Follow TV Tropes


Censor Box

Go To

"We'd show you more, but we actually ran out of black bars."
Brett Erlich, The Rotten Tomatoes Show

The Censor Box, also known as a Censor Bar, is used to cover up an offending sight with something that obviously doesn't belong, less physically part of the scene than any sort of fig leaf. Most typically, this is a heavy black bar or box, but sometimes bizarre stickers are used.

It's more glaringly obvious than Censor Steam or Pixellation, and such a brutal way of keeping something hidden from audiences that it's often used for parodies of censorship. There are plenty of subversions where the characters acknowledge it as if it was a physical object in their world. (Bonus points if they simply step around it to reveal that it was covering nothing offensive whatsoever).

A variation is for the bar to appear over a person's eyes, rather than their "naughty bits". Rather than censoring nudity, it's used to censor identity (especially if it's someone who can't be shown on television due to legal reasons). This may be used when the subject in question is fully clothed, and is often used to Draw Around Trademarks in order to show a famous person to whom the author doesn't have the rights while still maintaining Plausible Deniability. This was also commonly done while showing parts in vintage porn magazines and older medical books.

Another, more recent, trend is to briefly place censor decals (often the program's logo or some mocking caption) over people's mouths when they say something that is bleeped out. This may be for the "benefit" of lip readers, or purely for added humor.


    open/close all folders 

  • The late-night Girls Gone Wild commercials will usually cover up the parts of the aforementioned girls with either their logo or, ironically, a big bar labeled "UNCENSORED!"
  • An Australian animated ad for Red Bull was set in a nudist camp. There were black censor bars over everyone's genitals. One fellow had an exceptionally large censor box that rose as he drank his Red Bull.
  • "Designer Imposters" Body Spray
  • While largely obsolete now thanks to the Internet, many found it odd that advertisements selling pornography in magazines censored the images in the ads - because, after all, it was already in a porno mag. This was for two reasons: first off, the magazine may be softcore (simple nudes) but the advertising images hardcore (involving explicit sex)note , and secondly to ensure that people who already owned the magazine didn't just use the free picture and thus not use the ad to buy the product.
  • An underwear sales presentation for the shopping channel QVC showing two very attractive women wearing hideously unflattering undergarments went viral on YouTube. When the British sales pitch reached QVC viewers in the USA, it provoked lots of complaints. The reason is apparently that both models had very visible erect nipples under their vests. This highlighted the gulf between British and North American social attitudes to visibly erect female nipples under clothing; it's no big deal in GB but is apparently almost as bad as toplessness in the USA. note  Strangest of all, American websites covering the item ran edited excerpts from the show but still considered it necessary to run a Censor Box over the chest of a woman who was otherwise fully covered! Link is presumably NSFW in the USA but OK everywhere else....

