Gag Censor

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At times, even the lack of subtlety provided by the ugly Censor Boxes is just not enough. Why not put something amusing in the place of some aesthetically repulsive black bars and boxes? Why not, say, a picture of a squirrel?

Or anything, really. Gag Censors are when faces, amusing pictures, logos, or any image is used to obscure certain parts deemed not suitable for public consumption.

This method ranks the lowest in the sliding scale of censorship subtletiesit doesn't attempt to shoehorn elements in to somehow obscure the sight like the Censor Steam, Censor Shadow, or Censor Suds; nor does it try to cover these parts with meta visual elements like Censor Boxes or Pixellations. It, instead, puts an image over it.

It should go without saying that this is almost always Played for Laughs, and particularly common in anime. In many cases, one can expect these things to disappear when the DVD version comes out. See also: Scenery Censor, Relax-o-Vision. Sound Effect Bleep can also be used for similar comedic effect.

Not to be confused with Censored for Comedy, which is a type of joke involving censors.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The famous Laughing Man from the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series. In-universe it is actually far from a gag and relates to a terrorist incident, but it's frequently used this way by the fandom.
  • Rosario + Vampire uses censor bats and bears if there is more than one censor to be covered. He even chats with the audience!
  • B Gata H Kei uses a Demon symbol for this on the TV release over the EroGami (sex god) that normally covers things.
  • To Love-Ru uses these as well as censor flashlight-like beams.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! uses large "Forbidden" stamps whenever Nodoka is reading her own mind.
  • Onii Chan No Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara Ne (seen above) uses these everywhere, constantly.
  • Softenni uses these as well in about 50% of the scenes.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei uses the face of one of the manga's assistants for this.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler uses a guy holding a sign literally saying "can not show."
  • The Shonen Jump pirate flag gets used as a censor (much to its embarrassment) in Hell Teacher Nube.
  • Cat Planet Cuties uses several different censorship methods, including this one - generally, it's the Assisdroids jumping into the scene to cover things with their signs.
  • Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga: Phallic vegetables are used in place of male genitals. Trope subverted as the rather... fleshy looking vegetables actually do little to lessen the raunchiness of the pictures.
  • Air Gear has Koo, Ikki's pet crow cover the naughty bits when necesarry.
  • Hajime no Ippo uses starbursts early on, but eventually moves beyond this. Ippo's starburst is really long.
  • Future Diary: "HAPPY?"
  • The manga series Switch Girl often uses an image of a cat to censor nudity (mostly the main character Nika). This was kept in the live-action TV adaptation.
  • While Gintama usually resorts to a standard Censor Bar or Pixellation for censorship, one instance had Mutsu punch someone so hard that a sign with a slashed-out 18 on it was imposed onto his face in the aftermath.
  • The Hunter Hunter manga positions speech bubbles in front of any exposed private parts. One particular case had Hisoka completely naked with thought bubbles between his legs about his sexual cravings, forcing the reader to look down there and think about how he likes his sex.
  • The trailer for Discotek Media's rerelease of Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie hilariously uses this to emphasize that their rerelease of the movie will be completely uncut. How? By showing off the infamous Chun-Li shower scene with two Eastern Star logos covering Chun-Li's breasts.
  • The works of Kazuhiko "Monkey Punch" Katō (best known for Lupin III) frequently have an erotic bent, so in order to draw detailed sex scenes, he replaces genitalia with the Mars (♂) and Venus (♀) symbols.

     Comic Books 
  • In Hawkeye Vol. 4 #3, as Hawkeye dives naked across a bed, his naughty bits are covered by... a picture of his face with his traditional purple mask.

