infinite Losers".
This was reportedly the result of Saban's censorship guidelines at the time, which were particularly draconian; they forbid any explicit references to death, alcohol, or cigarettes, and even prohibited showing "children in distress", which meant that scenes of young Gohan crying had to be digitally altered to remove his tears. The now-defunct fansite DBZ Uncensored chronicled a long list of these changes on an episode-by-episode basis, detailing how Funimation digitally erased cigarettes, changed the color of Roshi's beer from yellow to blue (resulting in the "Frothy Mugs of Water" trope), and even added shrubbery and rocks to certain scenes in order to obscure Gohan's rather frequent displays of nudity. In one instance, Dende's younger brother Kargo simply disappears without explanation and is never mentioned again; in reality, Kargo, a child, is brutally killed on-screen right next to a thoroughly traumatized Dende.
The Nicktoons TV broadcast version of Dragon Ball Kai, a version of Dragon Ball Z that leaves out filler to be closer to the manga, is more forgiving with this scene, cutting out Kargo getting hit but leaving the body unedited a few seconds later (evidently, they're allowed to imply brutality but can't show it, especially if a child is involved). The Nicktoons version also showed Krillin's impalement with all references to the wound edited (though the implication that Krillin's been impaled is still present).
In Argentina, Magic Kids used to broadcast the show uncensored. Due to its popularity, Cartoon Network currently shows the uncensored version, and the animated movies are also uncensored.
While this is just the tip of the iceberg for Bowdlerization of both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z (even after Saban handed control of DBZ back to Funimation full-time), Funimation eventually made things semi-right by going back and redubbing those original episodes, then made it fully right by releasing those episodes in their uncut version on DVD. While Funimation would continue to Bowdlerize Dragon Ball (although the Bowdlerization after they got it away from Saban would be considerably less destructive), this was done only to the episodes when they aired on Cartoon Network; all of their DVD releases of Dragon Ball material have featured uncut versions of the episodes (including the original Japanese language version).
Parodied in Dragon Ball Abridged: "Oh my God, they blew up the cargo robot! ... And the cargo was people!!!"
When Son Gohan's Super-Powered Evil Side beats the crap out of the Mini-Me Cell clones, they actually get gibbed instead of just a black smoke explosion. Countless other changes abound...
When the Saiyans first arrive on Earth in the Ocean/Saban dub, Nappa (after just blowing up an entire city) comments on how it's lucky it was a Sunday and all those buildings were empty. Never mind how he knew what "Sunday" was mere moments after arriving on Earth, let alone that said day would be a day off for the majority of people. Dragon Ball Abridged subverts this mightily.
Bystander: So, are you guys aliens, or— * MASSIVE FIREBALL*
According to the games, they seem to know about days of the week, considering Raditz's attacks are all named after them.
When Raditz first arrived, he crashed in the middle of some farmer's field. The farmer fires his rifle at Raditz, who catches the bullet, scoffs, and then flicks it back at him, striking the farmer right in the middle of the forehead. In the re-cut, the farmer simply falls over in shock at the sight of Raditz catching the bullet.
Transformers Energon has "sparkling grape juice." Kind of like the "synthetic orange juice" served at the mess hall on Vehicle Voltron.
Also, Mirage's (same gender) crush on Galvatron. Like the Sailor Moon example with Amara and Michelle, they edited the dialogue, but not the animation itself, which leaves the giant heart that Mirage manifests at one point more than a little suspicious.
Considering how hyperactive anime double-takes are, they probably felt that part could be handwaved as easily as Louis Armstrong's zany beefcake heartings.
The dub version of Power Puff Girls Z has plenty of examples, the most notable being the episode where the Rowdyruff Boys make their debut:
While in the original the Boys climb on a roof and take a piss on people's heads, in the dub they are completely re-drawn, showing them holding a garden hose and wetting people with it.
When the Boys start attacking the Powerpuff Girls, they flip their skirts. This was cut in the dub.
They then proceed to humiliate them further by taking off their pants and mooning them. Guess what happened to the scene in the dub? Their butts were redrawn to have their pants covering them, and a farting sound effect was added.
One dub change that didn't involve the Rowdyruff Boys: Turning Snake of the Gangreen Gang into a woman named Ivy. Note that even anyone familiar with the American original Powerpuff Girls series would know that that's supposed to be a guy...
Sakurako transforms into Sedusa because she wants to be 'sexy like Miss Bellum' and make her love interest notice her. In the dub of course this motive is removed. Later, she finds her boyfriend chatting with his female college professor. She turns into Sedusa because she thinks he's cheating on her with said professor. In the dub, she simply thinks that he found a new friend and that he no longer wants to be her friend.
In the original, Bubbles' childhood friend Taka has been isolated in a hospital for 7 years over a chronic, potentially lethal heart condition. In the dub (where he's renamed as Cody), he only goes there over a minor injury.
They also have long white socks/stockings digitally added in the English dub.
Fuzzy Lumpkins marks his territory by hand-printing all over it. After falling in love with Ms Bellum, he dreams of smacking her butt, marking it this way to "claim" her. In the dub that scene was cut.
The anime version of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo tones down a few things. For example, Softon's head becomes pink, to avoid Toilet Humor around him (even though that's his entire point in the manga), giving Serviceman an older appearance after thinking he looked too "innocent", and one minor villain with the gimmick of wearing panties with a large plastic duck popping out from the front now wears them... on his head.
Mega Man NT Warrior also suffered from frequent Bowderdization. Shots containing projectile weapons pointed towards the camera were edited out. Swords were airbrused with a glow to look like lightsabers, though they usually ended up looking more like glowing popsicles. And for some reason, the dub seemed to make an attempt to hide the blatantly obvious fact that Commander Beef was Masa in a Paper-Thin Disguise.
Even more unnecessary, however, were the changes made to many of the names (more frequently the NetNavis' than anyone else's). Some of them can be chalked up to "Blind Idiot" Translation, but others are rather obvious cases of overzealous Bowdlerization (like the renaming of NeedleMan to SpikeMan, presumably as not to be confused with hypodermic needles, or ColorMan to the idiotic-sounding WackoMan, presumably because they thought their viewing audience was stupid enough to think the name was referring to people of color).
