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Ms. Answerman

by Rebecca Bundy,

Greetings, Ms. Answerman
I have a question in reference to Cho of the Juppongatana of Rurouni Kenshin, specifically, his accent. Was his unique accent in the dub version an attempt to emulate the distinct Osaka accent into something English viewers would recognize as a unique accent, or was it just coincidence that the voice actor had that accent?

You're correct. It was the English dub attempting to emulate what an Osaka accent might sound like when translated into English. They do this in a lot of shows now, most notably Azumanga Daioh. It gets the point across fairly well, I think; you don't want to lose that little bit of character depth the accent brings but it's impossible to try and emulate a directly Osakan way of speaking in English, so using a slight southern twang gets the job done. Some people complain, but then again, some people complain about everything.
Anyone else remember the old Hecto fansubs where instead of suggesting Cho had an accent they just made him swear like a sailor? Ahh, the bad ol' days. Thank god they're over.

Sir or Ms,
(I am writing to get information for one who has no computer access here in the mountains near Canada in WA state.)
How does an artist who has written and drawn three comic books on his own (which could be transferred to Anime format) break in to the business? We would appreciate ANY input on this subject.
This man has more drawing talent than anyone I have seen, and I have been an art teacher in the Northwest for thirty years. What steps must he take to get his work seen by somebody who creates comics or anime?
I will send him any information you get to me. Thank you in advance for any assistance you may give to us.
Mrs. La Violette for Eric D. Cain (artist)

Our own helpful Christopher Macdonald fielded this one himself:

First off, I'd like to bluntly suggest your friend forget working in the anime industry. That is unless he 1) Speaks, reads & and writes Japanese and 2) Is willing to work for a very low salary. There is no way for a non-established artist to work in manga if they aren't able to communicate with the people they work with, and the salaries paid to entry level artists and comic assistants in Japan is much lower than the salary paid in North America.

Before I recommend a mainstream American industry alternative, I would like to point out that there is a growing "pseudo manga" industry in North America. Companies like Tokyopop are putting a lot of time & effort into scouting out promising manga-style author/artists. They've already published several titles written & created by North American artists, and they've given other artists the opportunity to provide the art on existing projects.

You should visit Tokyopop's website for details about their traveling portfolio reviews, and their recurring "Rising Stars Contest".

In addition to Tokyopop, Antarctic Press has been publishing American manga-style comics for close to 20 years now, and Media Blasters has recently started working on their own productions.

When it comes to the North American comic book industry, I'm no expert, but I would strongly recommend you ask this same question to someone else who is an expert. As I said above, Japan is pretty much out of the question and the "American pseudo-manga" industry is still very small. So the American comic book industry probably has the biggest opportunities for you. I wouldn't know which is more competitive and harder to get into though.

Thanks Chris!

Alright, so last week we had a question concerning the proper pronunciation of “Evangelion”. I received a ton of emails on this and went back and forth. Since we're always in pursuit of the truth here in Ms. Answerman, I decided to break down the various responses and see who's right on this one.

Let's review the original question and answer, shall we?

Dear Answerman (not Ms. Answerman)

Though it is rather trivial in and of itself, I would like to dispute one of the statements you made in the December 2003 Answerman column. I have the spare time to throw away on this e-mail because I am an internet-enabled otaku; enough said. In the column you made a comment about the correct pronunciation of Evangelion. While you are justified in stating that it is pronounced "Eh-von-gel-yon" in the anime, this is actually a Japanese mispronunciation due to the Seiyuus' lack of ability to properly pronounce the term. It is pronounced "E-van-jel-yun" if you want to get technical. This is because, technically, evangelion is the Greek word meaning gospel and, according to the original Greek, it should be pronounced in the aforementioned manner. Just for clarity, I would normally agree with your advice of simply listening to the Japanese language track and listening to the pronunciation, but due to Evangelion's many roots in different cultures I find it necessary to go beyond those confines with this particular series (for example: do you refer to the amorphous blob of an Angel fetus fused to Ikari Gendo's palm as "Adam" or "Ah-dah-mu"). These are simply inconvenient hinderances presented by the Japanese dialect and should not be accepted as correct pronunciations.

