The “unrated director’s cut” is one of the more amusing instances of borderline doublespeak in home video’s parlance. Sure, there are a fair number of cases where a director’s vision has been tampered with enough by the studio that it’s worthwhile to get excited about seeing what that vision looks like, without compromise (especially when a movie that should be rated R gets chopped down for a friendly and more commercial PG-13 rating.) Of course, when you have enough exceptions where a studio can get an audience to buy a movie twice, essentially, they then want to make those exceptions the rule. You and I know that, more often than not, this has become a marketing gimmick to make sub-par deleted scenes sound sexier than they actually are. Worse, this leads to material that should be PG-13 getting excessively baited to an R or NC-17 audience.
I went on that long preamble because, judging by the promo image for this show, I couldn’t fathom how intense a show like BLUE DRAGON could ever get that it would need to be cut down. Just look at the image above - - how much tamer can you get? Of course, after watching the show, I can imagine how some especially-cautious distributor might have gotten antsy all the pillaging business in this pilot’s latter half. Burning down villages will, indeed, dial the intensity scale up some.
Maybe that intensity scale didn’t dial up enough for me, actually. It's not like it really needed to, of course. I’ve voiced my vexation before about how anime and manga get so specific about what material’s intended for which intended audience, but I’m going to play the age card on this one and call it shonen that isn’t intended for anybody but young boys. That really shouldn’t be surprising when the show seems like kid Goku battling POKEMON-like beasts in ONE PIECE’s sister realm. The arrested adolescent in me can usually enjoy such material but, this time, I’ll say it - - I’m too old for this.
Watch this episode, “The Shadow Comes Forth” below and decide for yourself.