Fan-Made Anime-Inspired Doctor Who Project

posted on by Gia Manry
Professional translator/anime fan streams Doctor Who animation shorts

32-year-old Paul "OtaKing" Johnson, a professional translator in Sheffield, England (who bears no relation to Toshio Okada, the "OtaKing" who co-founded Gainax), released a video on YouTube in February 2009 called "Making a proper Doctor Who anime." The 4-minute video depicts a fight scene evolving from rough drawings into a fully detailed, inked, colored, and dubbed animation, created entirely by Johnson himself.

Between February 9, 2009 and April 5, 2010, Johnson released four videos of scenes and clips from his anime short for a total of 13 minutes of footage (mostly unfinished) and has brought two voice actors onto the project: Northern Ireland's Phillip Sacramento and Japan-based Sachiko Souno.

When asked for more detail on the content, Johnson cautioned that the short is not an episode or a full story. "It's just an 11 minute fake 'what if' trailer for a Doctor Who anime if one had been made back in the early '90s," Johnson said. He also noted that his influences are largely '80s and '90s anime, specifying Bubblegum Crisis, Macross, and Project A-ko." Since he is a self-proclaimed "80s purist," the short features no CG, only hand-drawn frames. As such, Johnson calls the project "fun but massively time-consuming."

The final cut of the short features characters speaking in both English and Japanese; dialogue in each language will also be subtitled in the other, although Johnson clarified that Sacramento and Souno have "only a few lines". The piece is 11 minutes long total and nearly complete, but Johnson indicated that he plans to show it to BBC, who own the copyright to Doctor Who, before any potential release.

Although Johnson's anime-influenced Doctor Who project has gained attention among anime blogs, this was not his first brush with the anime fandom as a whole. On May 26 and 27, 2008, Johnson released a 4-part documentary on anime fansubs. In the series, Johnson relies on his education, which includes an M.A. in Translation Studies, and his experience as a professional Japanese translator, to point out common examples of poor translating in fansubs. The documentary also features a small amount of Johnson's own animation.

What follows are the four videos so far about Johnson's Doctor Who project. Fans who wish to view the fansub documentary or other works may do so at Johnson's YouTube account.

Johnson currently works as a freelance Japanese translator for video games. Fans interested may also wish to check out Johnson's DeviantArt account.

Image © Paul Johnson

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