    Anime & Manga 
  • In keeping with Japanese law, all hentai manga is censored. Works that don't get creative with their censorship will often have thin black strip censor boxes over the minimum required area to be censored. On men this results in a small black strip over "part" of the head of the penis, and the urethra. On women, this strip covers the actual opening of the vagina (leaving all the messy bits). One wonders why they even have it at all. Still, its enough that it kills the allure for some people.
  • Non-hentai works, on the other hand, may make use of black boxes to cover a character's eyes, generally as a means to say "this character's identity is of no significance whatsoever", or as a comical alternative to Pixellation to show that "this character doesn't want their identity to be known, although you can definitely tell who they are based their un-concealed features".
  • Hayate the Combat Butler makes a running gag out of them, since it's a reference-heavy show in a early time slot. A genie holding up 'can't show this' and 'don't do this' signs is used to cover up everything from mild injuries to humans being sexually assaulted by a tiger.
  • When two students are gossiping about Asahi from Haikyuu!!, they mention that they heard some guys from Kita High worked for him to extort money and that he sold illegal substances on the street all with his eyes censored and the "illegal substance" being pixellated as if he's a criminal, which is far from his personality. When we see that he was actually trying to call the cops over a fight in the first situation and that he picked up the handkerchief of a lady that she dropped the censor boxes are removed.
  • Naughty bits in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei often are obscured by a photograph of the bald head of Maeda-kun, the original Manga author's assistant who is also responsible for the blackboard gags. His expression and line of sight change depending on what he is covering up.
  • Magician's Academy has claymation versions of Tanarot appear to cover up the animated her whenever she does anything that might be considered too fanservicey. It ends up looking really weird.
  • Nazo Koumori in Rosario + Vampire is a bat of many talents. Combat Commentator, Morph Weapon and Panty Shot censor when he needs to be. This leads to odd scenes where he's in two places at once as Kokoa's familiar and part of the censorship. Spoofed when Kokoa sits down on him only to find he's become part of her panties somehow.
  • The anime of Harem in the Labyrinth of Another World uses censor boxes in the form of computer error messages in the simulcast (since the main character is trapped in a computer RPG). As the series is so raunchy it would possibly exceed the limits of the R rating in the United States, the screen is frequently so plastered with these error boxes that the show is virtually unwatchable.
  • Later chapters of Hunter × Hunter involve certain scenes shaded out by big black spaces or boxes to cover up gruesome scenery.
  • Inukami! applies most of its Censor Boxes to the males (usually Keita) in the form of blue elephants on parade. Said elephants are usually right around the crotch. There's a lot of manservice in Inukami.
  • Parodied in Patlabor during the obligatory Hot Springs Episode. We see all the main male characters go into a communal shower, with black dots covering their modesty. Then, after they go behind a opaque wooden screen, they throw the dots over the top of the screen like towels!
  • After some unintentional Clothing Damage in Black Cat (or rather, immediately as it happens), two cats appear holding signs that prevent the reader from seeing anything.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Hiruma's spirited exchange with the coach of the American NASA Aliens football team is all in English and almost completely covered with the Shounen Jump logo, as is the "translation" on the next page.
  • Shown on the image links page is Black Lagoon's somewhat ironic use of this trope during the anime's OP. The show itself has no such censoring at all, and depicts acts much more brutal than simply firing a gun at something offscreen.
  • The identity-"concealing" version is used in Toradora! when classmates are "testifying" about the evidence suggesting that Ryuuji and Taiga are a couple — but the name of each witness appears below his or her image.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi does the "across the eyes" version when someone who totally isn't the KFC guy is shown.
    • There's also an incident where Konoka tries to cover the screen when Jack Rakan starts doing something improper with a pair of stolen panties.
    • In another scene, a mosaic censor was used on Jack Rakan showering. It was pretty large.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: It appears in If the Angels Wore Swimsuits to cover various naughty bits as the starfish Ghosts replace bits of clothing, as well as in HELP! We are Angels when Panty is singing about a delicious crotch.
  • Similar to the Patlabor example above, Urusei Yatsura had an episode set at a sento using black dots for censorship, where the black dots were suspended from crane-arms held by Kabuki stagehands.
  • In the anime adaption of Toradora!, Minori mentions she saw something black when Kitamura dropped the towel covering his pride.
  • The Comp Ace manga adaptation of Maoyu has a bar over the eyes of somebody who's definitely not the Dragonlord.
  • The anime of Samurai Girls has ink splatter covering what needs to be censored. The same effect is also used throughout the series to show clashing powers, Scene Transitions, and other stuff, so it's far less intrusive than censoring often is.
  • Gintama typically uses this to cover the eyes of celebrities and characters from other media. It's also been used to block some especially offensive scenes, such as Kondo apologizing to the viewers by humiliating himself via posing in a fashion that emphasizes his groin while completely naked.
  • Done in the broadcast version of So, I Can't Play H! to the point where many consider it unwatchable. Some times half of the screen is covered, often during fight scenes.
  • In Chapter 12/Episode 4 of Laughing Under the Clouds, when Soramaru returns from infiltrating Gokumonjo, Tenka awaits him at the gate to the shrine wearing only an open kimono flying dramatically in the wind, while the family crest strategically censors whatever else might be flying in the wind.
  • The Revolutionary Girl Utena anime uses a spinning rose logo for censorship, though the choice of what to censor is ... odd. The final strike in a duel is frequently censored, even though it's sport-fencing and there are no actual blood or injuries involved. Fans have been known to joke that it's used for nudity, violence, and things that are hard to draw.
  • In Excel♡Saga, Watanabe's penis is obscured by an elephant face when he falls out of the love hotel in "Going Too Far".
  • The simulcast of the World's End Harem anime uses ugly black lines to cover up the extensive female nudity, as if somebody had gone over the frames with a Sharpie marker. It drew so many viewer complaints that the press even took notice.
  • When Yukana's underwear is seen on screen in the first episode of My First Girlfriend Is a Gal it's covered by a makeup kit. Later in the same episode, her nipples and underwear are hidden by a big manicured hand while a "don't look!" can be heard during Junichi's Imagine Spot of them almost having sex.

    Comic Books 
  • Used in the U.S. version of the French comic book Sillage (Wake in English). In the first issue the heroine Nävis/Navee is living as a kind of Jungle Princess, wearing only a pair of briefs. Conveniently for the censors she has a set of white bars tattooed on various parts of her body, one of which just happens to be across her breast. So for the US edition all they had to do was paint her breast tattoo black, and presto!
  • Empowered: Used for comedy. Especially in the case of the telepathic superheroine Mind████, whose name is always rendered like that.
  • Hawkeye: In Hawkeye (2012), a nude Clint's modesty is covered by a classic-style corner box logo of his face.
  • Judge Dredd: The first time his helmet is removed, his face is covered with a white censor bar.
  • Richie Rich: One cover has a big dollar bill on the shower door covering Richie's midsection when he shows himself taking a shower in a non-Fanservice-y way.
  • My Little Pony: Friends Forever: In Pinkie and Twilight, after Pinkie destroys Twilight's elaborate plan to keep her contained, Twilight's swear is covered by a Cheezburger panel.
  • One of "The Best Marvel Comics Never Made" in Marvel 75th Aniversary Celebration is "Licensed Contest of Champions'', with a cover in which all the characters (just about identifiable as Godzilla, the Micronauts, the Shogun Warriors, Rom: Spaceknight, and NFL SuperPro) had been covered by censor boxes, with notes written on them about what a legal nightmare this was.
  • The cover of one issue of the Underdog series published by Charlton shows Underdog punching Simon Barsinister out of his clothes, with a box that says "CENSORED" covering what should be hidden.
  • The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist: Some names of people and organizations Tomine had interacted with are scratched out with black to protect their identities, making it look like a censor box. Others like Neil Gaiman and NPR host Terry Gross are not.

