Battle Angel Alita – Last Order has been forced out of publication due to Shueisha’s objection to such unacceptably discriminatory language as “psycho” and “crazy” – its mangaka’s refusal to bow before publisher pressure has resulted in publication being cancelled.

The manga at issue is a new reprint edition of Yukito Kishiro’s popular sci-fi action manga Battle Angel Alita (Ganmu – the original series, not Last Order), released to celebrate the 100th chapter of Last Order.

The editors of Shueisha’s UltraJump magazine, where the title is currently being serialised, identify three passages to which they object in this case, and demanded Kishiro change them:

1. “So the criminal was a mutant which went crazy?” / 「犯人の女は発狂した突然変異(ミュータント)だったのか」

2. “I went mad and became a monster and now all I dream of is revenge” / 「発狂した俺は怪物になってすべてに復讐しようとする夢だ…」

3. “Die! Psycho bastard!” / 「死ね! サイコ野郎」

The cite a desire to impose political correctness on their mangaka as the reason for the censorship:

1. “Go crazy” is a phrase which is tied to schizophrenia. We want to avoid showing this “crazy” person as a violent and threatening.

Our legal department requests we remove references to “going crazy,” but because this changes the nuances we have provided alternatives:

“So the criminal was a mutant which ran wild?”
“So the criminal was a mutant which lost her sanity?”
“So the criminal was a mutant which went mad?” [the phrases are practically identical in either Japanese or English – the choice of “mad” or “crazy” or otherwise in translation is not a nuance reflected in the Japanese]

2. The reason is the same as 1.

[The editors/censors offer “Lost my sanity,” “Became an aberration” and “I went mad” as replacements]

3. “Psychopath” implies a mental illness, “someone who ruthlessly manipulates those around him in an antisocial manner.”

As the the three major classifications of mental illness – mental illness, mental disability and psychosis – may be permanent and incurable, we wish to avoid any language which suggests being a psychopath is a dangerous and unpredictable state of being.

We suggest:

“Die! Perverted bastard!”
“Die! Filthy bastard!”
“Die! Shitty bastard!”

Kishiro explains his bemusement at the choice of restriction:

Why is it OK to say “he’s mad” (狂ってる) or “madness” (狂気) but not “went crazy” (発狂).

I asked the editors and they started spouting some incomprehensible nonsense… it was pathetically stupid and I’ve no intention of writing it here.

Due to extremely tight deadlines on the pages in question, Kishiro felt he had no choice but to accede to the demands, though he extracted a promise that further demands would not be made.

However, he reports he soon regretted folding to the demands of censorship, saying that although as a professional he has a duty to keep his deadlines, he also has a duty as an artist.

He also reports being told by editors that publication of all his upcoming releases would be cancelled if he did not agree to the changes.

He then describes a subsequent meeting in which a representative of Shueisha’s legal department explained to him that Shueisha was committed to “eliminating discriminatory language”:

They already had their conclusion, they were just trotting out rationalisations for it. They had no intention of discussing it in a fair manner from the start. So, I had already lost. I lost the moment I agreed to their demands – this offer to explain or discuss the issue was all just a farce, with them stringing me along as part of it.

At this stage I’m not sure if I’ll continue to work with Shueisha or whether I’ll examine other options.

He continues in a later message:

Before I criticised the mangaka of “Burayoro,” Satō-sensei [who famously started his own online manga distribution outfit – prior to his run-in with Shueisha Kishiro had written critically about him], but I take it all back. You were right. Big publishers are shit.

They are happy to stab their trusting mangaka in the back when it suits them, knock them down and the stamp on their face. If you try to fight back you’ll discover they already tied your arms and legs and there’s nothing you can do.

As if to further insult him, he reports that the legal department cleared other places he used the same phrases in previous editions:

Fans pointed out “went crazy” and “psycho bastard” in volume 1 and 2 of Last Order. There was “no issue” with these they said.

Why it is OK in the old edition of Last Order but not OK in the new version of Alita I have no idea.

The UltraJump editor-in-chief gave some bullshit excuse but I certainly couldn’t understand it. I told him to write the reason down and mail it to me but he never did.

He later received an explanation stating that the censorship was “case by case and according to context,” not merely a politically correct exercise in word-hunting, which is a practice so entrenched in Japanese mass media that it is actually referred to as “word-hunting” (kotobagari / 言葉狩り).

He is so perturbed by his treatment that he no longer has the stomach to write for UltraJump, he says. Serialisation of Last Order has already ceased.

Kishiro explains that he is now in negotiations with Evening magazine (Kodansha), but that a variety of legal hurdles exist.

He also issued an ultimatum to the UltraJump editors – either withdraw the censored editions and allow them to be published unmodified, and have the legal department issue an apology, or he will publish elsewhere.

The editors are non-committal in response – “We can’t guarantee anything but we will try negotiating with the legal department.”

Little wonder there are those who say mangaka would be better off without their editor-imposed straitjacket on what language and content they may include, and the majority of their earnings soaked up by the publisher and its editorial and legal staff.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    18:42 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You know, the author should just publish his works online. Perhapes even on Satō's service. At the same time, they could even offer English translated editions too.

