Hey, Answerman! - Translation Mitigation

by Brian Hanson, Feb 22nd 2013

Woah, hey! I wasn't around last week! Explain yourself, Hanson!

See, I was all set to take a quick East Coast trip with my girlfriend, but I still had some time to put Hey, Answerman! together as per usual - until, in a grand act of cosmic hubris, I dared to pick up my girlfriend from the airport. Given that I haven't lived out here long enough to deal with something like "maneuver my way around the BWI airport in the midst of a snowstorm," I got myself in a car accident. I'm fine, no one was hurt, and so forth - too bad the car is pretty much a goner. I'll miss you, fugly Pontiac Aztek.

Luckily that didn't put too much of a damper on my trip, and I'd like to publicly thank Dylan and his lovely girlfriend for joining us for Ethiopian food in New York; Dylan being a wonderful dude I met thanks to this very column! You guys are all terrific and I will eat lunch with all of you, I've decided.

Before I tempt fate any further to sling more accidents and misfortunes my way, let's get to some questions!


Hey there Answerman,

Recently I bought Vertical's paperback release of the Guin Saga novels and fell in love. I took to the internet to learn as much as I could and found an ANN forum post from someone at Vertical about the release. The answer mentioned that Kaoru Kurimoto's estate was a hurdle to future releases. (As well as poor sales but that's not the point of the question.) My question is this: How does a creator's estate regulate what can and can't be done with their work? Why can it sometimes become more difficult to work with a property after the author's death? I'm sorry that the question is not specifically anime related but thank you for time.

Well, I'm certainly no copyright lawyer, and I'm not entirely familiar with the ins and outs of the way this works in Japan. But, if it's anything like here in the US, it's relatively simple: by and large, the estate assumes full control over the ownership and use of every single piece of work produced by the author that's still under copyright. There are certainly exceptions, and the rules vary depending on the property, but from the brief research I found, that's largely how it works.

For a brief primer on the way estate laws work, simply read up on the weird history of Lupin III! (Brief version for those too lazy to Google; Monkey Punch's character was based upon the character of Arsène Lupin by French author Maurice Leblanc, which is all well and good except that Monkey Punch never bothered to ask permission for this. The Leblanc estate was obviously not pleased about this, considering the series was a hit and they saw no money from it, which is why Lupin's name had to be changed to stuff like "Rupan" and "Wolf" until recently, when Leblanc's original copyright expired.) Of course, in certain cases, estates have no control whatsoever over an author's collected works - once Roald Dahl died, every book of his was free to the highest Hollywood bidder. So, again, it entirely depends on the title itself, because there's a lot of variables involved.

The reason things can be "difficult" once an estate controls a deceased author's work always varies based on the property, but think of it this way; essentially, it's like a change of ownership at any other business. Be it a restaurant or a bank or anything else, when there's new owners, it's not uncommon for things to change. And when it comes time to draw up a new contract, the new owners may not agree to the original terms, and so on. Plus, there's the distinct possibility that now there's MULTIPLE owners, instead of just one; estates can be divided into any percentage of family or friends, who all have a say with the usage and licensing of that protected work. It's also not uncommon for estates to be bitterly divided, as in-fighting between the inheritors drives a stubborn wedge between any use of the work at all. Families don't always get along, and when there's money at stake, the fueds can grow and fester.

But who's to say what, exactly, the specific deal is with Kaoru Kurimoto's estate? The bottom line is, the series sold poorly. That right there is all the proof you really need as to why Vertical can't be too bothered with any future volumes. If I may put my speculation hat on for just a moment, perhaps Vertical asked for more amenable and cost-effective licensing terms, given the initially poor sales, and the Kurimoto estate shot them down?

Either way, the estate certainly isn't helping us in getting more Guin Saga novels on bookstore shelves, but that's not really the major issue. If sales were good and the money was there, Vertical could find a way to play along with the estate, most likely. With poor sales, what's the incentive? That's my take, at least.


