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