English language visual novel publisher MangaGamer has gone back on a recent decision to censor some of its recent titles over concerns about loli content; their upcoming releases of Soul Link and Higurashi will now go on sale completely uncensored.
They describe their decision in a recent statement:
After a lengthy and heated discussion, we have decided to release Soul Link and Higurashi uncensored with all CGs intact.
As you all may know, the issues in Japan following the outcries of this past year have left many companies wary and overcautious when it comes to deciding what constitutes child pornography.
With the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada cracking down and restricting content even more, we were no exception. As a company who hopes to offer our products to the entire English speaking world, we originally felt it necessary to take extra precaution to ensure that neither our company nor our customers would face prosecution or other action as a result of our products.
This is why we originally felt it was necessary to remove Nanami’s CGs and replace Satoko’s naked sprite with the sprite where she covers herself with a towel. We wanted to ensure the safety of our staff, our consumers, and our ability to continue producing these games.
However, as many fans have made it clear, we have to choose where we draw the line carefully. The images we have released in our games so far and the images in these games being released soon are acceptable under Freedom of Speech.
Furthermore, our products are being sold to a mature audience who is capable of making responsible decisions about what material they buy.
Also, as many have already said, if we wish to continue in this business, we must push for our own standards as well. Although it is impossible to say there will not come a time when we are forced to censor content in a game, we do intend to proceed selling our products uncensored.
Just whether these noble sentiments are enough to deflect charges of being “virtual child pornographers” remains to be seen, but it is at least a relief from the spineless response of the Japanese industry, and are also preferable to the stealthy censorship employed in certain other English language titles.