Censor Shadow

"I told her she would remain a beautiful silhouette against the warm light coming in through the curtains."
David Lynch on how he convinces Laura Harring to do the nude scene in Mulholland Dr.

A character (male or female) is full-on naked, but the artist doesn't want to reveal all. Yet an outright Censor Box will be just horrible (unless this was a comedy). This is a dilemma. What to do? Eureka! Just add some crafty shading and voila! A convenient shadow! Now we can keep those private parts, well, private.

Not only used for nudity, it's often used as a result of Executive Meddling last-minute censorship of something gory, causing a random dark slash covering half the screen and the Gorn behind it. Almost like a Gory Discretion Shot, only a bit sloppy.

See also Censor Steam, Godiva Hair, Sexy Silhouette, and Scenery Censor.


Anime and Manga
  • Bleach uses this several times, including with Wonderweiss with his privates conveniently obscured.
  • Covered nicely in A Cruel God Reigns; The manga often pans away when Jeremy is raped, and when it does show any of what is happening, it is shadowed out or left blank.
  • Junjou Romantica used this during the more explicit scenes. The shadows were removed for the DVD.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: The murder scenes and aftermath were shrouded in shadows for the TV broadcast. The DVDs were uncensored.
    Rena: 'Cause if you do, you'll be killed. And then you'll be censored!
  • Umineko: When They Cry utilised this to censor the gore.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. During the prison fight episode risky angles were covered by shadows.
  • Black Cat does it, when Creed is naked and having nanomachine treatment to make him immortal. The camera pans extremely low, but his crotch is blacked out by the shadow of some of the machinery.
  • Kaiji uses these in the losers' room on the Espoir.
  • Change 123 uses a bit of shadow to hide the fact that Fujiko isn't wearing panties during her dance competition in ch. 4.
  • Deadman Wonderland uses it to hide gorn.
  • Soul Eater puts a shadow under Giant!Asura's robes, as well as when Weapons are naked in, well, Weapon Mode.
  • Blood-C does a number of shadows during incredibly violent scenes.
  • Fairy Tail:
  • Another: This is used for several death scenes, but most noticeably the death of Yukari Sakuragi in Episode 3, where the most gory shots are noticeably darker than the reaction shots of onlookers, and a wide-shot showing her corpse has a conspicuous dark spot, right where the wound is.
  • The Animated Adaptation of Jojos Bizarre Adventure uses the Gorn version, as well as to censor Jotaro smoking because he's a teenager. The latter lead to fans joking that Joseph and Polnareff should have been able to Spot the Impostor instantly, since Oingo-as-Jotaro didn't get censored when he smoked.

  • In the Comic Book version of Anita Blake, a wererat's genitals are covered this way.
  • In a Story Arc in the Anthology Comic Marvel Comics Presents showing the origin of Wolverine (running away from Project X), he's nude the entire time, but for shadows. The one time the artist couldn't justify any shadows, he was suddenly in a pair of tighty-whities.
  • ElfQuest: In "Siege at Blue Mountain Part 1" Leetah and Nightfall dance in the moonlight. In the first panel, a shadow covers Nightfall's genitalia.
    • In "Hidden Years Part 1", we get a full-frontal shot of Strongbow, with a shadow obscuring the (in)appropriate bits.
  • For a female example, in X-Men Versus the Fantastic Four, Susan Storm momentarily becomes extremely fed up with her husband, Reed, because Reed is balking at using a machine to cure Kitty of permanent phasing. (It's complicated.) When in private, Sue uses her forcefield to blast off her entire uniform and most of her body is conveniently in shadow, but not so much you can't tell she's nude.
  • In an early issue of The Incredible Hulk, Betty Ross is transformed into the Harpy sans culottes, with her breasts and genitals hidden by shadows.
  • The Mercy Thompson: Homecoming comic uses anything — even shadows — to cover up Mercy's breasts and genitals.
  • This happens quite frequently in Hellboy with Hecate, the Baba Yaga, and the occasional demon. Partially justified thanks to Mignola's black-on-white Chiaroscuro art style. Sometimes Mignola chooses to show nipples, so it must be a stylistic choice.
  • Frequently happens to Wolverine when he ends up naked, especially in Weapon X flashbacks.
  • Used in The Smurfs comic book story "The Smurf Threat", depicting the Smurfs who gave up their...uh, pants to create a Bedsheet Ladder for Papa Smurf, Jokey, and Hefty to escape the Grey Smurfs prison camp.

  • Used in Gone with the Wind to depict a woman in labor, as back in the days of The Hays Code, showing pregnancy and a woman going into labor was considered too risque.
  • When Rita unrobes in the bedroom in Mulholland Dr., we see little more than just her silhouette against the light coming in through the window behind her.note 

Live-Action TV
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Chain of Command": Picard would show his butt, and have five lights FOUR LIGHTS cast shadows, preventing anything from being seen.

Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original
  • Linkara laughed at such shadow in "Hardcore Station #1" for being so small that one could conclude that "Space Stalin has a tiny penis."

Western Animation