I feel like you were rubbing it a little too hard on the Haruhi question last time. When Zac slammed on a question, at least it was funny (and had a good picture to go with it). This went too far for me. There's nothing wrong with wanting new shows, but I'd like to see more of the haruhi story. I'm not interested in hunting down fan-made scanlations or praying that the local library (wtf who goes to libraries anymore?) actually has a volume I want. A new anime season doesn't seem too bad a solution in western eyes. The second season went in a completely different direction than the first, so how can you complain? I mean come on, 8 episodes of the same crap in a row?

But sequels keep the money flowing right? Haven't all the people who track the anime market been doom and gloom for the past 4 years or more? Maybe the anime market needs more of the things it knows will sell well, like Haruhi? I don't complain about the boundless pixar/kiddie movies because they keep the movie industry going. We still can't find better composers for classical music, and we still play the old classics. Aren't repeats and sequels the top sellers in most genres of entertainment today anyway? The days of dreaming about the future and its flying cars are over. Call of Crappy, Battlefield 17.1 Limited edition, The hangover 4, any superhero movie. That's our unfortunate future. Yeah, it sucks and I don't like it either, but no need to riff off so much on a poor guy who just wants more haruhi or boob-show or whatever.

Haven't ever felt the need to express any retorts to many years of answerman following, so Congratulations! You motivated a lazy leecher to type something.

Uhh, congrats? And hey, I don't have time to hunt down cute animal pictures BECAUSE I HAVE THINGS TO DAY, DAMN IT-

Whoops, sorry. Also, that's a lie. I totally have time to find cute animal pictures. Except for this week. I'm busy.

Anyway, to clarify - I do apologize sincerely if what I said was considered an affront to whoever wrote that question. I didn't mean it as a personal attack. I meant it as a plea; a tiny yelp in the wilderness to my geek brethren to accept that sometimes things just end, and that's okay, because we REALLY should be getting excited about new things. NEW new things. New things we haven't seen or heard before; things we'll obsess over until the next cool new thing comes around. The next Tiger & Bunny. The next Steins;Gate. Original stories built from the morass of familiar genres and tropes, taken to new extremes and technological perfection.

I understand the strong tenacity for people to cling to the familiar, and I certainly understand the notion that a 3rd Haruhi series would be a shot in the arm for "The Industry." That's a noble sentiment, surely. But, I don't know, here we are always bitching and moaning about sequels - as you yourself did, casting a pall upon Call of Duty with the same breath you condemn me over Haruhi - and yet we just can't help ourselves when we find out that there's still a few volumes left just WAITING to be adapted into an anime series or a movie. Maybe, just maybe, we all can resist that impulse once in a while. Just set it aside and do something else with all that nervous energy. Like, I dunno, challenge ourselves to something new.

Sequels and rehashes will always have their place, because this is all just product, but I simply don't understand the notion of people who clamor with every chattering breath in their lungs for ONLY more product. I wasn't talking to "the poor guy" specifically; rather the general feeling of my fellow enthusiasts who only seem to wait for the latest iteration of the same exact thing, every single time.

That's not much of a question, though. Let's find a bonus one!


Without naming any specific examples, What does it mean when a work is empty?

That's actually rather difficult to do WITHOUT naming "specific examples." But I'll try!

Ever heard the phrase "empty-headed person"? Just apply that to any anime you can think of. I'm assuming you're wondering what "empty" means in a review context - when someone says "I like (insert show), but it's rather empty." That's what they mean to say - There's a surface there, and there appears to be signs of life, but on the inside, it's an empty, hollow cave, devoid of thought or personality. To wit: nearly everything Yoshiyuki Tomino has attached his name to is rather empty to me. There's some clever ideas and characters, but I always get the feeling that their cleverness is just an accident; the side effect of an empty-headed person with too much clout and money rambling nonsense over a confused chunk of animators.

This has been another episode of Brian Has Issues With Tomino. Up next: A real question with an interesting response!


