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How To Learn Sign Language

Why This Gesture Keeps Being Removed From Games


Have you ever seen this gesture in a video
game? As we’ve covered in previous videos, this
gesture has had a troubled past, often getting edited out of the international releases of
Japanese video games. One example can be found with Super Mario
RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. In the original Japanese version of the game
Bowser would use this gesture as his victory pose at the end of every battle. However, upon being released in the west,
Bowser’s victory pose was changed to two clenched fists instead. Another example lies in Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire,
and Emerald. Like most other games in the franchise, a
trainer class that you can battle within the games are the Sailors. The sailors have been featured in the series
ever since the original game and commonly appear in water-themed areas and utilize water-based
pokémon. Differing from their appearance in all of
the other games, though, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald had them donning this same bicep polishing
gesture. This can only be seen in the Japanese versions
however! If you look closely, the western releases
changed the sailor’s sprite to move his left arm underneath his right arm rather than
on top of it. Most recently this happened in Mario Kart
8 Deluxe where the Inkling Girl originally used this gesture upon hitting other racers. But this was quickly revised in the game’s
first update removing her left arm from the animation entirely. This prompted all major news outlets to report
on the removal, questioning that if it was such an issue, how did it manage to be left
in the game in the first place. Some of our viewers may wonder what exactly
is the issue with this particular gesture and why does it keep on getting included in
Japanese games before being subsequently removed? Well, the reason for this lies in its radically
different meanings depending on where you’re from. You see, over in Japan, it is seen as a display
of confident determination and energy. Lucy Moffat of Fluent U writes, “If a Japanese
person wants to show that they’re ready to accept a challenge or work hard at something,
they’ll place one hand on the opposite bicep and flex their arm. This gesture expresses strength and resilience,
showing that the person is prepared for whatever may be in store.” This interpretation could be compared to the
famous American “We Can Do It” World War II propaganda poster. On the other hand, throughout various of parts
of Europe and Latin America this can be seen as an obscene gesture known by many names,
such as Iberian slap, Italian salute, and more. While the specifics vary from culture to culture,
it is largely very offensive, equivalent to giving someone the middle finger. Thus, it’s easy to see why localizers would
choose to remove instances of this gesture to avoid unintentionally offending people
from different cultures. In the Mega Man Official Complete Works art
book, illustrator Shinsuke Komaki reflected on having to redraw Guts Man’s art from
Mega Man: Battle & Chase by saying, “This Guts Man was done for the overseas
versions after we found out his original pose was not acceptable over there. Up to this point, my process involved line
drawings, tracing paper, and my Rotring, so having to redraw this was kind of a pain. (laughs)” Nevertheless, there have been cases where
this gesture remained intact internationally, such as in the intro of Mischief Makers as
seen here. Or in Persona 4 as Kanji’s victory. And perhaps most prolifically by Dan in Street
Fighter IV. While it’s unknown why these instances weren’t
changed, they could have possibly been left untouched to preserve the cultural spirit
of the original games, especially in the case of Persona 4 which is set and heavily steeped
in Japanese culture. Then again, they could have just as easily
slipped by the localizers unaware to the gesture’s dual nature, which isn’t nearly as widely
known in the United States of America. However, this is not an unusual phenomenon
as there exist many gestures that have radically different meanings in differing parts of the
world. For example, the coalition forces in Iraq
have had to use caution giving others a thumbs up, as the gesture essentially translates
to, “up yours!”in traditional Iraqi culture. Likewise, in an article for a popular Vietnamese
newspaper entitled “Vietnamese Body Language and What it Means,” author Angela Schonberg
writes, “One time I told one of my Vietnamese friends
to ‘wish me luck’ as I had to cross downtown during rush hour. Subconsciously, I simultaneously, crossed
my fingers when saying this. My friend stopped me and asked, ‘Why did
you cross your fingers?’ I explained to her that in America crossing
your fingers is a sign of good luck. We sometimes even cross our fingers for luck
when we’re waiting for good news or the results of a test.” “After repeating this to her, she laughed
and continued to explain to me that in Vietnam, this is not the case. She told me that crossing your fingers is
considered a rude, and disrespectful gesture that refers to part of the female anatomy.” Meanwhile in the UK giving someone a two fingered
V-sign with your palm faced inwards actually means the same as sticking just your middle
finger up – with both gestures being commonly used. However, elsewhere this gesture is practically
synonymous with either the peace sign, the “V for Victory” sign, or even just the
number 2.This infamously caused a misunderstanding in 1992 during the then US President George
Bush Sr.’s visit to Australia where he flashed what he intended to be backhand victory signs
to passing crowds from his limousine. Back in the world of video games, this difference
of interpretations caused Valve to flip the zombie hand on the cover of Left 4 Dead 2
in the UK to avoid any similar misconceptions. It’s not just gestures that can be interpreted
differently in other parts of the world either. For instance, while the majority of PlayStation
games released in the west use the “X” button on the controller to confirm and the
“O” button to cancel, the opposite is true in Japan. This is because in Japan circles represent
“marujirushi,” a symbol used as an affirmation or to say yes. On the flip side, Xs serve to as a denial
or a way to say no. Meanwhile, games such as Crash Bandicoot have
had their art altered to give characters five fingers instead of four upon being released
in Japan. As we’ve covered in a previous video, this
is done to avoid cultural taboo connotations with the historically outcasted social class
of “Burakumin,” which included butchers and slaughterhouse laborers among whom missing
fingers caused by work related accidents were not uncommon. As well as with the ritual known as “Yubitsume,”
in which a member will amputate their own finger as a means of punishment or as a serious
apology, most notably committed among the yakuza, a major Japanese crime syndicate. However, these are but a handful of examples
amid many more from across the globe. Suffice to say, just as each culture has its
own language, they can also have their own gestures, whose meanings can vastly differ
across the globe. Have you noticed any other examples of this
gesture in video games? Know of any other gestures that can have wildly
different meanings depending on where you are from? Let us know in the comment below and until
next time, thanks for watching!