YuYu Hakusho's dub broadcast edits out smoking, which removes Yusuke's strategy for victory in one fight. This also counts for the transition from manga to anime — in the manga, he uses one of his own cigarettes, while in the anime, he uses one that Genkai (who smokes in that scene and never smokes again), threw at him. In the Three Kings saga, the demon who Kurama hired to attack Yomi, resulting in him being blinded, appears mostly intact, but emaciated in the anime, while in the manga, much of his body, including a good part of his chest, and one of his arms, has rotted away.
Furthermore, Monster is very dark and adult show, and the dub did little to change that. Perhaps the gun was edited out in the poster because it was the most public portrayal of the show, and therefore the most likely to be seen by those too young to see it?
The "Knights of the Zodiac" Cartoon Network broadcast dub of Saint Seiya. It got Bowdlerised so bad that it basically ruined the classic series' chances of succeeding in the English market. Even ADV's uncut and much more loyal to the source material DVD release couldn't save it, and after the 60-episode license ran out, that was it. No More Export For You. The most glaring examples:
Dying blood various colors and calling it "spiritual energy".
Eliminating all religious references (This being a series about warrior-saints fighting holy wars in the name of their goddess Athena)
Upping the characters' ages so they're talking about 17-year-olds going into battle rather than 14-year-olds. (Granted, the art makes that part easy...)
And, of course, the Flanderization of almost all characters, especially Shun, who was chickified as much as a male character can be; and Hyoga, the Siberian with a surfer's accent.
In Kiki's Delivery Service, when Osono offers Kiki a drink during their first meeting, in the original the drink was coffee. The English dub changed it to "hot chocolate", because, apparently, you can't give coffee to kids in America note (they're already ADHD enough as it is).
This makes no sense because coffee has less caffeine than tea and almost no sugar (unless added). Tea would not have been bowdlerised. Both soft drinks and chocolate have caffeine and are loaded down with sugar and wouldn't have been bowdlerised either. Tea, soft drinks, and chocolate are fine for children but coffee is not? Ok...
Studio Ghibli fans in the English-speaking world tend to take their films VERY seriously, and view any deviation from the original dialogue at allas an unforgiveable affront. Needless to say, the fact that Disney (longtime poster-child for Bowdlerization) got the license to all but one of Ghibli's films did NOT make them happy. The further fact that Disney's contract with Ghibli has an ironclad "no-cuts" clause hasn't helped them feel any better about the situation.
In Spain, the main character's name was changed to "Nicky", as "kiki" is Spanish slang for a "quickie".
Another thing they would do is relabel the sake (Japanese rice wine) the characters drank from time to time (especially Ryoko) as "tea", leading to moments where Ryoko would be drunk off her ass after drinking tea and one hilarious moment where Tenchi calmly tells Ryoko "I don't want to drink tea".
The editing also leads to an interesting but minor plot hole due to this — in the seventh OVA episode, Tenchi is stuck in Washu's lab and the scientist is in need for "samples". After Tenchi complains about Sasami waiting for them, it jump cuts to Sasami, who asks where everyone was. While they explain where Tenchi, Washu, Ryoko and Ayeka were, nothing is mentioned of Mihoshi. That's because she was in Washu's lab during the cut segment!
This has happened a number of times to the Gundam franchise.
G Gundam had name changes to a significant number of the Gundams, which were mandated by Bandai. Examples include the eponymous Gundam changing from "God" to "Burning", the Big Bad Gundam going from "Devil" to "Dark" (as does anything associated with it, like the Death Army and DG Cells), and the Gundams with names that might be seen as racially insensitive (like Mexico's Tequila Gundam) being made completely innocuous (in this case, Spike Gundam). However, this only holds true for the dub; the subtitled version uses the original names. Not to mention, in at least one episode Mark Gatha (Domon's voice actor) apparently managed to slip in "God".
When Gundam Wing aired on Toonami, all blood was digitally painted out, swear words were cut (though apparently "crap" was okay, since Quatre got away with that in one episode) and references to death were softened, which meant Duo's nickname "God of Death" became "Great Destroyer. However, this was also rather famously averted as Cartoon Network had a second, uncut airing at midnight which is believed to be the inspiration for [adult swim].
Gundam SEED had more objectionable content, including a sex scene featuring the 15-year-old protagonist Kira and the Cyclops System, a microwave-based weapon whose victims explode into Ludicrous Gibs. However, in SEED's case personal firearms were turned into laser pistols, with cheesy MS Paint-style graphics added on, resulting in the Gundam fandom meme of "Disco Guns". Notably, both G or Wing were allowed to keep their guns intact, which was especially obvious in G's first episode where Domon catches about a dozen bullets.
Of course, when SEED was moved to a Friday Night Death Slot, the disco guns appeared a bit more sporadically, with the final two episodes not using them at all (even in a flashback to an earlier episode). One popular fan theory suggests that the edits were intentionally cheesy because Bandai knew the fans would be well aware of the change and figured "We might as well give them something to laugh about".
Rave Master removes some partial nudity (as well as talk about breasts and panties), a scene of light groping, and casinos are changed to "arcades" (though in one of Elie's flashbacks, they don't really hide that her Dad bet on horseraces). Also an actual bomb planted on a train was dubbed as a "stink bomb". Besides that, everything was pretty much untouched, even Haru Glory dicing up a horde of monsters (helped that they had black blood).
Great Teacher Onizuka has relatively little of this in the dub, but one amusing example: When Tomoko is filming a commercial for daikon ("radishes" in the dub), the original tagline "It's thick...and huge" becomes "I love you, radish."