Hey Brian,

I've written to a couple of different Manga/Light Novel publishers asking about the possibility of working together to translate Light Novels into e-book format. I think we could get our costs down to basically just the price of the translation, which would mean not needing to sell a huge number of copies to break even. I also think that using a pre-ordering scheme (maybe even Kickstarter), we could mitigate the financial risk to near zero. My own motivation is simply that I want to read the novels, and I'd like to have some small positive impact on the world before I shuffle off of this mortal coil.

Essentially, my pitch has been: “I'm willing to risk my money and time, but I have no idea where to begin, and I bet you've already got a lot of the contacts and knowledge. I'm not looking to make any money, I'd be thrilled to break even, what do you have to lose by talking it over with me?”

It's been several months with no replies.

I'm not sure if my e-mail got sent to the crank file because they doubt my financial means / competence, or whether they don't have the courtesy to reply back with a simple “not interested”.

Do you have any suggestions for who I might try to contact or how I should go about it? If the idea is simply a non-starter I'm okay with that, I just want to make sure my pitch is actually being considered by the powers-that-be before being rejected, and with no reply of any sort I'm not sure that's happening.

I'll be at Sakuracon, if introducing myself in person to someone who's likely to be there would have any value.

If I may be honest for a second here dude, you're going about this all wrong.

First, and perhaps most importantly, DO NOT EVER EVER EVER harass the poor people from these companies at conventions. Chances are they're tired, stressed, and overworked, and the last thing they want to deal with is for someone to harangue them about a "business opportunity." I've seen this happen, first hand (and also to myself!) too many times to count, and it's always embarassing. UNLESS all you want to do is hand them a business card, this is uniformly a bad idea. DO NOT DO THIS. And that means you too, everyone else!!!

But here's my pitch to you, sir/madame, that falls in line with what I've told other people before when they feel the urge to create or do something and are faced with an endless parade of closed doors. Do it yourself!

Yep, that's right. Just do it yourself! If you've really and truly got it "figured out," as you put it, then surely you can put it into practice. "B-but I'm just one person! How can I POSSIBLY do it myself?" Yep, and that's where you've really got to put your nose to the grindstone and grease your elbows and other such old-timey phrases. You need a staff, you need some capital, and most importantly, you need titles to translate and release. Kickstarter? That's huge, and for niche markets like unlicensed manga and Light Novels, I firmly believe that'll be the future of how these things are delivered to a Western audience. The trouble is, there's no such similar groundswell of support for crowdfunding in Japan, and the few times Japanese titles and producers have attempted to use it have been mixed - for every Kick-Heart, there's Vic Ireland's disastrous 500,000 dollar campaign for a deluxe physical release of the mediocre Class of Heroes 2. From what I understand, Ireland and his company, MonkeyPaw Games, wanted something a lot better than Class of Heroes 2, but most Japanese companies turned him down, finding the whole notion of crowdfunding meddlesome and needless. The major problem is, there's no distinct Japanese counterpart to Kickstarter. It's a purely Western concept that is not at all analogous to them, and with no frame of reference, it's no surprise that Japanese producers haven't warmed to the idea.

But Kick-Heart succeeded because it's exactly the sort of thing that can only come from crowdfunding. So will Light Novel translations, I feel. So, finding the right company to work with is just one part of the puzzle - you'd need a staff and a real, actual company first. No Japanese company worth their salt would take an unsolicited request for a Kickstarter translation by one single devoted fan; much in the same way that Western translators shrugged their shoulders at your initial pitch. If you are truly serious about this, surely you can assemble a ragtag group of devoted folks who similarly want to see this happen and would be willing to get on the ground floor for something like this. There's quite a gold rush on crowdfunding, following the high-profile success in Kickstarter for things like feature films, electronics, video games, and novels. There's no reason that Kickstarter or Indiegogo or anything else couldn't either work its magic for anime, manga, and light novels, and I think it's a damn shame that more people aren't willing to try it out. I know Digital Manga used Kickstarter to fund some Osamu Tezuka publications; perhaps try talking to them and see how the process works?

