Thanks to KasugayaHaruto, Lusama and Zefyris for their contributions.
Last Update: 21/07/2014. This article is also available in French.
It happened last year, but the LN of No Game No Life (written and illustrated by Yuu Kamiya) was suddenly stopped in China.
Seeing the suggestive content at times and the mentionned country, it could’ve been a pretext to censor it.
But I was apparently wrong on NGNL, while it seems that several LNs have been banned of the Chinese market since the beginning of this year.
It was so absurd that I wanted to find more details about it.
On 15 August 2013, Yuu Kamiya announced his series’ interruption in China. While laughing over that fact.
— 『榎宮祐＠ノゲラ6発売中』 (@yuukamiya68) 15 August 2013
Tweet translation by KasugayaHaruto, re-translated and adapted in English:
No Game No Life‘s Chinese publication has been stopped for being too terrible, I’m dying from laughter.
Furthermore, Haruto thinks that the text linked with the tweet mentions something about « the translators’ work [that] was seemingly mediocre, and readers [complaining] about it ».
However, according to Zefyris, it was the exceptional reasons for this decision that led to the author’s laughs. The text may refer to politically sensible points, such as an incitation to public disorder.
I tried to find how many volumes were published, in vain. Perhaps there was only one.
The series is still released by the Taiwanese publisher Tong Li.
Although a ban may be plausible, it cannot be confirmed (and most likely never). Finding if that interruption was forced or voluntary doesn’t matter anymore, as it’s quite sure that NGNL will never be relaunched in China.
On the same AnimeSuki thread which mentionned this information, another member claimed that several LNs were banned from Chinese bookstores on the beginning of the year. Especially Date A Live, written by Koushi Tachibana and illustrated by Tsunako.
For information, the Chinese market of LNs is mostly lead by Guangzhou Tianwen Kadokawa, a foreign subsidiary of the Japanese group Kadokawa (which also possess most of the Japanese LN publishers).
It publishes Japanese works from Kadokawa (sold around 20 yuans, about 2,50 € or 3,50 $ at most) and Chinese original works (sold around 13 yuans, about 1,50 € or 2 $ at most). Which means that it has series from Dengeki Bunko, MF Bunko J, Famitsu Bunko…
Since Tianwen Kadokawa didn’t list its published series, I had to use its Wikipedia page.
By going through this list, we finally find Date A Live (約會大作戰). A troubling fact can be seen in the publications’ list: the last volume was released in October 2013, and the publication pace was quite regular before then (1-3 months).
Moreover, DAL’s volumes cannot be found at all on Guangzhou Tianwen’s website. Not to mention a lack of publications in February and March… How strange.
Be reassured, it’s not a mistake on Wikipedia, because they did get published. Here is the proof: a capture of the publisher’s website, on 14 October 2013. There’s the volume 7, published one week earlier.
If you noticed it, other series also disappeared from the website. And seeing some LNs’ contents, the hypothesis of a ban becomes more believable.
For the following series, banning motives can easily be found (fan service, suggestive illustrations, excessive violence, cross-dressing, incest, etc.):
– Date A Live
– Oreimo (just before the last volume)
– Hidan no Aria (way before the Hong Kong arc)
– Mayo Chiki!
– Tsuki Tsuki!
– Seikoku no Dragonar
But on other ones, it looks more surprising and/or absurd :
– Accel World
– Omae o Otaku ni Shiteyaru kara, Ore o Riajuu ni Shitekure!
– Maou na Ano Ko to Murabito A
It isn’t logical either for continuing works, between those with (more or less) noticeable fan service (The Sacred Blacksmith, Strike the Blood, Unbreakable Machine Doll), authors that are still published (Sword Art Online, Heavy Object), and… nationalistic cases, I guess.
Let’s think like the committees that approve the works.
Mahouka sees the USA as an enemy? Excellent! The Miyuki-Tatsuya relationship? Who cares, because screw America!
About Tokyo Ravens… Can’t we rename it as Beijing Ravens? We, racists? There’s nothing against Japan, y’know…
(Still, Mahouka’s anime is not licensed in China, a contradictory point that Lusama noticed.)
For those who want to buy the banned series, there’s still Kadokawa Taïwan. But it’s 2 to 3 times more expensive (more than 200 NT$, around 6-7 $ and without shipping costs).
The moral of the story… well, there’s none. Feel lucky that you won’t see series arbitrarily stopped by the authorities (although an interruption due to insufficient sales isn’t better).
No, you aren’t dreaming, it’s really him.