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Answerman - When Is It OK To Adapt An Anime Dub Script?


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penguintruth



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:13 pm Reply with quote
Dubs should be English approximations of the Japanese original, allowing only a certain percentage of adjustments between languages. Too much “creativity” in dub scripts transforms a show into something else entirely. The only question is where the line is. If you’re rewriting scenes to the point it changes the purpose of a dialogue or character motivation, you’ve changed the show.

Happily, most dubs these days have a pretty good balance.
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Marakutanay



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:32 pm Reply with quote
Good luck changing sub for dub or viceversa for Highschool DxD. The changes in dialogue are everywhere.
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loveliver



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:34 pm Reply with quote
Ah... he was talking about that American version of Milk-chan that didn't air on Adult Swim or the Anime Network that had those cringey live-action sequences...
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Morry



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:36 pm Reply with quote
penguintruth wrote:
Dubs should be English approximations of the Japanese original, allowing only a certain percentage of adjustments between languages. Too much “creativity” in dub scripts transforms a show into something else entirely. The only question is where the line is. If you’re rewriting scenes to the point it changes the purpose of a dialogue or character motivation, you’ve changed the show.


This. Say what you will, but there's definitely been egos more interested in making a script their personal art project than properly localizing the story.

That's what I think makes high concept comedies the easiest to deviate from. Their simple with little to no story, so no one cares if you go nuts with the script. Hetalia's a prime example. No one cares if the dub has Germany make Holocaust jokes because the series is already about the history of nations as anthropomorphized stereotypes doing offensive gags. What's one more? If it was a drama though, most would probably find it tonally jarring and unnecessary.
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Greed1914
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:43 pm Reply with quote
The story I've heard from Greg Ayers is that the gag dub for Ghost Stories came about because the production committee knew it had such a bad show on its hands that the only way anyone would license it at all was if it came with permission to do whatever they wanted with the dub.

Dubs that are almost complete rewrites are also expensive enough to make that they aren't worth it to make. Shin-chan didn't stick around long after adult swim dropped it. Though that did make a good joke in Funimation's season 3 where the kids get kicked out of the pool when it's time for adult swim.
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Takkun4343



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:45 pm Reply with quote
loveliver wrote:
Ah... he was talking about that American version of Milk-chan that didn't air on Adult Swim or the Anime Network that had those cringey live-action sequences...

I remember ADV being completely puzzled as to why [as] chose their direct dub over their gag dub. They probably did that because the direct dub was less work for S&P to edit for language concerns, but I wouldn't be surprised if ADV personally making it over in their image played a part in it too.
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Chester McCool



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:38 pm Reply with quote
Greed1914 wrote:
The story I've heard from Greg Ayers is that the gag dub for Ghost Stories came about because the production committee knew it had such a bad show on its hands that the only way anyone would license it at all was if it came with permission to do whatever they wanted with the dub.


Keep in mind this excuse was made back in the early 2000s at a convention panel back when people didn't have access to much Japanese-side information. Everything we've learned since then points to Greg Ayers lying and basically defending the studio's work for the sake of it was his job. From the show's high ratings in Japan (out performing other shows at the time like Great Teacher Onizuka) to it's numerous reruns in Japan every few years even to this day, to the fact every other country got a normal dub for Gakkō no Kaidan yet strangely only America went with a gag dub (as is the case for all these kinds of dubs, another example being Shin-chan and Keroro Gunsou)

There's a reason you don't see these kinds of dubs anymore, because fans are too in-the-know know for licensing companies to brazenly lie and get away with it anymore when people can easily fact check them with things like television ratings, Oricon sales, and general series popularity. Imagine if someone tried to lie and say Yokai Watch was some 'dumb bad failure of the show' and did a total gag dub. They'd be called out instantly.
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Chrono1000



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:48 pm Reply with quote
I think the intention is what is most important and plenty of things need to be changed to make the dub sound natural in English which can require replacing jokes. As long as the dub isn't poorly made the main issue I tend to have is when they have a character say something that doesn't fit their character. For the most part though I am usually happy with most modern dubs.
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melmouth



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:19 pm Reply with quote
The Answerman just perfectly exemplified my two reasons for never chosing dubs over subs. First, I never believe American voices talking about Japanese attitudes and situations and place and things. Sounds like a tourist pretending to act like a native.

Second, I LOVE Japan, or at least the idea of it, and most of its culture, and lots of its standard expressions, like the often-deprecated "It can't be helped." The closer the sub is to what the Japanese character said, the better I like it. I feel like I'm experiencing at least a bit of immersion in that fascinating land's way of life. And I don't care at all if it sounds clumsy evaluated as American English dialog.

