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SAMURAI CHAMPLOO #19 -- Watch & Learn

This brother makes a stand for dub vs. sub!

I really hate to turn to Wikipedia for information. The dabbling philosopher in me always thinks about that little chestnut from one of the Socratic dialogs about how any worthwhile search for knowledge shouldn’t be instantly gratifying. But… I was curious about one aspect of history highlighted in this episode, and I didn’t have time to dwell on it, so I gave in a little intellectual laziness and read up on the Shimabara Rebellion.

On the one hand, it was to intriguing to learn about a time and place in fairly recent history when Christians were a persecuted minority. On the other hand, I can’t help but chuckle about how big of an aneurism this show must’ve given to Japanese history teachers who had to deal with any students who learnt anything about the Edo era from this show. It seems to be hopping around the 1600’s and the 1800’s, willy nilly. Haha. If you think the difference between the two is negligible, just step back for a moment and think about the world of difference between Colonial America and the Old West.

Pushing another chip forward in the dub vs. sub debate, I actually watched this episode dubbed for a change after discovering that the show’s actually available on Netflix instant. As I always say, my preference is case by case. In this case, I prefer the sub (even though the dub team does a pretty decent job.) It really comes down to the how the story’s set in a very specific place and time (though anachronistic, at points.) Yeah, you can have beatboxing samurai B-Boys. That’s OK. But once they start talkin’ in English, then it seems outs of place to me. I know, I know...

Of course, now I’m really intrigued over whether the original voice actor of the phony Franciscan monk (I like to call him “Father Guido”) did the same trick of switching accents after his ugly face make-up got torn off. Color me curious about what a garishly stereotypical Spanish accent sounds like to the Japanese.

Watch this episode, "Unholy Union” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

yllekkramon Aug. 13, 2012 at 4:58 a.m.

If you're curious about garishly stereotypical accents, you need to watch the subbed version of episode 23. It's ridiculous, in a good way.

Lurkeroon Aug. 13, 2012 at 8:35 a.m.

Oh yeah, definitely watch the dub and sub of episode 23.

Also, I would argue that a lot of kids in the USA learning about American history might jumble the 300 years between Columbus's arrival and the signing of the declaration of Independence. Sometimes history gets jumbled together. Although, not always purposely in a TV show.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Aug. 13, 2012 at 8:58 a.m.

The stepping stones are a rather ingenious test of loyalty in the worst possible way. The persecution was terrible. It's the simplicity of it all. If you're trying to weed out the most faithful, they are the ones who would refuse to step on it.

I love that Mugen just didn't want to step on it becasue he was told to. It's a prime target for reverse psychology.

I love the work of the dub team on this show, but I like a lot of the Japanese voice actors.

Count_Zeroon Aug. 13, 2012 at 2:11 p.m.

I'd definitely recommend watching Cowboy Bebop as a whole dubbed instead of subbed. Some of the jokes from the show actually work better with the dub.

For example, way back in the episode about Ukyo-e art, there's a joke where, subtitled, Mugen looks at a print with a weird look on his face and says "She's doin' it". It's not particularly funny, and it's actually slightly out of character with the fact that Mugen (along with Jin), are just fine with frequenting brothels, so why would Mugen find porn odd. In the dub, however, the line is "She's doin' it with a squid?" - which mean's that Mugen's looking at "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and the joke works much better.

No_name_here staff on Aug. 13, 2012 at 9:28 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

The stepping stones are a rather ingenious test of loyalty in the worst possible way. The persecution was terrible. It's the simplicity of it all. If you're trying to weed out the most faithful, they are the ones who would refuse to step on it.

They didn't really get into detail about it. What did that test entail?

FoxxFireArt moderator on Aug. 13, 2012 at 11:02 p.m.

@No_name_here:

The test was basically this. This plate was a stepping stone that was created with the image of Jesus Christ. As part of the blockade, sentries demanded that anyone who wanted to cross had to step on the plate, thus stepping on the image of Jesus. It would be an act of denial and an insult.

Someone who didn't care about Christianity wouldn't think twice about stepping on the image. To them it's just a picture, but the truly faithful would either hesitate or never step on it to avoid insulting Jesus. So, anyone you catch with the test would eventually be the most devoted followers. Which was their main goal anyways. It's devious and also brilliant in it's simplicity.

The guards were demanding that Mugen and the others step on the plate before they wold be allowed to pass, but he didn't want to because they were demanding he do it.

I'm not sure if this technique originated with catching the secret Christians, or if it's something that has been used as a test of loyalty for longer.

No_name_here staff on Aug. 17, 2012 at 2:50 a.m.

@yllekkram said:

If you're curious about garishly stereotypical accents, you need to watch the subbed version of episode 23. It's ridiculous, in a good way.

Well, I'm planing to, anyway... so it better be just as ridiculous as you say!

@Lurkero said:

Also, I would argue that a lot of kids in the USA learning about American history might jumble the 300 years between Columbus's arrival and the signing of the declaration of Independence. Sometimes history gets jumbled together. Although, not always purposely in a TV show.

Well, yeah. Most people on the planet don't have the sharpest sense of history anyway.

@Count_Zero said:

I'd definitely recommend watching Cowboy Bebop as a whole dubbed instead of subbed. Some of the jokes from the show actually work better with the dub.

For example, way back in the episode about Ukyo-e art, there's a joke where, subtitled, Mugen looks at a print with a weird look on his face and says "She's doin' it". It's not particularly funny, and it's actually slightly out of character with the fact that Mugen (along with Jin), are just fine with frequenting brothels, so why would Mugen find porn odd. In the dub, however, the line is "She's doin' it with a squid?" - which mean's that Mugen's looking at "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and the joke works much better.

Did you mix up BEBOP for CHAMPLOO? Or did you mean them both?

I wonder if they might've updated the sub, because I saw that episode subbed and I do remember the implication about "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" being there.

Count_Zeroon Aug. 17, 2012 at 8:18 a.m.

@No_name_here said:

@Count_Zero said:

I'd definitely recommend watching Cowboy Bebop as a whole dubbed instead of subbed. Some of the jokes from the show actually work better with the dub.

For example, way back in the episode about Ukyo-e art, there's a joke where, subtitled, Mugen looks at a print with a weird look on his face and says "She's doin' it". It's not particularly funny, and it's actually slightly out of character with the fact that Mugen (along with Jin), are just fine with frequenting brothels, so why would Mugen find porn odd. In the dub, however, the line is "She's doin' it with a squid?" - which mean's that Mugen's looking at "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and the joke works much better.

Did you mix up BEBOP for CHAMPLOO? Or did you mean them both?

I wonder if they might've updated the sub, because I saw that episode subbed and I do remember the implication about "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" being there.

Yeah - that was a Freudian slip - I meant Champloo. Steve Blum does that to people.

EDIT: Oh, and for clarification - when I was watching Champloo (not Bebop), I was watching the Blu-Ray, not the DVD. Additionally - the Blu-Ray I was watching had some problem with the Japanese audio track on my older model PS3, which is partly why I watched it dub only. Later on I checked out the DVD, and determined that in my opinion, the dub track was superior.

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