Hell hath no fury like an anime fan scorned — in this case, devotees of the popular Demon Slayer series.
Kotaku reports that Japanese Demon Slayer fans are both amused and baffled by the nonsensical English title for the show’s second season: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc. Chatting on the blog Hachima Kikou, the Japanese fans suggest that the localized title is “egregious” and “no good,” according to Kotaku.
That’s because the original Japanese title is a bit too adult for the English localization team’s comfort. The original title includes the word “yuukaku,” commonly understood as “red-light district” or “brothel.” As Kotaku points out, the show’s second season is set in Yoshiwara, Japan’s most famous prostitution center. Not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of an entertainment district.
Demon Slayer, which follows a teenage protagonist seeking to avenge his family in a secret war against demonic forces, is wildly popular around the world. The anime is based on a manga with more than 150 million copies in circulation, and it spawned a film, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — The Movie: Mugen Train, which became the highest-grossing anime and Japanese film of all time. Like Squid Game, Demon Slayer is another piece of non-Western media finding enthusiastic success in the globalized entertainment marketplace. And also like Squid Game, it’s an example of the unusual problems that can arise in the localization process.
If nothing else, the story highlights the cultural considerations that go into localizing any media for different cultural sensibilities. It’s no secret that American audiences are less concerned about violence — of which, Demon Slayer has aplenty — than sexual content in their entertainment. Evidently, the Demon Slayer localization team figured a loss in accuracy was preferable to ruffled moral sensibilities in the English-language market.