100 Replies to “Why This Gesture Keeps Being Removed From Games”

  • I dont understand why thats offensive. Nobody is actually offended by the middle finger, only people scared it'll offend

    (also the 2 finger F you sign is not THAT commonly used)

  • If I was making an educational counting game in some obscure country whose culture showed the number one by showing the back of the hand with just the middle finger extended, and then the game was release worldwide and changed to a different gesture, would everyone then get upset about censorship?

  • One gesture I noticed a lot while playing Persona 5 was placing the right hand on the left shoulder and rolling the neck. This is done by Ryuji in his critical hit animation and by various other characters during cutscenes (generally when they go from rest to moving). I’m not exactly sure what it means because I’ve never really seen it done where I live, but I’m guessing it’s similar to cracking your neck or fingers — getting ready to do something.

  • Highly offensive, here in Poland it is called "Kozakiewicz Gesture", great piece of history behind it as well. In 1980 during Summer Olympics in Moscow Kozakiewicz set a new world record and secured a gold medal in pole vaulting, after that he showed this gesture twice to the soviet public after they booed him. The news quickly spread around the world and the soviet administration wanted to strip him off his medal and world record as well as give him lifetime disqualification.

  • Why do so many rude gestures allude to sticking things into various orifices…
    Humans really do have a one-track mind.

  • To the people saying that they should have kept it in. Imagine if the Inkling Girl gave the middle finger instead.

    Never mind that sounds hilarious

  • I'm a native german and I've never seen any problems with the polishing biceps gesture. Well… that may be because without the middle finger showing it is what it is. Showcasing "strength".
    I really do wonder who might be responsible for such unnecessary changing of games and art. For sure these people are heavily retarded. Being overly politically correct is always massively retarded.

  • In america, my exposure to this gesture is somewhat limited, but it does seem there are two varients. One which expressed more upwards momentum, and one which expressed more inward momentum. That is, there is one where you're swinging your arm up so your bicep meets your open palm, and one where you're basically slapping your bicep, and the forearm continues moving towards the body. The first one is more solid and determined with a strongly clenched fist and controlled and deliberate movement, whereas the second one is more sloppy and fast, with maybe a loosely clasped hand. The first one feels like the we can do it sign, whereas the second one is mockery. Though it doesn't seem to have much emotional impact, like biting your thumb at someone, people recognize it as an insult, but its not taken seriously or personally. Similarly to how the word "bum" in america, while it is known to refer to something which can be vulgar, is seen as childish and therefore not explicit. Overall, I'm much more likely to view it as a symbol of strength than an insult, especially in a static pose or from a burly character

  • I mean, Dan Habiki and Ken Masters both do it in the English localization of Street Fighter Four.
    Edit: My bad. wrote this comment before actually watching the video <_<

  • That gesture is in horizon zero dawn, when you go to photo mode and choose the "power" body pose she does it 😂👌🏼💯

  • For those who don't have the time to watch the full video. The gestures are removed because people are fragile and easily hurt by trivial shit.

  • Why do cultures have to take hand and arm gestures in an offensive manner? Why don't we just spread positivity instead of hatred?

  • The up yours V in England is supposedly from an ancient war with France, they would cut off those two fingers to stop our long bow men from being able to fire bows effectively. Giving it the meaning screw you because I can still attack you from range, I see it as an equivalent to the American finger gun gesture. Surprised you didn't mention the "bunny ears" gesture that in some countries just shows a playful attitude but in others means "kiss me now fxck me later"

  • It's "up your butt" only in english speaking countries. Realmemte la cagaron. Censuraron un buen taunt.