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    18:40 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's hard to comment on this because he didn't reveal the reasons they gave him. Maybe the reasons were too good.

    Avatar of Sylar
    Comment by Sylar
    07:04 08/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The reasons are irrelevant. This is nothing more than dictatorship shit. A man should be free to say whatever the fuck he wants to say.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:03 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Gunnm has:

    Brain eating mutant cyborgs (complete with skulls getting ripped apart with loose eyeballs flying around)
    Brains getting extruded out the ears
    Brains smashing on the walls and floors
    Spinal cords getting ripped out
    Laundry detergent injected into brain fluid
    Dead girl's head in a jar
    In lieu to the former, a lesbian necrophiliac
    Decapitation and limbing in masses
    A bioengineered monster with a 9-meter penis shooting plasma


    and they're fussing over the use of word "psycho"?

    Avatar of jamesownsall
    Comment by jamesownsall
    18:20 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction, isn't it? lol

    Avatar of Sylar
    Comment by Sylar
    07:02 08/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That tells you what? That they lost all sense of logic. So basically they are complete psychos. No wonder they have such a problem hearing the word.

    Avatar of Galebourn
    Comment by Galebourn
    17:53 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't know why he criticised him in the first place but it's kinda sad that Kishiro had to experience something like this to understand how other mangaka (like the Burayoro guy) feel about "crazy" publishers.
    I always thought it would be a good idea to boycott them with online publications, maybe a portal where you can find manga from different artists for a monthly fee.

    I hope Last Order will continue but I guess there will be huge licence problems.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:43 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is madness...

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:23 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This! Is! Censor!

    It's really, really sad for me to see that people are being slaves to the rules they laid out, instead of having these rules be their "servants". Especially when "political correctness" is involved.

    If Shueisha has been trying to tone down the harsh language uniformly throughout the whole series, it would have made sense. But now, they allowed the same words earlier, and not at the present. Not to mention their substitute suggestions aren't any milder, as far as the expressive values go.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:40 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "...we wish to avoid any language which suggests being a psychopath is a dangerous and unpredictable state of being."

    Yeah, who would think that?
    What a bunch of idiots.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:40 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Looks like I'm nto the only one lost for words here. Crazy, mad, insane... no real difference. That crazy bastard, That mad bastard, That insane bastard... wtf people? I'm actually a little sick to read this. I thought only America could come up with such PC retardedness and lack of common snese. Nice to see everywhere is, in some ways, the same place filled with people that are batshit nuts.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:05 21/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    LOL, I misuderstood this Last Order with the one from Index.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:53 21/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Shueisha suck ! >_<

    Gunnm - Last Order is a seinen manga. It's not a shounen like Naruto, for kids. So, seriously, what's the problem with the mature language used by Kishiro ?

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:35 21/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    omg i love that manga...if it were to be cancelled it would be a real hit to the art

    Avatar of Ricardo
    Comment by Ricardo
    00:05 21/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ummm, smells like trash, so what if some one says: We can't say that here. I will search another place and post it. Take a beach head, and start asking some loud questions to the general public about represion. Only my humble thinking.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:48 21/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Japanese publishers - discovering new depth of stupidity.

    By the way I would kill or at least spent horrendous sums of money for regular Last Order chapters. If he goes for online distribution I am subscribing immediately.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:41 21/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Damn fascist scumbags. We all know that this is just another case of egomaniacs trying to twist and turn legal idiocy to their own little satisfaction because they don't have any private life and happiness whatsoever.

    In this business, a mangaka will literally earn pebbles for all the hard, creative work while the corporate sector (middlemen, people who virtually have nothing to do with the actual creation)churn in the big bucks and keep them to themselves.

    That's the only reason for their "fight against piracy", they know that they are essentially superfluous and want to maintain the status quo with their herd of slaves.

    It's really high time for mangakas to really think about getting rid of their self-imposed straight-jacket, i.e. being the proverbial slave and ass of their publisher.
    Let them finally crush that belated/overblown, out-dated and exploitative system.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:06 21/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yukito: Die Shueisha! You don’t belong in this world!
    Shueisha: It was not by my hand that I am once again given censorship. I was censor here by politics who wish to pay me tribute.
    Richter: Tribute!?! You ruin men’s manga’s, and make them your slaves!
    Shueisha: Perhaps the same could be said of all Mangaka’s.
    Yukito: Your words are as empty as Agnes soul! Manga ill-needs a savior such as you!
    Yukito: What is a Manga? A miserable little pile of efforts! But enough talk… Sue at you!

    Avatar of Sandalphon
    Comment by Sandalphon
    15:33 21/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "3. 'Psychopath... someone who ruthlessly manipulates those around him in an antisocial manner.'"

