Square Enix has announced that they will be removing their notorious black bar censorship from their Manga UP! app – but as with anything in life, there is a catch.

Source: Manga UP!

RELATED: Square Enix Heavily Censors Sexualized Artwork From Various Series For English Release Of Manga UP! App

As previously reported, upon its release to Western audiences, the Manga UP! app was discovered to have inserted a countless number of censorious black bars across its various offerings.

Source: I Time-Traveled and Confessed to My Teacher Crush Chapter 1 (2019), Square Enix. Words by Kennoji, art by Komikan Matsumoto. Original vs Manga UP! release.

Seemingly done by AI, this needless and overt censorship was applied to everything from actual sexualized imagery to “suggestive” drawings of knees.

Suffice to say, the entire debacle resulted in a massive outcry, as users were baffled at the prospect of paying money to see a wantonly butchered version of the original works.

Source: Strongest Swordsman’s Magic Training: Reincarnated with Level 99 Stats, He Gets to Start Over from Level 1 Chapter 1 (2022), Square Enix. Manga UP! Release.

In response to this outrage, Square Enix took to the official Manga UP! Global Twitter account on September 4th to announce that “starting today, suggestive content has been restored to its original artwork and explicit content has been addressed using blurring or shading techniques that are less intrusive to the reading experience.”

“In the future,” they then promised, “we will do our best to only modify artwork when absolutely necessary and to do so in a manner that is as seamless as possible to the storytelling.”

Source: Manga UP! Global Twitter

The company also provided users who had an account active Manga UP! account prior to this update with “a gift of 300xp, which automatically has been issued to your accounts”.

However, while this change is most assuredly welcome, it should be noted that Square Enix has still not addressed the glaring issue of what specific types of content they consider “suggestive” or “explicit”.

Source: Source: I Time-Traveled and Confessed to My Teacher Crush Chapter 1 (2019), Square Enix. Words by Kennoji, art by Komikan Matsumoto. Manga UP! update vs initial release.

RELATED: Interview: Developer Of Japanese Video Games Discusses The Rise Of Loli Censorship In Anime And Video Games

Further, some odd bits of “suggestive” content censorship still persist in some of Manga Up!‘s offerings.

One such example can be seen in My Dress Up Darling’s first chapter. Therein, a panty-shot centered between Marin’s legs has had its black bar removed, but the details of her crotch have been ‘smoothed out’ in an attempt to make the art slightly-less lewd.

Source: My Dress-Up Darling Chapter 1 (2018), Square Enix. Words and Art By Fukuda Shinichi. Manga UP! Updated vs Original Release

Ultimately, it seems that while the Battle of the Black Bars has been won, the greater Censorship War is long from over.

NEXT: Interview: Fan And Professional Translators Speak Out On Western Localization Issues And The Current State Of The English Manga Industry

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