Square Enix’s recently launched manga app, Manga Up!, has come under heavy criticism from fans for their ‘absurd’ censorship of the manga titles that are made available on the app.
While censorship of NSFW content is common in the manga industry, Manga Up! went a step too far, leaving the fans fuming over what they saw. The app put black bars on seemingly ‘normal’ manga panels, including cleavages and even completely covered breasts.
Marin Kitagawa’s bathing suit scene from My Dress Up Darling now has a huge black bar censoring the area around her breasts on the app, even if they aren’t exposed.
Other such scenes from various titles on Manga Up! app were censored. In one instance, it was a black bar was placed over a character’s thigh.
Thanks to the censorship, the app started getting 1-star reviews within no time on Play Store and other platforms.
“It’s sad to see a publisher trying so hard to disregard what the consumers really want. Ignoring the monetization issues for now, the way Square-Enix handle censorship is absurdly unnecessary and disrespectful to the author and artists involved in every title, like putting black bars into places that doesn’t show anything meaningful or offensive originally,” a fan wrote.
“Too much censorship especially in stupid places where it clearly doesn’t need to be. Artistic integrity and freedom of expression have been attacked for years now and you would think square Enix of all companies would understand that and their customer base hates it,” another review read.
Another fan wrote that they would find another way to support the artists, rather than using Manga Up!.
“The censorship is bad, should’ve made an 16+ categories(for mild nudity or ecchi content) and restricted it to free user. Aight google play or ios probably not the platform for this if you need to bend over to global country standard censorship, I’ll uninstall and support the artist another way.”
“The Manga on this app is so stupidly censored you might as well call it a baby Manga app.I mean why censor the center of the pants or cleavage? You think you cant see that by going to your local Walmart? This is sad and I would stay away from it. I’d prefer to buy a swimsuit for the characters in their games,” another fan said.
Manga Up! shared a statement on their official twitter, explaining that the censorship implemented was unavoidable, considering the policies of every mobile platforms where the app had to release outside of Japan.
They however added that the app was still in its exploratory stages and they would strive to improve it based on the feedback they received from the users.
In consideration of each mobile platform’s policies, some modifications were unavoidable to release the app to the whole world outside of Japan (this is not limited to only English-speaking countries).
We are still in the early exploratory stages and will strive to improve while listening to your feedback.
In the meanwhile, some of the content is available uncensored through other official streams, so please continue supporting the artists.
Thank you for your patience.
Manga Up!’s official statement on the censorship.
Square Enix’s Manga Up! app was launched on July 25, 2022. In a style mirroring Shueisha’s Manga Plus, Manga Up! will simultaneously release the English translated versions of the manga on their platform globally. It also provides free access to first few chapters of the manga.
The app boasts titles like Fullmetal Alchemist, My Dress Up Darling, Soul Eater, Vanitas No Carte, Yomi No Tsugai etc.