    Wow, those sillies need to research what psychopathy is.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:38 06/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    they are seriously trying to ruin this awsome series

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:42 26/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Noooooooo!!!!! I waited so many years for Last order, and now it gets canceled? I don't want to live in a world like this.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:57 22/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    good for him sticking to his guns

    Avatar of Master Evil The Return!
    16:03 21/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Finally some of the artist are realizing the publishers are trying to suck them dry, it would be good if all would open there eyes but unfortunately, ignorance is bliss.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:06 21/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is basically thirty-one flavors of bullshit. :|

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:57 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They demand us westerners pay for content and then try and control it in ways that would make the FCC blush? Calm down Japan. You "Psychos"

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:45 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Almost twenty years ago, people didn't had a problem with this but today they do? Oh boy.

    Also, Last Order goes on waaaay too long already.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:30 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yukito Kishiro you must go online!.
    Send the publishers to the shit!

    Avatar of raijinz
    Comment by raijinz
    23:40 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    As a man from the UK, I blame US soccer moms. We all know it's their fault for Japan's recent "censorship-mania" on all their content.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:41 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Doujinshi FTW; letting you print pretty much anything you want.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:40 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hm if i remember correctly in Sengoku Basara II, Date often says "go crazy". ^^

    It seems the one suggesting the changes has paranoid schizophrenia...

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:08 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Isn't this partly why the X/1999 manga is still unfinished?

    Avatar of Offline
    Comment by Offline
    22:08 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, all the luck and courage to him to oppose Shueisha...

    As as side note...
    These prOn ads are distracting...
    I've been trying to concentrate on what I read and suddenly my eyes got stuck on 'Forbidden Lesbian Gakuen'...*wipes nosebleed*

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:39 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "...we wish to avoid any language which suggests being a psychopath is a dangerous and unpredictable state of being."

    Last time I checked, being a psychopath _IS_ a dangerous and unnpredictable state of being -- dangerous to the people around the psychopath, that is.

    What is the mental state of someone who believes two statements which are mutually contradictory?

    (obligatory quote from "1984":)

    "From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:


    Comment by Anonymous
    15:27 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    that's what i fear, looking at how worlds goes : it is gently shifting to both 1984 and Idiocracy

    Avatar of ZombieMan
    Comment by ZombieMan
    14:36 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Animes and mangas solely based in doing as many underage ass shots as possible. . . That's ok

    A manga with a character saying something about a crazy person. . .WORSE THAN HITLER

    Avatar of grgpsunk
    Comment by grgpsunk
    09:49 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, at least the oppressed manga artists have the balls to admit and learn from their mistakes when it comes to submitting to censorship, unlike all those pathetic, masocistic artists in the eroge industry...

    Avatar of Chin Shim
    Comment by Chin Shim
    09:52 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Damn, hope he continues working on his manga as Yukito Kishiro is one of my favourite mangaka and would hate to see him halt his work due to some BS reason like this.

    And, anyway, wasn't manga pioneer in working with topics that the american comics would never work with? Why this sudden crap of "Political correctness"??


    Comment by Anonymous
    09:53 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ugh - that sucks I've been collecting battle angel for over 10 years now. Still have crusty viz edition #1.

    James Cameron better make that Battle Angel movie, just so those Shueisha dudes will have to come crawling back to suck Yukito's nut.

    Avatar of Inan
    Comment by Inan
    12:10 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    So, I guess I'm not the only sancom reader who knows about James Cameron's plans

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    20:44 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Those are old plans. They raped it into the life action series Dark Angel, now they are going to rape it again.

    Avatar of Imyou
    Comment by Imyou
    12:35 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is my favorite manga series, but I would rather it be completely forgotten than see a James Cameron, or any Hollywood version.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:43 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, at least the manga artists have the balls to understand and learn from their mistakes with regards to censorship, unlike those pathetic eroge artists.

    Comment by LaughingJens
    09:45 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Give me your anger!! Let it boil to the surface! Let your fury flow freely! Anger begets anger! Come on, show me your rage!!"

    Avatar of Azure Xuchilbara
    Comment by Azure Xuchilbara
    12:26 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You should be laughing like your name said...

    *shoots Laughing Jens with some Laughing tranquilizers from his MOSIN-NAGANT*

    Nice MGS4 reference...If it was turned into a manga under those publishes, it would totally be canned...

    Comment by LaughingJens
    22:49 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hehe, indeed. xD

    Avatar of wiredhuman
    Comment by wiredhuman
    10:49 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    Avatar of Israfel070
    Comment by Israfel070
    09:46 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I hope he uses the chance to make a very public switch to online distribution... there MUST be some mangaka with the business know-how to do it.

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    20:21 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's easier than you think, all that's needed is already there. He can use the doujinshi distribution system, like melon books.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:55 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Arrrrrr me hearties, there seems to be a mutiny on that thar ship! Mayhaps her cap'n better be lookin' to his own crew and THEN worryin' bout us scurvy dogs stealin' his booty!

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:57 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This from the same country that sees nothing wrong with sexualising prepubescent girls and stereotype the shit out of anyone not born in their island.


    Comment by PhillB
    10:12 20/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is stupid and absurd beyond WORDS.

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