Outlaw Star, besides the aforementioned digital bikinis, also had a number of censored moments during its US TV broadcast. Some of the bigger ones include Gene's non-Caster Gun guns being labeled as blasters despite the fact that you hear gunshots and, in one particular scene, Gene's companion Jim touches him on the side and pulls back, freaking out when he finds blood on his hand. The Cartoon Network version had the blood removed so Jim's reaction goes from freaking out over Gene being wounded to freaking out over him having a hand (it should also be noted that when the episode that had this scene first aired, the censors didn't edit out Jim saying, "What the hell is this?" before freaking out). As with nearly every other non-4Kids show on this list, the DVD episodes for Outlaw Star are completely uncut.
Other alterations include:
Fred Luo's amorous advances on Gene and Jim (and some references to Fred being attracted to Gene).
Hot Ice Hilda's suicide by tooth bomb/cyanide tablet was removed, making it look like she committed suicide by falling into Farfallas's sun and taking the creepy child demon with her (the flashback to Hot Ice Hilda's death also edited it this way). How that's an improvement is anyone's guess. She still killed herself — what does it matter if it was by detonating a bomb or letting herself fall into a hot, gaseous star?
Gene's line "she's nuts to get naked" (referring to Melfina getting in the Outlaw Star) changed to "she's nuts to get wet." Yet another example of a line that still carries questionable connotations even with Bowdlerization.
A poker game in an early episode was changed to "go fish."
Jim's suggestion that Gene sell his body to pay off a bill was changed to selling his car (which is ridiculous, as the Ehefrau is the only car Gene and Jim have and it belongs to Jim)
"Space cherry" was changed to "space rookie," and instead of "losing it," you either "are a space rookie" or you're not.
Last and most definitely not least, episode 23 ("Hot Springs Planet Tenrei") was cut completely on American TV. Given the episode takes place on a hot-spring planet, there's plenty of perverted moments along with scenes of female nudity (both brief and sustained) and editing the episode to fit broadcast standards would have resulted in a short, unwatchable mess — not that other censors haven't tried. The UK version of Disney's XD channel once aired "Hot Springs Planet Tenrei" with all the nudity covered up with digitally-rendered swimsuits and edited the suggestive dialogue by either cutting it or redubbing it. As predicted, this version was too short to air on a 22-minute timeslot, so it only aired once.
Manga & Non-American TV
In general, the anime adaptations of manga are slightly Bowdlerized, cutting down on violence, rude gestures, etc., but not taking too much away from the main story. Of course, there are times when things are lost in the transition…
With Yu-Gi-Oh!, 4kids didn't start the Bowdlerization. Both original Japanese-dubbed anime adaptations of the manga are themselves Bowdlerized. There's less violence and Mind Rape compared to the manga, in part because the second series skips the first 60 or so chapters (the story before Duelist Kingdom), but even what did get adapted was toned down a bit (like Marik's father's death being slightly less bloody in the anime).
The whole franchise as we know it, even before 4Kids gets involved, is majorly toned down from the original manga. Yami Yugi was a character more like The Spectre. The bad guy of the week would end up doing something despicable - actually despicable, not "being arrogant about being good at a children's card game" despicable - and finally Yami Yugi would come out and challenge him. A Shadow Game could be anything a Millennium Item holder challenges you to, and the challenger risks his life while the challenged risks suffering the "Penalty Game" that follows - a curse placed by the challenger.note One example of how this usually worked: A guy was forcing Yugi and a friend to sell tickets to hear his horrible singing. Friend accepts Yugi's offer to try and sell his share. Bad guy has the friend subjected to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, and Yugi is forced to listen to his singing turned up torturously loud. Enter Yami. The Shadow Game is simply this - a dancing doll that reacts to sound is switched on. First to make it dance loses. Yugi's headphone jack, having landed on a glass, is slowly moving and about to fall to the table and make a sound. Bad guy sees this and his heart begins to beat faster in anticipation. Too bad he's still holding the microphone close to his body. His heartbeat is amplified and he loses the game. Yami inflicts the Penalty Game "Beat Festival". The bad guy is forced to hear his own heartbeat at an agonizingly loud volume. Forever. He is last seen in agony, begging Yami to make it stop. Even with guns and without the Shadow Realm, the Yu-Gi-Oh you know is as far removed from the early manga as any example of In Name Only, if not more.
One Piece has also received bizarre edits outside North America. For instance, the Korean broadcast painted over Zoro's swords to make them look like billy clubs.
In the transition from manga to anime, and the Japanese manga to English one, Mr. 2 is no longer an "okama", or Japanese transvestite (the Viz manga suggests that he doesn't want a female partner, rather than being both male and female). By the time the Impel Down arc reached the anime, however, the censors just gave up and let the term be used because an entire island worth of transvestites is introduced, including a legion of transvestites dressed like Vegas hookers and a very important character with Gender Bender powers that happens to be designed after Dr. Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
That scene's completely intact in the Viz Manga and Funimation subs, which may surprise "hardcore" fans who expected these versions of the franchise to get the 4Kids treatment.
Mr. 2's image song was always "Oh Come My Way" (say it quickly). Perhaps more importantly, "okama" does not just mean "transvestite". For one, you can find straight transvestites...
The Viz manga uses "Oh Come My Way" as a translation of Bon Clay's governing ethos (it's suggestive enough to count as a decent translation). Even if it shies away from calling him a transvestite, it does not censor his cloak, unlike the (Japanese) anime. Actually, the only visual that is edited in Viz's manga are a couple of early occurrences of Ace's tattoo, which originally contained a manji. Oda himself would change the tattoo design later on once he learned that his Western readers don't view it as a Buddhist symbol of peace.
In the Skypiea arc in the English translation of the manga, Eneru's title is "Kami" rather than "God". Whether this actually counts as "censorship" is debatable: the translators might have decided to leave the word untranslated to go with the Japanese concept of "kami" (it is not always analogous to the Western concept of a god). But it's fairly clear that Eneru thinks he is a God, even though Gan Fall, the previous God from whom Eneru usurped his position, angrily tells him that it's not what it means to be "God" of Skypiea. Eneru becomes "King" in the broadcast Funimation dub episodes ("Perhaps they lacked royal protection"), but some later episodes in the arc that were only shown on Australian Cartoon Network had him use the term "God".
