A look at why is Midori Shoujo Tsubaki banned in multiple countries

Understanding why Midori is banned in multiple countries

Tucked away from the mystical Shoujo stories in the anime world, there exists a dark and unsettling work that stands out as an outcast: “Midori” (Shoujo Tsubaki). This 1992 independent film, based on Suehiro Maruo’s equally or slightly less disturbing manga, has faced bans in many countries. It leaves audiences and critics wrestling with its content, raising questions about the necessity of censorship.

In this article we will investigate why is Shoujo Tsubaki banned in multiple countries, understanding the reasons for its ban, and potential alternatives in place of a ban and censorship. NOTE: The article focuses on the context of the ban and encourages critical engagement with the topic rather than dwelling on the film’s disturbing elements.

Midori Shoujo Tsubaki

Understanding why Midori is banned in multiple countries
A still from Midori anime | Courtesy of Harada

This is a 1992 independent and highly controversial film by Hiroshi Harada, based on a manga by Suehiro Maruo. It is NOT recommended for most viewers due to its extreme and disturbing content, including graphic violence, sexual abuse, and disturbing imagery.

Midori’s story immerses us in the depths of a young girl’s suffering who lost her mother and blindly trusted an abuser due to helplessness. Abducted and traded to a grotesque circus, she endures unimaginable emotional and physical torment. 

‘Midori’ Faces Bans Worldwide: Understanding the ‘Whys’ behind it

Understanding why Midori is banned in multiple countries
A still from Midori anime | Courtesy of Harada

Most countries, including Japan, have outlawed Midori Shoujo Tsubaki due to it’s disturbing tropes and graphical representation of it. It’s not really about the images themselves; it’s about what’s actually happening and how this can and has happened in real life to children. That’s what makes the entire thing disturbing and cautionary.


Why is Midori Shoujo Tsubaki banned in so many countries?

The Midori (Shoujo Tsubaki) anime film is banned in multiple countries for its extremely disturbing and potentially harmful content. The film is banned worldwide because of its ‘very dark and depressing’ storyline, to the extent that many people destroyed the film tapes as per reported by news portals.

Considering that only the anime is banned in Japan, people can still buy the manga, and moreover, they’ve made a live-action adaptation of the series too. How does that make it any better? What’s most disturbing about the anime is its story and not the graphic scenes, since the imagery content is very close to that of Junji Ito’s manga.

Viewers Have Labelled the Film as ‘The Most Disturbing Anime’

They have described the anime as:

  • The movie shows really violent and exploitative scenes of physical and sexual abuse against children, even involving animals.
  • The movie’s dark and disturbing story, along with the violent scenes, can be really upsetting, especially for kids and young people.
  • The film focuses on hurting children and animals, and people think it’s using their suffering in a harmful way. They worry it might make such actions seem normal or make people less sensitive to them.

Is Restricting the Film a Better Option?

The film surely makes people react strongly, but is banning it the best solution? An alternative for the ban could be restriction, coupled with age verification and trigger warnings, which might offer a more nuanced approach. This way, people can choose to watch it or not, knowing what they might see.

Understanding why Midori is banned in multiple countries
A still from Midori anime | Courtesy of Harada

There are a few drawbacks too when it comes to banning shows:

  • Banning a show can actually pique interest and lead to its circulation through unofficial channels, potentially making it more accessible to those who were originally deemed unfit to view it.
  • Banning a show raises concerns about censorship and stifling artistic freedom. Even if the content is disturbing or considered harmful, allowing diverse voices tends to make people open to diversity.


Since the darkness shown in “Midori” isn’t just made up; it reflects the real-life struggles of many people as said by Harada himself. Instead of completely avoiding the film, maybe we can use it to start tough but important discussions about abuse and trauma.

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