Soul Link Will Not Be Censored

After a lengthy and heated discussion, we have decided to release Soul Link and Higurashi uncensored with all CGs intact.

As you all may know, the issues in Japan following the outcries of this past year have left many companies wary and overcautious when it comes to deciding what constitutes child pornography. With the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada cracking down and restricting content even more, we were no exception. As a company who hopes to offer our products to the entire English speaking world, we originally felt it necessary to take extra precaution to ensure that neither our company nor our customers would face prosecution or other action as a result of our products. This is why we originally felt it was necessary to remove Nanami’s CGs and replace Satoko’s naked sprite with the sprite where she covers herself with a towel. We wanted to ensure the safety of our staff, our consumers, and our ability to continue producing these games.

However, as many fans have made it clear, we have to choose where we draw the line carefully. The images we have released in our games so far and the images in these games being released soon are acceptable under Freedom of Speech. Furthermore, our products are being sold to a mature audience who is capable of making responsible decisions about what material they buy. Also, as many have already said, if we wish to continue in this business, we must push for our own standards as well. Although it is impossible to say there will not come a time when we are forced to censor content in a game, we do intend to proceed selling our products uncensored.

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66 Responses to Soul Link Will Not Be Censored

  1. Pirkaf says:

    I love you, Mangagamer!!!

  2. jyuichi says:

    THANK YOU! for standing up to those bullies (equality now) for us and for the sake of your product.

    I expect they might write to you to complain (you did use their name in the post) but the fandom stands by you. :)

    • kouryuu9 says:

      Just to clarify, I’m not saying that Equality Now was the reason behind the original removal. I’m saying it was the political climate that has recently developed. Most notably being the debate over the child pornography laws in Japan and the crackdown in countries such as the UK.

  3. Bochi says:

    Great news!

    This world still has hope.

  4. DarkFusion says:

    I can confidently say that I will buy Soul Link and the Higurashi series from you guys. You’ve officially secured my business in the eroge/VN area until further notice. Oh yeah, along with my thanks a very Merry Christmas to all of you who made this possible

  5. anon says:

    Somewhere, Peter Payne is seething.

  6. Jyuichi says:

    I know they haven’t attempted to interfere with manga gamer (or even navel) directly. But they are definitely responsible for the recent wave of paranoia in eroge companies.

  7. stranger says:

    as long as it is not declared as illegal it shouldn’t be removed.

    any way, considering the local laws, of the countries, your customers reside in. Is there a chance a producing 2 version of the titles. One that include all images and a second that remove all lolis. This will let the individual worry about his/her own local law and decide for themselves which version to get (UK and Philippines).

    note, removing the CGs from the titles is censorship, on the other hand, *ALLOWING* the customer to get a version that remove the loli CGs is *NOT* censorship, but a move to help your customers enjoy the title while not worrying about falling foul of his/her local law.

    • kouryuu9 says:

      I did mention this idea to the company during our discussion and there was support for it, but in the end we felt it was more important to ensure these games are released uncensored than to develop a system to handle releasing dual versions at the present time. Specifically, we knew that we would not be able to develop such a system and still release Higurashi on time. However, this is an option we may consider in the future since we do hope to sell our products to all English speaking fans.

      • Vatina says:

        It would be nice if it could be used to choose non-h versions of the games in the future, like with some fan patches…
        Although I know that may be asking too much :P I’m still rooting for you, looks like things are getting good at Mangagamer.

    • Yagami says:

      No,your idea is stupid u_u

  8. Angelus says:

    When will be released ???

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am very impressed with your guys’ decision.

    It is certainly a gutsy move with plenty of risk, but I think it is for the best. There needs to be more companies like MangaGamer that are committed to Freedom of Speech in an era that is moving in the direction of suppressing it. I wish you guys a successful release for both your upcoming games.

  10. ManaYagami says:

    I appreciate your honesty on this matter and, above all, the fact that you are willing to consider the opinion of your fans.

    I just hope that you won’t have to be forced to censor any of your future releases because of such stupidity as “Think about the 2D children!”, when such people who claim to fight for women and children’s rights should be worried about actual human beings, but now we know that if it will happen, it’s because there was no other way to release them.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to read our opinions and to actually care about them.

