At some point, maybe you just have to ask “What’s the point of showing this on TV?”
It took a couple of years for the 1985 anime Fight!! Iczer One to make its way to America, since the brief OVA series predates the commercial anime industry in the U.S. Sure, some kid-friendly shows had already trickled across the Pacific after heavy localizations, but Iczer One wasn’t going to find acceptance in America’s traditionally juvenile animation media sector.
Nope, Iczer One’s story of surprisingly effective genocidal aliens and lesbian schoolgirls wasn’t going to fly on American television in the 1980s. As a matter of fact, Iczer One’s cocktail of violence, nudity, and nude violence doesn’t even fly on Japanese television in the 2010s, as some TV viewers recently found out.
As a proper 1980s sci-fi anime, Iczer One of course has a giant robot, called Iczer-Robo, which requires both a pilot and a human power source, the latter of whom must be naked (also pretty standard for 1980s sci-fi anime). But while Iczer One could do anything it wanted its direct-to-video format, when the OVA was shown on local channel TV Kanagawa last Sunday, some new edits were in place.
We’ve seen some heavy-handed anime censorship in Japan before, but is on a whole other level. Rather than using the clumsily added shadows or steam that are the go-to workarounds for toning down anime for TV broadcast these days, the TV Kanagawa version of Iczer One just decided to throw up all-obscuring black bars, for an effect as subtle as if the viewer’s optic nerve had suddenly decided it couldn’t be bothered to handle its full workload.
▼ “Eh, we’ll give you the elbow. You can imagine the rest.”
While chuckling at the sudden planes of impenetrable darkness, twitter user @hidaka3 was surprised that a scene of tentacles forcing their way into a character’s mouth was aired without any censoring. Still, we imagine anyone who was watching the 30-year-old anime for the first time was baffled as to what was going on at least once, and now we’re wondering if any ambitious anime fans later made a trip to the hardware store to pick up a plank of wood and bucket of black paint so they could get to work on their Iczer One (TV Kanagawa version) cosplay outfit.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’ll take just about any opportunity to talk about anime projects involving Masami Obari.