Following the removal of an episode of Community due to a joke conflating the appearance of ‘blackface’ and traditional ‘Dark Elf’-type fantasy races, Record of Lodoss War author Ryo Mizuno has expressed concern that his popular works may soon become the target of censorship due to the prominence of the fantasy people in his stories.
In the Community episode ‘Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,’ Ben Chang (Ken Jeong) arrives to a Dungeons & Dragons session hosted by the main cast covered in black paint and wearing a white wig, cosplaying as a Dark Elf.
The humor in this scene is derived from the contrast of the very obvious, offensive historical connotations of dressing up in black paint to imitate black individuals, and Chang’s innocuous yet thematically accurate cosplay.
At no point during the episode does Chang associate his costume with black individuals, with Pierce being the only character to consistently point out Chang’s ‘blackface’, mainly due to the former’s actual, blatant racism.
Discussing the removal of ‘Advanced Dungeons & Dragons’’ on June 27th, Mizuno observed that “it became a problem that the characters of the race had blackened their faces to dress up as Dark Elves.”
“I saw the topic on TL that “Dark Elf” appeared in Netflix was deleted, so I checked the source, but the dark elf itself was not deleted because it was discriminatory, except black people It seems that it became a problem that the characters of the race had blackened their faces to dress up as Dark Elves.”
Dark Elves feature heavily in Record of Lodoss War. A sinister version of normal elves, Dark Elves are mostly aligned with the evil forces of the Marmo Empire and believe themselves to be superior to humans in every way.
Pirotess, a highly skilled Dark Elf, is a central character to the stories of the High Elf Deedlit and the powerful human Ashram.
Mizuno further speculated that this sort of attitude towards the very depiction of fantasy races will eventually evolve into a “black-type = evil” mindset, which the author fears could lead to “a future where all my books will be banned.”
“However, in the future, there is a possibility that it will be discriminated against as black-type = evil, not limited to dark elves. There may be a future where all my books will be banned.”
Though no actions have been taken or campaigns launched against Record of Lodoss War currently, Mizuno notes that he will be paying “attention to future trends”:
“While gathering accurate information, I will pay attention to future trends.”
What do you make of Mizuno’s comments concerning Dark Elves and Record of Lodoss War?