    Fan Works 
  • Alternate History: When Katara spots Zuko, she shouts "Oh shit!", with the latter word being shaded out.
  • Creamsicle: Many pieces of fanart interpret the "Other Girl's" strange-looking black stripe over her chest as a censor bar, rather than a small top, and draw her topless. If she's not covered up with Scenery Censor, the artist usually censors her breasts with a solid black rectangle, or a black squiggle of some sort that matches the rest of the image's art style, treating the chest-stripe censor bar as a regular part of her design.
  • Irreversible Damage: After Rowley is turned into a girl, a large black box marked "CENSORED" is used to cover his bare chest.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used humorously in Borat during the naked wrestling scene. Borat has an extremely long censor bar that swings between his legs. Which actually gets longer and longer as the scene progresses.
  • Conjoined: When Alisa is making out with Courtney, we see a tattoo on Courtney's buttocks is digitally covered up by an American Flag.
  • Used in the network television cut of the sci fi film Hideous. One scene features a topless woman, but is too integral to the plot to cut out entirely.
  • Subverted in Jackass 3D during naked baseball. A censor bar is used, but is in the wrong position to cover anything most of the time.
  • Parodied in Loaded Weapon 1. The protagonist cops run into the FBI arresting a suspect with a blue circle over his face. Then the view switches to him from the rear, where we can see the strap holding the blue circle mask on.
  • Censor bars are covering the exotic dancers' delicate parts in the peep show segment of Magical Mystery Tour.
  • [adult swim] took this trope to its logical conclusion when they aired The Room (2003). Ridiculously oversized black boxes were used to cover just about every inappropriate scene.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Julie gives Scott a lengthy, sweary speech. All the rude words are covered with a Sound-Effect Bleep, while Julie's mouth has a censor bar slapped over it. Given that this is a film adaptation of a comic that loves Leaning on the Fourth Wall, Scott gets a little weirded out:
    Scott: How are you doing that with your mouth?
    Julie: Never mind how I'm *bleep* doing it!
    • Envy Adams pulls the same trick (while talking to Julie). Doubles as a case of Executive Meddling since the film needed to cut exactly one more swear word to keep its PG-13 rating.
  • Secrets In The Hot Spring: In a television interview, the man being interviewed has a censor bar over his eyes. However, the bar doesn't move with his head, so his whole face is exposed to the show's viewing public.
  • The eye-covering black box was parodied in Spy Kids: The president of the OSS actually grabs the black bar, moves it around, and finally puts it down like a pair of sunglasses.
  • The American release of Storytelling covers up a sexual encounter with a giant orange box in order to avoid an NC-17 rating. The director originally wanted to mark it "censored," but the MPAA objected, on the grounds that they don't consider themselves censors.

  • Hilariously invoked in Tales of MU. When Ian appears in the collective dream, he's naked (as that's what his dreams are usually like), and a provided pair of pants simply vanishes when he puts them on. Finally, Two - a lucid dreamer - makes a censor bar labelled Inappropriate For Some Audiences appear over his groin.
  • The Reader (2016) has a variant appears early on. When Sefia is remembering discovering her father's body, the description of the torture done to him has been completely blotted out. Later we find out that she is responsible for the censoring, as she finds that paragraph in the Big Book Of Everything and covers it up because it's still too horrifying.
  • The Outside has an In-Universe example. Akavi has a filter in his circuitry that blacks out all Outside phenomena to preserve his sanity.

