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INTEREST: Neil Gaiman Comments on His Role in Princess Mononoke's English Adaptation




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gacha



Joined: 03 Mar 2018
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:42 pm Reply with quote
And he basically rewrote it, one of the worst things that could ever happen to the foreign film. Hopefully most people watch it with more or less faithful subtitles.
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penguintruth



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:45 pm Reply with quote
gacha wrote:
And he basically rewrote it, one of the worst things that could ever happen to the foreign film. Hopefully most people watch it with more or less faithful subtitles.


You call that dub rewritten? Nah, DBZ, that was rewritten. Ghost Stories, that was rewritten. Princess Mononoke has an average-to-good dub script and has a dub with great performances from Minnie Driver and Billy Bob Thornton.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:43 pm Reply with quote
gacha wrote:
And he basically rewrote it, one of the worst things that could ever happen to the foreign film. Hopefully most people watch it with more or less faithful subtitles.


As someone who owns the old DVD (the version that has proper subtitles instead of lazy dubtitles), I honestly can't think of much that got changed from sub to dub. There's a touch more clarity about some of the more folkloric elements (some minor stuff about the Boar and Ape tribes, and Jigo's campfire talk with Ashitaka about the abandoned village is more about bad luck than the land "being cursed", even taking that as a metaphor) and I think San's dialogue uses less threatening words than her dub counterpart (though honestly, her pitch inflections might carry the same threatening tone to a native Japanese listener, I sure can't tell), but that's about it. Oh, and the women of Iron Town are a little less rude in the subs, but again, there might be some inflections I'm not paying attention to in their delivery that amounts to roughly the same idea of crassness.
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Sheleigha



Joined: 09 May 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:11 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:

As someone who owns the old DVD (the version that has proper subtitles instead of lazy dubtitles), I honestly can't think of much that got changed from sub to dub.


Didn't GKids re-do the subs for the newest blu ray version?

I only saw the movie subbed once, and there was only some meanings that got changed, but "rewritten" would've been a Warriors of the Wind situation.
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Cardcaptor Takato



Joined: 27 Jan 2018
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:01 pm Reply with quote
Pretty much most dubs are "rewritten" to some degree to make the dialog flow natural in spoken English. In terms of Disney's Ghibli dubs, I think the first Disney editions of Castle in the Sky and Kiki's Delivery Service had more changes and Princess Mononoke was one of their more faithful dubs. The dub was made under strict oversight by Ghibli, so any changes had Miyazaki's seal of approval on them. Most famously Miyazaki had sent a samurai sword to Disney threatening for there to be no cuts and Disney had originally planned to make a PG cut dub only release of the movie. Regardless of what localization quibbles one might have with the localization in Gaiman's script, we got the best script we were going to get out of a dub of that movie and avoided a fate that could have been a lot worse. I personally enjoy the Princess Mononoke dub myself as I feel like they do a good job of keeping the spirit of the original while keeping the dialog natural sounding and I also enjoy the cast performances, especially Lady Eboshi and San. About the only real complaint I could have about the dub is Jigo's voice sounds a little too American for his character, but that's not really the fault of Gaiman's script,
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Gemnist



Joined: 10 Feb 2016
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:25 pm Reply with quote
The only major dub change I can recall is that Kaya is changed to Ashitaka’s sister rather than his arranged fiancé, and she and San are not played by the same actress. That was probably done to avoid mild controversy (immediately ditching the woman you had to abandon in favor of one identical to her), though it does eliminate of the romantic context between the two leads.
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CorneredAngel



Joined: 17 Jun 2002
Posts: 842
Location: New York, NY
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:16 am Reply with quote
When Princess Mononoke first came out, the Boston Globe ran an interview with Gaiman specifically looking at the work that he did on the script. An archived version is still up at http://web.archive.org/web/20070203143517/http://www.boston.com/globe/search/stories/movies/painting_with_words.shtml

Fun excerpts:

"Gaiman's association with "Princess Mononoke," a fantastical fable made by venerated animator Hayao Miyazaki, began with a phone call he got in March 1998 from Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein. After Miramax acquired "Princess Mononoke," Weinstein's immediate instinct had been to ask his shining star Quentin Tarantino to write an English script for a dubbed version. Gaiman quotes Weinstein as saying, "Quentin said it's not his thing. Quentin says I want you."

"Each scene brought a wealth of challenges. "A lot of the time the film is predicated on things that you would know if you were Japanese," Gaiman explains. "I didn't want to alter these things, I wanted to translate them. I wanted to give an American audience watching it as much of a chance of getting it as a Japanese audience."

Last year, the academic publisher Bloomsbury brought out a collection of essays on Princess Mononoke. One of the chapters it it also specifically looks at the translation. You can read it online at https://www.bloomsburycollections.com/book/princess-mononoke-understanding-studio-ghiblis-monster-princess/ch7-the-translation-and-adaptation-of-miyazaki-s-spirit-princess-in-the-west
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