Why would anyone go to lots of trouble to find and become familiar with another country's media if he was then going to insist on what's said in it being "localized" into his own everyday lingo? It's truly a mystery to me.
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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:09 pm Reply with quote
@melmouth

Fortunately you have the vast majority of times the OPTION of never listening to English dubs.
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EricJ2



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:10 pm Reply with quote
Greed1914 wrote:
The story I've heard from Greg Ayers is that the gag dub for Ghost Stories came about because the production committee knew it had such a bad show on its hands that the only way anyone would license it at all was if it came with permission to do whatever they wanted with the dub.


Yes, we heard that story clung to hundreds, thousandsof times during the big blowup over Funi's obnoxious Shin-chan-wannabe changes to Sgt. Frog:
"But the Japanese licensors said it was okay to gag-dub Ghost Stories! They asked ADV to do it! They kowtow'ed to the floor and BEGGED ADV to do it!"

...Er, no, they (likely) didn't, when you take into account the context the original licensors had for the show:
Ghost Stories was considered a "kids' audience" show for the younger set, and the licensors had told ADV to "do whatever you can, as long as you can sell it"--Meaning whatever the licensors could imagine, and what they were imagining was another kids' afternoon show, along the commercialized lines of what happened to Yo-Kai Watch and Glitter Force. One of the few examples of licensors who didn't mind if a show got the 4Kids Pokemon treatment.
There's not really many cases in Japan of kids' shows getting steamrollered with hipster-irony (apart from a few magical-girl deconstructions), and while Shin-chan was just as raunchy in its original, there's not as much of the cultural Scooby-Doo Hatred as US cartoon and CN fans have been culturally indoctrinated upon, growing up. I'm assuming ADV's Ghost Stories wasn't quite what the producers were picturing, but the deal had been signed and it was too late.

-----

Also, since Justin didn't mention it, I get to be the 90's vet who mentions the one title that almost singlehandedly changed the game for dub, especially comedy-dub, localization: Coastal Carolina, and Shinesman.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxut2RW9xjk

When this one came out in the early birth-of-anime 90's, "dubbing" was still Sailor Moon and Pokemon, and thus Evil Incarnate, and humor and Japanese puns had to be completely rewritten for kids' audiences, a la Team Rocket or Samurai Pizza Cats. Cheaper companies, like the two companies trying to dub the Urusei Yatsura features, didn't take the chance of messing with the translators' attempts at localization, and pretty much just read the subtitle script out loud in the dub, missing most of the jokes.

Shinesman was reportedly a flop in Japan, as the humor didn't go much beyond the concept of "Corporate salary-man Sentai", but Coastal found a way of getting the original jokes, and finding funnier ways of telling them with US-sitcom delivery: For ex., in the original, the line of "I must live, if only to love again!" was changed to "I can't die--I've got a date with Turkish twins!" Those sticklers who insisted on reading the subtitles discovered that there actually weren't many changes from the original, but the dub was still funnier than watching the subbed version...Oh, yeah: Try telling angry dub-haters THAT in 1998. Razz
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kevruth
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:29 pm Reply with quote
Marakutanay wrote:
Good luck changing sub for dub or viceversa for Highschool DxD. The changes in dialogue are everywhere.


Funimation and Jamie Marchi's script botched it from the very first season. They certainly couldn't explain things now with DxD Hero when those mistakes in the first season messes with the plot in Hero. Should have spent more time paying attention to what was being said in the sub and not worrying about all of those ecchi cliches that they had Isse say.
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Hypeathon



Joined: 12 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:35 pm Reply with quote
This kind of question has been answered before and has been given the same kind of answer as to what Justin Sevakis made. Case in point, The Cartoon Cipher tackled this question via a Youtube video essay and it's my go-to source to point to as a starting point for this discussion because they at least care to approach the argument through a case-by-case basis and not make sweeping generalizations.
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melmouth



Joined: 19 May 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:03 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Fortunately you have the vast majority of times the OPTION of never listening to English dubs.


And indeed I never do. The best thing about reading the subs is when you are fed up with your native culture, but can't afford to leave, even for a vacation.

I get my vacation through subbed Japanese stories. It's quite fun!
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penguintruth



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:07 pm Reply with quote
I should have added, comedies can be a completely different ballgame, in terms of accuracy. You can’t really judge anime comedy dubs by the same standards you judge a dub for a drama or action title, for instance. It is really nice when a dub for a comedy can be faithful at least to the spirit, if not always to the letter, of the original show, but I’m a bit more forgiving with them taking liberties. I just wonder why it is some licensors bother licensing something they have to change so significantly. But I don’t know what material is available before a licensor can make a decision to license a property.

Like I said, though, it’s not nearly as big an issue now as it has been a decade or so ago. Most dubs these days are at the very least tolerable. Certainly when it comes to scripts.
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