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Japanese Censorship

Japanese Censorship: The “Resident Evil” Games You Never Knew Changed

Every time I think I’m done with Resident Evil, I get pulled by the ankles back in. Something about this new release has renewed a dear love for the franchise and got my engines revving. I came across something interesting that I didn’t know about: Japanese censorship.

For some reason, this never occurred to me. I supposed because Capcom is a Japanese company, the thought that they had to have a separate, censored version of their games didn’t cross my mind. After a little research, I saw the differences changed the tension and intensity of the story and RE7 isn’t the only gore casualty.

The strange part about the censorship is that in the first of the series, the more censored games were in America and Europe, especially regarding the opening scene. Even Chris’s smoking was removed for the American and European releases.

Japanese Censorship
(Image credit: lparchive.org)

Check out the differences in just the first game alone.

With the release of RE2, though, the censorship flipped.

Thanks to some information from Censored Gaming on Youtube, I was able to see the differences through the franchise. From the inability to make heads explode to lack of decapitation deaths to black outs and changed angles, there has always been a milder version of the game for the harder censored countries.

While the censorship didn’t change the tension or dynamic too much in the past Resident Evil games, it affects the most recent installment more than in the past, in my opinion. Even up to Resident Evil 6, when it was more an action/arcade style game, cutting some angles or darkening some shots wouldn’t have make a lick of difference.

Throughout the games, the majority of things censored or removed was blatant decapitation, such as in RE4. Most of the time, in the more strictly censored countries, angles would imply decapitation or leave it out altogether.

The difference with RE7 is that it is so intensely story based and the gore takes a front row seat. What would the game be without the gut wrenching gore that pushes the story forward? In truth it’s the same game but just not nearly as scary.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard in Japan has the “Grotesque Verson” and was given the highest game rating in the country, meaning it is not available to sell to anyone under the age of 18.  But even the highest gore-centric version still censors some of the most famous scenes from the game.

First is the scene with Ethan and Mia. When she goes full supernatural killer and chops Ethan’s hand off, that scene is modified in Japan. In some versions I’ve seen, when the chainsaw comes down, the screen goes dark and when it comes back, Ethan’s hand is still there. In others, his hand is still severed, but instead of blood, it’s covered in the black mold that is found throughout the game.

Japanese censorship
(Image credit: nowloading.co via Censored Gaming)

Next up is the scene with the irritatingly dismissive cop. When he gets a shovel to the back of his melon, in the American version, the top half sits delicately on the shovel. In the Japanese version, the head remains intact. It takes a lot of the surprise and intensity away.

Japanese Censorship
(Image credit: residentevil.com.br)

Remember when A-Hole Lucas captures Zoe and leaves Ethan a present in the fridge? When you look inside in America, there’s the severed and mutated head of the cop; obviously, a failed attempt at infecting him.

In Japan, there’s a picture of the cop with an “X” through it. Needless to say, it deflates the tension quite a bit (as shown in the featured image).

The lackluster fridge surprise leads us to the discovery of the Snake Key. In the version I am used to, Ethan reaches into the decapitated body of Officer “Openthatgaragedoor” and pulls out the Snake Key. In the Japanese censorship version, the officer’s body is just lying on the table with the key next to it.

Japanese Censorship
(Image credit: dtf.ru)

Okay…spooky…I guess.

Again, it just doesn’t have the oomphf of the idea of reaching into a dead body that is obviously infected with a regenerative crazy ass fungus and not knowing what you’re going to find. Maybe I’m jaded by the violence in horror games, but it takes away the realism that makes the story scary.

Check out this Censored Gaming video which goes more in depth into the differences and why even the highest rated game still has censorship.

Here is the Forbes interview with Koshi Nakanishi referenced in the video. Some of the past Resident Evil games were made already censored with trick angles in compliance with all regions in mind.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t change RE7 one bit. Let me keep the puzzle-piece heads, my DIY hand reattachment, unusual key placement and the rest of my unhinged Resident Evil gore without the Japanese censorship.

What are your opinions on Japanese censorship? Let us know in the comments. If you like horror games, check out the new trailer for Friday the 13th The Game.

(Featured image courtesy of indilens.com)