  11. wwwww says:

    Thank goodness. I wish we’d never have had to go through this at all but it’s great that it’s over! You did the right thing.

  12. Kouji says:

    they once said end of december

  13. Sir Wank-a-lot says:

    This is great news, and I hope it will reflect in their sales to support this decision.

    Mangagamer has gone a long way now, from a rather crappy small company to a way more professional small company. ;)

    I think they understood that the feedback of their customers / fans of visual novels is important.

    I hope they keep up the good work,
    they are on the right track.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm….douse fists.

  15. VDZ says:

    I guess I’ll be 37 euros poorer after all.

    >When will be released ???
    Higurashi – December 15
    Soul Link – December 28

  16. KoiNoDensetsu says:

    Great move, MangaGamer. You really handle things better than JAST. :)

  17. janai says:

    Excellent move, MangaGamer.com. It’s nice to see a company that’s not giving in to the pressure to censor their content. I hope you can continue to offer your products in their original intended uncensored form.

  18. Belgaesh says:

    I’m proud of the stance Mangagamer has taken in prol of the english otaku speaking community.

    Mangagamer BANZAI!!!

  19. linger says:

    I now intend to buy Soul Link.

  20. Ben says:

    Just another post to voice my support here – it is fantastic to see a company standing up for freedom of expression, and not bowing to pressure from a vocal minority intent on butchering media that does not fit into their preconceptions of morality. Since I already intended to buy both of these games anyway, you sadly leave me with no choice but to pick some more games to buy to show my support! (…and so my as-yet-unplayed game backlog grows…)

    • kouryuu9 says:

      Well, if you like the translation for Soul Link, I’m also translating the sequels to Edelweiss and Kira Kira. So If you haven’t gotten the originals yet…

  21. Parame says:

    Thanks a lot mangagamer ! Thanks for drawing a line. In this you really distance yourself from concurents.
    You have my money for Soul link !

  22. Vodka says:

    It’s great that Mangagamer decided to release the games uncensored after all, but I think it’s even better that they listened to public opinion, and changed their plans. This is amazing.

    Thank you MG, I’ll be buying Soul Link as well.

  23. DiGiKerot says:

    Fantastic news if you live in the ‘States, probably not so fantastic if you live anywhere else. This probably means I’ll have to be skipping Higurashi for the time being (as entirely innocuous as the content in question actually is), but given the majority of the audience for these games is probably in countries where this is fine, then I appreciate this is really the most sensible option here.

    I’m at least grateful about how open you’ve been about all this. That’s all too-often been missing amongst other companies working in anime and related industries over the years.

    • Orophin says:

      I really doubt you could get into trouble for buying Higurashi. I live in Canada and I had no problem importing the japanese version. The scene where Satoko is naked only last mere seconds and is far from being sexual. Not to mention that the way the sprite is drawn is a joke. Heck, it never crossed my mind that MangaGamer would actually consider censoring it. I’m probably sure you’ll laugh about it when you’ll see the scene for yourself.

      Long story short, Higurashi is an all-ages title and considering that scene sexual is simply ridiculous.

      • D.Meadows says:

        While I agree that the scene is pretty benign in and of itself, consider the fact that the supreme court, in a 7-0 decision, recently stated that any adult talking to a someone under the age of 18 over the internet, about ANYTHING, constitutes child Luring.

        They did this without making any distinction between age difference or situation.

        While it makes it easier to prosecute people who actually commit crimes, it opens it up for abuse to people who don’t and never even thought of it.

        At this point in time, if it involves children, real or fake, nothing is benign. It’s grounds for conviction if found in an investigation. It’s not likely to ever be the case… but it would be terrible if someone where to have their life ruined for simply enjoying a frankly awesome piece of modern literature.

        Supreme court decision: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20091203/Luring_Charges_091203/20091203?hub=Canada

      • DarkFusion says:

        Okay, I’m curious, if you live in some place like Canada, who’s going to know what you’ve downloaded to play/read in the privacy of your own home? Are the police allowed to randomly drop by unannounced and you have to let them in to search your computer if they ask you regardless of if they have a warrent or not? Or do they monitor the payments people make online or require credit card companies to tell them what purchases you’ve made with their cards?