Basically, you've got your work cut out for you, because I can guarantee you, seeking out the cooperation of existing Western translators and publishers is a dead end. You're basically asking them to ignore their own guys and girls and trust you, somebody they've never met before. You can understand their skepticism. Of course, if you pull off something huge - like, say, successfully funding an obscure manga or light novel translation via crowdfunding and make it a success - then they'll have no choice but to listen to you.

Too many people are abusing Kickstarter and crowdfunding for boring garbage nobody needs - Brony documentaries, "minimalist" wallets, Epic Win Bacon videogames - and too few of them arrive for things I would actually, personally support. It's about time somebody takes the initiative and does that. It'll take a lot of work and a whole ton of dedication, but it could reap truly great rewards. And if isn't you, it'll be somebody else. But of course, getting major Kickstarter funding can be just as complicated as finding a real job in "The Industry." You'll need to make some noise on your own first, whichever way you go with this idea of yours. Perhaps you should try WORKING for some of these companies before dictating anything? Either way, you need to get some relevant experience under your belt before attempting anything on that scale. So get to work, bud!

And, just to reiterate, don't bug industry people at conventions. They're all busy and they just want to find some lunch.


Alright! You all had two weeks to respond this time, so let's see what you all had in mind when I assigned you this task:


Let's start with Sam, who had a major beef with A MYSTIC ADVENTURE and A QUEST FOR ALL TIME:

A blunder that really sticks out is Cardcaptors. Nelvena really dropped the ball by trying to rewrite a FANTASY SHOW FOR GIRLS into an ACTION SHOW FOR BOYS, even going so far as to make supporting character Li into the star any way they could, as well as unwisely trying to make an ended show with a limited number of episodes into a springboard for another "kids & monsters" franchise that ripped off Pokémon & Yu-Gi-Oh!, which Card Captor Sakura never was to begin with. It's a clear case of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole...

Melissa ticks off a rather irksome pet peeve of mine - boxes with empty space in their spines! YUCK:

Answerman,

The biggest blunders I tend to think of and remember deal with packaging, but I'm a designer so that's what I always pay close attention to when I get a new DVD. Generally, I find that anything that doesn't facilitate ease of use or really take into consideration the functionality of the DVD once it's in the hands of the consumer are just bad decisions.

Here's a good example, albeit very specific. When FUNimation released Black Butler II, it was released as a DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack and came with a nice chipboard outer box surrounding it. The premise was that you could fit season I in next to season II. However, the box only fit the Blu-Ray version of season I. Not such a big deal except... the Blu-Ray/DVD combo of season I was released nearly simultaneously with season II. So if you were someone who bought the original DVD releases of season I in the individual, two part sets nearly a year prior, you have an extra large box set of season II, with a good chunk of wasted space because you happen to have bought season I when it first came out.

I thought that it was a total disaster from a marketing point of view. The type of people who pre-order or buy an anime when it FIRST comes out are probably big fans of the series. Specifically, when it's season II, it's safe to presume they already own season I. I am not going to REBUY season I in a Blu-Ray combo when I already have season I on DVD. So I really liked that Black Butler season II was a Blu-Ray combo, but it's taking up extra space on my shelf (I couldn't bear to throw away the chipboard outer box) and completely fails from a functionality point of view.

I also very strongly believe that anime titles have a narrow window in which they can be released in order to capitalize on the initial popularity from the simulcast. Usually, if the DVD comes out 1-1.5 years after the initial broadcast, there's still a good fanbase and a good chance people won't have forgotten about it. But when you near the two year mark (like Tiger x Bunny), think of all the new anime that's come out since then. Tiger x Bunny was a great show, probably one my favorites, but it's old news by now. When companies sit on titles, especially GREAT titles like Tiger x Bunny which have remarkable cross-over appeal and are very marketable series in the American market, and let them wither... that's just a crime. If companies want to compete and stay current in the contemporary anime market that is heavily dominated by simulcasts, you have to get titles out there!