Funimation informed fans early on that they recorded two separate dubs for Season 3. One—the dub aired on Toonami—was required to maintain continuity with the earlier 4Kids dub as well as satisfy the famously-strict US Broadcast Standards (so any mention of God was verboten). The other—made for the uncut DVD release—didn't give two shits about what Cartoon Network or the FCC wanted and is a very faithful translation of the original. The uncut dub uses "God" throughout.
The Italian sub scenes are rarely edited, but dialogues is bad. A lot of double entendre, funny stuff, and insults going beyond "babbeo" (fool) are removed.
In the manga, Zeff cut of his own leg and ate it while stranded with Sanji. In the anime, he instead lost it when he saved Sanji from drowning.
An interesting French example is Ken le Survivant, the French version of the Fist of the North Star anime. While Fist was originally shown in prime-time in Japan, it was picked up by a French children's channel without verifying the content of the actual anime and immediately attracted the ire of Moral Guardians. The show was quickly retooled as a Gag Dub which edited most of the violence out.
Naruto's infamous German dub removed all blood, dead bodies, and bladed weapons, something that's more than slightly intrusive on a ninja-themed show. Also nobody is allowed to say "dead" or "death" which screws with Sasuke's whole motivation, as the viewer never learns that his whole clan was killed. The German dub of Shippuuden removed brutal scenes with just a picture which is shown again and again while the background music and noises were still playing. In both, Part I and II, some scenes are just shown in black-and-white. And, when Kiba fought against Ukon and stabbed himself, the blood and the Kunai weren't removed, but got a different animation, so the blood and the Kunai glowed violet.
The transfer to anime from manga toned down some of the more gruesome injuries. When Haku fake-killed Zabuza the needles went into his neck instead of through his neck. Haku was stabbed but not impaled (the same goes for Naruto when he fought Sasuke). Gato was pushed off a bridge instead of beheaded. Zaku's arms had holes blown in them and his match ended then instead of one being blown off and the other being sliced open with Shino punching him in the face afterward. In a non-violent example, the joke where Konohamaru shows off his new sexy technique removes the one with Sasuke and Sai as Yaoi Guys, but not the one with the two women and Shikamaru temporarily taking up smoking while avenging Asumais removed. A couple Vomit Indiscretion Shots are left out as well.
In the English manga, they turn into silhouettes, but they're still there.
They also edited Sasuke's injuries while fighting Haku, such as the no-less-than-three needles crisscrossing through his neck.
The manga, though not as heavy-handed, took a few edits as well in the U.S., such as the whole potion/special elixir (which was actually alcohol) deal during Rock Lee's battle in the Sasuke Retrieval arc, and editing Shikamaru puffing a cigarette after Asuma's death and his defeating Hidan with it as well and a couple other scenes where he appears to now be clasping air. 'Course, the original anime also changed this as well, having him use Asuma's lighter as a memento, as well as his method to light the paper bombs on Hidan.
A rare double Bowdlerization occurs in Rurouni Kenshin: In the anime adaptation, Saito defeats Usui by pinning him to a wall using the Gatotsu Zeroshiki. When the dub was shown on American television, they removed the sword. And in the original manga, the Gatotsu Zeroshiki rips Usui's body in half! It's by far the most violent scene in the manga because you can see Usui's intestines.
More in the manga-to-anime shift: Get Backers? More boobs and more blood. Notably, Kazuki comes across as much more dangerous: rather than just tying people up and maybe a few bloodless slashes, he can be seen severing limbs and sewing people's eyes, mouths, and ears shut, and then tying them up. And leaving them there. For about a week. Yeah.
There was also a chapter early in the manga that was cut out of the anime entirely involving Ban & Ginji infiltrating a ring of illegal organ traders who get their organs by kidnapping people, putting them into drug-induced comas and dissecting them while still alive. During Ban's application of the Jagan/Evil-Eye, we see pretty graphic depictions of some of the victims.
The infamous 1980s-1990s French dubs for children of anime such as Dragon Ball Z sometimes censored Kame Sennin's sexual harassment of Bulma without censoring the images. In one of the first episodes of Dragon Ball Z, Bulma brings Kame a gift, and he starts fondling her breasts while saying she should let him pet her instead. In the French dub, he does exactly the same thing, but exclaims "I bet these are chocolates!" (speaking of the gift, but it sounds like he means...).
The French edits were also very inconsistent with regards to violence. Despite having been aimed at children, most of the fights and many death scenes were kept as they were, unedited (with some of the shots even showing up in the intro), but just as many were simply cut.
For instance, instead of killing Dodoria, Vegeta lets him go, yet still mentions having killed him later on. Zarbon's death is a little less vague, but only thanks to the dialog, because the animation simply shows him being hurled into a lake, and Vegeta's finishing move is censored out.
One of the most baffling examples is Vegeta killing Guldo: Guldo's neck is shown getting pierced, but the animation of his head falling off is cut. Even so, the sequence of Vegeta blowing up his severed head isn't edited at all... and in the following episode's recap, they actually show his head falling off.
Similarly, Frieza getting cut to pieces is edited out, even though the subsequent shots showing his scattered bits aren't, and the following episode's recap again reinstalls the deleted shot.
Likewise, Krillin's death at the hands of Frieza. The act itself was cut, and remained so in later racaps and flashbacks. Except the censoring was radically toned down after the end of the Frieza Saga, so when the event was shown in another flashback, it wasn't edited. Do mind, the series was still handled as a kids' show even at this point. So while earlier, scenes like Frieza blasting one of his henchmen with an energy beam had to be cut, him thrusting his hand through the chest of another suddenly became children's material.
Some crude editing when one of Princess Snake's attendants shoots herself with a gun: She's shown pointing the gun at her head, but the shot of the gun going off is replaced with a clip of the characters talking from a couple of seconds earlier, and with the sound of the gunshot overlaid, so they flap their mouths without saying anything. Afterwards, the character suddenly appears lying on the floor. The scene as a whole could have been deleted, since it was only used as a gag anyway.
