Hey, Answerman!by Zac Bertschy, Oct 27th 2006
I was reading the discussion thread in our forums for our latest column, "Buried Treasure with Justin Sevakis", and all someone had to do was mention Daicon IV and now I have Twilight by ELO stuck in my head.
Why do american fans worship american voice actors so much? I mean all they do is just re-recrod other peoples lines, theyre not even really the original actor or whatever. But every time i go to a convention there are swarms of fans drooling over them. what gives?
You're being a little unfair, aren't you?
First of all, American VAs do a lot more than just 're-record other peoples' lines". They're actors. Yes, they are more restricted in their performance than other actors and they are called upon to match a certain tone or character trait that's already been established by another actor, but they have to interpret the character and perform just like any other voice actor out there and create a performance that works in context. They're not just handed a bunch of lines and told to "say this like this". It's a much more creative and difficult process than that.
Sometimes you get American VAs who reinterpret the character and their performance winds up being better than the original Japanese. They have some fundamental understanding of the character, or their performance just "clicks" better. Either way, acting as though they're just second-stringers who do little more than ape what's come before is not only completely wrong, it's insulting.
Secondly, they're "worshipped" by fans at conventions because they make themselves accessible and are a lot easier to talk to and less intimidating than the Japanese guests who show up, if only because of the language barrier and the fact that con staff usually has a way of treating Japanese guests like they're untouchable gods, angrily barking at people who get too close or ask too many questions, even if the Japanese guests really want to interact with their American fans. American VAs on the other hand tend to show up to a lot of conventions and are really friendly with their fans. They sign autographs, take photos, and answer questions and they normally do it all with a smile; they seem genuinely appreciative. So that's why people crowd around. You have well-known, respectable and friendly people who are celebrities within their subculture. That's why.
Personally, I know for a fact that most Japanese guests (with exceptions, of course) really want to be able to interact more with their American fans. Unfortunately the language barrier is really an issue and again, con staff tends to be a little overzealous in making sure the fans don't get too close. Don't get me wrong - nobody wants to see a poor Japanese comic book artist get trampled by a legion of rabid otaku, but there's a fundamental difference in the way American guest panels and events are coordinated and the way Japanese guest panels and events are coordinated. There's very little hand-shaking and autograph signing and picture taking and friendly greeting at the Japanese guest events. I think that should change.
I was wondering why the Gantz manga hasn't been licensed yet. I've been looking around on several sites but I can't find a reason. But seeing how everyone I've asked has said the manga is better I'd of thought someone would have picked it up or have at least tried to pick it up.
I own the entire run of Gantz in Japanese, and I can say it's a lot better than the anime version, but when it comes to licensing, I can't help but be a little skeptical about it.
I've asked representatives at most of the major manga publishers about Gantz and generally the response tends to boil down to one or two factors; either it's too expensive, or they don't think there's a big market for it. Back when Dark Horse first put the equally shockingly violent Berserk on the shelves (and promptly got the title kicked out of major bookstores once they discovered what the content was), everyone started getting a little wary of licensing long-running, expensive, ultra-violent titles aimed at older men. The manga market in America is largely a success because of sales to tweens and adolescents and the audience skews female; this is why stuff like Fruits Basket and the Shonen Jump titles (which have a crossover appeal to both males and females despite appearing to be traditionally male-centric stories) sell so well.
Hyper-violent stuff like Gantz (which gets really over-the-top; there's as much graphic sex and disgusting violence as you could ever want) is a tough sell in this market, and it's going to be even harder to get it on store shelves that are already totally crowded for space. I don't doubt that one day it might get licensed and then make the jump, but I wouldn't expect to see it anytime soon.
Slayers Excellent (OAV) (prequel)
Slayers Return (movie) (sequel)
Slayers Great (movie) (sequel)
Slayers Gorgeous (movie) (sequel)
Slayers Special (OAV) (sequel)
Slayers Next (TV) (1996-04-05 to 1996-09-27, sequel)
Slayers Try (TV) (sequel)
Slayers Premium (movie) (sequel)
I mean how are u supposed to know where to start and where to end? lol
People tend to get all worked up about watching various iterations of a franchise in perfect order, but for a lot of things, especially Slayers, it's pretty flexible. So long as you're not watching TV episodes out of order or something, you'll be fine.
I'm not sure if there is any info but is there another Nadesico in the works?
There sure are a lot of easy questions this week. Ah, hell, I'll answer another one to give you more value for your money.
Even though this column is free.
A friend, and I got into a discussion about the longest running Anime of all time. I was just wondering if you know which Anime is the longest running of them all. I would consider Naruto to be one of the longest as it has passed over 200 episodes, but if you consider all of the different releases of Pokemon then that set of series may be the longest running.
