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In the first Shingeki no Kyojin opening, I've seen some scenes with lower contrast or brightness, something like this:

enter image description here

And later, in the same sequence, a scene appears without that contrast change:

enter image description here

I've seen this kind of contrast change in the HxH remake as well, and the first thing that comes to my mind is that legendary Pokemon episode where a lot of kids suffered of photosensitive epilepsy attacks in Japan thanks to Pikachu and Co.

Does it has some relationship with that or there is another reason? Maybe a new law in Japan related to these flashy images on TV?

It seems this change appears only in new anime (I don't remember seeing something like this before last year). Any clue around that time?

===UPDATED===

It's not just in the opening; here are more examples:

One of many scenes where the image is normal:

enter image description here

Then comes the darker scenes. Maybe it cannot be appreciated in the snapshots, but all are a full sequence of images appearing quickly with a bright background:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

And then it returns to normal:

enter image description here

This is from the last HxH episode. At first, the image looks fine:

enter image description here

Then comes an attack and the image looks darker. Maybe the effect is not so intense as in Shingeki no Kyojin, but it is still there. Look, all these bright flashes coming from the hits seem not as bright as they should be:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

And then the image looks normal again - compare the smoke color before and after:

enter image description here

As @JonLin notes, maybe it could be some kind of TV censorship, despite that there's nothing to censor besides all these flashy lights. Is it just me being paranoid or is there something more behind all this?

==UPDATE 2==

I've found a Blu-ray rip of the Shingeki no Kyojin opening (no subtitles, no credits) and I took some shots of the same frames that I already put. To the left, the TV version and to the right, the BDRip version (click for more detail):

enter image description here enter image description here

enter image description here enter image description here

So it is not an effect to make things more dramatic, but rather an effect included only on TV. I suppose the same applies to the other shots (at least in SnK).

So my question comes again, why, lately, are there some anime with darkened scenes? My conspiracy theory is that it is related to those bright changes and possible photosensitive attacks. If that's true, why is this being applied lately? And why doesn't it appear on DVD/BD?
If not, what else it could be?

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    It's obvious the two instances from the Titan OP isn't censorship, but could a lot of the other instances you're referring to be the "lightened scene"/"darkened scene" censorhip used in broadcast anime (link contains NSFW images)? – Jon Lin Sep 3 '13 at 18:37
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    It seems most of those screenshots are just lighting effects for the sake of dramatics. – Jon Lin Sep 3 '13 at 20:13
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    @Memor-X look darker in comparison to what? From Crunchyroll's (official NA licensor) stream the color of the text varies in every instance, ranging from #707572 to #959c7d to #9c9d8a to #d6d4c9. Essentially some alpha mix with whatever is immediately behind the text. – Jon Lin Sep 4 '13 at 19:33
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    @AlterLagos I'm not saying that it's a filter, but an alpha channel. The text is partially see-through, so the color that the text is on top of bleeds through. That's not a post filter, and the color of the scene is indifferent of whether the text is there or not. In other words, the text doesn't indicate why some scenes are bright or why some scenes are dark. The brightness and darkness can be a result of some post filtering, but that in itself doesn't mean it's anything more than a cinematic/dramatic effect. – Jon Lin Sep 4 '13 at 21:31
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    And just to be clear, the same text on the same screenshot is different colors. The white has a tinge of the color in the background, so for example, the first snippet has text with a tinge of bright green, has text with a tinge of blue, and text with a tinge of brown, all in the same frame. – Jon Lin Sep 4 '13 at 21:41
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Upon thinking about this again, I decided to do some research into this phenomenon. You correctly identify that there is some unusual darkening of scenes in TV broadcast anime that is not present in Blu-Ray releases. It looks like you are also correct that this has something to do with laws1 requiring broadcasters to avoid airing content that may cause seizures in people who suffer from photosensitive epilepsy (though I don't think you could reasonably construe this as "censorship").

As you probably know, the issue of photosensitive epilepsy became prominent following the airing of the Pokemon episode Electric Soldier Porygon back in 1997. For more about this, see this article on Bulbagarden: Japanese Episode 038.

That was then; nowadays, all major broadcasting companies impose restrictions on broadcast television as a sort of countermeasure to epilepsy.2 For example, a page on TV Tokyo's website says the following:

Guidelines for the production of anime/etc. with regard to the effects of video

As part of TV Tokyo's efforts to do everything possible to avoid exposing viewers to dangerous stimuli, we have developed the following guidelines. By producing and broadcasting anime in accordance with these guidelines, risk associated with viewing television can be almost entirely eliminated.

  1. Avoid displaying more than one flash of light per one-third of a second (8 frames on film, 10 frames on TV).

  2. Since abrupt scene changes and rapid motion produce the same effects [as in (1.)], avoid using these techniques more than once per one-third of a second.

  3. Flashes of light and scene changes mostly or entirely in red are dangerous. Scenes of equal brightness using colors other than red are acceptable.

  4. Patterns with regions of differing brightness (e.g. stripes, spirals) should, in general, be avoided.

It seems to be the case that, rather than producing anime that meets these guidelines, anime is produced however the production studio wants it, and then post-processed for TV broadcast by darkening bright scenes and (temporally) smearing out flashing.

As to why you don't see the same alterations on Blu-ray: Blu-ray is not a broadcast medium, and so the laws pertaining to the nature of broadcast television do not apply. If you think about it, that makes sense - it isn't really possible to inadvertently view a Blu-Ray, whereas it certainly is possible to inadvertently watch broadcast television, and so the government steps in to protect viewers in the latter case but not the former.


1 I am not actually sure whether the practices I have described here are backed by force of law, or whether they are just voluntarily undertaken by broadcasting corporations.

2 These restrictions are most commonly relevant for animated television, since live-action television typically won't contain the sort of flashing patterns that trigger seizures (since the real world itself typically doesn't either).

  • I was just joking with the conspiracy thing, but anyway that was a great answer. Thanks :) – Alter Lagos Sep 27 '13 at 18:17
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IMO, this is simply the artist accounting for or playing with the lighting. In the first image, the character is silhouetted against the sun. This is pretty much how it would look in real life if somebody were to come directly between you and the sun.

The second image is a sunrise/sunset twilight shot.

The rest are a mixture of cloudy, smoky, and sunny backgrounds. The flashy lights are the sun peeping through clouds, reflecting off stuff, and so on. Where there's sun, there's shadow too.

I don't see any censorship or anything else similarly irregular.

  • I've updated my question again for more controversy :P – Alter Lagos Sep 6 '13 at 5:25
  • @AlterLagos I really don't see it. Show us some samples where the BD-Rip and the TV-Rip are identical except for the darkening. Your current TV examples involve fansubs and credits. – coleopterist Sep 6 '13 at 11:59
  • But at the end of my question. Find UPDATE 2 – Alter Lagos Sep 6 '13 at 14:17
  • @AlterLagos Yes, that's what I'm referring to. – coleopterist Sep 6 '13 at 14:20
  • But I cannot get what you're referring for. The first snapshot is a tv version, at the upper right corner clearly appears MBS, the second one is a bdrip, without credits and subtitles. Why in TV should appears without credits?. Besides fansub subtitles, everything is exactly as MBS broadcasted the show and all the fansubbers are using those versions. As a example here is a snapshot of an english fansub using the same version (appears MBS in the corner too) – Alter Lagos Sep 6 '13 at 14:45

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