     Film 
  • The basic cable TV edit for Howard Stern's Private Parts has Howard himself pop up on screen covering naughty parts or blocking the whole screen and explaining what's being censored...then at one point says screw it and tell the audience to just go rent it.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mancow Muller's eponymous TV show: they had illustrations of Mancow's face over any and all naughty bits.
  • On MythBusters, many dangerous substances such as explosives or thermite are made by mixing "blur with blur".
    • Alternatively, they use animal sounds, such as "mixing moo with meow".
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: in the Devil Fish episode the MST3K planet logo was used to cover up an accidental nut shot.
    • Another early episode has Joel stand up to show off his new umbrella, which covered up a brief scene of nudity (from the audience and the bots).
  • On VH-1, whenever someone says "pussy", they have a cat meowing. They also cover up a woman's *meow* with a cat...
  • Craig Ferguson's edition of The Late Late Show bleeps out its innumerable expletives by playing voiceovers of Craig saying "Oohlala," or some other silly-sounding quasi-foreign phrase, and covering the offender's mouth (if he isn't a puppet) with an appropriate national flag.
  • Whenever Gaki no Tsukai's cast get naked, their privates are covered either with photos of their faces, or the first kanji of their names.
  • Australian sketch show Full Frontal managed to take this to new heights in a sketch as a French movie (translated into English as "The Woman Who Talked Too Much") whose subtitles were used to cover up nudity.
  • In Glee, Brody shows up naked for breakfast one day. He was covered by Kurt's box of Rooster-Os.
  • The first episode of Angie Tribeca, Angie goes undercover as a nude model. One of the art students is seen working on a pixellated pencil sketch of her — as in, he actually went to the trouble of drawing the censor pixels.

    Music 
  • German punk band Die Ärzte's music video for "Junge" has the musicians defend themselves against a horde of zombies in all its gory glory. Anticipating Germany's harsh laws against showing violence on TV, they produced another "censored" version with the bloodiest details covered by cartoon character's heads or have the entire screen blocked by phrases like "This scene is unacceptable. We'd like to apologize for that." or "At least the video is now over. I wonder if these sounds will be on the single?".

    Nonfiction Series 
  • X-Play: For a brief period they would cover up extremely gory game scenes with pictures of kittens.

    Sketch Comedy 
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: In one of Terry Gilliam's animations, a fig leaf covering a statue's genitals was snatched away, and underneath was a man's head.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • In ATOM GRRRL!!, you can't see the police officer's corpse being dissolved even in the 18+ version. Instead, you see a bright red box reading "R18" and the horrified/fascinated expressions of the characters around it.
  • At one point in Sickness, Misa's head is blocking the reader from seeing a rectal exam. Suoh is covering her eyes, and a "?" speech bubble is above her.

    Web Comics 

Web Originals
  • Cracked loves this trope.
  • That Guy with the Glasses:
  • Stephen Georg, the voice of Ness in Fobbies Are Borange and fairly popular vlogger, also does Let's Plays alongside his vlog. In his Let's Play of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, upon entering a certain room in the morgue, he encounters a corpse which apparently has visible male...parts. Either YouTube's policies, his own morals or both prevent him from leaving the parts exposed, so throughout any screentime said corpse receives, the Gag Censor he uses is an image of his own face in a goofy expression. Sadly, in later episodes where nude corpses appear, he instead merely blurs out the offending area.
  • Video game blog Kotaku used to insert a vector pink fish for this purpose, but now they just tag the article with "NSFW" and call it a day.
  • Immersion uses, among other things, two melons for censorship in the episode Fighting Girl Clothes.
  • Zero Punctuation goes for the standard black boxes, but usually decorates them with sayings like "IMAGE VERY CENSORED," "THANKS DEVIANTART!", or "NOPE, NOTHING TO SEE HERE."
  • This YTP uses this, with the most amusing being Haruhi shaking her finger captioned "No fanservice for you!"
  • Ebony Devil shows up in Vaguely Recalling Jojo to censor any scene too severe for the viewers. One time, Polnareff's hair was used to cover up the scene where Rubber Soul is devouring some beetles.
  • CinemaSins used an Easter Bunny in their Showgirls video, having it cover two sex scenes plus the notorious rape scene in the "licks" bonus round.
  • Chris Evans censors Hayley Atwell Flipping the Bird with Captain America's shield.
  • Random Assault: Funny sound effects are used to cover up the few things the podcast DOES censor.
    • In articles on the show's website, Slabflapper's face is used to cover up naughty bits in pictures.
  • KPopp uses a picture of a teddy bear nicknamed "Teddy Ass" to censor in-game nudity.
  • The NSCL uses a deck of cards to censor clips with bare breasts in his High School DD review.
  • Retsupurae uses the text "Unregistered Hypercam 2", as an "homage" to the fact that many Let's Players would uses the unregistered version of that product to record their videos. And thus would have that watermark on them

Western Animation


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