Naruto is getting pretty long, yeah, but it isn't one of the longest ever. The longest running anime is a family show called Sazae-san, which has been running new episodes on Fuji Television since 1969. Doraemon is another really long-running series that's been around forever, and Naruto has a long way to go if it even wants to catch up to One Piece.
Basically anything that's been around less than a decade or two has no chance of being called "longest-running" whatsoever.
I wish rolling my eyes made a sound.
Here's what I think:
Here's this week's rant, courtesy of "AC", and it's a response to last week's rant . The following is in no way representative of the opinions of Anime News Network, Zac Bertschy, or anyone else save the person who wrote it.
The rant about anime/Japan-inspired original stories brought up a very good point in the matter of honorifics and using Japanese terms in English-language material, which applies not to just fan stories but things like scanlations/fansubs and official translations as well.
First of all, mixing languages is bad. Bad bad bad bad BAD. You simply do NOT want to do it if you can avoid it. This is one of the biggest problems I have with fan-translations, though it also shows up in some of the sloppier official translations as well. I'm not saying that absolutely every little thing needs to be translated in all cases, but just using only the Japanese is a cop-out and is sloppy translating.
Honorifics, for example, have long been a huge sore spot for fans and translations, honorifics and titles and such. The fact of the matter is, there IS not single English-language or western culture equivalent to "chan" or "kun" or "sama" or even "san". It does not exist. So instead, a proper translation needs totake this into account, and instead of translating all the "san" as Ms and Mr and all the "sama" as Lord, it needs to actually take into account the context of each individual case and apply the appropriate English/western equivalent, assuming that one exists at all!
And there's another thing, again more for those fan translators, but I've seen a few official translations that need to hear this as well. For titles/names/descriptive honorifics describing characters' ranks/stations, psuedo-literal translations are NOT appropriate nor accurate. Yes, I'm looking at you, Bleach fandom, and the whole "vice captain" thing. If you really wanted to be literal on that one, "taichou" should be "division commander" and "fukutaichou" should be "assistant division commander". "vice captain" is not as true a translation as many people seem to think, but rather a psuedo-literal translation that's apparently become popular in fan circles. Heck, I could write a whole rant just on this, but I'll spare you and get back to my main point.
The other issue is translating terminology used in a story. This is definitely something that becomes an issue. Do you say "sakabatou" or "reverse-blade sword", for example. The former could possibly be argued as a "name" and therefore not to be translated,but if you don't use the translation the whole significance to the plot that the sword carries may just as likely be lost on the English-speaking audience. Nine times out of ten, fully translating terminology IS the best way to go in order for the story to make sense to the most people. That fan-translations often skip this is somewhat understandable, as they can generally assume that other fans will already know what it means, but it certainly isn't very professional. Also, people need to stop giving the official translations crap because they DO actually translate some of the terminology like this.
There are a few things that could be considered untranslatable, for example. Certain instances of using "chan" as a nickname, for example: if Hamel and Raiel are always calling each other "Hacchan" and "Raichan", even an English-speaking reader who doesn't have any idea what "chan" is would easily understand that those are familiar nicknames, which is the point that matters. Otherwise attempting to translate the nicknames would likely result in losing them entirely, so in this instance it might be considered untranslatable and acceptable to leave untranslated. Similarly, occasionally technical terms crop up that defy attempts to accurately and sensibly translate them- "busou renkin" might translate more or less literally to "alchemic armaments" or "weapon alchemy", but no suggested translation has managed to have any staying power in the fandom, and even Viz opted to simply keep the title of the series untranslated, due to the fact that it's simply awkward to render into English, and for the most part the name doesn't really impact the story much either way. Therefore, this could be argued as being simply untranslatable, and unnecessary to translate as well.
Cases of untranslatable terms though are NOT the norm, and fanbrats really need to get it through their heads that just because they're used to using Japanese words doesn't mean that the official translation will or even should. Similarly, fan-translations are definitely not "better" simply because they throw such terms in there, simply using a less professional style at best and outright lazy at worst. Mixing languages is NOT good form for any kind of writing, whether it be fanfic, original story, manga, or anime, and the anime fandom could do with actually accepting the fact that thorough translation is a GOOD thing, and that crude fan-translations are not the be-all end-all authority.
Whew. So what do you think? Does "AC" have a point? Sound off on our forums and let the discussion begin!
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We're still on hiatus, sipping Mai Tais and watching the sunset atop a giant pile of anime DVDs we refuse to give away. See you next week!
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