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First they came for the lolis

The whole principle is wrong; it’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t eat steak.

– Robert Heinlein (commonly attributed to Mark Twain)

Fans raged on twitter and IRC channels today as FUNimation announced that Dance in the Vampire Bund DVDs would be released censored. Ordinarily, broadcast versions of risque anime are censored, and DVD versions contain the full content as an extra enticement for fans to purchase the DVDs. In an age of increasing backlash against the sexualization of minors, however, FUNimation may be feeling the pressure to conform to Western social norms.

The announcement was made at the official FUNimation blog:

After viewing the unedited as well as the Japanese broadcast edit of the series Dance in the Vampire Bund, we have determined the series contains controversial elements which, when taken out of context, could be objectionable to some audiences.

With this in mind and with approval of the licensor, we will edit select scenes from the series in streaming and home entertainment release. These are scenes which are inappropriate for U.S. viewing and are not essential to the storyline.

Criticism there was no less heated, and a majority of comments expressed disapproval:

Dear Funimation,

If you cannot release a show without hacking it up you should just stay the hell away from it and save yourselves the licensing fees. I refuse to buy censored anime, and I know many other will feel the same way.

I wholeheartedly hope that your release of Dance in the Vampire Bund is an abysmal failure so that you’ll learn your lesson.

Censorship is and always has been an egregious offense to free speech and creativity.

Another fan wrote of the PR aspects:

FUNimation, is this really alright? Is it worth it to you?

This backlash from fans is just terrible PR for you . . . All I can do is hope you reverse the decision, and that fans can forgive you. I don’t want your reputation to crumble because of something like this.

Perhaps if Martin Niemöller were an anime otaku, he might write thus:

First they came for the lolis, and I said nothing, because I was not a lolicon;
Then they came for the panty shots, and I did not speak out—I was not a pantsu fetishist;
Then they came for the political references, and I did not speak out—their politics did not interest me anyhow;
Then they came for originality—and there was no reason left to watch.

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