by AJ Adejare
At Otakon 2008, Bandai Entertainment was arguably on a licensing role. Acquiring Lucky Star, Gurren Lagann Eureka Seven, the company, at least on the outside seemed like it couldn’t licensee or do wrong (we would later find out that was not the case). During this time, they went on to announce one of the more well known comedy series to their slate: Hayate the Comabt Butler. In Hayate, the first season had certain aspects of the series censored as it directly referenced copyright material that anime, and in talking about the release, a representative pondered about whether they should go for a dual track, censored and uncensored audio. While that pondering never was fulfilled, another opportunity presents itself with a chance to do nearly the exact same thing Hayate was supposed to do with two audio tracks. That opportunity comes with the dubbing of Shimoneta.
Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist explores the rise of the perverted terrorist group SOX as they fight to restore dirty jokes and other naughty acts around Japan. As such, this series main attraction: sexual jokes and innuendo. Throughout the series we’re treated towards censorship and a lot of it because of said subject matter. Visual gags, bleeps, these censoring effects barrage each episode for comedic effect. Of course, as everyone will expect, an uncensored version will come Blu-Ray and DVD. However, unlike in other shows with censorship that clearly is just to up the fanservice, consider that the censorship in Shimoneta actually gives it its charm.
To understand the comedic effect of these censors is easy. Looking at What U Doin’ by Big Sean, J Dilla tracks, Hayate the Combat Butler season 1, Aqua Teen Hunger force, finding creative ways to censor instead of doing the customary beep seems to always catch people off guard. It seems out of place in almost all cases ,yet it also seems to bring people closer to the actual intent of the word. The car sirens, chuckles, the shift the focus away from the word and trains our minds to fill in what the word means.
Digging into finding meaning within the word and the intent, we get a bigger sense of fulfillment. We realize that we’re “in” on the joke, or the intent of the word while others are not and thus it makes the experience a bit more meaningful, at least in the present. In Shimoneta, knowing that we know said dirty words and jokes by hearing the censors it adds to the comedy resulting for some, a heavier laughter. It’s like the show is giving you a nod and a wink and you do the same while enjoying yourself.
So, I implore Funimation, if it’s financially possible and not enough works: dual English track Shimoneta. It deserves to be the series that people can experience it the right way and the better way. It deserves to be the series that the audience can laugh at the humor choosing to hear it without censors or for audience members to say &#$% yeah censorship!