Speaking of Dragon Ball, it was toned down when it was made into an anime too.
In the original manga Vegeta decapitates Guldo with a karate chop, resulting in a fountain of blood; in the anime he fires a beam through his neck and pops his head off with no blood.
The US manga has had quite a few edits as well: 1) Mr. Popo's lips were removed so he doesn't look like a blackfaced minstrel (an outdated racial stereotype that Americans now consider an Old Shame). This is slightly better than what the 4Kids broadcast of Dragon Ball Kai did with him: they recolored him blue. No wonder Mr. Popo got rid of Blue Popo on the abridged series. 2) Roshi's request to grope Bulma's breasts in exchange for putting out Frypan Mountain's fire is changed to him just looking at them (this also removes the "puff-puff" joke). Also at the start of the DBZ storyline the request is again changed to him asking for a kiss. Immediately after Bulma calls him "ornery" instead of "perverted." 3) All instances of giving the middle finger are changed to the character making a fist. 4) In Trunks' bad future there's a scene were #17 holds a gun under a man's chin and then shoots him off-panel. In the US the gun is removed, implying #17 just punched the guy. That wouldn't be bad, except you see #17 reach for his gun in the previous panel! Also, how is punching a guy to death better than shooting him? This makes even less sense when you consider they left in the scene with the two gunmen shooting the elderly couple before encountering Buu and Mr. Satan. 5) Some images of a naked young Gohan have his penis removed. This makes no sense since Goku isn't edited earlier in the manga (though this could have been done to please all ages). 6) Bulma was originally braless underneath her strapless top, but in the US manga she wears a strapless bra.
The German Dub of Dragon Ball GT removed just some short action scenes or brutal scenes. It got worse, the TV broadcoast didn't show SEVENTEEN episodes, removing Goku's first fight with Baby, Uub's escape from Baby's stomach, Goku vs Super 17, the Shadow Dragons Sixinglong and Sanxinglong, the entire battle against Super-Yixinglong (including SSJ4 Vegeta and Gogeta). All missing parts are told by the narrator in the episodes introductory.
In a Dragon Ball episode, Goku interrupts Master Roshi while he's on the toilet. In the Italian dub, it was changed into interrupting him while he's taking a shower... but we still hear the toilet flush, then see Roshi opening the door while putting his pants up and Goku covering his nose for the smell.
A surprisingly well-done example of Bowdlerization is School Rumble, when depictions of underage drinking in the manga were removed in the anime. The lost gags were replaced with new ones that generally worked just as well and were not at all awkward, so unless you'd already read the manga, you'd have no idea any "censorship" occurred at all.
An interesting example from the Arabic dub of Digimon Adventure: to get past some extremely strict media regulations, the concept of Digivolving does not exist for this dub. Instead, the higher forms of the basic Digimon are their older siblings.
A similar thing was done with the Latin American Spanish dub of Sailor Moon. In the fifth season, Sailor Stars, there are the Sailor Starlights - women who disguised themselves as men on earth and revert to their female form when transformed. Since Seiya has a crush on Usagi throughout the season and to prevent a Uranus-Neptune thing again, they turned the Three Lights into real men who call their sisters from their homeplanet to take their place in battle. This actually got the series banned in Italy for just over a decade when the Italian localization infamously tried the exact same thing in an epic overreaction to an inadvisable remark by a local "psychiatrist" about "Sailor Moon [making] little boys gay".
Bleach's anime significantly reduces or obscures the violence in many scenes in the manga:
Soul Society Arc:
Early in the manga, Gin cuts off a giant guard's arm with his Shikai. In the anime, Gin only leaves him with a not particularly deep wound on his arm, which still takes some hard work by Orihime to heal.
Kuukaku Shiba is changed from missing her right arm to wearing a prosthetic.
Another one: Most of the characters who wear hakama or revealing outfits have their skin covered by white cloth. Most noticeably is Soifon, who has everything except her shoulders covered in the anime, even though in the dialogue she specifically mentions that the clothes have no back.
In the manga, Aizen takes a huge chunk out of Ichigo's hip, almost cleaving him in half. The camera panned up to avoid the excessive gore, and when we get a better look at his wounds, the gash was toned down to a simple cut.
When Yammy splits open an Arrancar nurse's head, he punches her into the wall in the anime, though there's an enormous amount of blood plastered on the wall and the head is covered by a silhouette. In the anime, he grumbles about how he would've punched her through the wall if he was at full strength. Notably, the dub maintains the original line of how he would've split her in half at full strength.
Grimmjow kills Luppi by blowing his torso away with a Cero. He impales Luppi's torso clean in the manga, but the camera pans away from that. The flash from the cero obscures the gore, and although his legs fall to the ground, we don't see the upper half.
When Szayel uses Gabriel on Nemu. Instead of impregnating her, enlarging her stomach, opening a giant jagged gash in her skin and forcing her to give birth to him, he turns into a pink mist and comes out her mouth, with enlarged cells dividing to recreate his body. She goes from wrinkled and emaciated to pale and sickly, as well.
When Chad's arm was crushed into pieces by Yammy, it was replaced with multiple lacerations on his arm.
When Ichigo goes through the fight to defeat his Inner Hollow, at one point he fights Kensei in the real world as a Hollow. In the manga, Kensei cuts off Ichigo's left arm, and it grows back as a Hollowfied arm. In the anime, Kensei only slashes the left shoulder, and the wound is then instantly healed by his Hollow side.
Also, the next time we see Kensei in the manga (a few chapters later), he has a bloody temple from his fight with Ichigo. In the anime, he's just a little scuffed up.
In the anime, Grimmjow stomps on Loly after bitch slapping her. In the manga, he kicks her in the stomach and tears off her leg before stomping on her.
In the manga, Loly punches Orihime and threatens to tear out her fingernails. In the anime, she merely slaps her and doesn't give any specific threat.
