Archive for News

To -san or not to -san?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

The Twitterverse was buzzing today over the news that MX Media, the team behind a lot of the translations that appear on the Crunchyroll simulcasts, was going to stop including Japanese honorifics from their English translations. The announcement caused rage with some fans, and a number even threatened to quit Crunchyroll because of it.

Was this announcement really all that Earth shattering?  Just how important is it to include honorifics in subtitles?

While we simply use “Mr.” or “Mrs.” in English as a sign of respect in very particular situations, the Japanese utilize honorifics almost every time a name is uttered. The suffix you use to address another person often depends on your familiarness with the individual and / or their relation to you in the “pecking order” of society.

Ever since Mr. Miyagi called his pupil Daniel-san in that 1984 Rocky Jr. film, mainstream America has had just a small understanding of the Japanese honorific, if only for the novelty of it all. But anime fans have had much more exposure to the concept through their viewing. After many examples of what characters are called -san, -chan, -kun, or -sensei, they often pick up a very good understanding what situation calls for what suffix.

So after the American fans have learned this fundamental concept of a completely foreign language, they feel more educated and more cultured in the ways of the Japanese. And by MX Media now saying that they’re not going to bother explicitly writing it in their translations, the fans feel like they’re missing out on the authentic experience of watching anime.

But when it comes down to it, how important are the damn honorifics to anime anyway?

Well, I actually consider it to be very important.

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The Daily Almanac: Obligatory Summer Wars Review

Monday, March 15th, 2010

So after a huge mix-up  regarding my coverage of the NYICFF this year, I was finally able to catch a screening of the highly anticipated new film from Mamoru Hosoda, Summer Wars, last weekend. Well, pretty much everyone and  their mother has seen the film and have written a review of it, and for the most part, the film has been unanimously praised by everyone.

However, I wasn’t quite as wooed over by the film as everyone else was, and when I tweeted this out, I got some peeps asking me to do a review on it. Well, I wasn’t really planning on doing this, so here’s my brief review of Summer Wars using as little spoilers as possible.

Summer Wars is a good movie, it might even be a great movie. But is it as amazing as the hype makes it out to be?

Far from it.

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The Daily Almanac: Protecting the Virtual Children!

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Man, the loli wars just keep on coming. Maybe I need to rename this column “Today in Lolicon” from now on. That’s pretty much all the news that’s worth talking about this week.

Today’s big news is over a proposed bill in Tokyo to ban “virtual” child pornography. The new law would ban the sexual or sexually provocative drawings of children who appear to be under the age of 18 regardless of actual age described in the story. The bill will be voted in committee on the 19th, then it would move up to assembly on the 30th. If it passes assembly, the law will go into effect this October.

This would normally be the point in the post when I would joke about “saving the virtual children” and maybe even providing a quote from a fictional loli girl in order to mock the ridiculousness of this law, but GodLen has already done that. So I’ll just take this one seriously this time.

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The Daily Almanac: Dance in the Censorship Bund

Monday, March 8th, 2010

So the big bombshell that was dropped last Friday when FUNimation began its simulcast of Dance in the Vampire Bund was that the American distributor would be censoring scenes in both the online streaming version and DVD release. Although they would not specify what was being cut out, the scenes were obviously centered around the story’s main character, a female vampire in the body of a little child, and her knack for walking around topless with only a black thong on.

[...] after viewing the unedited as well as the Japanese broadcast edit of the series “Dance in the Vampire Bund,” we have determined the series contains controversial elements which, when taken out of context, could be objectionable to some audiences.

With this in mind and with approval of the licensor, we will edit select scenes from the series in streaming and home entertainment release. These are scenes which are inappropriate for U.S. viewing and are not essential to the storyline.

And the whole internet went ape over this.

“How dare they censor our anime!”

“What’s the big deal? The manga was far worse!”

“What about artistic expression?”

“What about freedom of speech?”

“I’m going to boycott this release and any other series FUNimation releases from now on!”

“At first they went for the lolicon, and I said nothing…”

Well, now let me say something.

I have been quite vocal on this blog through out the years against the idea of censorship. In fact, the second post I ever wrote for the Anime Almanac was a long rant in 2005 against VIZ Media for censoring one panel in the comic series I”s. On top of this, I have been a strong advocate against the criminalization of lolicon images in America, since I feel that no work of fiction should be made illegal no matter how vile or disgusting it might be.

But despite this type of background and years of advocating against such things, when this huge news came to light last Friday, I immediately understood why FUNimation had started doing this kind of censorship on their products.

And in fact, I completely support them in doing it.

So why is that? Why do I feel that FUNi censoring images in 2010 is justified while VIZ censoring manga in 2005 was complete bullshit? Am I just being biased towards the one company and not the other?

No, it’s because of the Handley case, people. The Handley case changed everything.

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The Daily Almanac: I’m Your Slave

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

DearS is a comic in which an alien race of big breasted women (and some pretty boys as well) crash into Earth. Along with highly exposing space costumes, the women wear dog collars around there neck. The collar is symbolic of the fact that their only purpose in their alien life is to find a “master” of the opposite sex and faithful serve under them as a “slave.”

Strawberry 100% is a grade school soap opera where a girl accidentally flashes her strawberry patterned panties at teenage boy when she trips over him. She runs away completely embarrassed,  so the boy never gets her name or a good look at her face. But he becomes completely enthralled with the bizarre episode, so he goes on a quest to find the girl with the strawberry panties.

Chu-Bra is the story of a 7th grade girl who is obsessed with women’s lingerie and forms an “Underwear Appreciation Club” with a group of her classmates. Because of this premise, the comic is constantly showcasing its female characters in their underwear, and often in very sexual position as well.

And finally, Kodomo no Jikan is the story of an elementary grade school girl who shamelessly flaunts her sexuality to her male teacher in order to tease him and get him in trouble. Because of it’s portrayal of a little girl in such a way, it has arguably become the most controversial manga title in the past decade, and was even banned in America by Seven Seas publishing.

What do all of these comics have in common?

They were all done by female manga artists.

That’s right, the most offensive, perverted, fanservice-laden, otaku-pandering, female-degrading manga of the past few years have been penned by female manga artists themselves.

How about that, ladies?

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