Some of my Anime Opinions & Observations
The following are some of my opinions on certain Anime subjects that are (or are not) hotly debated out there around the water cooler...
What is Anime?
Read the truly magnificent 'What is Anime
' Essay written by Elaine Barlow.
Anime in English or Japanese?
Well, no matter what I say here, I know I'm going to be in big trouble. OK, lets assume that your just another under educated American gaijin (like me) that took Latin in school and can't speak Japanese (yet). Do you watch your anime English dubbed or Japanese subtitled? Opinions certainly do vary....
Are 'Fan Subs' Good For Anime?
Personally, I prefer to watch anime in English
Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of subtitled anime in my collection, and I always really enjoy listening to the emotions projected in the original Japanese dialog. Often, I will watch the subtitled version of a series that I have already seen in English, just to get make sure that I get the full experience of that series. With that said, English dubbed anime can present it's own unique set of problems. Dub quality varies widely, not only in the quality of the actors,
but in the quality of the translations and story interpretation. American companies have this bad habit of trying to simplify complex plots and situations for the American audience, and of using inferior voice actors not up to the task.
I greatly enjoy dubbed anime, but only when the quality of voice actors is up the standard, and when care had been taken in the translation and interpretation to preserve the original Japanese content and story line. You don't have to tell me that a story that took place in Tokyo, takes place in Chicago in the English dubbed version. Do street vendors in Chicago display their prices in Yen? Maybe I can pretend the magazine on that rack costs $300..... right?
I have read so much debate on this topic in the newsgroups that I had to write a little about it. Many people believe that fan subbing and distribution undermines the ability of American anime companies to bring good anime into the American market in official versions. Well, I don't think so. Fan Sub organizations do us a great service by providing us the ability to see the anime that we would not normally be able to get through regular distribution channels, or that we
would have to wait for months to be 'officially' released in the US.
The Mortal Sin of Anime releases in the USA:
Simple - any editing what-so-ever. Anime fans should get the story in it's entirety, not cut or edited to appeal to a 'wider' audience. We ARE the audience.
The Second Mortal Sin of Anime releases in the USA:
Why do some American anime companies think that the American audience prefers English music? Question - what if they had re-made Sharon Apple's music from Macross Plus in English for the American release? It would have been a disaster, and Manga Video knew better. Now then...
Is it Good to be an OTAKU?
This is a simple request to all US Anime companies. When dubbing or subtitling Anime for release in the US, please do not re-do the Japanese music! Leave it alone. Yes, subtitled lyrics are appreciated, but PLEASE do not touch the music. This was my big hang-up with the English dubbed version of Bubble Gum Crisis (among others), that they re-recorded the Japanese music in English versions and added the new music to the English dubbed release. The English versions
sucked, and the music in that series was central to the plot. Spend your money on top quality English voice actors and leave the music alone!
It is great to be an Otaku! Of course, your bank account may not think so. To really enjoy Anime, you have to commit some serious $ to it. And if you think the tapes, LD's, DVD's and the inevitable wall scrolls, T-shirts, and music soundtrack CD's are expensive, wait until you start planning that vacation to Japan!
More to come.....
Now I'm not the kind of Otaku that will go hungry just so I can get the next Golgo 13 OAV, and I'm not going around telling everyone that they need to learn Japanese to earn the right to even watch anime. I'm the kind of Otaku that loves anime, loves to talk about anime, and loves to hang around people who love anime (not many of those around here in Harpers Ferry). I have an office in my house, and there is anime on every wall (including a wall full of my cel
collection). When clients or friends (non anime friends) come by, they usually think it's neat, but I don't try to explain too much...how could they understand? All I'll tell you is that there are only a few words you can't say in my home, and 'cartoon' is one of them...
(BTW: The header image at the top of this page is 'Capt. Tita' from Plastic Little, so don't sweat it!)