The second Ichigo vs. Grimmjow had Grimmjow covered in black blood, and then the blood suddenly disappears and becomes a bunch of scratches (as opposed to being covered in blood in the Manga).
The anime cuts out massive amounts of blood from the Ichigo vs. Hollow Ichigo fight... and turns all the blood black.
The Shonen Jump releases sometimes tone down the violence and some of the dialogue regarding Rangiku's breasts, like when she offers to give Orihime a hug instead of absorbing her tears with her breasts. This is another instance where the dub keeps the original line of "my bosom's your pillow~!"
In Ichigo's first fight with Ulquiorra, the Manga featured Ichigo having a severely burnt and bloody body; the anime, on the other hand, had his body full of burnt scratches.
In the fight with Szayel, Uryu's Seele Schneider goes through Szayel's neck/chest area in the manga. In the anime, it's silhouetted and the arrow goes through his stomach.
When Szayel uses his voodoo dolls to crush his opponents' innards, the blood they puke in the manga is changed to water in the anime.
Some of the subtext between Nnoitra and Orihime was toned down during the transition from manga to anime. For instance, where the manga has him shove his fingers down Orihime’s throat during Ichigo’s fight with Tesra, in the anime he covers her mouth with his hand.
Fake Karakura Town Arc:
One somewhat clumsily executed example is the treatment of the scene where Harribel's Fraccion cut off and fuse their left arms to create Ayon; they don't quite cut off their arms, but turn them into red energy, and instead of a bloody stump, there's a glowing red sphere where their left arms end. Granted, this does make more sense than the image of the girls severing their arms, throwing the limbs together and the skin magically forming into Ayon.
Instead of Ayon ripping Rangiku's entire right side out below the ribs like in the manga, there's merely has her appear badly bruised and with massive internal damage. The anime does have blood spurting in a silhouette after he punched her, which adds to the Fridge Logic.
More manga-to-anime censorship: one infamous example is where Ichigo cuts a guy's arm off; in the anime, Ichigo jumps, and his opponent's arm just falls off — you never see the actual cut. (In the same episode, litres of spit fly from the characters' mouths instead of the blood shown in the manga. What the...?)
The Mad Scientist Szayelaporro turns his henchman into a purple blob before eating it, instead of devouring him whole in the manga.
Harribel's outfit bared nearly all her breasts in the Japanese manga, but in the official U.S. translations, her top extends to cover her whole breasts. In addition, after she takes off the little jacket to show her Espada number, in the anime (at least) her Stripperiffic covering extends to the undersides of her breasts and around her back, too. Some of the other Arrancar also had changes done to their outfits to show less skin, like Mila Rose having a spiked bra instead of a boney claw that looks like it's groping her.
Ishida loses his forearm when he goes against Ulquiorra second form in the manga, the anime version he simply just gets what looks like a badly scratched forearm much like what happened to Rangiku a few eps back.
In the final Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra fight, instead of the massive amounts of burnt flesh and blood pouring from Ichigo in the Manga, the anime has Ichigo being covered in burnt scratches, again.
When Harribel destroys Hitsugaya's ice clone, the manga has the cut bleeding profusely, as if it were real. In the anime, the blood is gone and it goes from way too conveniently convincing to so unconvincing, it's a miracle she bought the decoy. This doubles as an example of Voodoo Shark, since while it solves the problem of how an ice-clone can appear to be bleeding, it then creates a Plot Hole as to exactly why this would fool Harribel considering her accomplished status.
When Gin attacks Hiyori, in the manga, she's cut in half just above the waist. In the anime, he stabs her, but does cut the blade out the rest of the way, leaving her in one piece, but still horribly wounded.
The Lost Agent Arc:
There's a scene where Ichigo's Fullbring powers are developing and energy surrounds his hand in the shape of the Manji (the kanji used to write the "ban" part of Bankai); the anime changes the shape slightly so the outline resembles a square. This is curious, since the anime retains the Manji shape on Ichigo's Bankai sword.
Also during Ichigo's fight with Tsukishima, where the manga has him cut off the latter's arm, in the anime he simply leaves a gash.
YuYu Hakusho also had some edits in its transition from manga to anime (and Japanese manga to English manga).
No mention of the fact that, in the manga, Mukuro is a sex slave who was raped repeatedly by her father, who actually had her fitted with cybernetics at birth so she would be unable to fight back, until she finally disfigured herself with acid so that he wouldn't want to do it any more? This culminated in Hiei's idea of a good birthday present being to bring him to her, trapped inside a special plant that granted him paralysis and a Healing Factor so that she could torture him all she wanted, potentially for the rest of eternity. In the anime and the English-translated manga, Murkuro is a cybernetically enhanced ex-slave who paid for her freedom by cutting off the flesh from half her body.
Yusuke was shown to smoke cigarettes early on in the manga, as an example of his delinquent behavior. The anime removed the instances of smoking (due to him being underage) or replaced shots of him smoking with shots of him eating a cracker. In order to defeat his first opponent in Genkai's tournament, instead of using one of his own cigarettes, he takes one that Genkai threw at his head when he paused to taunt his opponent.
MÄR has a character named Halloween who wore a giant cross chained to his back, as well as an ärm that attacks with the same. The American release of the manga edited the cross out by removing the horizontal portion, making it into a giant rectangular slab that looks more like a coffin or a generic headstone than a cross. The editing is at least well-done; if you didn't see the original release, you'd never know it was supposed to be a cross.
Oddly enough the anime adaptation itself was plagued with this in the Japanese version no less. Changes that are usually made in edited English dubs were made, such as referring to alcohol as juice. Not to mention all the blood and violence that was either toned down from the manga, or just removed completely.
Similarly, Fullmetal Alchemist has a scene in the manga where Greed is pinned to a giant cross-shaped slab of rock. The American release edited the slab by filling in portions so it looks like a generic oval-shaped slab of stone. No other part of the US manga release is censored, but this one single edit still caused fans to go absolutely ballistic. The later box set version, however, is uncensored with the cross shape intact. In Brotherhood, the arms of the cross were removed from the scene entirely, even in the original Japanese version, avoiding the issue entirely.
