Studio Ghibli’s newest release, Isao Takahata’s Kaguya Hime no Monogatari (“The Tale of Princess Kaguya“) has been receiving a lot of raves from critics and anime fans in Japan, ever since its domestic release a week ago. However, surprisingly, the box-office returns have been less than stellar, and one critic is proposing something “drastic” for its international release: censoring some scenes that may be seen as “offensive” in other countries.
Author and journalist Akihiko Reizei thinks Kaguya Hime will become a timeless classic in his film review for the Japanese edition of Newsweek. However, he believes it will encounter a bit of difficulty when it will be screened as is in other countries because of several scenes that have breast exposure while breastfeeding, half-naked children, and a completely nude young girl who dives into water. Japan’s culture of acceptance for on-screen nudity, particularly in anime, will not make viewers bat an eyelash, Reizei thinks other countries that have different “cultural barometers” may not feel the same way, particularly in Islamic countries. He is suggesting having an “international version” where those particular scenes will be cut, in order for it to have a better chance of being shown in more theaters overseas.
The last time that Studio Ghibli re-edited one of its films was when they made a 20-minute shorter version of Warriors of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki in 1985. It became such a critical and commercial failure that the famed anime studio was disappointed, leading to the now famous story of producer Toshi Suzuki sending a katana to American distributor Miramax with the note, “No cuts”, when they were releasing Princess Mononoke in the U.S. theaters. While Ghibli films in Japan cut across age barriers, its overseas audience are mostly teenagers and adults, so scenes with nursing mothers and children playing around half-naked would probably not have any effect on them, or even on the ratings. Reader reaction to Reizei’s suggestion has been mixed, with some agreeing with his logic, while others say that “throwing away your artistic vision” is not worth it just to get overseas audience.
[ via Rocket News 24 ]