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Lost in Translation
By Allen Divers
June 25, 2003
Ah, there's nothing like having a week where news just pops out at you. The big story on everyone's lips is the announcement that Bang Zoom will be handling the dub for Pioneer's release of the second Card Captor Sakura movie. The first movie was the last dub for the original English cast, and stayed in line with Nelvana's creative Cardcaptors re-write of the series. That dub remains firmly tied for first place in my short list of all-time bad dubs.
As soon as I saw the news, I was contacting the folks at Bang Zoom, and the basic response was, "It's too early." So, despite a ton of speculation, there is no real solid information available about the upcoming dub. Speculation points at an all new cast and hopes revolve around a faithful translation of the original Japanese dialogue. The final product really hinges on just how much influence does Nelvana have over the English rights of the movie, and will they choose to meddle in the outcome. Again, there's been no official announcement on any of this, so it's all speculation.
During a recent online chat at www.dubreview.com, many of the fans involved were surprised at the attention that this bit of news was receiving. After pointing out that Card Captor Sakura is a truly loved series, with tons of closet fans, it became clear why everyone is watching this dub closely. It's also rare that an anime will receive a second dub, so many are waiting to compare the differences. I don't envy the folks at Bang Zoom, as each and every decision they make in the dubbing process will be scrutinized, analyzed and discussed in every dub forum on the net.
Good luck Bang Zoom, as we are all watching you!
Off With the Reviews
Right then, time to pad out, I mean, time take a look at a few recent dubs.
Full Metal Panic - Mission 01
Released by AD Vision
A few weeks back, I had the chance to visit the folks at AD Vision and sit in on a recording session. Well, here's the show I got to see. The episodes I saw recorded were actually in the second volume, but the process and the actors remain the same even for the first volume. The dub for this was recorded at ISM, with Don Rush taking the lead as director. This is Don's second major undertaking for ADV, the first being Neo Ranga. The cast features the usual assortment of characters from ADV, including Chris Patton as Sousuke, Luci Christian as Kaname Chidori, Vic Mignogna as Kurz Weber and Allison Keith as Melissa Mao. While the script is a bit liberal in its retelling of the story, it allows each of the cast to shine as their particular character. Each actor fits well with the persona of their character, and the overall effect is a nice fluid soundtrack that flows well from comedy to drama. As a series, Full Metal Panic really shines with its ability to mix these two elements, so having a cast that can keep up allows the English soundtrack to stand well on its own. The only downside to this release is the lack of an outtakes reel. Mistakes happen, and well, their funny. Other times, an actor may try to improvise, and it just may not come out right. While a few may see this as harmful to the work they do, with a series like Full Metal Panic and its flip-flopping between drama and comedy, an outtake reel is a must. We've still got 6 more volumes to go, so hopefully, that extra may just appear.
RahXephon - Orchestration 3: Harmonic Convergence
Released by AD Vision
Another ADV release, featuring more of the usual suspects. The series takes a dramatic turn as Ayato is forced to come to terms with his past and Quon comes to terms with her future. While the entire series has flirted with the seriousness of the back-story, there is a visible transition in the tone and feel through these three episodes. The cast proves to be up to the challenge, especially the leads of Chris Patton as Ayato and Monica Rial as Haruka Shitow. Both actors show their flexibility as they bring out the emotional sides of their characters. For Monica, the role of Haruka is proving to be a very adult role for her, in terms of the dramatic situations the character falls into. Monica remains flexible enough to give her performance as Haruka that necessary human feel. The audience finds it easy to relate to the emotions that Haruka feels. RahXephon continues to be a strong series, and the English cast does a great job of pushing the show to be one of the best releases of this year.
Eden's Bowy - Volume 1 - The Hunt is On
Released by AD Vision
Being handled by ADV's Monster Island studio, Eden Bowy comes in with a smooth soundtrack and capable cast. Director Lowell Bartholomee does a good job, despite the cliché nature of the series. While the storyline is a bit drab, and the world of Eden's Bowy seemingly generic, the cast manages to work around this working in simple comic moments amongst otherwise dramatic dialogue. There was one downside to the dub on this one, as there seemed to be a tinny sound to the soundtrack. It only seems to appear in the English track, and drove me nuts because I thought my system was giving me problems. Other than this minor annoyance, the dub itself remains a faithful adaptation of the original Japanese with a lot of solid performances from the cast.
Brigadoon - Volume 1 - Marin & Melan Blue
Released by TOKYOPOP
Every now and then you need a series that comes across as completely insane, yet has a very serious story to tell; enter Brigadoon. With its character designs and comic moments, this is the kind of anime that allows for those funny cartoon voices you hear in shows like Futurama and the Simpsons. Luckily though, Olivia Venegas, the ADR director took a bit of a different take, allowing the cast to stick to more realistic sounding voices. While some of the parts come across as older than the role they portray, overall, you end up with a solid cast that echoes the overall tone of the show. There are actually a few surprises in the cast, with Wendee Lee doing a great take on the lead role of Marin Asagi and Tony Oliver as Melan Blue. Both of their performances fit well into the roles and do a great job of not leaving the rest of the cast behind. And yes, this one has outtakes. TOKYOPOP has been very good about including this as an extra on all their titles, so it's not a surprise to see them here. Overall, Brigadoon's English track comes across as a fun and faithful interpretation of the original.
DNA2 - Volume 3 - Mutation
Released by US Manga Corps
DNA2 is a fun series created by the mastermind behind Video Girl Ai, Masakazu Katsura. This show comes across as a wacky, sci-fi romance with very dramatic moments. At its heart is the lead heroine, Karin Aoi, a woman from the future who has been sent to stop the Mega-Playboy who dangerously overpopulates the planet in the future. As luck would have it, she actually ends up creating the very thing she was sent back to destroy. Throw on top of that; she's also falling in love with her target! The role of Karin is played very enthusiastically by Jessica Calvello. It seems that Jessica is making quite a reputation for herself with these almost manic type roles. The problem though is Jessica's performance is so over the top that the rest of the cast comes across as very flat and uninspired. The overall effect is the viewer is watching a very lopsided dub where the cast just doesn't seem to gel. There are a few moments when things do seem to come together, but unfortunately those are far and few between. While Jessica's performance is well worth listening to, its hard to make this a highly recommended English track.
A Little Snow Fairy Sugar - Volume 2 - Friends and Dreams
Released by Pioneer
It's always good to leave on a positive note, so how about I throw some Sugar at you. If you're feeling down and the whole world seems like its out to get you, pop this DVD into your player and you should be feeling better soon. Sugar is one of those upbeat, happy shows that may just cause some insanity in a few lab monkeys, so be careful how you use this one. In all seriousness, the English track is a well crafted work with a lot of solid performances from the cast. Dealing with cute fairies and children, the tones come across as soft and fun. Jessica Gee and Esra Weisz take turns as ADR directors for this series, leading the cast through a variety of small comic capers. Volume 2 delves a bit into more serious emotions, as Rebecca Forstadt as Sugar and Michelle Ruff as Saga craft some of the more dramatic moments between their characters. The English track for Sugar remains faithful to the original Japanese and builds its own reputation as a fine interpretation of the original work. Sugar remains fun and fanciful with plenty to appeal to all ages!
Well, that's all for this week. Next time, I dive into the mail bag to answer a few of the questions and comments that have been piling up. So, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
boxie @ azraelproductions.com