  • Why do they keep adding that gesture in video games even though they know it's offensive? Would it be less work to not add it instead of having to redo things because it's offensive in different countries?

  • no in the uk its only if the back of the hand is towards the other person if the palm is towards the other person its FINE.

  • south america get offended by everything, first they get offended by the ok symbol, now fucking putting hands on your biceps

  • Because Nintendo HATES WOMEN. The sign is from a old poster from the war to encourage women. The one that says “we can do it”. That’s what it is but grrr women bad so yeah that’s why

  • When you put two fingers up facing OUTWARDS in the UK, its rude.
    When you put two fingers up facing INWARDS in the UK, its a sign of peace.
    Its not just putting up two fingers in general.

  • The altered sprite looks better anyways, his arms partially cover up his face in the original one and visually it's hard to read at a straight angle. In the altered one it's really obvious what he's doing, just like it's obvious Mario gives a V sign.

  • In Brazil the "OK" 👌 hand sign can be considered a rude gesture, as it's representative of the anus here, although this seems to be slowly fading due to the americanization of our culture

  • that "hand over bicep" gesture is also offensive in greece but common sense obviously shows that the person is confident in his own strengths

  • I knew about the whole O confirming X denying thing on play stations before this video, how?
    … I have a japanese copy of Gundam breaker lol

  • 4:32 reminded me of some fun facts that i learnt from my ASL teacherthe 2 hand is V in ASL, and the crossing of those two fingers is R in ASLa more formal way of saying "bathroom" (which has its own sign iirc) is to sign R and slide your hand(which is what you do for words like pizza if you spell it out) as for the V, if you just flip your palm to face you and not the other, it is now the number 2.

  • Weirdly enough the peace signs problem in Australia effects those in New Zealand as a few years ago in school we took a photo and kids showed the backswards peace sign. In the yearbook their fingers were censored.

  • In Sweden, if you talk to someone while showing crossed fingers, it is shorthand for you being insincere, sarcastic or lying.
    If you want to wish someone good luck, you instead 'hold the thumbs' by folding your thumbs inside your palms.
    #TheMoreYouKnow

  • It's hilarious how sensitive the people complaining about sensitive people truly are. Like, all they did is change a gesture to show they care about the players and their culture, yet you are all whining about censorship. Oh boo hoo you'll live I promise

  • The two finger salute is not as severe as a middle finger also it is mainly used by scots as that's the sign the scottish armies used to do against the English if they would either miss with arrows or lose a battle

  • Humans are…. interesting some countries are making normal poses into a offensive pose and people let them do it if you think about it it just makes you say wtf

  • Damn, I love that pose! If I make a game It's 1000% gonna be in it. Besides, it's good to show people in other countries that something can have multiple meanings. Just because it's bad to you, doesn't mean it's bad everywhere.

    That SUCKS Squid girl looks so dope doing the pose.

  • I'm from Brazil and I didn't even recognize the pose. We do have an offensive gesture that kind of looks like it, but the two forearms must cross each other, kind of like a plus sign. Oh, and it's not that offensive, it's just silly, and done by children.

    Well, maybe somewhere else in Latin America it's bad.

  • As soon as I saw that gesture I knew what it was banned for. My dad taught me that gesture, it is a swearword. the F word in Italy

  • The O/X swap isn’t just limited to Japan either – look at any card reader (here in the UK at least) and you see that the button to confirm your PIN number has the O on it, while the button to cancel has the X.

  • What a stupid reason to change something. Furthermore, if you were going to change it anyway, why not just use the altered version from the beginning?

  • Apparently in some cultures showing people the sole of your foot/ shoe while sitting or standing is considered offensive.

  • We're so developed as a human race that we can't even agree upon which gestures are synonymous with good intent and bad intent.
    Fucking great.

  • are ppl so dumb to not realize it only means up yours in context? is context completely invalid these days?? More so, do ppl even use this anymore, like i member grandpa using it once, i think, but that was a looong time ago…

  • 5:07 I doesn't matter if you're not from Japan. X for yes and circle for no make absolutely no sense. Do Americans find it intuitive?

  • the nazi sign actually refers to a sign depicting peace from Japan, and I'm pretty sure somewhere out there something changed because of it-
    idk

  • To be honest, I don’t see anything wrong with that gesture. I get it because it’s offensive in some countries, but so is the thumbs up gesture.

  • What does it mean ?
    (more less, what is it called???)
    Just looks like someone showing muscles which just looks like machismo and masculinity

  • Imagine being offended by gestures and words. I don't think any of these people would survive in the old days.

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