Let Maddy stoke the fires over Geneon's desecrated grave!

Hey Brian,

When it comes to any Western company licensing an Anime, the first thing I think about is when that company is going to dub the Anime.

Like most people, I'm a fan of dubs, whenever one gets released, I'll watch it. Dubs play an important role in the success of an Anime in the Western part of the world. But what happens when that company screws up and creates an appalling job at creating a dub? It can produce a negative reception towards the Anime which wasn't it's fault, it was the company.

Throwing an example out here, just in case you don't see my point: Geneon's dub of Higurashi. I speak for my fellow Higurashi fans out there when I say, its dub was terrible for the most part. Granted the show is really good (though P.A. Works would adapt it a whole lot better), but this dub was just... poorly handled.

Some parts weren't so bad, and the voice actors did improve over the course of the series (Rena's VA improved the most). Some of the voice actors were consistently good, particularly those for Keiichi, Mion, and Miyo (and to a small extent Tomitake and Akasaka). But Arc 1 sounds abysmal, like "throw a high-definition chair across a room" bad. Then there's Rika's VA, Rebecca Forstadt. A friend of mine had the pleasure of meeting her at her last convention panel a while ago, and while she is pretty much just a sweet little old lady, she really can't act outside of her vocal range (aka Dark Rika). Furthermore, Forstadt has never actually gone through the story of Higurashi, so not only does she not realize that purpose of why Rika acts as she does, but she finds the series overall very distressing (she described the series to the audience simply as friends killing one another - nothing else to contribute). Why Geneon never told her what really was going on we will never know.

As a result of Geneon's screw-up this Anime is infamous for having a dub as bad as Sailor Moon. I was actually hoping FUNimation would re-dub it, but since they expired their license and will never touch it again. I guess that'll never happen.

I rather like Watson's notion of Sentai "harbouring" Stephen Foster like an escaped convict, out to avoid an extradition treaty:

I'll probably be the 437th or so person to say this, but what's inexcusable is Sentai continuing to harbour Steven Foster. Anybody who checks out his work can see that he obviously doesn't like anime. What does he like? Himself. This is why he is one of the Enemies of Anime--the types who selfishly overimpose themselves on other people's work because, dammit all, those Japanese just don't understand that he's much more brilliant than the people who only create the work in the first place. The only reason I can see for to Sentai to continue to allow him to use the anime they license to wipe his backside is that he's holding something over the people at the top there, like incriminating pictures or videos. If that is indeed the case, then, if the concerned party really cares about and loves anime, they should own up to their indiscretions and sacrifice their career as well as cutting him out if it will stop the ongoing damage. It's bad enough that I refuse to buy Penguindrum--a series which I WANTED to buy--because of his greasy, ketchup-smear fingerprints all over it. I don't want to add anything else to that list. I genuinely want to give Sentai my money for their work, but not if it's covered in raging egomaniac drool.

NOBODY screws with Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo if I or Andrew have anything to say about it:

DEFINITELY going with S'more Entertainment here.

I must admit, I was pretty psyched when I first heard that S'more Entertainment was planning to release Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo on DVD, with both the original and English dubs, and with English subtitles translated from the Japanese. I first saw the show when I was living in Japan, and after comparing it to the English dubs, I felt that English-speaking fans were missing out on what could be one of the funniest and most brilliantly random parodies in all existence and instead getting basically a show with a silly Saturday-morning style of humor. And with only 8 episodes produced on DVD, all "dubtitled", I had just about given up hope, until S'more came along and picked it up, promising to do the entire series.

Then came the release... and the utter disappointment. There were no English subtitles. Despite clearly advertising English subtitles on their website and every place preorders were available, there were no English subtitles. The closest thing was a PDF copy of the script on one of the DVDs that I assume you're supposed to print out and read along, which I know every anime fan is just dying to do, translated solely by the "expert English speakers" at Toei Animation. They later announced that they never intended to release it with English subtitles, and only after that did they take off the "English subtitles" thing from their website. Mediocre dubs are fine, excessive editing and censoring is at least understandable... but all-around laziness, and especially false advertisement are INEXCUSABLE, UNACCEPTABLE, and UNFORGIVABLE.