One Brazilian channel aired Fullmetal Alchemist in their kids' block; naturally, there was some serious editing done to make it acceptable. Pretty much all blood (with the exception of the drops the Elric brothers used for their human alchemy attempt) was cut out or badly edited out digitally (in one case, Tim Marcoh's death, very cheaply, MS Paint-like), as were fanservice shots and entire scenes deemed too violent (the last episode particularly was ripped to shreds, and left more than one character's fates ambiguous). Fortunately Animax Brazil aired the series uncut, and the previously mentioned channel never aired Brotherhood. (Strangely, although the first three DVD box sets were released uncut, the fourth and last was released with the TV edits. Very unfortunate, especially since those were undoubtedly the most edited episodes, and the box outright states the show to be completely uncensored).
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya had this with "Remote Island Syndrome", which is changed from the book through the addition of Kyon's little sister, who in the novel attempted to come along, but was discovered and left at home. Once on the island, the SOS Brigade members avail themselves of as much alcohol as their host can muster, which can't be shown on Japanese TV, since the characters are still in high school. The TV show has them doing things appropriate for the presence of a grade-schooler instead. Minus the murder-mystery part, anyway...
Making it completely nonsensical when Haruhi declares in the movie Dissappearance that she's never going to drink alcohol again; it's not like we ever saw her drink and get hangover in the first place.
The issue is addressed in the English dub of the film. In that, she says she'll never drink so long as she lives, implying that she's never actually gotten drunk before.
The Hebrew dub for Cardcaptor Sakura removed Yukito's love for Touya. So after Sakura confesses her love to Yukito, the Israeli viewer learns that he doesn't feel the same way because he already has Touya as a very close friend. Also, for the rest of the episode, the words "a very close friend" are repeated again and again. Because Touya is Yukito's very close friend.
They also censored Sayoran's crush on Yukito, and tried to pass it as admiration. That's right, Sayoran blushes and stutters around Yukito because he admires him, that makes perfect sense. Then they gave Sayoran lines like "why do I feel this way about Kinomoto? I admire Yukito!" Good job, dubbers.
Somewhat averted by Shattered Peace. Although the art style still makes things seem Lighter and Softer, the artist clearly wasn't trying to hide any blood in the chicken coop scene.
The French dub of the City Hunter anime, titled Nicky Larson (which is Ryo Saeba's name in the dub), had all of its mature elements removed so that it could've been shown on a children television program, much like Ken le survivant before it. Ryo's occupation was changed from a hitman to a bodyguard, his perverseness was downplayed by having Ryo hit on his female clients in "vegetarian restaurants" instead of love motels, and instead of live bullets, his gun fires knockdown "balls" that renders his targets unconscious.
This happens a lot in Fairy Tail. After Lucy was kidnapped by Gajeel in the manga he threw daggers at her; compare in the anime when she was beaten by him. In the start of the Tower of Paradise Arc, Simon blows up the table instead of slapping Juvia. Also, the Dirty Old Man Makarov says that Lucy has a "Nice Body" and no longer refers to her breasts.
Slayers suffered some Bowdlerization during its conversion from light novel to anime in Japan.
The infamous "Noonsa" scene early in the first story: In the original book, Dilgear tells Noonsa to "rape" Lina. The anime changes this to "kiss".
This scene was also Bowdlerized in Tokyopop's translation of the light novel, where the "rape" order is accompanied by an inside joke that involves egg-laying and him fertilizing them—meaning, he has no idea about the concept of human procreation. Tokyopop kept in the part about egg fertilization; only the word "rape" was removed, changed to "kiss", as in the anime.
The same scenario was used in one of the manga adaptations (Super Explosive Demon Story), and when it was translated, the rape threat was also censored (although whether the original Japanese manga used the word "rape" like the novel did is unclear).
During the anime adaptation of the third novel, where Rezo the Red Priest appears to come back from the dead, but is actually just a copy, a chimera created and experimented on by the original (still dead) Red Priest. During the climax of the battle, he opens his eyes—big deal considering he's supposed to be blind. The anime shows him with golden demonic eyes, whereas in the original novel, his eyes have been removed completely, replaced with demonic mouths filled with sharp teeth and snake tongues.
A more minor one occurs mere moments later when Copy-Rezo destroys Sairaag. Both versions result in the deaths of the entire city's population. In the anime, although they said everybody died, visually the city appeared to be deserted long before its destruction. In the original novel, the battle explicitly took place in the middle of town, and Lina mentions that hundreds of citizen-spectators were watching the fight minutes before the entire city was vaporized.
The anime adaptation of the second novel went even further in its Bowdlerization. Lina has to deal with two powerful sorcerors, Tarim the Violet and Daymia the Blue, who hate each other's guts. In the anime, both are alive in the end and attempt to get along better after nearly being killed by their former mentor Halcyform the White, who'd made a pact with a Mazoku to revive his dead wife. In the original novel, however, the Mazoku attacked Daymia the Blue and used the legendary "Raugnut Rushavna" spell on him, turning him into a formless mound of writhing flesh, constantly eating itself and repeating his final words—a crazed laugh—for all eternity. The scene makes Lina want to throw up.
In the Shonen Jump preview for Bakuman。, all references to Moritaka believing that his uncle Nobuhiro "Taro Kawaguchi" Mashiro commited suicide (he didn't, as Moritaka realizes in Chapter 3) are replaced with euphemisms, like "end it all." ("My parents told me he died from overworking, but I think it was something much worse."). The changes become especially unconvincing in Chapter 2, when Moritaka asks Akito how his uncle could have died from overworking if he wasn't serialized, and when Moritaka, arguing with his mother over going into mangaka, tells her he won't end up like his uncle, horrifying her with his mistaken belief about the cause of his uncle's death.
Reportedly, in the version of G Gundam aired in the Middle East, Relena's knee- and thigh-length skirts were digitally altered to ankle-length to meet with Muslim broadcast standards and sensibilities.
