Censorship News & Updates

Mugen Souls Z (2023) – Banned

September 17, 2023

MUGEN SOULS Z (2023) - Uncut - Nintendo Switch - Eastasiasoft

Eastasiasoft’s uncut MUGEN SOULS Z is now banned in Australia under the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. The decision appeared on September 14, the day of the Nintendo Switch release.

Back in March 2014, it received M (Sexualised innuendo and nudity). This PlayStation 3 version had been modified for release in the US, Europe and Australia.

The first game, MUGEN SOULS, had a similar censorship history. However, the uncut Nintendo Switch version appears to have received an IARC rating. A rare manual review by the Classification Board saw it upgraded to RC.

The Nintendo Switch release of MUGEN SOULS Z is also the uncut version. On July 7, Eastasiasoft’s problems with the original game saw them predict the decision in a tweet.

The eShop page for MUGEN SOULS Z is live!
Coming to Nintendo Switch on September 14th featuring content true to the Japanese original (hot springs mini-games, gallery images and more).
MUGEN SOULS Z won’t be officially available in Australia because of refused classification,

End of the Spear (2005) – MA15+ to M

September 15, 2023

End of the Spear (2005)

Back on site is the M-rated censorship of END OF THE SPEAR (2005). The Christian distributor trimmed it to avoid an MA15+.

The description of the violence in the New Zealand OFLC’s Register of Classification Decisions makes it sound like an Italian Cannibal movie.

A copy of the US DVD, presumably uncut, is up on YouTube. Get in touch if you can identify the cuts to the Australian version.

Because of the Cats (1973) – Cut for R-rating?

September 9, 2023

Because of the Cats (1973)

Generally, we don’t spend time speculating on cuts as there are hundreds of genuine banned and censored films still to add.

We have decided to make an exception in the case of BECAUSE OF THE CATS (1973). Filmways gave it an Australian release in 1977 and hyped Sylvia Kristel’s EMMANUELLE (1974) connection.

The scene’s strength, overseas censorship and the R-rated running time all point to modifications. We would like to hear from owners of the Video Classics tape who can confirm if it is uncut

Lady Bird (2017) – MA15+ to M

September 1, 2023

Lady Bird (2017)

Back on the site is the M-rated censorship of LADY BIRD (2017).

Two audio cuts of ‘strong language’ and the removal of a nude image were enough to drop it from MA15+. The uncut version appeared on Blu-ray and DVD.

Manchester by the Sea (2016) – MA15+ to M

August 26, 2023

Manchester by the Sea (2016) - Poster

Back on the site is the M-rated censorship of MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (2016).

The theatrical version removed a single word that had landed it an MA15+. The uncut version eventually appeared on Blu-ray and DVD.

Instant Family (2018) – M to PG

August 17, 2023

Instant Family (2018)

Back on the site are details of the censorship of INSTANT FAMILY (2018).

A single audio cut was enough to drop the rating from M to PG. The Australian Blu-ray and DVD are the modified version.

Step Up 3 (2010) – M to PG

August 12,2023

Step Up 3 (2010)

Back on the site is the PG-rated censorship of STEP UP 3 (2010).

The removal of ‘bad language’ dropped the rating from M to PG. This censored version appeared on DVD and Blu-ray and is screening on Netflix Australia.

The Pink Panther (2006) – M to PG

August 4, 2023

The Pink Panther (2006)

The theatrical release of THE PINK PANTHER (2006) received a PG. It increased to an M-rating on DVD before dropping back to PG.

Please email us if you know what was censored on DVD to achieve the lower classification.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Pre-cut for M-rating

July 27, 2023

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

Back on the site is the M-rated censorship of CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (2018).

Precuts to two scenes avoided an MA15+. The uncut version is on DVD.

Gender Queer (2019) – Unrestricted rating upheld

July 20, 2023

Gender Queer: A Memoir (2019) by Maia Kobabe

The Classification Review Board has upheld the Unrestricted rating of GENDER QUEER: A MEMOIR (2019). The Board met on May 29, and the outcome was released today. It may be the longest they have taken to come to a decision.

The decision came the same week as the controversy over WELCOME TO SEX (2023). The book by Dr Melissa Kang and Yumi Stynes was dropped by Big W after staff were abused for allowing it on the shelves.

The full Classification Review Board report and details of other targeted titles are here.

