Friday, January 22, 2010

Online documentary takes over-the-top anime fan subs to task

by Chris MaGee

For fans of Japanese film subtitles are always an issue. First up a film may or may not be released on DVD in Japan with English subtitles and if it does we often end up shelling out some serious cash to get our hands on it. If a Japanese film is lucky enough to get a North American DVD release we hope that it ends up with decent subtitles (which it often does thankfully); but if we end up looking for our films online or purchase them as bootlegs then we end up taking a chance that the subs will be either sub par or downright nonsensical. I can only imagine what folks who are into anime must go through... although I don't really need to imagine after Paul "OtaKing" Johnson, a UK-based professional video game and novel translator, puts his thoughts on anime fansubbing into his online documentary "The Rise and Fall of Anime Fansubs". He certainly doesn't pull any punches as he takes fansubbers to task for their esoteric use of Japanese colloquialisms, culturally specific details, subtitles crowding out the actual animation (just check out that image above!), and use of crazy fonts. Johnson certainly has a point and he drives it home hard. I didn't know you anime fans had it so tough! Or that that some of you anime fans have gone so overboard with your subtitling!

You can check out the start of "The Rise and Fall of Anime Fansubs" below and then follow up with the remaining four parts at Paul Johnson's YouTube channel here. Thanks to Neojaponisme via Mutant Frog for pointing the way to this.


Robert said...

I'm sooooo going to check this out. I haven't had a really bad sub before but I know they exist. Should be fun :)

Chris MaGee said...

These are pretty bad subs! Have fun!

Gints said...

Great content. Only anime i have had that bad subs and overfilled with explanations was Sayonara Zetsubou sensei - can't remember who subbed those series. ^^

But i think some anime like Akagi needs those explanations or else anime is almost unwatchable.