    Live-Action TV 
  • There was a Bobcat Goldthwait special called Is He Like That All the Time? where he did stand-up comedy in a large communal shower explaining that his jokes are funnier in the shower just like people's singing is better in the shower. Everyone in the shot has the black rectangle. Bobcat's starts spinning like a propeller near the end and he flies off the screen.
  • Parodied in the MADtv (1995) sketch "Boys Gone Wild." Men, mostly overweight, flash their chests for the camera and their nipples are black-boxed.
  • The Joe Schmo Show played the Madtv gag above straight (probably).
  • The Middleman uses them to cover people's mouths while they're swearing.
    • Played for extra comic effect near the end of the show's run (in "The Clotharian Contamination Protocol"), when our heroes receive a staticky, blue-tinted video transmission from another planet. The speaker uses a naughty word (actually, he's quoting an Earth catchphrase), and naturally he gets a censor box... except, hilariously, the box is part of the transmission, complete with static and blue tint.
  • Subverted in a You Can't Do That on Television sketch where two boys are behind black boxes. Says one to the other, "I guess it's so no one can see our shorts." They then step to one side, revealing — shorts.
  • The Daily Show once referred to some sort of gory/sexual footage which couldn't be shown because "they don't make black bars that big".
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
  • X-Play has often censored violence, gore, and nudity in games they review with little kitten heads. Adorable mewing kitten heads.
  • In a Welcome Freshmen (Hi There Is no Such Thing as Notability!) sketch, two boys got the censor box and discuss how creepy it is, then ran off stage, carefully covered themselves, leaving the censor boxes just hanging there. Then as if realizing what just happened, the boxes zoomed off after them.
  • America's Funniest Home Videos uses a rubber duck.
    • Also parodied in one compilation of unnecessary censoring, including a puppy who was playing with a naked Barbie doll; her private parts were covered in the bars.
  • In Weird Science, there is an early episode in which Gary orders Lisa to be naked for him. She does, and there are censor bars covering her "rude bits". It quickly becomes clear that Gary and Wyatt are seeing the censor bars, same as the audience: apparently this is a safety feature because actually seeing Lisa naked would ruin Gary and Wyatt for normal women....
  • Played with frequently in Japanese comedy shows, like Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende. Often, the censored part (usually a man's butt or genitals) is covered by their own face superimposed over their crotch.
  • Adam of MythBusters saved the show's editors the expense of pixellating people's mouths by constructing a physical "censor visor" that cursing participants in a myth-test ("Does swearing increase one's ability to tolerate pain?") could wear to obscure their mouths. Being Adam, he decorated the plastic strip with cuss-substitute wingdings.
    • In another episode, animal heads (and their respective bleats) were used to censor dangerous ingredients from an explosives recipe. Lampshaded, of course, when the narrator explained that you'd get a violent reaction if you "add Donkey to Rooster"
    • Adam similarly joked that it was dangerous to mix ingredients that were "made of blur".
  • American Idol conspicuously uses its own logo as the censor box.
  • Dog Eat Dog did the same when contestants gave their all in Strip Quarterback and Strip Darts.
  • Canada's Worst Driver fittingly uses a stop sign (with the exception of season 5 contestant Jakob, who had an anarchy symbol used for him instead). Sister show Canada's Worst Handyman respectively uses animated duct tape.
  • The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson sometimes used flags accompanied by a sped-up Sound-Effect Bleep of Craig saying an expression supposedly representing the corresponding country, most frequently France ("Ooohlala!"), Spain ("¡Ay caramba!"), Australia ("Crikey Dingo!"), Italy ("Wassa cominago!") and even a rainbow flag ("Uh oh~").
  • A Japanese "reality" show called Susunu! Denpa Shonen featured, for over a year, a man (nicknamed Nasubi) locked in an empty apartment and only living off of prizes won by entering sweepstakes. People did not believe the show was real, so the producers started streaming him live over the Internet, 24/7. The problem was, he had not won any clothes yet (except some women's underwear), so the producers hired a team of 50 people to make sure his naughty bits were always digitally covered with an eggplant graphic ("nasubi" means "eggplant").
  • Top Gear (UK)'s trip into self-parody: To make this enormous firework, you will need: a plastic tube, a wooden stick, a box of smaller fireworks and a pair of pixelated hands. Clarkson is very clearly seen pouring the gunpowder from the smaller fireworks into the plastic tube. Later referred to as the cruise missile, it takes out the windows nearest building.
    • One segment had a trio of car thieves attempt to break into the presenters' vehicles. In a voiceover, Jeremy explains that they had insisted their faces be pixelated, but that "the pixelating was done by a man who just had his car nicked," at which point the pixelation on the thieves' faces drops to their chests.
  • Full Frontal had a sketch about a pre-coital French couple, with subtitles appearing as white text on a black bar. The bar covers the woman's breasts whenever either of them speaks and it becomes apparent that the woman is aware of this because she just keeps talking and talking, at one point going on a tangent about Michael Collins and the moon landing. The man calls her out on this, and she explains that she has to keep talking to cover up her naughty bits. "But we're on SBS!note " he exclaims. "But, aren't you ever embarrassed by nudity?" she asks. "Sometimes". At this point the bar is covering the man's penis, and it starts to stretch...
  • The opening credits of Smedleys Weekly had the 'across the eyes' version on a photograph of the Three Little Pigs accompanying an article about them being charged with murdering the Big Bad Wolf.
  • It's Garry Shandling's Show: Well, more like Censor Dot. In one episode, Garry strips down to just a black dot on a chain covering his genitals. Since the show's whole gimmick was No Fourth Wall and Lampshade Hanging, Garry looks into the camera and explains that he always wears a Censor Dot just in case.
  • Die Wochenshow had a spoof report on some criminal activity. At one point, the reporter began to interview somebody with a black bar covering his face. It did not move with him when they sat down.
  • In the Millennium episode "Somehow Satan Got Behind Me", an Obstructive Bureaucrat who works for television broadcasting standards goes insane. In one scene he's watching a stripper, and sees her Through the Eyes of Madness with her naughty bits blurred out as he mutters, "You can't show that, it's an erogenous zone..."

  • The pages for "Hard" in the CD booklet for Rihanna's Rated R include a color picture of her nude and holding a big "CENSORED" sign in front of her.
  • Xiu Xiu: Most releases of A Promise superimpose a small orange box atop the crotch of the male prostitute photographed nude on the front cover. Frontperson Jamie Stewart didn't mind the censorship, stating that the man's genitals weren't meant to be the focus of the image.

    Music Videos 
  • Parodied in the music video for R.E.M.'s "Pop Song 89", which features frontman Michael Stipe and a troupe of female dancers. All are topless, and all of them have black boxes over their nipples in the broadcast version, Stipe included.
  • Used creatively in the video for Brighton Port Authority's "Toe Jam"— the nude people arrange themselves so their censor boxes make letters and pictures, and at one point they play Pong.
  • Used in the video for Lemon Demon's song "Geeks In Love" (animated by Andrew Kepple), a censor box appears to be covering the girl geek fellating the boy geek; the box goes away and we see they are just playing foosball. If watched slowed down, one frame at a time to catch all of the Easter Eggs, it says on the next frame "And then they did you-know-what. With each other."
  • The music video for Make the Girl Dance's "Baby Baby Baby" features nude models walking down a street in Paris with censor boxes covering up their "naughty bits". The lyrics to the song appear in the censor boxes, one or two words at a time, as they are sung.
  • The music video for Melody (skip to 1:01) on DJ Max Black Square/Technika has a cat blocking a panty shot of the baseball girl.
  • The video for Bowling for Soup's "High School Never Ends" covers up a jock's penis with "Too small for TV."
  • The video for David Lee Roth's "Yankee Rose" had CENSORED boxes appearing throughout when it was airing on Friday Night Videos...and at one point, one of the boxes read REALLY CENSORED.
  • Die Ärzte censored a version of their video for the song Junge themselves, using cartoon characters, written sound effects and their own smiling faces to replace the faces of the zombies attacking them. They also used a big yellow box to censor violent scenes - including the end when Farin gets eaten - but left the sound intact. It is even more disturbing than the uncensored one.
  • Grupa Operacyjna's "Prezes" has the titular character remove his pants in front of the soldier commision, with his butt being censored by a black box.