I hear they're also going to release (or have released? I haven't bothered to look for it) Leiji's classic Galaxy Express 999, this time with subtitles, but without the ability to turn the subtitles off. And if that's not a big middle-finger to all the fans after their Bo-Bobo fiasco, I don't know what is. Speaking as a bilingual, I'd rather just import the DVDs straight from Japan rather than be forced to watch a DVD where the bottom of the screen is permanently plastered with words.

Sounds like Machetecat would like to take Bang Zoom by the collar and then Bang! Zoom! STRAIGHT TO THE MOON!

Usually I'm not one to bear a grudge over a dub issue or what not; if I really don't like a dub I'll just switch over to sub...

HOWEVER, to this day I CANNOT forgive Bang!Zoom or Aniplex for what they did to Isaac and Miria in the Durarara!! dub! I mean, I ADORE Baccano! I actually WAITED for that series to come out in English because I felt in my gut it was one of those shows that NEEDED a dub, and BOY did that dub not disappoint! The writing, the characters, the voice, the whole thing was spot on, and it remains one of those shows I have pulled out and watched over and over and over again without ever getting tired of it. Pure classic!

So when I found out Isaac and Miria have a cameo in Durarara!!, I was ecstatic! They were two of my favorite characters in the series, and to see them make a cameo in a series written by the same author was SO COOL! I actually cheered when I saw this while it was streaming, and I was jumping for joy when the DVDs were coming out so I could hear the dub.

But Bang!Zoom didn't even TRY! I could understand not being able to get the original actors (even though both have stated they loved the characters and would play them again in a heart beat), but they didn't even come CLOSE! I've seen other Bang!Zoom dubs! I know they have actors that could at least do a believable interpretation, but instead of just doing a bit of research on Baccano!'s dub and trying for a similar feel, they decided to make it exactly like the Japanese! I mean, they even did the l,r sound for Miria's name! SHE'S AMERICAN, FOR PETE'S SAKE! The whole thing was flat and because of where the cameo was in the show absolutely RUINED the big climax scene for me! I've collected all three sets of Durarara!!, but to this day I have yet to finish watching them just because that entire cameo was like nails on a chalk board! For Bang!Zoom to just crush the dub like that and for Aniplex to allow that to go on the DVD feels like a knife in the heart! It also makes no sense, considering how Baccano! and its dub was one of the most celebrated series/dub of 2009! UGH if I wanted to hear Isaac and Miria sound like their Japanese actors, I'd have switched over to the sub! The sub and the dub of Baccano! were so DIFFERENT this really should have been looked into SO MUCH MORE!

I know it's a very small part in the series to get so angry over, but GRRRRRRRR this moment pissed me off so much. Instead of 10 seconds of happy cheers I got nails on a goddamn chalkboard.

....If I had to think of anything else, I guess I'm kinda pissed at FUNimation for not re-uniting the Yū Yū Hakusho cast for Level E. I just don't understand how they couldn't do that! It would have been so perfect!

George has got me cracking up like a hyena just with the reference of "Illumitoon." Ha ha ha ha!

Hey Answerman,

I can forgive mistakes that can happen to anyone. Stuff like a bad dub, typos in the subs, & a missing extra do suck, but those have varying reasons for their happenings and can be forgiven to a point. Hell, I can even accept a unfinished release to an extent, since there are usually valid & understandable reasons for whenever that happens. What I have to consider as completely unforgivable is when a company outright messes up a release, to the point where there is no possible way to recommend buying it. Probably the biggest & best example of a company completely messing up has to be Illumitoon Entertainment, which is probably the only anime company I am happy to see gone for good. In theory & on paper the company had a nice idea behind them: License anime for TV airing as a 4Kids-esque company, but also offer uncut dual-audio DVDs for the regular anime fans. Hell, even their line-up wasn't too bad: Beet the Vandel Buster may not be very original but it sure is a fun ride, B't X is a great mix of Masami Kurumada's hot-blooded old-school ethic & mechs, AM Driver starts off simple but gave a nice indication of a more serious & somber story as it went on, & even Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo had a fair fanbase behind it, especially with the anime having been shown on Toonami earlier. Unfortunately, none of Illumitoon's shows ever got on TV, outside of Bo-Bobo's previous airing, but this isn't even the part where everything went to crap...

