Anime Vice News

SPACE BROTHERS #8 -- Watch & Learn

Mutta planks the gap between dub and sub.

Any time’s there’s a language barrier in a story, you’ve got to accept a conceit or two and often maintain some distance outside of the story. Like here, you’ve got a couple Japanese dudes strolling around Texas. Obviously, you’re not going to fault the show for having everybody speak Japanese on screen even though, more realistically, it’d just be the two of them. There’s no problem with that - - we’re all quite familiar with what happens when the proverbial shoe’s on the other foot for English shows, of course.

However, this episode stumbles a little with the conceit. It takes a couple moments to draw attention to how these characters are speaking different languages in the (so to speak) reality of the plot, even though they’re all speaking the same language on screen. For instance, when they’re recounting Mutta’s spectacular takedown of the fire extinguisher bandit, and they make a point of how he startles the bad guy by shouting something in Japanese at him.

That makes plenty of sense, sure… except the bandit’s speaking Japanese the whole time, too.

This is an awfully specific thing to harp on, I know - - I feel a little Mutta for getting thrown off track by such a detail - - but I couldn’t stop thinking about it because the screenwriters specifically chose to point it out. Unless there’s some clever rephrasing in the inevitable dub, I imagine it’s going to get even weirder once you have all these characters speaking in English while we’re supposed to understand some of them as still speaking in Japanese.

Oh, the peculiarities of the dub and sub...!

Watch this episode, "Smoky Heaven” here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

AURON570on June 15, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.

Uhh... yeah I don't see why you're making a big deal of what Mutta says during the bandit incident. If I remember correctly, he says something like "Wait, that's dangerous!" Which could easily be spun to make it seem like he was saying it to startle the bandit.

Lurkeroon June 16, 2012 at 8:20 a.m.

People can get startled when someone yells in whatever language, whether they comprehend the words or not. I guess I don't see it the same way.

SergioBon June 16, 2012 at 11:29 p.m.

Eh... I don't see the big deal. Just imagine that you have a universal translator, since a lot of anime series will often have people speaking Japanese for the audience, but implying that they are speaking a foreign language with one another. They'll sometimes use varying degrees of good/bad English when they want to drive the point of someone speaking English to someone who isn't.

It's like watching an American movie taking place in a foreign country, but everyone is speaking English because we can't be bothered to read subtitles. Only they make it worse by having them still speak with an accent. Very authentic.

Rxanaduon June 18, 2012 at 1 p.m.
@AURON570 said:

Uhh... yeah I don't see why you're making a big deal of what Mutta says during the bandit incident. If I remember correctly, he says something like "Wait, that's dangerous!" Which could easily be spun to make it seem like he was saying it to startle the bandit.

Tom's harping about how what Mutta says is said in Japanese yet everyone else is also speaking Japanese.  It would have been more accurate if during the show everyone actually spoke English.  However, the actual audience would have to deal with a ton of Engrish that would break the pathos of the scene.  As tom said, this will probably be dealt with in an upcoming dub.  
 
Speaking of inconsistencies in dialogue,  I wonder how they'll deal with the Director speaking English during the interview a few episodes back in the dub.  I bet they'll just make him speak French, similar to how Okami's dub handled some of Waka's dialogue (which was in English in the Japanese dub).

Dig Deeper into Space Brothers

Nanba and Mutta Hibito are brothers who dream of becoming astronauts. Nanba, the younger brother, has become an astronaut. Space Brothers follows Mutta as he struggles to achieve his dreams of becoming an astronaut, and more importantly being a model big brother.

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