Why remove "GOD" from One Piece?
It was a month or so ago that I heard a rather odd rumor about an alteration that was made in the VIZ publication of One Piece during the Skypiea Arc of the manga, Volumes 26-32. I had heard that the main villain of this over all story had been given a slight name alteration. Nothing detrimental, but just....odd.
" You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. "
I think a bit of primer is in order for anyone not well initiated into the One Piece story. The "Skypiea" Arc is the story that pretty much takes place after the Straw Hat Crew left Alabasta. Their Log Pose, a special compass used to navigate the Grand Line, was pointing straight up. There next destination was to what was thought to be the mythical Sky Islands and the White Sea. These were actually quite real. The whole theme of this land seemed to have a very angelic and stereotypical feel of what heaven is suppose to be like. The entrance to the island of Skypiea is even called "Heaven's Gate". The people born in these lands also are born with these small sets of white wings. To match this theme, the rulers of these Sky Islands are called God. There are more then one Sky Island and all the rulers are called God.
The ruler of Skypiea during the story is called God Eneru, God Enel in most fan subs. He had come from one of the other Sky Islands, Bilkan, to overthrow the current God, Gan Fall. Eneru is a devil fruit user who's body is made up of lightening. His actual design seems to mimic the Japanese god of thunder and lightening, Raijin. The early story seems to imply that he may have god-like abilities. He can tell when someone is speaking against him and smite them down with great bolts of lightening. Though, this is eventually explained due to an ability he and others have called Mantra. It allows a person to be able to hear the voices of others at great distances.
Nami praying while being bathed in a mock holy light after Zoro would say something blasphemous.
I was quite curious about what VIZ would do when they got to this point. Someone in the comments on Anime Vice had mentioned that VIZ didn't call Eneru, "God"; but called him "Kami", the Japanese word for God. I wasn't quite sure whether to believe this without confirming it for myself. Last weekend I was at my local book store picking up the latest Negima! volume. I saw the One Piece there and I flipped through the pages and checked out a few select scenes. At no point in this entire arc did I find a point where they even used the word "god". Every place where the word "god" would be used it was replaced with "kami". Even in Eneru's name, as I had heard.
Technically, this is still partially accurate. In the Japanese version of the manga, whenever people are talking about the god in a general sense, such as "the land of god", the word "kami" is used. The difference comes in when people are addressing him directly. The Japanese version literally says "Goddo Eneru", which is the Japanese pronunciation for the English word "God". They never say "Kami Eneru".
This is in no way near some devastating alteration, such as what they did with Detective Conan in the US. Making it so the majority of the heroes in the series are no longer Japanese, and despite altering no names in the Bleach manga. It just seems extraordinarily silly. VIZ has always seemed to of gone to great lengths to remove as much Japanese phrasing from most of it's mangas. Such examples are calling the teachers in Naruto "master" in place of "sensei" and altering the names of many of the justu in that series to an English form. All in what is claimed to be an attempt to make English readers more 'comfortable'.
Just think of it this way. While VIZ was preparing this for publication in the US. They took a word that was being said in English in the Japanese publication and changed it to a Japanese word for an English reading audience. It's just so silly. Why were they so worried about just using the word God in this story? One Piece is based in an entirely fictional world where there are only two massive bodies of water separated by one giant land mass that circles the globe completely on the vertical.
This strikes me as quite the "Divine Comedy". Abandon all hope, Ye who purchase VIZ.
-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek-