Case in point: The Dragon Ball manga is considered kid-friendly in Japan — not so much in the U.S. In an interview with Good Comics For Kids, senior editor of Viz Kids, Traci Todd, discusses how the Kids division operates differently from the rest of the company.
Here’s a short excerpt:
GCFK: Is there a difference in what is defined as “kid appropriate” in Japan versus in America? How does that affect your selection process?
TT: Definitely. As with many cultures, it’s often the humor that doesn’t translate. Sometimes there’s a lot of panty humor in kids’ manga in Japan. Take Dragon Ball, for example. In Japan, that series is meant for children. But all the sexual jokes make it completely inappropriate for American kids. In fact, those jokes–and their accompanying imagery–are pretty much what makes Dragon Ball a T-rated title.
The full interview also reveals that Pokémon, unsurprisingly, is Viz’s best-selling kid-friendly license, while the Dragon Ball and Naruto chapter book publications aimed at children tend not to do as well due to children seeking out their regular manga counterparts.