Let’s Talk About It (2021) – Unrestricted

July 14, 2023

Let's Talk About It (2021) by Erika Moen & Matthew Nolan

Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan’s LET’S TALK ABOUT IT (2021) has passed as Unrestricted by the Classification Board.

On May 25, it was mentioned in Senate estimates when the Director of the Classification Board, Fiona Jolly, was asked if it would meet the criteria of a submittable publication.

It is another title in the library wars that arrived in Australia via America. Background to this case and the Senate estimates hearing are here.

August 6, 2023 – Update

An Adelaide-based activist was behind the submission. They paid $790 to have the book rated after being denied a fee waiver by the Classification Board.

The Hangover (2009) – Pre-cut for MA15+-rating

July 7, 2023

The Hangover (2009) - Censored in Australia

Back on the site is the MA15+-rated censorship of THE HANGOVER (2009).

Four end-credit images were pixelated to avoid an R18+. Both versions made it to Blu-ray and DVD.

Mugen Souls (2023) – Banned

July 1, 2023

Mugen Souls (2023) - Banned in Australia

Eastasiasoft’s MUGEN SOULS is now banned in Australia under the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. The decision appeared on June 26, even though it was released on Nintendo Switch in April.

Half way through the year, and already there are 111 titles with IARC RC ratings. 2023 is shaping up to have the most banned titles since the January 2017 approval of the tool.
In late 2022, more gambling apps began to appear with RC ratings. This year it has turned into a flood, with over 90% of the 111 titles being gambling related.

It is good to see fewer RC games, but odd decisions still appear. These are likely due to the applicant incorrectly completing the online IARC form. The innocent looking CLICK THE DOG V3 from turtle4go studios appears to illustrate this point. Unfortunately, the RC rating means the Google Play link will not work in Australia. To avoid this situation, the Classification Board should be forced to review each Refused Classification decision produced through the IARC tool.

All 1792 RC titles, including many which should be G-rated, are in our Game IARC Censorship Timeline.

July 7, 2023 – Update

On July 2, Eastasiasoft tweeted that the original automated IARC decision (rating unknown) was manually reviewed and upgraded to RC.

It was the original Japanese release, which was different to previous English versions.

August 14, 2023 – Update

MUGEN SOULS is now in the Game Censorship Database. The Classification Board’s manual review warrants its inclusion.

September 17, 2023 – Update

The sequel, MUGEN SOULS Z, has been banned under the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. Unlike the M-rated PlayStation 3 release, this Nintendo Switch version was uncut.

How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord (2021) – RC to MA15+

July 1, 2023

How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord (2021) - Season 2

Season 2 of HOW NOT TO SUMMON A DEMON LORD (2021) has been and passed as MA15+ (Strong sexual themes and sexualised imagery).

It was initially banned in January due to one image, which will presumably now be missing when the Australian Blu-ray is released. It has no issues in the UK, where was awarded an uncut 18 certificate.

Ideal Home (2018) – Pre-cut for M-rating

June 25, 2023

Ideal Home (2018)

Back on the site is the M-rated censorship of IDEAL HOME (2018).

It was pre-cut by 18-seconds just to remove a single word that would have pushed it up to MA15+.

Renfield (2023) – Censored MA15+

June 4, 2023

Renfield (2023) - Australian Poster

The version of RENFIELD (2023) currently playing in Australian cinemas appears to have been censored to reduce violence. Universal Pictures International originally received an R18+ before modifying it for an MA15+.

Unusually, the R18+ entry disappeared from the National Classification Database following the awarding of the MA15+. This may have been at the request of the distributor. The entry reappeared once the film went into release.

Thanks to Simon Miraudo for the details of the cuts. His soon-to-be-released BOOK OF THE BANNED should be of interest to all readers of this site.

Please get in touch if anyone views the MA15+-rated version before it disappears from cinemas.

July 14, 2023 – Update

The MA15+ version surfaced on Microsoft Movies & TV. It allowed more cuts to be identified and added to the site. Meanwhile, Google Play, YouTube Movies and Telstra TV Box Office have the full R18+ version.

Crazy Rich Asians (2018) – Audio Cut

April 16, 2023

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Back on the site is the PG-rated theatrical censorship of CRAZY RICH ASIANS (2018).

