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Why Was ‘Demon Slayer’ Season 2 Censored in China?

Daki as an intimidating oiran in Demon Slayer season 2

Whenever media makes its way from one country to another, there’s an opportunity for bizarre censorship decisions, like when infamous American distributor 4Kids decided One Piece‘s Sanji should habitually have a lollipop in his mouth instead of a cigarette. But the the classic reasons for something to be censored are violence and sex. And, in the case of Demon Slayer season 2, China’s censors have decided a character needed to put some pants on.

Demon Slayer‘s second season, which envelops the Entertainment District arc, recently wrapped up. The season saw Tanjiro and his pals teaming up with the Sound Hashira and fighting a pair of two demon siblings, Gyutaro and Daki. Daki has been hiding in plain sight as an Oiran, which is an incredibly high-ranking and highly respected courtesan. (Hey, did you know geisha are arts performers and not sex workers? It’s a common misconception here in ‘Murica!)

Even in the U.S., there were debates about characters’ sexualization in the season, but Nezuko’s clothes magically framing her cleavage is one thing; swapping between boxers and briefs are apparently another. When Daki begins fighting, her obi (the sashes that tie a kimono) become vicious, snake-like weapons. When she’s serious about fighting, this reduces her attire to bra, underwear, leggings, and shoes.

One Redditor pointed out that Chinese censors seemingly thought that Daki’s bikini-cut underwear were too scandalous. So, they gave her briefs instead. Way less cute.

Daki’s new outfit is supposed to be more “modest,” and therefore more “suitable to children.” The redditor makes it sound like there are other characters with other clothing modifications.

There could be something larger at play here, though. This may have something to do with new regulations put in place by the Chinese government. As The Gamer explains, recently, the ever-popular Genshin Impact had to roll out new outfits for its characters, which “cover up skin,” “reduce cleavage,” and are generally much more modest. The Gamer says the regulations require “characters to be less sexualized, while ensuring they aren’t a negative influence on the youth or promoting values that might cause them to catch the gay.” So that’s happening over there, too, huh?

Censorship like this isn’t new to Chinese policy. In 2015, 40 anime series—including Attack on Titan, Death Note, and Black Butler—were banned from airing in China at all. The government reasoned that the blacklisted series “include scenes of violence, pornography, terrorism and crimes against public morality.”

If that’s the case, we can definitely expect more creative censorship decisions for this season of Demon Slayer. I wonder if Nezuko’s clothes will magically cover her boobs this time.

(Image credit: ufotable)

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Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.