Mysterious Play (Fushigi Yugi)
VHS 7 - Goodbye Tamahome
A few months ago, when it first came out, I reviewed the first volume of Fushigi Yuugi dubbed, and mentioned that while a few characters (namely Miaka) and the English screenplay were a little weak, it would probably improve with a few volumes.
I won't be making that prediction again.
In these episodes, Tamahome is still under the mind control of Nakago and the various Seiryuu crew. Tasuki and Chichiri have moved in on the guy, while Miaka tags along, hoping to jog the memory of the one she loves. This is, of course, to no avail, and Tamahome broke her arm in the process. So here we are, with the final showdown between Tasuki and Tamahome... meanwhile, Miaka has resigned herself to saying goodbye to him.
After a long battle, Tamahome is finally overcome with a rush back of his memories. Against all odds, he regains his memory, and returns to his band of merry men, where he feels quite guilty for all the trouble he's caused.
Admittedly, that's not a whole lot of ground to cover for three episodes, but all this plays out beautifully, in epic style. All of the characters are brought to life in a manner similar to that of other well-told shoujo anime, such as Please Save My Earth. The TV show isn't the problem here...
It's the English version. After seven episodes, Pioneer and Animaze.. just can't seem to get it right. Chichiri's distinctive speach pattern of ending every sentance with "no da" (which is totally ambiguous and has no equivilent in English) is translated by Neil Nadelman as "ya know", which sounds WAY out of place here. (Sensing this, the English screenwriter reduced the number of sentances ending this way.) It would have been far better to just not translate that part... too much is lost in the process. Chichiri just sounds poorly cast altogether, but not nearly as bad as Amiboshi/Suboshi, who sounds so bad that he stuck out in his short scene towards the end.
The English screenplay is still laughably corny and unnatural-sounding, and Taitsu-kun as the narrator still sounds so flowery and over-the-top in her delivery that one might think she was being given a body cavity search while in the studio. On the plus side, Miaka's voice isn't trying quite so hard anymore, and is actually tolerable. Tamahome was always good once the viewer was adjusted to him, and he's still good here.
Overall, I am very, very disappointed in this dub. It could have been so good, but in this case, a crew that didn't know how to deal with the material at hand have totally screwed it up. Between a lackluster translation and marginal direction, this one serves as a textbook example of how shoujo anime should NOT be dubbed.
Overall (dub) : C+
+ FY is still the same serious/slapstick TV show it always was
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