  24. X-Calibar says:

    Glad to hear the news!
    Now if Edelweiss could just get a script makeover I’d be set…

  25. Dave says:

    I fully intend on purchasing this to support you. Thank you!

  26. GJ says:

    Glad to hear that, changed my “maybe” to “definitely”.

  27. Very good news, this is how it should be. Anyone who finds mangagamer is 18+ anyway or at the very least isn’t going to care about the rules.

  28. linger says:

    @DiGiKerot:

    It probably wouldn’t be too hard for MangaGamer to release two versions, an edited and unedited, and give the consumer their preference of which to download. I mean, they have the changed version already made, right? It might also offer them some interesting market data…seeing how many people go for the edited version as opposed to the unedited.

  29. Yagami says:

    Thx for listen all peolpe who adores you Mangagamer,I love you *o*
    Instead of a certain fucking JAST and G-Collections ^^

  30. D.Meadows says:

    I hope you guys plan on releasing censored versions alongside the uncensored ones. I was looking forward to buying Higurashi.

    I also feel the criticism you received for your decision was undue. Seeing as how the distribution of child pornography is a serious offense, and the UK’s (as well as Canada’s) stance on lolicon makes absolutely no distinction between that and real child porn.

    Though I guess this comment came much too late. Good luck with future business!

    • Orophin says:

      Have you seen Elfen Lied? You can buy the complete collection on DVD in both the UK and Canada yet it contains scenes that are 10 times worse than this. The characters in EL, for example, are a lot more detailed. You can’t even see the areolas on Satoko’s sprite for god’s sake. In case you are not familiar with Higurashi, this scene is not erotic at all and was featured in every adaptation of the series. In fact, it is a quite important scene.

      Anyway, like I said in my previous comment, I’m surprised that MangaGamer even considered censoring that scene.

      • D.Meadows says:

        I’m familiar with Higurashi.

        I was not aware of such scenes in Elfen Lied, and that’s a more well known anime than Higurashi ever was. If such is the case, either it’s not well known, or I’m misinterpreting obscenity laws.

      • gaudy6523 says:

        Keep in mind that you’re free to buy the game and download however you please, Manga Gamer likely won’t restrict you from such an act, but if you get caught, you’re on your own.

      • Orophin says:

        @D.Meadows:

        I’m pretty sure that as long as it’s not of sexual nature, it isn’t considered illegal. If Higurashi is banned because of that sprite, than every painting or statue depicting naked children should be banned too.

        @gaudy6523:
        Caught for what? Having a single picture of a chibified naked 2D character that doesn’t even show genitalia or nipples?

      • gaudy6523 says:

        @Orophin
        Whether or not something is “sexual” is up to the beholder. It’s entirely possible that the image of Satoko can be construed as CP under UK and CA law and even if a conviction isn’t reached, there’s still litigation to deal with.

      • shocking alberto says:

        There won’t be a problem with Higurashi in the UK. For an image to contravene the new law it must be deemed to be pornographic, designed solely for the purpose of titillation. Moreover, it must be “grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character”.

        If you can buy manga like Negima from Amazon, a partially nude Satako won’t land anyone in trouble.

      • Orophin says:

        @gaudy6523
        Which would be stupid considering that both countries were fine with Elfen Lied. Heck, according to wikipedia, not only was EL aired in the UK, but it was aired UNCUT. If something like that is acceptable, how can a sprite that contains nudity on the same level of the Nanoha anime be illegal?

        By the way, here a copy/paste of the law in Canada:

        “a photographic, film, video or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means that shows a person who is or is depicted as being under the age of 18 years and is ENGADGED IN OR IS DEPICTED AS ENGAGING IN EXPLICIT SEXUAL ACTIVITY or the dominant characteristic of which is the DEPICTION, FOR A SEXUAL PURPOSE, OF A SEXUAL ORGAN OR THE ANAL REGION of a person under the age of 18 years” — Criminal Code of Canada, Section 163.1

        Satoko’s sprite doesn’t fit the description. Nor does Elfen Lied.

