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Top 10 Reasons Why We All Should Be Grateful to Nelvana for Cardcaptors
By Steve Brandon
(DISCLAIMER: This piece is purely satirical and in no way reflects the views of Nelvana, nor, for that matter, my own views (except for "number one").)
(Portion of a transcript of the Monday, June 20th, 2000 broadcast of The David Letter-manga Show.)
David Letter-manga: And now, from our home office in Rio Linda, California, tonight's Top 10 List! Here we go!
(Computer graphics of Valkyrie-style mechas, each displaying the numbers 10 through 1, and, after that, the Top 10 List logo.)
David: Tonight's category: the "Top 10 Reasons Why We All Should Be Grateful to Nelvana for Cardcaptors". Now, Paul, Cardcaptors made its American debut over on the old WB Network on Saturday morning. And, truth be told, many American fans of the original Japanese version, Card Captor Sakura, were less than pleased with the translation.
Paul Schaft-er**: From what I understand, they didn't start with the first episode, cut a lot of things out, added scenes from other episodes, and changed characters' names.
David: So these would be reasons why you should be grateful to Nelvana. And here to present tonight's Top 10 List is Nelvana president Toper Taylor!
(Shot switches to the log cabin headquarters of the Nelvana Animation and Beaver Trapping Company on a dirt road called "Atlantic Avenue" in extremely rural, densely (pine) forested, downtown Toronto. Toper Taylor is wearing his lumberjack outfit and carrying a big axe. Caption: "Live Via Satellite".)
Toper: Hey buddy, how are you today, eh?
David: Here we go! Number 10!
Toper: No annoying "Sakura Says" segments at the end of each show!
David: Number 9!
Toper: Which card today will the Cardcaptors face? It's Mokona!
David: Number 8!
Toper: Who's to say that "Clow" shouldn't rhyme with "Cow" instead of with "Glow"? For the record, here are some other words that we here at Nelvana think rhyme with "Cow": blow, toe, Pharaoh, ditto, Cape Girardeau, domo, arigatou, Mr. Roboto?
David: Number 7!
Toper: At least we didn't market this as part of our new "Chix Cartoons" line-up!
David: Number 6!
Toper: Cyril Sneer will only make occasional cameo appearances!***
David: Number 5!
Toper: In the early 80's, Nelvana tried to do bad Canadian imitations of Japanese cartoons such as our big theatrical flop, Rock and Rule. Our strategy for the new millennium? Bad Canadian translations of Japanese cartoons.
David: Paul, you're Canadian, aren't you?
Paul: Actually, I didn't think Rock and Rule was all that bad!
David: Number 4!
Toper: We took the Pokémon theme song, crossed out the word "Pokémon", and wrote in the word "Cardcaptors"!
David: Hold on a minute! That's a reason we should be grateful?
Toper: Well, that Pokémon theme song is just so damn infectuous.
David: (skeptical) Oh-kay! Number 3!
Toper: Sure we cut out things from the original Japanese version, but we've added things as well. I'm sure that you will all enjoy our four new Cardcaptors: Hikaru, Umi, Fuu, and Clef!
David: Number two!
Toper: Our unpredictable scheduling means that those of you Clamp fans who have already seen every episode in Japanese in the proper order can play our other guessing game: "Which episode will it be today?"
David: And the number one reason that we should be grateful to Nelvana for Cardcaptors?
Toper: Nelvana hasn't forgotten the adult fans. That's why we will be releasing a subtitled and intact version of Card Captor Sakura through Pioneer starting in September. And it will be on DVD, which is everything that you anime on DVD aficionados wanted us to do! The television version was done with a young children's audience in mind, not for adult viewers, so the dub won't be nearly as accurate as those anime, such as Gundam Wing and Tenchi Muyo, which were originally dubbed for video but now which are shown on cable channels like The Cartoon Network in the United States and YTV or Teletoon in Canada. But, even though our Cardcaptors dub might offend your anime purist sensibilities, come September you won't have to watch it! We're not like DiC, who ignored the adult audience for Sailor Moon for four years; ever since you guys flooded our e-mail box last August asking for a subtitled version, we've included the older audience in our business plan, especially considering that you guys spend a lot on videos, DVDs and related goods. So cut us some fricking slack, OK?
*On the odd chance that anyone was wondering how I managed to watch Cardcaptors on TV, considering that there are no WB stations in either Burlington, Vermont, or Plattsburgh, New York (the two small cities where most of the border American network affiliate stations that English-speaking Montrealers watch are located), we recently moved up from cable to a Bell ExpressVu satellite dish, and we can now watch WPIX, the WB station in New York City.
**Get it? "Paul Schaft-er? As in Schaft, "Labor" mecha supplier to the world's terrorists on Mobile Police Patlabor? Pretty damn funny, eh? Maybe not, but it was the best anime variant of "Paul Shaffer" I could come up with!
***Cyril Sneer was the evil rich capitalist (re: American) pink aardvark-like thing from Nelvana's animated series The Raccoons, which aired in the mid-80's on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday evenings, if I remember correctly (and which still airs in re-runs weekday mornings on the CBC). He had an army of bumbling pig minions to do his dirty work. Since he was a capitalist, obviously he supported polluting the atmosphere and also cutting down the Raccoons' forest home, at least in the mind of series creator Kevin Gillis. I believe that Mr. Gillis provided the voice of Cyril Sneer, and is also the same Kevin Gillis who: a) starred (and sang and played piano) on the late-70's Canadian kids' fitness series Yes You Can (which, for those of you Canadians who were able to watch YTV in its earliest days in 1988, was shown in re-runs every morning), and b) was the executive producer of the 1993-94 Toronto-produced, live-action television version of RoboCop, which was an excellent sci-fi series marred only by cartoonish evil corporate capitalist stock cardboard cut-out characters straight out of Marxist propaganda (or The Raccoons). (Mr. Gillis had gotten a lot tubbier since his days on Yes You Can!)