Karakuridouji Ultimo's English translation does this a lot. They basically removed all of Rune's lines about his love for Yamato ("Yamato... is mine") and changed them to lines that don't even make sense ("Yamato... different?"). Also, they put digital bikinis on everybody when they go into Icon Mode with the doji, making some of the scenes more awkward.
Karakuridouji Ultimo is actually a bizarre example of this trope. They removed EVERY curseword including crap, and toned down some violence (not in the volumes though). But some of the more suggestive jokes were left in. Some pretty distubing stuff, like a doji being molested on panel was not even touched, nor was K's comments about Sayama. As for Rune, chapter 10 was censored a fair amount, but in the next chapter he asks Yamato to marry him anyway. Hell, they even turned a completly innocent line of his into a rather suggestive one. There will probaly be even less censorship as the series is starting to get Darker and Edgier bit by bit.
In the anime version of Death Note, Misa's cross necklace is replaced with a fleur de lis, and all crosses worn by Mello are removed (his cross bracelets vanish, and his rosary now has a strange red stick-like object). Interestingly, the Misa collector's figure included with volume 5 of the DVD series retains the cross, and she is also depicted with it in the anime's first opening.
In a case where the network, studio, or licensee has taken great pains to bowdlerize an entire anime series and all of its episodes, Animax-South East Asia actually had all Beelzebub episodes edited for re-broadcast in the region with totally naked titular character Baby Beel wearing a diaper.
The Wandering Son anime removed Fumiya smoking. Justified in that Fumiya couldn't have been any older than 15 at the time of that scene.
While most anime are uncut it most Asian regions, Korea's Berry Berry Mew Mew had a fair amount of bowderlization. To aim it towards an audience of five year old girls, a lot of bowderlization was done. In some scenes, Kisshyu's pants are raised up to keep his stomach lines from showing and the blood on him was removed in episode 39. All close up, onscreen human kissing was cut out but it was still said by the characters that Kisshyu stole Berry's first kiss and that she has to get kissed to turn into a cat and back, so kissing wasn't totally taken away from the show. The Chimera Anima in episode 51 was also edited slightly to keep its breast lines from showing. Despite that, all the death and dark tones of the 2nd half of the series were kept in. Also, the Insert Songs were changed. For example, Glider became the Opening Theme to The Fantasy Game.
The anime version of Axis Powers Hetalia, while adapting the manga closely in some aspects, had its own examples of this trope:
The Italy brothers' implied nudity while sleeping was edited so that both would be wearing tank tops, instead of showing their bared chests. Other scenes of North Italy in the nude or even simply being shirtless were edited in a similar fashion, so that he'd be wearing a bright pink tank top. Any bottom nudity was concealed by having him wear yellow boxers (save for a gag in one episode where he was censored anyway).
A shirtless scene of Spain was edited so that he'd wear a red tank top, along with removing his cross necklace. In the same scene, the younger Romano was originally depicted completely naked, but covering himself up with a pillow. In the anime adaptation, boxers and a tank top are drawn over his body, even though he's still mostly concealed by the pillow.
In one strip, Prussia discovers a beat-up and bloodied Hungary, exhausted after her battle with Turkey. DEEN removed the blood and cuts, and simply showed some dirt and bruises on her face.
The episode of Japan and China's history together left out the final segment, in which Japan violently attacks China with a sword (which has been debated over whether it represents the First or Second Sino-Japanese War). The same episode also changed Japan's flat-out denial of being related to China to him reluctantly agreeing. As a result, instead of berating Japan for his denial, China becomes annoyed that Japan hesitated to agree. Tibet was also replaced with a talking panda, possibly due to Unfortunate Implications involving the real life situation with China. In addition, a line referencing the "Battle of Keichoo" (during the moon-gazing scene) was excised.
Germany and Prussia's Iron Cross charms were removed, and Germany's uniform was edited to be teal instead of green in an attempt to downplay the SS connection. Season 5 (The Beautiful World) averted this, and restored the uniform color and cross.
A scene with the younger America was altered to remove the depiction of him with a rifle.
To avert controversy and for marketing purposes, any instances of the WWII-era flags for the Axis Powers were altered to show the modern country flags.
At the climax of the Chibitalia story, Chibitalia originally gave Holy Roman Empire his panties as a parting gift. The anime adaptation changed the sequence so that Chibitalia offered his deck brush as a gift (despite him not holding it in the previous scenes).
The punchline to the strip where Italy hits puberty is toned down due to its implication: The original punchline has France say that sex is something you do with a person you "like", with him proceeding to leer at Italy and ask if he likes him. In the anime? France instead goes into a heavily-censored explanation of what sex entails, causing Italy to become confused.
The "German Simulator" segment removed South Korea, after the controversy over the character. There was originally a gag where he complains of the lousy service at the supermarket, then rolls around and gets stepped on by others in line. Although DEEN hastily edited him out of the segment before the episode could air (and may have also done this with a cameo in the very first episode), one shot still depicts him from behind in line (ahoge especially visible) and in front of Austria.
Disney Channel Asia's airing of The Cat Returns cuts out a bit of the scene where Haru is being "entertained" by the court whilst in the Kingdom of Cats. One of the acts involves a cat tossing a fish as though it were a knife at a cat stuck to a board. The thrower's fish slashes the cat's top, causing it to fall down. This prompts her to cover up her chest area and run out of court. This prompts the king to have the thrower expelled from court by throwing him out of the window. The entire act, and the thrower's expulsion, are cut. Also cut is one of the patrons laughing at the following act (the cat with the face painted on his body) and then being thrown out of the window himself. This leads to the acts who have not performed stepping backward out of fear for no reason (the King's line of "the next act better not stink" is cut as well).
In Malaysia, an episode of Digimon Fusion Battles that aired on Disney XD blurred over Bastemon and Lilithmon's breasts (though with the latter, this was inconsistent; some shots were left untouched). Also, at one point in the episode, Akari makes a slash at Lilithmon's face, making a cut and causing it to bleed. This too was blurred over.