No, the inexcusable part of Illumitoon was their DVD releases. Right from their first release, Beet Volume 1, everything was bad: Horrible video encoding, opening & ending themes which were replaced with original tracks (though the originals were extras... Which had even worse video encoding than the episodes themselves!), atrocious menus, word of some copies simply not working, & "dubtitles" (specifically closed-captioned ones) instead of actual subtitles. The only thing Illumitoon seemingly got right was that there were actual chapter breaks, which Toei couldn't even get right when they tried doing DVDs (another inexcusable mistake). Anyway, their next release, Bo-Bobo Vol. 1, had most (if not all) of the same problems, but with the added mistake of not subbing on-screen text & signs, which were essential in order to understand some of the gags in Japanese; B't X Vol. 1 wasn't much better. Whatever good-will Illumitoon tried offering to fix the problems (like offering a trade-in program for buyers to get "fixed" DVDs) had problems, too (the trade-ins were never revealed to be DVD-Rs until buyers got the discs & Bo-Bobo still didn't get the extra subs). In the end Illumitoon sort-of got it right with B't X Vol. 2 (actual subs, the original OP & ED were kept for the Japanese audio, & good video encoding), but shortly after that their distributor dropped them, so Illumitoon never got another release out, leaving three shows unfinished & the fourth (AM Driver) never even got a single DVD release. Then, when B't X & AM Driver actually got aired on The Anime Network's On-Demand service, it was quickly revealed that Illumitoon only dubbed the first 14 episodes of both shows (& who knows where Beet's dub stopped at). Essentially, Illumitoon Entertainment is a perfect example of doing everything wrong, which is 150% inexcusable in an industry where the fans can be very quick & even vitriolic, if they feel the need to be.

And, hell, Bo-Bobo just can't get a break, because it got a second chance via S'more Entertainment, who messed up royally by incorrectly stating that their release would feature subs for the Japanese audio that would be included, but in reality there were no subs at all. Considering how this could have been an easy fix, not to mention that it was advertised as featuring subs everywhere it was sold (including their own website), I feel like S'more outright lied to fans, and that, too, is simply inexcusable.

Here's one for all you Digimon fans, courtesy of Marcelo:

Oh my, that is a hard question. Especifically because, well, I guess I am just too forgiving of mistakes. Translation errors in the subtitles? Well, I can live with that, as long as they are still comprehensible and it doesn't *invert* the intended message. Spotty dub? Welp, we all make mistakes, and sometimes costs need to be kept low; and at least modern dubs aren't nearly as bad as some 90s stuff. Music replacements? Hm, I guess licencing issues can be hairy sometimes. I could go on. Anyway, I decided to answer this question by looking at my DVD collection and trying to find that which was the "worst" release, listing its flaws, and going from there. And...ah, this is so annoying to explain.

I live in Brazil, and in my good land of Brazil (please read that in a stereotypical Brazilian accent; I always do), we rarely get DVD releases that go beyond 3 episodes (unless you have "Saint Seiya" somewhere in your name, in which case you are very lucky). So when boxsets (13 episodes each) of Digimon Adventure were announced, I was ecstatic! Nostalgia! For a good price! But that was but an illusion. The release was pure, complete, nearly-offensive crap. And the reasons for that are my small "INEXCUSABLE" list:

Firstly, terrible video quality. Seriously, if you're going to release something on DVD/BD, and expect people to *pay* for it, at least have good video quality. I absolutely hate when bad masters (do people still use that term?) are used, or when the transfer to new media is done shoddily. Like the disastrous Blu-Ray release of INTERSTELLA 5555. I know that some Japanese companies impose that as prevention against reverse importing, but guess what -- I disapprove that. It's a big middle finger to their overseas fans. Grrr.

