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The Great Anime Cover Up!

This is a satirical article that I originally wrote for the news page of Anime Vice in Aug. 25, 2010. It's not intended to be taken too seriously. I'm just pointing out some of the odd choices that are made in censorship, in relation to violence and sexuality.

Unlocking the Oppai Code

Too much?
Too much?

It's pretty well known on the Anime Vice community. I am not a fan or supporter of censorship. Art should never have to be toned down, and have to bend to the wills of those who just happen to not like it or disapprove of the content. In many of my postings and articles, I have written at length about my issues of the censorship of manga in the US by publishing companies, but there is actually another kind of censorship I would like to bring to your attention. It's the censorship of Japanese manga when they are translated into anime. I'm not talking about the reduction of violence or gore. It's something far more insidious. It's the BREASTS!!

It's taken many years of research (actually, it's closer to two hours and some change), but I believe I have finally uncovered the code for the censorship of the breasts in anime. This is what they don't want you to see on your televisions. Sure, anime and manga love their insanely, large chested characters. Just look at Rangiku Matsumoto, Orihime Inoue, Tsunade, and much of the cast of Highschool of the Dead. The list can go on, and pretty much every series has at least one, I find it hilarious that violence is often shown in its purest forms on TV, but somehow seeing too much breast is going too far. Cleavage shots are abundant. You see those all the time in anime, but as it turns out. There are just some parts of the breasts that are too provocative for anyone's eyes, outside of the gray scale pages.

It's the Japanese censoring boards that want to prevent you from seeing too much of them. How do I know this be true and not some crazy, conspiracy theory? I flipped a coin,... but that's not all. I'll show you the evidence of side by side examples of how the original manga have been censored for their TV appearances. How much is too much? What angles can you see them from, and why are some angles more provocative than others? I'm going to break it down for you.


I think one of the first times I ever noticed this odd changes was on the BLEACH series from Tite Kubo. I had followed the series in scanlations for a while and later started watching the anime. It was when it came to one particular fight scene during the Soul Society arc did I notice a small touch that was different than I remembered from the manga. These were straight out of Japan. So, I knew it wasn't something that was added after the fact. It was the fight of Yoruichi Shihouin vs. Soi Fon. I noticed that clothes were added to the scene.

Yoruichi Shihouin

No Caption Provided

In Yoruichi's outfit, the back is always exposed. It's part of the regular uniform for the 2nd Division Captain. The manga version is rather provocative. All that side boob is exposed. It's a wardrobe malfunction just waiting to happen, but it seems this was far too much for the TV audiences in Japan. When it aired on TV, a convenient undershirt had been added.

Soi Fon

No Caption Provided

Just to prove that this censorship of the manga isn't isolated to the big breasted characters. Soi Fon fell victim to it in the very same scenes. As you can easily see in the picture. Soi Fon was also given a conveniently placed undershirt. Though, in the anime the angle was changed. No breast at all was seen. The outfit has been shown to the TV audiences in this manner ever since these two were first shown. This issue only seemed to be present with these two. The series is never shy about showing off Matsumoto's massive cleavage. Mind you, that's in no way a complaint. It also isn't the last time such censorship would be seen in BLEACH.

Tier Harribel

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Tier Harribel is one of the more alluring of the Espada in the BLEACH series. Kubo loved his tanned girls to wear as little as possible, and this one really wears very little. Too little for the censors it would seem. Her normal appearance has an outfit that only covers the top portion of her breasts. The lower half was completely covered for the anime, but this alteration was never more in your face (as it were) until the episode came where she joined the fight, and her top opened up to "expose" her ranking among the Espada. They knew that they had to show some level of the breasts to show off the number, but still keep their censorship. So, they created this elaborate sort of cup to the outfit, including a little pattern in it. This is an example of showing us that the lower breast is forbidden. It's ironic when you consider the series has such prolific "coverage" of breasts. Despite the utter lack of a titular character in the series. (pun intended)

Soul Eater

It wasn't just BLEACH that was subjected to these kind of edits. I've also seen this censorship in the series of Soul Eater from Atsushi Ohkubo. Throughout the run of the anime. There were a few provocative scenes that were toned down from the manga versions. Others that were completely cut. It was for the character's Liz, Patty, and especially Blair. Yet, there is one character that seemed to show too much, and it's one you probably wouldn't of expected.


No Caption Provided

Mizune is a witch from the Soul Eater series. She is actually a group of witches that are as small as children, but when they all fuse together. They form into an adult, busty woman. This fusion was first seen during the Rise of the Kishin arc. When Mizune went up against Blair in her cat form. Her individual selves were getting easily defeated. So, they all combined to create what you can see the the image. Blair retaliated by transforming into her human form, in hot pants.

Nothing was changed much about Blair, but notice Mizune. The top portion of her clothes was extended to cover her breasts completely. This is yet another example of showing that the southern hemisphere is a no fly zone for the eyes when it comes to anime.

The stark contrast of what is or is not allowed in anime was something that caught my attention recently. After I watched the One Piece - Episode 455. In this episode Nico Robin spends the majority of her time with her top completely open. When it comes to cleavage, it seems breasts are allowed to be shown as much as possible. Just check out these examples in the screen shots below from that very episode. If it wasn't for the piece of bread in that one shot. Who knows how much could be seen? (lousy bread)

One Piece Episode 455 - Nico Robin

In closing, I believe we now know the code of when it comes to breasts in anime. Though, it gets more confusing when it comes to bath scenes. In those kind of shots. There is only one particular area that can''t be shown. That's normally covered by conveniently placed steam or long hair, but you get the point. It's just peculiar how some regions are off limits if the others are covered.

The Oppai Code *


  • Cleavage
  • Northern Hemisphere


  • Side Boob
  • Southern Hemisphere

* (Code not valid in hentai series.)