It is certainly interesting that many fans of anime are vastly anti-dubbing, it is sometimes viewed by american anime fans in particular as a departure from the subtitled version and much is lost in translation, or a localization approach is taken, Language is often toned down (watch an english dubbed episode of Cowboy Bebop
on DVD with the subs turned on), gore removed or at least minimized (compare GoLion
), nudity is replaced with some sort of body suit if the scene is not removed completely (compare Serena's transformation into Sailor Moon
based on the Japanese and US versions)
Of course these are examples of what happens to Japanese anime when it is adapted for our often more conservative western market. But have you ever wondered what happens to cartoons of the US when they are marketed overseas in Japan? You may be more then a bit surprised at the results.
Transformers is of course the greatest example, that franchise has actually surpassed the American version in number of series and episodes.... Not to mention Japanese fans actually have a better selection of TF merchandise then US fans.... so what was the major visible change in the series? In Japan, Decepticons are shown killing humans,
Now on to TMNT
, believe it or not this series was dubbed into Japanese by three separate companies for vastly different reasons, two for TV (TV Tokyo's Mutant Turtles being the more popular dub) while the 2nd less popular dub Ninja Turtles was also released with greatly different translations, and the third dub also titled Mutant Turtles was released to video with a giant WTF to buyers as it was not using the same dub scripts or voice actors as the TV Tokyo series. After the series was cancelled in the US a Japanese exclusive OVA was released which only lasted two episodes using more localization and regional references (Turtles now eating Sushi)
GI Joe-Japanese logo
How about G.I. Joe
? Believe it or not, aside the manga this series went widely unchanged, seems odd since Japan certainly could have amped it up to their maturity level. In the long run it was ultimately the US that made a more mature version of this series with Resolute
So what have we learned? Dubbing and localization are not applied solely when Japanese material is brought to the west, but as well as when US material is adapted in the East, in either case the original is usually adapted to fit the standards of the region it airs in.
That said, I'd hate to see an Iranian episode of Baywatch (it aired there!)