Secondly, dubtitles. Now, this I'm actually more lenient about, depending on the case. If the dub script is already faithful to the original version, without changing its contents heavily, I don't have much of a problem with dubtitles. The problem comes when the dub is too liberal. I think that was a problem in the Bobo-bo release (not the new one; that old one, from that company who released such classics like Beet the Vandel Buster); the dub had to rewrite a lot of jokes, which is understandable, considering that Bobo-bo is...well, Bobo-bo, so the dubtitles are not even clos to what is said in Japanese. That is when dubtitles become inexcusable.

Thirdly, *forgetting to put subtitles in the disc, but still including the Japanese track*. Yes, they did that. And...I...that's...argh, I don't wanna talk about it.

Fourthly, censorship in what is announced as an "uncut" version (that didn't happen *directly* with the Digimon release, but then it sorta did). This one speaks for itself. I understand needing to edit things for reasons (sometimes reasonable reasons, sometimes plain stupid reasons), but lying to the buyer is wrong. More than that, it's a crime.

Fifthly, terrible box art. Okay, okay, this one is not that bad, but still. A DVD/BD cover has to catch the consumer's attention. When it doesn't, not only it doesn't get more buyers, but it also becomes embarassing to put on your shelf (see where this came from?).

And final (and completely unrelated to my disappointing Digimon box), despite what I said about dubs a while back, I find Odex Singaporean dubs inexcusable. Seriously, they're just....urgh. I mean, Blue Water Studios dubs are also pretty bad, but at least Blue Water makes something decent once every 5 years. Odex, one the other hand, *never* made anything decent. And I still can't forgive them (and Bandai) for Fantastic Children's.....I-I can't even call that an "English voice track". I'll just call it "thing".

That was fun and exciting! What a litany of pure and inexcusable ineptitude! Let us all hope and pray that none of these things ever happen again. Except that they probably will. Let us droop our shoulders in discontent and carry on.

What's that, though? I have another question for y'all next week!


Now you've got this week's question, and it's time to get answerin'.

For those of you new to Hey, Answerfans!, I'll explain the concept.


Believe it or not, I'm genuinely curious what you think.

That's right; as much as I love the sound of my own voice, I do love to listen to what other people have to say on a subject. I'm finding that over the last few years, the attitudes, reasoning and logic that today's anime fans use eludes, confuses or astounds me; I have so many questions for you, and I'm dying to hear what you have to say in response.

Welcome to Hey, Answerfans!

Basically, we're turning the tables. Each week I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to email me your answer. Be as honest as you can. I'm looking for good answers; not answers I agree with or approve of, but good, thoughtful answers
. People feel passionately about these subjects and I'd like to see that in the responses I get. I'll post the best answers I get, and maybe some of the crappy ones. Sometimes there may only be one or two good ones; sometimes five or more. It all depends on what I get in my inbox! Got it? Pretty simple, right? Start writing those answers and email them to answerman [at] animenewsnetwork dot com.

We do have a few simple ground rules to start with.

Things To Do:

* Be coherent.
* Be thoughtful.
* Be passionate.
* Write as much or as little as you feel you need to to get your point across in the best possible way.

Things Not To Do:

* Respond when the question doesn't apply to you. For instance, if your email response starts with "Well, I don't do whatever you're asking about in the question... " then I'm going to stop reading right there and hit delete.
* Be unnecessarily rude or use a lot of foul language.
* Go off-topic.

That was a wonderful bit of fun, but I'm tapped out! Remember to keep sending me stuff - be it questions, Answerfans responses, pet photos, whatever - over at answerman(at)animenewsnetwork.com! Barring any unforeseen Acts of God, I'll be around next week for more!


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