It returned to M-rated for the Blu-ray and DVD after the single utterance of ‘bad language’ was reinstated.

Comic Book Censorship

April 14, 2023

Warrior Nun Areala: Rituals No. 5 (1996)

The recent targeting of Maia Kobabe’s GENDER QUEER: A MEMOIR (2019) resulted in the Classification Board awarding it an ‘Unrestricted’ classification.

During their research, the activists found manga and comic books they also wanted to be banned. Some titles mentioned include THE BOYS by Garth Ennis, EMBRACING LOVE by Youka Nitta and 7TH GARDEN by Mitsu Izumi. Expect some to be quietly removed from library shelves.

In the middle of this came the submission of four random American comic books by the NSW Police. On March 15, three issues of WARRIOR NUN AREALA: RITUALS received ‘Unrestricted’ ratings. One of CROSSED: BADLANDS was Category 2, which is enough to exclude it from libraries around Australia and prevent it being sold in Queensland.

Please get in touch if you know anything about the background of these four submissions. Were they removed from your library?

May 22, 2023 – Update

The Classification Review Board has announced it will review the GENDER QUEER: A MEMOIR (2019) on May 29.

June 8, 2023 – Update

A complaint from Queensland has resulted in the classification of Omnibus Volumes 1 to 6 of THE BOYS (2019). Three were judged Unrestricted. The remainder were Category 1, which means they now cannot be sold in Queensland.

June 22, 2023 – Update

The GENDER QUEER decision is postponed until later in the year. The Classification Review Board announced the delay due to a large number of community submissions.

Postal 4: No Regerts (2023) – IARC ban

March 24, 2023

Postal 4: No Regerts (2023)

An RC decision has just appeared in the National Classification Database for POSTAL 4: NO REGERTS. It was triggered by the March 21 release on PlayStation 4/5 and banned under the automated International Age Rating Coalition system.

The original POSTAL (1997) was one of the earliest games Refused Classification in Australia. The sequel, POSTAL 2: SHARE THE PAIN (2003) suffered a similar fate. It was passed in 2013, along with POSTAL 3 (2011), following the introduction of an R18+ rating for games.

The original and sequel were reviewed by members of the Classification Board. In comparison, POSTAL 4: NO REGERTS (2023) has been banned under an automated system where the distributor completes an online application and receives a rating based on their description of the content.

The distributor, Running With Scissors, discuss the censorship on the latest edition of their I Regret Nothing Podcast. They mention that they will look into the Australian refusal and possibly try and deal with the Classification Board directly rather going through the IARC system.

The full list of all 1722 banned games and apps can be found in the Game IARC Censorship Timeline.

Classification fees for physical media

March 19, 2023

Red Sun (1956)

David Flint’s The Reprobate recently published an article concerning the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Some of this is equally relevant to the Australian Classification Board.

He asks why ‘…if streaming services can self-certify based on BBFC guidelines, why can’t the distributors of physical media?’. He goes on to question why the BBFC ‘..allow huge, wealthy corporations to self-certify’ while ‘…still charging much smaller distributors through the nose’ and concludes it is ‘ indie physical distributors who are paying the price while global giants get to do as they please’.

Australia is already ahead of the UK in allowing the use of self-assessment. A trial of the Netflix Classification Tool began in December 2016 and approved for use in December 2018. It was joined by the Spherex Classification Tool in November 2022. The only problem seems to be that the outcome can be more conservative than the Classification Board which results in higher ratings and lengthy consumer advice.

The Australian Classification Board charges for physical media based on the length of the film rounded up to the nearest minute. This starts at $550 for 0 to 60-minutes and goes up to $8090 for 1901 to 2000-minutes.

Umbrella Entertainment is an Australian independent with a line of vintage westerns that they release under their ‘Six Shooter Classics’ DVD line. All are submitted for a rating and a fee paid.

An example is RED SUNDOWN (1956) which received a PG (Mild violence) in August 2022. Going by the Classification Board’s fee list, this 81-minute film would have cost them, after paying distribution rights, $730 (for 61-120 minutes).

Umbrella must pay a classification tax, in an ever-shrinking physical media market, on a title that sells for $19.95. This is while two American companies, Netflix and Spherex, are allowed to self-classify. So why are Australian distributors of physical media not allowed to do the same?

The Reprobate is highly recommended for its wide-ranging articles, many of which are censorship related.