In displaying their usual level of disrespect for Japanese media, Viz Media’s localization of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War has been discovered to have replaced two instaces of lewd dialogue relating to the crossdressing Sternritter Giselle Gewelle with more politically correct alternatives.
Adapted from Tite Kubo’s manga, Bleach Thousand-Year Blood War’s second part – also known as The Separation – consists of the Qunicy King Yhwach’s second invasion of Soul Society.
Among the many new combatants to enter this war is the aforementioned Giselle, a devil-may-care Sternritter whose ability to control anyone who happens to get his blood on them has earned him the moniker of ‘Z’, or Zombie.
In addition to his ability to manipulate his enemies, Giselle also sets himself apart from his fellow Sternritters through his penchant for crossdressing, choosing to regularly present himself as feminine possible.
And despite the protestations and cries of many a terminally online Bleach fan, Giselle is in fact a man, and not transgender by any definition of the word.
During a 2022 Q&A session held with members of his eponymous fanclub Klub Outside, series creator Tite Kubo was directly asked “Could it be that Giselle is actually female?” to which he clarified, “Giselle is a guy.
Unfortunately for fans, Viz Media once again let their own activist desires get the best of them, and in doing so completely overwrote Kubo’s original intention for Giselle’s eventual gender confirmation.
The scene in question originally appears in the middle of series’ 588th chapter, ‘The Headless Star 7’.
Per a translation of the chapter provided by accuracy-dedicated fan group Colored Manga Translation Squad, attempting to bait the Shinigami Ikkaku into cutting him and allowing him to turn use his powers, Giselle presents herself as nothing more than an “unarmed innocent girl” in the hopes that his behavior will seem so out-of-place that his opponents will feel compelled to strike first and take the Sternritter off the board.
Unfortunately for the blood manipulator, in what has become an known among fans as his most iconic moment, Ikkaku’s partner, Yumichika, doesn’t bite, instead responding to Giselle’s taunts by revealing that not only sees straight through his scheme, but also his attempt to hide his gender.
“A worthless act,” asserts the Shinigami. “And while we’re at it allow me to expose another one of you’re acts. You referred to yourself as an ‘unarmed girl’ just now but you’re a man aren’t you.”
With Giselle left stunned by his accurate deduction, Yumichika explains to the Sternritter, “You may think you have concealed, it but frankly you stink of semen.”
However, in their subtitled localization of the scene’s anime adaptation, as featured in the series’ 22nd episode ‘Marching Out the Zombies’, Viz Media replaced Yumichika’s iconic line with the more social media acceptable “I know you’re trying to hide it. But it’s so obvious”.
Further, not only did they make this change to the episode’s subtitles, but Viz Media also got Yumichika’s voice actor, Jun Fukuyama, to record the line for the episode’s international release.
Per Bleach Youtuber @JaymesHanson, the dialogue featured in the Japanese version of the episode is consistent with Kubo’s original dialogue.
Japanese Version pic.twitter.com/1MywWubMY5
— JaymesHanson (@JaymesHanson) September 9, 2023
Later on in the episode, Viz Media would make a similarly censorious change to Giselle’s recollection of her experience in turning her Sternritter partner Bambietta Basterbine into one of her puppets.
As seen in the Colored Manga Translation Squad’s translation of the moment in the manga, after reminiscing to the defeated Ikkaku and Yumichika about her taking control of Bambi, Giselle asserts, “I remember Bambi-chan’s face when I did it…that face…made me so wet…”And while this line stays accurate in the Japanese release, per another clip shared by @JaymesHanson, Viz Media replaces it in the international version with the more vague, “it got me so excited” – though unlike the previous line of dialogue, the same voice over recording regarding Giselle’s pleasure is used for both releases.
Disney Ver pic.twitter.com/RM64UOWNJ4
— JaymesHanson (@JaymesHanson) September 9, 2023
Notably, these changes to the Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War anime’s version of events appears to follow from the similar changes Viz Media made to their 2014 localization of the relevant manga chapters.
In terms of Yumichika’s Chapter 599 revelation to Giselle, its official English release replaces his original statement with, “I know you’re trying to hide it. But I can tell you’re a man from your smell.”
Meanwhile, in the next chapter, Viz Media edited Giselle’s description of her post-Bambi-zombifying feelings to to the more ambiguous, “It got my juices flowing.”This edit flies directly in the face of Disney Japan Head of Animation Takuto Yawata’s promise to attendees of the company’s AnimeJapan 2022 Business Seminar that, in throwing their hat into the anime streaming game, fans could rest assured that the House of Mouse would not be “influencing creators to fit the traditional Disney brand.”
“We deeply respect the works of Japanese creators, and we will transmit them overseas just the way they are,” he added, per a recap of his appearance provided by AnimeNewsNetwork.
As of this writing, neither Disney, Hulu, nor Viz Media have offered comment on the censored dialogue in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War.