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Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Faithful is the Gintama English Dub?

Note: This is a repost of an article I originally wrote for Crunchyroll. Check my writer profile to see my latest articles.


Earlier this year, the English dub of the third season of Gintama was released on Crunchyroll. It’s the first time that this iconic comedy series has ever been available dubbed, and this has caused quite a stir among fans. Some have looked forward to it, while others have raised concerns that the Japanese cultural jokes and wordplay won’t translate well into an English dub—that something about Gintama is too “Japanese” to translate well, despite the fact that the subtitled versions have already proved popular among non-Japanese fans. There are some loaded assumptions behind the idea that Gintama is unsuited for dubbing, and I’d like to unpack some of those in today’s “Found in Translation” column, if you don’t mind.

gintama picture

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The Chinese References in Dragon Ball

Note: This is a repost of a series of an article I originally wrote for Crunchyroll. Check my writer profile to see my latest articles.


Like many anime fans of my generation, I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z. At the time, I didn’t think of it as anime, or even as Japanese. It might have had a lot of funny names, but a lot of cartoons had characters with funny names. While I could vaguely sense that something about Dragon Ball Z was different from the other shows I was watching, I had a very limited conception of foreign cultures back then.

To date, I still haven’t watched Dragon Ball Z since my childhood. But my perception of the series has changed enormously as I’ve gotten older. Not only did I realize that Dragon Ball Z originated from Japan, I also realized that the series drew from a wide range of cultural influences, and that not all the things that struck me as “different” or “unique” about the series as a child were due to it being Japanese. The fighting styles and moves are loosely based off Chinese martial arts, and many characters have Chinese-sounding names or are named after Chinese foods and drinks.

 

oolong and yamcha

Like Oolong and Yamcha, for instance

 

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May and June 2017 Update: Starting Life in Another World from Zero

So, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m now living in Japan and starting a new job. Specifically, I’m now a Tokyo Correspondent for Anime News Network, covering events in the area as well as the odd film review. You may have seen my writing on the site!

As you can imagine, life has been pretty hectic these past few weeks, so I haven’t found any time for blogging or even translating. This is why I’ve started republishing some of my old columns from Crunchyroll to ensure that this blog does not completely die. I’m quite attached to frogkun dot com, and I want a place where I can talk about personal things. And boy have these past few weeks given me a lot to talk about.

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Your Name in China

Note: This is a repost of an article I originally wrote for Crunchyroll. Check my writer profile to see my latest articles.


In the span of a few short months, Makoto Shinkai’s latest anime film, your name., has become one of the top-grossing films in Japan of all time, surpassing even Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle. The film is nothing less than a cultural phenomenon at this point, tapping deep into the anxieties of a post-Fukushima Japan while telling an emotional love story. Personally, I think it’s great, but I won’t be talking about the film itself in this article. The question I’m interested in here is one that interests many of us and yet involves no spoilers—how does your name. fare overseas?

your name china

The Chinese poster for your name.

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NOTICE: I Will Be in Tokyo From May 27

akiba's trip.png

Hey guys!

I’ll be moving to Japan next month. I haven’t decided how long I’ll be staying yet, but for now I’ll be starting a new job in Tokyo. If you’re in the area and want to meet up, feel free to send me a message.

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March 2017 Update: Sword Art Online and Naruto are Good, Actually

sword art online ordinal scale

I’ve never understood the hipster mentality. While it’s true that not all popular things are good, I don’t see the point of getting mad about the duds or attacking the fans for being mindless sheeple or whatever. Take Sword Art Online, for instance. This series has a laundry list of flaws but the Youtube reviews in particular blow them way out of proportion. What is it about SAO that inspires so much ire? I have no idea, since its narrative flaws exist in just about every mediocre anime ever. Even if I disliked the series, it’s just not worth the energy to rant about.

The above paragraph is fairly moot since I actually like SAO, and I wrote multiple articles this month apologising for it. On Anime News Network, I wrote a piece on Reki Kawahara’s career, arguing that he’s improved as an author over the years and that SAO is mostly the product of his amateur web novel author days. On Crunchyroll, I praised SAO‘s visuals and pointed out that the anime is a good adaptation of the novels, all things said and done.

All this SAO talk was in anticipation of the Ordinal Scale movie. I was particularly looking forward to it because I got the opportunity to write interview questions for the creators, and I knew beforehand just how much love and hard work had been poured into it. The film was a pure fanservice from start to finish, but let’s not interpret that in a negative light. I think iblessall put it best in his review of the movie:

…it was delightful to see Ordinal Scale speaking a language only those who care about this franchise—warts and all—can understand. In the moment when we see Starburst Stream unleashed once again or Yuuki’s spirit embracing Asuna as the Mother’s Rosario Sword Skill appears in a burst of purple lights, the film clearly, unavoidably asks but one thing of its audience: “Remember. Because if you remember how you felt when you watched Sword Art Online, this is for you.”

I’m sure that this film has its fair share of detractors, but Ordinal Scale was unquestioningly Sword Art Online at its best (to me, at least). Can we finally agree that SAO has its legitimate good points?

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February 2017 Update: I’ve Turned Into a Riajuu

oregairu-hikky

These monthly update posts are starting to get repetitive. I keep complaining about how I haven’t been doing much blogging lately and coming up with vapid excuses for my lack of activity. So I figured I might as well fess up now and admit that I’ve turned into a riajuu pig lately.

Somehow, after all these years of only loving my waifus, I have become interested in a 3D person. This month, I have been engaging heavily in filthy, degenerate behaviour. In other words, going on dates. Whenever I think about what I have become, I think that I should explode.

Long story short, I haven’t been doing much writing lately.

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The Important Takeaways from the J-Novel AMA on Reddit

arifureta

On February 18th, Sam Pinansky of J-Novel Club hosted an AMA on r/LightNovels, where he answered user questions and announced J-Novel Club’s latest license: Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest. I found this very interesting, given that I was one of the people who had requested Arifureta on the forums, and I had also predicted that it would get licensed last year.

Overall, there was nothing in the AMA that surprised me as someone who has been following J-Novel Club since its inception, but I thought it would be interesting to share some of the answers in the thread to my readers. I also thought it would be useful to archive this information in a more easily accessible form. Think of it as a status update for the company.

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Reflections on 2016: Making Friends with the Anime Feminists

emilia

In October 2016, a friend of mine launched a website called Anime Feminist. I’m really surprised at how well it’s been doing so far. Although I’m not actively involved with creating content, I’m close enough to the action to see just how hard the staff has been working to keep things going. It’s been a real privilege to see the results of their work, and I hope that the site meets all its funding goals in 2017.

I’ve already talked about my motives for supporting Anime Feminist elsewhere, but I do want to talk for a bit about how I first became friends with the site’s editor-in-chief, Amelia Cook. Looking back, it was a rather unlikely friendship….

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Reflections on 2016: NOT HAVING TIME FOR ANYTHING

k-on-dizzy

Today’s post will be short because as the title subtly implies, I’m somewhat pressed for time.

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