    Print Media 
  • It used to be standard practice whenever atlases were imported to South Korea for the bookstore staff to take black markers and cross out the phrase "Sea of Japan" on all the maps before releasing the atlases for sale.
  • Medical journals use this method to conceal the identities (eyes and/or faces) of subjects whose illnesses or injuries are displayed in photos, thus preserving privacy.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The first press release for Muppets Now was supposedly written by Kermit and then redacted by Joe the Legal Weasel. Not announcing the guest stars this early makes sense. Censoring the sentence "I'm so ████████████ to announce the Muppets' brand new, short-form, unscripted ████████████ series" doesn't. The final sentence has Kermit thanking "the lovers, the dreamers and ███".

    Video Games 
  • In Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon, if Roger fails to get off the Conveyor Belt o' Doom and falls into the meat grinder, a box labeled "NOT A PRETTY SIGHT" pops up as he is "shredded like an Iran-Contra document".
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a large "Censored" box will cover Indy when he changes his clothes. It also shows up if he gets killed in some violent way, usually accompanied by a pool of blood appearing at the bottom.
  • The Guy Game uses it as a gameplay mechanic: do poorly and the in-game breasts are covered by boxes. Do slightly better and it's switched to pixellation. Do nigh-perfect and there's no censorship.
  • In the Police 911 series, the eyes of criminals in their portraits are censored out, not unlike in Japanese television broadcasts. When you fight them, their faces are pixellated. For the games released outside A Sia, the censoring is averted.
  • In Revolution X, when a player runs out of life, a big "CENSORED" bar appears over their part of the screen.
  • In Secret Agent Clank, if Ratchet loses his Modesty Towel in the showers, he gets one of these. Also applies to the more humanoid enemies.
  • Deadpool has a small box cover a certain part of him when using a toilet. He then grabs and stretches the box to be much larger.
  • In Heroine's Quest, the Huldra's breasts and genitals are covered by black censor boxes. Like pretty much everything in the game, it gets lampshaded.
  • The Sword of Chaos demo movie ran on ad networks uncensored, but then added pixelation over the character's cleavage-baring armor.
  • Sharpshooter 3D have two areas, a prison shower and an indoor sauna, where you're attacked by naked overweight thugs. Despite the rest of the game being pretty heavy on gore, the developers at least had the decency to put a blurry circle over their nuts.
  • In Three Dirty Dwarves, the Naked Ninjas have a rectangular black box shadowing their privates. Hilariously, it's the last trace of them to disappear when they're defeated.
  • Turning on the censors for blood and gore in Brütal Legend blocks out the sight of dead bodies and grievous wounds with the "PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT CONTENT" box. Turning on the censors for swearing applies this to middle fingers, too.
  • In Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards whenever Larry is in bed with a woman, a large "CENSORED" box covers them completely. In the brothel the box changes its shape in sync with Larry's movements, giving a very clear indication what Larry is doing. But in the hotel it stays static, then goes all wavy, before revealing Larry tied up and robbed, keeping the viewer wondering until the end.
  • The character of Lucy in Whacked! spends about 95% of her screen time clad in nothing but a pair of knee-high boots, a pair of elbow-length gloves, and three censor boxes (two in the front, one in the back). The other 5% has her in a skin-tight rubber dress... that invariably explodes. At least she doesn't seem to mind, even during the life-or-death arena batlles.
  • In Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, the "base" female skater model is topless and has a thin back bar over the chest. This cannot be seen in normal gameplay. Underground 2 used blue stars instead.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy series:
    • Every main installment has the Beholder and its "special attack," where a giant black box reading "CENSORED" appears over whatever player character or enemy it does it to. In the fifth game's V2 update, the Beholder appears in a Game Within a Game, and Lance will complain about the attack being censored. Even if he's the victim of the attack.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 3 and 4 have nude beach-goer NPCs with black bars over their groins, breasts, and butts.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 5 has an Easter Egg when using 7th Heaven after the third major boss, where Natalie would be naked instead of wearing a skimpy outfit based on her armor. Her nudity is barely covered with small black boxes.
  • The indie game Freedom Finger is a Shoot 'Em Up with a ship in the shape of a giant metal hand, and the guns are inside the extended middle finger, with a censor box over it.
  • Lobotomy Corporation: Played for horror with CENSORED, an Abnormality said to be so horrible and mind-rending that its true form is covered by red censor bars on the player's cameras so they aren't driven insane by it. Everything about CENSORED is censored, from the way it kills people to the sound of it attacking! CENSORED causes your agents to take sanity damage just by seeing it, and the notes for CENSORED state that any Managers that manage to see CENSORED's true form are disposed of.
    "If a flaw in the system disables the censors covering the Abnormality, we will once again have to sincerely consider how to dispose of the manager."
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition officially relies on Scenery Censor during cutscenes where a character's crotch would be exposed (bare breasts and buttocks are on full display, though), but manipulating the camera reveals that this trope was used as a "just in case" measure for actual genitals.
  • The Simpsons Hit & Run: One of the Collector Cards is Marge's nude portrait of Mr. Burns. Instead of the Scenery Censor used in the show proper, he has a black bar across his genitals with "CENSORED" in bold letters.
  • Scarlet Nexus: Used In-Universe via Augmented Reality by the totalitarian government to keep people from seeing the heads of the dead, supposedly for their own mental wellbeing. It’s also used as a gag to cover up the Team Mom Kyoko’s Lethal Chef cooking (probably so it wouldn’t need to be modeled.)

