Media censorship: Tokyo Mirage Sessions

There's a lot I like about Tokyo Mirage Sessions, the combat, the fact it performs well, the characters, the style and content. But there is one thing that doesn't make much sense.

Anyone who has played a Persona game can tell that there's a pretty messed up vein in Japanese culture. This has been a vein that Atlus hadn't shied away from in the past, wanting something which isn't that good in the end is a major theme of the Persona series, with suicide being a major theme of Persona 3 to name one immediate example. The idol industry was touched on in Persona 4 via Rise, who struggled with her idol Persona and who she sought to be.

But one thing that made little sense to me was the changes for the American and European versions of the third dungeon. Yes, despite Maiko saying she was going to market Tsubasa as an innocent type of idol, perhaps a gravure photo shoot might feel a bit much. However, was it necessary to go as far as to change it completely?

I don't think so.

Tsubasa has already done a music video in a very revealing outfit. Even with the editing to the North American version to make it resemble a sports bra (pictured to the right) rather than a bikini-like piece of the original version. Some parts of her Carnage Form are a little revealing, with a view of underwear and low-cut cleavage. And honestly, I don't think it takes much to point out that airbrushing the definition off her hips makes her look younger than the age she's meant to be, girls are fully grown by 16.

But that said, I'd have understood if the shoot had been about swimsuits for summer, since the fact that Tsubasa, Maiko and Eleonora have the shoot outside Shibuya station, it's safe to say it's warm out.

To a degree, I understand raising the ages by a year, for one thing, it gives Tsubasa more agency as an idol because in the west, it allows for her to make decisions without her father's permission. In fact, one optional topic that pops up in the intermission after the arc involving the shoot says her father was upset by it until Ayaha calms him down. Again, if it's street style, why would there be such a reaction? A parent being concerned about their child being in a shoot that could be seen in a dubious light makes a lot more sense. Especially because, as I mentioned, the clothes in the music video for Feel are even more revealing.

I've only just begun the episode after this arc at this point, but I also noticed a slip up that comes about because they raised the ages without doing much else. At age 18, Tsubasa, Touma and Itsuki would be in their final year of high school. However a request I found referred to a crush on a guy in the 'class above us'. From what I understand, and feel free to correct me on this if I'm incorrect, schools are often laid out so that the final year students are on the highest floor, safe to say this was meant to be an upperclassman in the original, oops!

In conclusion, there were probably much easier tweaks that could've been made if Nintendo America (given some of their games in the past, and that the toning down seemed non-existent in their Sony titles, I'm not convinced that this is Atlus's work) if they were concerned about this particular arc raising eyebrows, changing the script and context of the swimsuit shot would've made a lot more sense and have taken a lot less effort.

I can't help but wonder if the motivation for this was to get the Teen/12+ ESRB rating, since Fire Emblem, from which the Mirage characters originate, while Atlus typically aims for an older audience. Beyond this though, I cannot call these decisions particularly good ones.

The screenshot in this entry was obtained via Google Images and is here for the purposes of education and critique, which are protected under free use.


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