      • DiGiKerot says:

        @Orophin

        Bare in mind that the UK law criminalising porn of imaginary underage characters has, at this point, been in place for less than a month – that Elfen Lied has been available in the UK in the past or not is entirely irrelevant, as it was not illegal at that point. Infact, Elfen Lied continues to be legal, due to the clause in the legislation stating that anything which has a BBFC certification is exempt. ADV passed Elfen Lied through the BBFC uncut when they released the show on DVD, therefore it’s fine to own that.

        That said, the actual content of the UK law is similar to the Canadian one, if considerably more vague about it. Higurashi is almost certainly entirely fine. That doesn’t stop people being paranoid about these matters, though, particularly given that what seems commonplace for anime-types is often seen in an entirely different light by other.

      • gaudy6523 says:

        @Orophin
        As I’ve said, those images might not bring out a conviction but they can still bring about litigation. If you take any of the nudity from Elfen Lied or the Satoko sprite, and just have a screen cap of it, taken completely out of context, there is bound to be someone within those societies that will think it to be on par with CP. Put a note that the characters in the images are underage and likely more will think it qualifies as CP. With laws that are as broad and overarching as the UK and Canadian one, then it is entirely likely that someone might end up in court for it.

    • Malamasala says:

      Personally I think it makes a huge difference if it is 100% CP, or 5% CP. A picture will most likely always be 100%, because what you see is what you get. A game on the other hand is a lot of story and is the major part of the game, with some content that some would label CP. I’m pretty sure most judges would feel the same. If it is just a part of a bigger picture, it is not a problem.

  31. Yagami says:

    Release censored versions alongside uncensored versions is a dumb idea,after all who buys the censored versions??????I am not u_u

    • suomynonA says:

      Did you even bother to read the responses? Believe it or not, other people have different circumstances than you.

    • Hexa-Flare says:

      Think about people who want to enjoy the games without ero-content.Of course I prefer uncensored versions,but a release of two version is a good idea for some people.Respect that and don’t be a fag.

      • Yagami says:

        Don’t flames here,faggot is you who as in a lack ou argue goes on into offensive works to justify your pathetic act ¬¬
        Nobody wants buy a VN with censorship,Hirameki got bankrupty in last year because of this, although you don’t know who as talked about this you fucking noob priest-line ¬¬
        And I’m hate Brazil,the country with a lot of hypocrit and clumsy people -.-

      • Naeght says:

        Oh god men, you cant be dumber. There are people who dont want to risk themself with the posibility of going t curt for something as dumb as a VN. If mangagamer can release a censored version as well as an uncensored one, great for them. And im pretty sure hexa-flare had more arguments than your “don’t flames here, faggots is you”.
        To be honest, i cant give a damn if i see satoko naked or covered with a towel, it will be a long way down the hole untill Ryuukishi07’s drawings manage to arouse me.

  32. PhantomZwei says:

    I always really like these kinds of stories that show that companies are actually listening to their fanbase. I think it will go a long way towards establishing a face of goodwill, too. While these minor acts of censorship wouldn’t have influenced my decision to play these games, there is certainly a sizable chunk of VN fans it would have. I’m sure it was a tough decision considering future issues, but I feel that it was the right choice for this point in time.

    Nice on you guys, Mangagamer.

  33. Lord Muffintop says:

    Well done, MG. Always good to see a company listening to the fans. You can’t see it but I’m giving you a brofist right now.

  34. suomynonA says:

    SHITSTORM AVERTED

    Good job, I will buy this game after all.

  35. Anonymous says:

    A wise decision.

  36. Matt says:

    the key point in that case and like nearly all cases that go to court there’s a mix of real and virtual.

    “both for the minority of real images”

  37. joe says:

    I applaud you for this move MG. I will go and buy the two games after all.
    I support people like you. Just put a 18+ on all characters and everything is fine, as long as the females are not flat as a board, nothing to worry about. They did it like that since years and nothing happened.

  38. Lurk says:

    It’s going to be new years soon so to support Manga Gamer I’ve ordered Soul Link. Thank you for supporting uncensored bishoujo games in NA.

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