    Web Animation 
  • The Amazing Digital Circus has a box with four colored symbols and Caine's "face" appear over someone's mouth when they swear, like when Pomni tested the game's profanity filter.
  • Zero Punctuation features censor bars in order to depict nudity due to the minimalist art style. The censored boxes are also often covered in witty text. When Yahtzee describes something as "being stretched wider than a catamite's rectum," the censor box covering nearly the entire screen reads "IMAGE VERY CENSORED". Similarly, the aftermath of trying juggle babies and chainsaws at the same time is covered up with, "THE BABY IS FINE THE BABY IS OKAY".
  • In Lacey Games a single frame photo of a woman, presumably being one of the creators of the titular fictious game series has her face covered with a black box. The same censor bar also used to cover Lacey's naked body in Petshop and a photo of her deceased pet dog.
  • In The Little Painter, a censor box appears over the bridge troll's mouth when he starts talking about what he'd do to the woman in Pierre's portrait.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School uses this for a joke. Despite all of the dolls having Barbie Doll Anatomy, black boxes are put over nudity... except for Matthew, since he has Barbie Doll Anatomy in-universe.
  • In JAMIEvstheVOID's storytime animation "Halloween in the UK was lame...", the eyes of Jamie's estranged mother are covered with a black bar.

  • In The Paul Reveres when General George "G-Dub" Washington drops a censored f-bomb in his intro rap.
  • Housepets! are naked all the time. Except for their collars. In this comic Bino holds a censor bar over the offending area.
  • Freefall has two instances with In-Universe justifications:
    • The young Robot Helix sees five of these on the Uplifted wolf Florence Ambrose when she's in the shower, demonstrating both that she's modeled quite closely on lupine physiology and that Helix's vision system is only PG-rated.
    • Dr. Bowman outfitted a flock of maintenance bots with Vantablack-covered panels to provide cover when he wants to elude the facility's security systems. Conveniently, they all start running around when Florence and Henri need to take a decontamination shower.
  • Sluggy Freelance censor-boxes a "graphic depiction of peeled eyeballs".
  • Shows up in Cross Time Cafe here, though the viewer is left wondering just exactly what is going on behind that box. Keep in mind, most of the characters in that box are canids...
  • The Cyantian Chronicles: A male fox's "naughty bits" are covered by a black censor bar saying "We Have a Shivae-13 Rating To Maintain!"*
  • Used all throughout this VG Cats comic, with the bar's message starting off as 'Naughty Bits Bar', then continually changing, including things like '18 or Older', 'Quit Looking' and 'No Way'.
  • Used to humorous effect in later chapters of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, when the titular character's profane utterances and gestures are covered up by idiosyncratically subtitled black boxes.
  • Last Res0rt uses a censor box, once, to cover up a chibi-fied Jason's genitalia during an in-comic recap.
  • Roommates has fun with Censor Boxes. Not only do they happen a lot, but seem to be Metafictional Devices the characters can interact with.
  • Used when characters shower in MountainTime, though, being stick figures, there really isn't anything to cover.
  • In Jerkcity, censor boxes are more often used to redact dialogue as though the comic were a sensitive document, but sometimes are used in the more traditional way, over a character's crotch. Sometimes in an upward diagonal. It has also been used to obscure characters' eyes, including Pants, whose nine eyes were individually covered.
  • In a Captain SNES: The Game Masta comic talking about Captain N The Gamemaster, it's suggested that King Hippo's disgusting blue nipples were some sort of commentary about gender equality in censorship, showing Lana topless (covered by a box labeled "Censored") and King Hippo (covered by a box labeled "Should be censored"), and asking which one you would give a shirt to first.
  • Zebra Girl: Used sometimes whenever Sandra becomes vulgar. For example, the f-word and s-word are almost always censored.
  • Leif & Thorn: When Leif lists the few Ceanska words and phrases he knows, half of them are censor-barred out.
  • Daughter of the Lilies uses black boxes to conceal obscene words and gestures, mostly from Lyra. Sometimes riffed on by giving them captions like "Nuh-uh."
  • In a Nodwick strip spoofing the Dungeons & Dragons module Shrine of the Kua-Toa, when Piffany learns that the goddess Blibdoolpoolp looks like a naked woman with a lobster head, she casts a purify sight spell on herself and her teammates. Sure enough, when Blibdoolpoolp appears, she has censor bars. The spell is still running when Silussa the succubus appears in the strip based on the follow-up module Queen of the Demonweb Pits.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Mao flips off Yokoka, with a censor box over his middle finger, in a Q&A strip.
  • NEXT!!! Sound of the Future: A black scratchy effect reminiscent of censor bars that hide people's identities covers the eyes of the celebrities surrounding Shine on chapter 8's title card, symbolizing how idols do not necessarily present their true selves to their fans.

