It's a miracle I survived.
Earlier this week, an article circulated describing how British censors had decided to edit the smoking out of old Tom and Jerry cartoons. This didn't exactly shock me; 4Kids has been doing this for ages with anime it imports and then repurposes for the under-10 set here in the United States. Most famously, chain-smoking metrosexual kickboxing waiter Sanji of One Piece was stripped of his fag and instead given a lollipop. (Coincidentally, this did nothing to improve his metrosexual status, but I guess we're not worried about the shounen-ai aspect of things.) Their transformation is so effective that American fans of the show argue, "No! Sanji doesn't smoke!" The son of my manager saw my lovely Sanji figurine, cigarette in hand, and said, "You lost the candy from his lollipop!"
(There's a small Wikipedia article about the modifications to One Piece that is an interesting, if incomplete, read.)
Eh, all right. So they don't want a fag-smoking metrosexual kicking the asses of the bad boy pirates. But it doesn't end there.
Pako brought this to my attention this evening:
THEY. MADE. HIM. WHITE. I have nothing more to say, aside from a bit of incoherent spluttering. Apparently bad guys with large lips simply cannot be black.
An equally flabbergasting amount of editing is done with Naruto. I realize that US juvenile audiences aren't supposed to see blood -- never mind the fact that we're watching a bunch of ninjas in training. But the effort they put forth to make it look like it was part of the original series when they edit blows my mind.
For your consideration, here's the original screen capture from the Japanese version:
And here's the Toonami version that shows on Cartoon Network:
Never mind that I don't know how they made the story work such that Naruto is carrying an apple and a lunchbox with that grimace on his face in a scene that once involved getting a knife in the back of the hand. Never mind what they probably had to do for the rest of the show to explain a likely bandaged hand later.
The lettering on his lunchbox is in Japanese. And so an entire generation of American kids will argue that the people who say there was blood in the original Naruto are on crack.
Remind me again how I survived my childhood watching Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes. Remind me again why Japanese schoolchildren aren't shooting each other in their classrooms. Remind me again why it's bad for a little boy to want to be a noble samurai.