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A character (male or female) is full-on naked, but the artist doesn't want to reveal all. Yet an outright Censor Box will be just horrible (unless this was a comedy). This is a dilemma. What to do? Eureka! Just some crafty shading and voila! A convenient shadow! Now we can keep those private parts, well, private.

Not only used for nudity, it's often used as a result of Executive Meddling last-minute censorship of something gory, causing a random dark slash covering half the screen and the Gorn behind it. Almost like a Gory Discretion Shot, only a bit sloppy.

See also Censor Steam, Godiva Hair, and Scenery Censor.

Examples of Censor Shadow include:


Anime and Manga

  Rena: "Cause if you do, you'll be killed. And then you'll be censored!

Comics

  • In the Comic Book version of Anita Blake, a wererat's genitals are covered this way.
  • In a Story Arc in the Anthology Comic Marvel Comics Presents showing the origin of Wolverine (running away from Project X) he's nude the entire time, but for shadows. The one time the artist couldn't justify any shadows he was suddenly in a pair of tighty-whities.
  • Elf Quest: In "Siege at Blue Mountain Part 1" Leetah and Nightfall dance in the moonlight. In the first panel, a shadow covers Nightfall's genitalia.
  • For a female example, in X-Men Versus the Fantastic Four, Susan Storm momentarily becomes extremely fed up with her husband, Reed, because Reed is balking at using a machine to cure Kitty of permanent phasing. (It's complicated.) When in private, Sue uses her forcefield to blast off her entire uniform and most of her body is conveniently in shadow, but not so much you can't tell she's nude.
  • In an early issue of The Incredible Hulk, Betty Ross is transformed into the Harpy sans culottes, with her breasts and genitals hidden by shadows.
  • The Mercy Thompson: Homecoming comic uses anything — even shadows — to cover up Mercy's breasts and genitals.
  • This happens quite frequently in Hellboy with Hecate, the Baba Yaga, and the occasional demon. Partially justified thanks to Mignola's black-on-white Chiaroscuro art style. Sometimes Mignola chooses to show nipples, so it must be a stylistic choice.
  • Frequently happens to Wolverine when he ends up naked, especially in Weapon X flashbacks.
  • The Hungarian Planet of the Apes Comic, depicts the events from the original novel with shadows covering the nudity scenes.

Live Action TV

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Chain of Command": Picard would show his butt, and have five lights FOUR LIGHTS cast shadows, preventing anything from being seen.

Video Games

  • The "Anubis" enemy in the First-Person Shooter PowerSlave (Exhumed in Europe) has shadows under his kilt. Good thing too, because he does not know how to sit politely.
  • The trophies depicting Peach, Daisy, and Zelda (their bases are translucent) from Super Smash Bros Brawl actually did this to avoid showing a potential Panty Shot.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Linkara laughed at such shadow in Hardcore Station #1 for being so small that one could conclude that "Space Stalin has a tiny penis."

Western Animation

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