    Web Original 
  • Head Injury Theatre movie review site often shows scenes too graphic for the German Web site's editor-imposed UK-15 rating... censored with little white circles stating NO.
  • The /tg/ board on 4chan tends to use censor bars with "HERESY!" written on them, when they bother to.
  • As Fredrik K.T.Andersson once described it this way:
    How can i show this filth to my friends?!
    Um... don't?
    Nay! For it is too good not to show, but too nude to let me do it without fear nor shame!
  • The SCP Foundation censors things all the time, both for comedy and for horror, but mostly for horror. ████████████ are typically used to censor dates and names. Larger amounts of text simply [DATA EXPUNGED] because knowing about [REDACTED] would probably break your brain.
  • In Chaos Fighters-Route of Peaks:
    How many (a lot of swear words) times I told you that leave a note whenever you (a lot of swear words) leave this city!
  • "Good Show Sir" dedicates itself to "Only the worst Sci-fi/Fantasy cover art." They are fond of using a sheep's head (and occasionally C.S. Lewis's face) for censorship. Try a tag search for "space sheep"
  • This tongue-in-cheek guide to making naked D&D characters uses black boxes to censor any naughty bits in the illustrations.

    Web Videos 
  • When JesuOtaku reviews ecchi stuff, he'll use black censor bars with amusing blurbs on them like "Bombs away!" and "There's side-nipple under me!"
  • A piece of video art by performance artist Pina Bausch featured a shot of a topless woman sitting in a room with a censor box over her eyes.
  • In The Spoony Experiment, there was this scene on the movie called "Clones of Bruce Lee" in which several women were seen baring their breasts on a beach. There was a huge censor box advertisement covering them from the shoulders down that read, "Revolution of the Mask, by Linkara!"
  • The Nostalgia Critic'':
    • Used in his review of Red Sonja, when the naked dancing woman appears.
    • In his review of The Room, the Critic uses a censor item that's also a Visual Pun: he places a cartoony donkey's head over Tommy Wiseau's ass.
  • Amusingly used when The Nostalgia Chick reviews Showgirls, where she covers up the women's boobs... with Boobies (don't worry, it's not dirty)!
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd: When James Rolfe was reviewing Orgy of the Dead as part of his Ed Wood-a-thon, there were a lot of topless girls in there, so he covered their breasts with Bela Lugosi's face.
  • Brows Held High:
    • Covers naked women with the torso of the Venus de Milo, in a fairly epic bit of mockery. Though one time he used the Hottentot Venus for a somewhat more Rubenesque woman.
    • The Exterminating Angels review featured lesbian sex censored with a The L Word poster, among other creative censor boxes.
    • He does this for pretty much everything racy. Tits get the bird (though he apologized once for using a swallow in its place), ass gets a donkey's head, pussy gets a cat's, ejaculate gets either mayo or milk, etc. At one point, he struggled to find something for "foot job" before finally throwing on a foot with glasses, tie and suitcase.
    • And then there was the time he reviewed Up With Dead People and could only do a red censor box with "FUCKING A STOMACH WOUND" on it.
    • And a Wii controller for, well... guess.
  • In the Cinebinge Reaction Video to Blazing Saddles, the Governor's scantily-clad female companion is covered from neck to knees with a censor bar consisting of a white box bearing the text of the Youtube content policy regarding videos containing scantily-clad women.
  • The Cinema Snob has to use it regularly, considering some of the movies he reviews. See the Caligula review for a prime example.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged puts a Dragon Ball over naked baby groins.
  • Honest Trailers had fun with this in its trailer for Game of Thrones. Awesome music plays during a long montage of black-barred boob shots.
  • Tales From My D&D Campaign uses this on occasion for the traditional purpose of obscuring nudity, implying that trolls don't lack 'attributes', but also features Daggerface - a dwarf whose face was so horribly disfigured by a torturer's knife that his face is always covered by a blatant one of these!
  • Petscop:
    • In "Petscop 7", Paul (and possibly his friend too) covers up an object in a child's room with one of these. The video ends with a screen saying that they're also planning to censor a big present with a sticker on it (which eventually appears in Petscop 9), something on a wall in a black house, and something written on a chalkboard in the future.
    • In "Petscop 9", instead of censoring the present with a sticker on it, Paul ends up censoring a giant, red, upside-down, spinning pyramid that comes out of the present.
    • In "Petscop 10", what is presumably Tool's answer to Paul's question (which was "Where was the windmill?") was censored.
  • When Malinda Kathleen Reese of Google Translate Sings translated the Shawn Mendes song "Stitches", the line "Now that I'm without your kisses" became "Now I have no clothes", resulting in Malinda naked, whose body is covered by a censor box.
  • Censor Kaiser acts as one for Bennett the Sage, and was originally a cut-out of KaiserNeko's head, but was upgraded to being a combination of KaiserNeko and The Laughing Man's emblem.
  • In Allison Pregler's review of Showgirls 2: Penny's from Heaven, she spends the first minute wearing nothing but a censor box across her chest.
  • The Annotated Series uses these to censor anything that might come across as suggestive. In Captain N, they frequently appear over where Duke's anus would be. In Donkey Ollie, there's a massive one censoring an extended shot of Ollie's mutilated body.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Blernsball episode of Futurama there is a machine that censor-boxes reality in a men's changing room. It gets accidentally unplugged and all the bars disappear, which means the men have to cover themselves up manually except the one guy with his back towards the camera, who proudly proclaims, "I win."
    • One of the recurring background characters include a naked couple with black bars over their genitals; careful observation will reveal that they're actually wearing see-through ponchos with black bands in the appropriate places.
