The PS4 game Judgement (known as ‘Judge Eyes: Shinigami no Yuigon’ in Japan and loosely translated as Judge Eyes: The Testament of the Dead in English) – a spin-off from the Yakuza Series, has just been banned for sale in Japan. The game was originally released on December 13th, 2018 in Japan, and has a planed date of June 25th, 2019 for the rest of the world. The reason it was pulled from shelves in Japan relates to the recent arrest of voice actor Pierre Taki, due to allegations of cocaine use. If you were unaware, Japan has very strict laws dealing with any kind of drug abuse. (Which I found out first hand by trying to find headache tablets while in Japan, the disgusted looks I got when stumbling through the Japanese word for ‘head hurt medicine’ at general stores was a bit overwhelming – I don’t think they appreciated someone looking for any kind of drug in their standard stores. I only had luck when I finally found a local chemist, which was rather far away.)
Historically, it doesn’t look good for this game unless they remove the option of a Japanese Voice Track from this release, as in the past, Japan has ignored media that has any relation to real world drug abuse – which can be seen in full with the Pokémon voice actor, Sakai Noriko’s arrest due to substance abuse back in 2009. Sakai Noriko was the narrator in the Pikachu Short, Pikachu and Pichu, which was the opening short for the third Pokémon movie, Pokémon: Spell of the Unown. The short has since been excluded from all Japanese media releases, DVD and BluRay’s from 2009 until today, and doesn’t look like it will ever get released again. The English media releases of the third movie, however, does include the short, with no option for Japanese Audio, so there is a chance that we may get the game with either a new Japanese dub, or excluding the Japanese Voice option all together. SEGA has released a statement explaining the reason for the pulling of the game, though they didn’t comment on if the game would still be released worldwide, or altered before release, all we can do now is wait – and hope that Judgement sees the light of day in the West.