The English version of the Love Live! School Idol Festival app, based on the popular idol anime series, has been removing homosexual references from the original Japanese version, in favor of an heterosexual experience for the player.
For those unaware, Love Live! School Idol Project is an juggernaut franchise from Japan about a group of nine high school girls becoming idols to save their school from closure. The franchise has produced two manga adaptations, an anime series soon to receive a theatrical film and multiple best-selling music CDs. School Idol Festival, the free-to-play music game, currently has over eight million users in Japan, while the English release recently celebrated its first anniversary.
While never classified as a full-fledged yuri series like Sakura Trick or Yurikuma Arashi, the Love Live! franchise has often teased affection among its dominant female cast. The relationship between Maki Nishikino and Nico Yazawa, for example, is the most popular lesbian pairing by fans and one that’s been consistently present in different adaptations of the series. Naturally, the Japanese School Idol Festival app continued the lesbian ship teasing among the main cast and new characters created for the game.
However, the English version of the game has decided to alter the Japanese script, removing any mentions of female characters showing interest in one another.
One popular example of censorship that’s been making the rounds lately is this piece of dialogue coming from one of the game’s exclusive character, when the player taps on her image.
In the original Japanese script, she says “I don’t mind at all even if we’re both girls.”
The censored dialogue makes no sense, as the series’ high school setting is an all-girls school. Meaning, the player characterized as just another student in the game, is female in the Japanese version. However, the English translation has been altered to make it seem like the nameless self-insert is actually male.
Another example of censorship comes from an event called “What You Like” featuring Nozomi Tojo, one of the main nine girls in the musical group, who has the tendency to grope other women.
The English version has her saying “cute things,” when in the Japanese version she says “cute girls.”
There’s another example of censorship featuring Nozomi and fellow idol member Eli Ayase; both often shipped as a couple. This scene takes place in chapter 19 of the game’s story mode.
In the Japanese script, Nozomi says “You don’t want to? If you don’t then it’ll just be me and Elicchi, the two of us all lovey-dovey heading home.”
The English localization of School Idol Festival is being handled by KLab America, the American division of KLab, the Japanese developer of the game. Fans displeased with the poor translations have been leaving detailed one-star reviews on KLab America’s Facebook page:
It’s really disappointing to see how poorly you treat your userbase for School Idol Festival. It’s now a well known fact that in translation Klab of America purposely chooses to replace all instances of implied or solid evidence that the main character is female or that female characters of the same gender are romantically interested in each other. It’s very frustrating to see many instances of text where a female characters references being interested in other girls or “doesn’t mind” if she were attracted to a girl. Most of your dedicated userbase, myself included, who spend hundreds of dollars on your app do not want this censorship as many of us identify as lesbians or bisexual. To find out that Klab of America goes out of its way to exclude us when it’s parent Japanese company doesn’t even do the same is disgusting. I seriously hope you reconsider this for future events and cards released onto ENG servers or else I really can’t justify supporting the poor job you and your English team do.
In fairness to KLab America, not every reference of homosexuality in the game has been erased. As evidenced below.
However, it’s clear KLab America is deliberately removing homosexual references in the game and alienating the series’ LGBT fanbase in the process. It’s even more insulting when these fans are the one who spend money on the game, only to be rewarded with censored dialogue that goes against the characters they love.
Update: KLab America has issued an official statement on the matter. Read it here.
Update #2: An update to the game has restored the homosexual references. Read all about it here.