Sincerely: Colin Stanhill

In the dub, they say ‘Evangelion’, with a hard G sound. I'm assuming they went through several experts and all kinds of dialects and asked the original producers what it was supposed to sound like. Since the official English name – as I've heard it pronounced a million times by a million people involved in the English production – is pronounced with a hard G (geh not jeh), I'm going to go with that. Mispronounced or not, that's the series' title in English, and that's how you're supposed to pronounce it. If it isn't correct (considering the word “evangelion” isn't even a real word per say, but a made-up word with roots in real religious vocabulary... . Sounds like the rest of the series, don't it?), you should probably still say it that way since for this particular show, that's correct. How can you claim to know what the absolute right pronunciation is for a made-up word when the guys who made up that word say differently?
Or we could just call it “EVA” like everyone else and get on with our lives.

Well, I think I made my point pretty clear and came out on top in the first round. What's the score, you ask?

Then we got some responses in. The first one, from BreakmanX, point out a big flaw in my original answer:

You stated a few times that "evangelion" is a made up word in your
last post; this was, in fact the basis for your argument. Let me
quote from the letter: "evangelion is the Greek word meaning gospel".
I decided to check to make sure, here are some resources:
This is a website that translates a lot of languages for free, greek
incuded. However, you'll have to enter the world in greek characters
to get it to work. I'll save you the trouble: Ευαγγέλιο. Just copy
and paste that.

In case you don't believe me that that word would be romanized as
"evangelion", please consult the UN's official romanization document,
located here: http://www.eki.ee/wgrs/v1_3/rom1_el.pdf.

Oops! My bad. Looks like Evangelion IS a real word. I regret the error.

But then, Breakman goes on to explain:

However, here's the funny part: gamma, the greek "g", is pronounced
with the hard "g" sound as in "get" or "give"
(http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/pronunciation.html). So in other
words, you were actually both wrong, but the Answerman was correct in
the pronunciation anyway. Can't beat the Answerman.

SNAP. That's one more point for Ms. Answerman.
Then came even more support from a smart guy named Verthandi:

Just a quick note to support the "Evangelion-with-a-hard-G" pronunciation. :)

If Colin Stanhill were able to read Japanese, then he would know that エヴァンゲリオン can ONLY be pronounced "Evan-GEH-lion," with a hard G. Compared with English, the Japanese language has very, VERY regular rules of pronunciation. Here, it is absolutely undeniable that "Evangelion" MUST be pronounced with a hard G — no exceptions! If the creators had intended for this made-up word to be pronounced "Evan-JEH-lion," with a soft G, then it would have been written as エヴァンジェリオン.

Colin also makes the statement that the Japanese voice actors were unable to pronounce the soft G correctly. NOT TRUE. As shown above, modern Japanese does have a ジェ (jeh) sound. Hayashibara Megumi, who plays Rei in Evangelion, and Yamadera Kouichi, who plays Kaji, also have principle roles in Cowboy Bebop, in which their characters' crewmate is named "Jet Black." Both Hayashibara and Yamadera are able to pronounce Jet's name, soft-G "jeh" and all. Obviously, they have no such speech impediments.

Whether or not the pronunciation that the creators intended is "correct" or "incorrect" as regards the pronunciation of the foreign root word is irrelevant.

This guy makes his point pretty well! That's another point for the Ms.!

Then, Stanhill is blindsided by the ANN Forums, where Kazuki-san preaches:

Yup, and with all due respect to Mr. Stanhill, the actual pronunciation in ancient Greek of Gamma is a hard "g" not "j". (Greek Pronunciations) If there is anything that can be disputed from the translation of the word is the letter Upsilon which was changed from a "u" to a "v". This indicates that the word Evangelion as used in the series, is actually from the Latin translation of the original Greek Euangelion. The Latin translation of the word is Evangelium.


Just when it seemed the game was all tied up and we were ready to go home, Stanhill makes one last attempt from the free-throw line:

Dear: Answerman

Thank you for responding to two of my questions in the column within the past two weeks, even though I said you didn't have to reply to one of them. About the 'evangelion' pronunciation (sorry, but I enjoy debating, or bickering depending on the terminology). It actually is a word, not a derived and "made-up" term. Therefore it does have a proper pronunciation, though most people don't follow it. And in case you were wondering, 'evangelion' is the Greek word for 'gospel'. Words like 'evangelist' and 'evangelic' are actually derivatives from 'evangelion', not the other way around. Keep in mind that I'm just debating, no hard feelings.

Sorry Stanhill, I think you've been out-foxed on this one. The jury's decided. It's EVAN-GHEL-ION, not EVAN-JELL-EON.

The winner: MS. ANSWERMAN!

I'd like to thank everyone for their helpful replies and to Mr. Stanhill for providing a lively debate. No hard feelings, Colin.

See you all next week!

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