    • Subverted on a parody of COPS, in which a bug-alien involved in a domestic dispute has his face blurred. It's then revealed that he's doing this himself, as Smitty demands that he unblur his face.
  • Punch!: When Jordan visits Adam Sandler's nudist colony, he has to go naked to be allowed in. Adam Sandler already is. They both have black boxes over their crotches.
  • Rocko's Modern Life uses stereotypical black censor boxes to cover Rocko's nudity on several occasions, including one where a censor actually appears on screen and places the box himself. This, despite Rocko not wearing any pants most of the time.
    • In another episode, Heffer and Filburt make a home movie of Rocko (which includes a scene of him naked) and it becomes an international sensation. Rocko gets sent a box of censor bars for autographs, and Hef and Filburt have a ball putting them on each other like stickers.
  • The Venture Brothers tends to use black bars instead of pixelation for censorship. Used rather cleverly when a man's penis morphs into Henry Killinger, the censor bar seamlessly transforming into his black coat.
    • Also used to hilarious effect in a strip club. The dancers hadn't finished stripping and weren't actually showing their parts, but the censors still thought they were showing too much. Rather than redesign the costumes, the animators just slapped some black bars on them, which turned out to be funnier anyway.
    • In "Home Is Where The Hate Is" The Monarch, Sgt. Hatred, and Dr. Venture all have censor bars covering their genitals as they hang out in the hot tub (Not that there's really that much to see in the uncensored version). Dr. Venture's bar inexplicably (and hilariously) shrinks right before he gets in.
  • Played with in the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Falling Hare", in which the front gate sign of an unnamed Air Force base is censored to keep classified information from being discovered by the enemy ("Number of planes: Censored. Number of men: Censored.") The last line was censored for more traditional reasons ("Men's opinion of Top Sergeant: CENSORED!!!").
  • The Simpsons:
    • The TV edit of The Simpsons Movie had a Censor Box that read "European Version Only" digitally laid over the bare hedge during the "Bart's naked skateboard ride" sequence note .
    • One episode of the series parodied this with a newscast about "nudist camps for animals", which showed a horse and other animals with black bars over their privates.
  • Parodied in Family Guy when the FCC begin to censor real life after shutting down Peter's tasteless cable channel: G-men are poised to cover naked people with black cardboard cut-outs (with one G-man asking if he should censor Peter's chin since it looks like a pair of testicles); earlier, the same episode had the FCC censor the top of a skimpy bikini in a Show Within a Show with a censor bar, which had the effect of making the character look topless instead.
  • South Park encountered some in episode 201 to obscure all appearances of Mohammed.
  • Adventure Time had logs to cover the privates of characters who end up naked (as seen in the episode "Wizards"). Originally, they were going to be beavers.
  • Some instances of censorship in Superjail! utilize these. Most of the time, there is actually some type of content drawn underneath that the censors objected to (whether actually rather explicit or not), although at least two instances ( Alice's genitalia in "Vacation", as well as the inmates first glimpsing Alice and the Mistress having sex in "Stingstress") were always meant to be censored as a gag, and nothing was actually meant to be drawn or animated beneath them.
    • "Hot Chick", in a first for the show, had the Warden going about with full-frontal nudity: to try to make the censored version look funnier, the Warden's censor box is a bit long and even spins about in one scene; it's uncensored in the DVD, although it's not all that impressive. The episode also included a censor box at the end to obscure Hunter's breasts, although all other scenes let her undetailed body remain exposed (this was most likely because her breasts were pressed against crystal, creating dark spots that vaguely resembled nipples); it, too, is uncensored on the DVD, although nothing is really under it.
    • "Gay Wedding" underwent a bunch of censor boxes for its broadcast airing, as well as some pixellation employed. Alice grinding against Jean was edited, Paul with his face against a stripper's crotch was covered up with a large censor box (making it look dirtier than it was), and a shot of Paul's mouth seen through a glory hole was also covered up with a box.
    • Season 3 had some last-minute censorship employed when the Standards and Practices department got cold feet on some of the shots in episodes just before they were broadcast: an inmate being torn apart and devoured by dogs in "Superfail" had a HUGE censor box (even reading "Censored" in bold red letters) stamped over the scene to obscure the violence, while Alice's bulge received the same treatment during her wrestling scene; an inmate snorting cocaine in "Sticky Discharge" had the same treatment done to obscure the act. Unlike the season 2 DVD, the season 3 DVD used the edited copies of the episodes (complete with the censors and bleeped cursing) even though its label claimed all episodes were uncensored.
  • Played for Laughs in The Amazing World of Gumball.
    • In Darwin's dream about being naked at the mall, a censor box is shown over his feet, as shoes are the only things he typically wears. Since Gumball came into the dream with him, he's also left naked but because this isn't his dream he doesn't get his own box and tries to take Darwin's.
    • They also did this in an instance where Leslie, who is a living flower, had his vase removed, so they censored the earth around his roots.
  • Played with in Tuca & Bertie: in "The Sugar Bowl", Speckle moons Bertie and his ass is covered with a censor box — which immediately falls off and exposes him.
  • Cow and Chicken: The title card for the episode "Who Is Supercow?" features censor bars over Supercow's eyes and teats.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Veritas", Tendi uses these in her story to hide the eyes of everyone but herself and Ransom.

    Real Life 

Alternative Title(s): Censor Bar



If anyone needs them… don't even bother.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / FlippingTheBird

Media sources: