Thursday, May 21, 2009

Re-Dub in the Name of the Moon in a Car?

Welcome to another blog post by me, your Navigator Richard J., and today I have news that might not be news to anyone who pays attention to a certain other blog run by a certain company that is certainly awesome right now to English dub fans.

I'm talking about the possibility of a Re-dub of Sailor Moon and Initial D anime!


Funimation's rep on the blog posted a survey with a Re-Dub of these two series as possible choices. Now, I don't know about anyone else but that really gets me fired up!

As you may know, the English dubs produced for both Initial D and Sailor Moon were not of the high standards we expect.

For anyone familiar with G.I. Joe, you don't need to know about the censorship and poor editorial choices made with Sailor Moon to be unhappy with Dic Entertainment. Anime fans know that the first two seasons of this EXTREMELY popular magical girl anime series were treated badly by Dic. Six episodes were outright cut and two were merged, a practice we would all see put to even more abhorrent use by 4Kids Entertainment when that company acquired One Piece. Also the theme song was altered from a love song to a superhero anthem and the dub itself has been described as "indifferent" by British authors Helen McCarthy and Jonathan Clements.

Several minutes of show were removed by editors to make room for commercials, to censor plot and visual elements that they arbitrarily deemed inappropriate for children and to allow "Sailor Says" edu-tainment segments to be added to the end of each episode. (Again, those familiar with G.I. Joe may be suffering a flashback or three. And knowing is half the battle in the name of the moon?)

Additional series from the mega-hit meta-franchise were picked up by Optimum Productions for Cloverway, which while not skipping or merging episodes made a number of other changes, such as removing a lesbian romance theme between Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. They became cousins. And, since the visuals were largely unchanged, romantically inclined lesbian cousins. (Mild incest is better than just good old lesbian love?)

The fifth Sailor Moon series, Sailor Stars, has never been legally adapted in English for proper release. Reasons why don't matter but I would mention that bootlegs of this series are quite big sellers. Expensive big sellers.

For a fun? note, apparently the franchise is considered something EVIL to Mexican Catholics as a group there forced the anime and manga off the off the market. I'm not kidding, check Wiki.

Sailor Moon had the deck stacked against it with retailers not supporting the DVD release, poor time slots for the TV airings and an "indifferent" dub. Perhaps Funimation will show us all how truly great this series can be? We must vote and then wait and see.

On a different note, for anyone who is a fan of cars and racing, Initial D is a standout series. Or at least it was before Tokyopop got a hold of it. Sadly, an in-house "musician" DJ Milky was allowed to change the series music from Eurobeats to rap and hip-hop of dubious quality. Additionally, changes were made to characters names and to information about the cars and the racing done in the series. With a heavy dose of out-of-date right after recording slang talk in the dub too, there was no reason to expect this series to succeed.

Hoping to capitalize on the success of Hollywood depictions of street-racing, Tokyopop sent out Initial D after trying to make it less like an anime and more like The Fast and The Furious, which would be fine except. . . no, actually massive editing and censoring of anime is never a good idea. Even if it is only changing a few characters' names and screwing up the details of racing. (Okay, you can hear my sarcasm right? The sarcasm accent is so think you can cut it with a machete.)

Tokyopop, hoping to convince anime fans that this release was packaged golden awesome by referring to it as the "Tricked-Out" version of the show.

This strategy didn't work so good and some cite the botched Initial D release for the rapid end of Tokyopop's anime licensing venture. Others say it was just one of those things. Either way, perhaps DJ Milky should remember he isn't why we watch anime. Yes, Stuart J. Levy, founder, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Tokyopop, you really need to stop trying to make things "better."

Anime fans want "Original and Un-Cut" with an English dub that isn't filled with poor localization choices. We also want other things that tend to be a bit more negotiable. Screwing up on "Original and Un-Cut" isn't.

Didn't you're mother ever teach you: IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!

For fans of both Sailor Moon and Initial D, we may have hope of a Re-Dub and a return to awesome! Vote in Funimation's survey. Contact them about your fandom desires.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Ani-Mother's Day!

Hello again to all of my readers (my oh so precious, precious few readers) and welcome to a very special edition of Blog of a Heretical Dub Lover. I'm your navigator Richard J., here to talk about something special!

Today is Mother's Day for American culture! I'm not sure how many other countries celebrate a day like this, though really shouldn't all nations and peoples celebrate their mothers? After all, without our moms we'd never have been born at all. Mothers provide some of our earliest memories and very often teach us how to be what we ultimately are. Many people learn kindness and proper behavior from their mothers! (In fact, it is often issues with bad mothers that make people into monsters too!)

So I hereby declare on this blog that this is Ani-Mother's Day!

I've selected a few anime mothers I feel deserve a little kindness and love today. Hopefully, you won't think my choices suck royally. Series chosen are fairly recent and I decided to consciously avoid mothers who died early in the series. (Really, if they are only around in flashbacks, they aren't so much a mother in the series as a memory.)

Also, I chose to categorize each mother, so hopefully the list is extra fun! Here goes everything!

There may be spoilers here and there and I don't know how to hide them! So please be careful in reading! (I'll try to be vague.)


Mother #1: Akiko Minase of Kanon (Homemaker Mom.)
Children: Nayuki Minase (daughter) and Yuichi Aizawa (surrogate son.)
Voice Actress in English Dub: Joanne Bonasso.

When Akiko first appears in Kanon, you see instantly that she is the source of Nayuki's beauty and you soon learn that she is also the source of her kind heart. Akiko works hard, easily showing up poor Yuichi when they work together to shovel snow and clear the path from the house.

Akiko does the household chores without complaint, fixes amazing food (though her special jam is an acquired taste) and is willing to believe even the most impossible claims. When Yuichi claims an amnesic girl is really something not-so-human, Akiko never questions his sanity but calmly considers and accepts the miraculous event. When she gets sick, she still tries to be a proper care-giver and receives deep concern from everyone, especially Ayu Tsukimiya who wears herself out trying to nurse her back to health. (Akiko is such a good mother, she treats Ayu almost like another daughter, lovingly placing a gentle hand on her sleeping head.)

She tries to carefully bring up Yuichi's past, telling him that a big tree was cut down years ago. She nearly dies just trying to buy her daughter a sweet strawberry cake.

In the end, Akiko Minase recovers and continues to be a shinning example of a good mother who keeps a home filled with love, kindness and understanding. (Maybe that's why Kanon fans wish the visual novel had an Akiko route!)


Mother #2: Masane Amaha of Witchblade (Mama Bear.)
Child: Rihoko Amaha.
Voice Actress in English Dub: Jamie Marchi.

When she's not destroying rampaging Ex-cons for her boss at Douji Industries, Masane Amaha is being protective if somewhat lazy mom. Sometimes seemingly more of the daughter in her relationship with Rihoko, Masane's motherly instincts kick into overdrive when her child is threatened. It's advisable to have a very large and up-to-date life insurance policy available when making a move to hurt Rihoko.

Although she is not Rihoko's blood family, Masane is willing to go the distance to protect her daughter, whether it means stealing a police car and chasing after her at high speed, agreeing to work for shady businessmen to provide a financial future for her or even engaging in a battle to death with clone-blade-wielding beauties. Masane fights to protect her daughter's life and future.

Although she makes a few mistakes here and there due to her belief that she's unfit to be a mother, Masane never acts out of selfishness. She fights for Rihoko and never gives in. Her final act in Witchblade evokes an almost messianic motherly tone.


Mother #3: Admiral Lindy Harlaown of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As (Adoptive Mom.)
Children: Chrono Harlaown (son) and Fate Testarossa (adopted daughter.)
Voice Actress in English Dub: Unknown. Damn you Geneon!

Admiral Lindy Harlaown commanded one of the most powerful ships of the Space / Time Administration Bureau's fleet and had the respect of her subordinates. Her son Chrono was equally respected and a powerful mage with the rank of Enforcer. Yet, when Lindy saw a young girl named Fate Testarossa in need of a new home and family, she not only offered to adopt her but even retired from her position to give her new daughter more attention at the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As.

From sweet scenes such as telling her son Chrono to be careful as he prepared to teleport to a site where Nanoha and Fate were battling to the moment she offered to adopt Fate, Lindy never showed any willingness to place her career over the happiness of her son or chosen daughter. Lindy never pressured Fate to act like her nor did she judge the girl harshly for her past actions. She acted with all the love and compassion that Fate's former mother could never feel for her.

When Fate questioned her own humanity, Lindy quickly set her straight and never did she fail to consider that Chrono and Fate might be able to find a better solution to a dangerous problem. In the end, Lindy chose to be a mother to Fate over being an Admiral and Captain of the Asura. She left her ship in the capable hands of her son Chrono and helped to give Fate the strength to become a woman as willing to reach out to a hurt child as she herself is.

My don't we all want to see the fruits of Lindy's efforts in MGLN: StrikerS?


Mother #4: Haruko Kamino of AIR (Reluctant Mom.)
Child: Misuzu Kamino.
Voice Actress in English Dub: Luci Christian.

Some women aren't cut out to be mothers. That's what Haruko Kamino thought about herself, that she couldn't be a good mother to Misuzu. Over the course of AIR, we see both a seemingly wanton neglect and a tender heart that makes all her actions so painfully clear. Haruko is in a difficult situation, with a daughter that isn't legally her own that has a sickness that means she must always stay emotionally distant.

Yet, Haruko's actions as the saga of AIR draws to a close prove that she is truly a mother deserving of respect. She loves Misuzu and fights to make her truly her own daughter. It was only her fear of losing her child that kept Haruko from being a better mother from the beginning. As a threat slowly gathers, she fights against Misuzu's father, her child's amnesia and ultimately an inescapable fate to give her daughter all the love she can in a short few summer days.

Nothing is more heart-wrenching than seeing the struggle of Haruko when she realizes that Misuzu's destiny is not to stay with her but rather to reach her goal.

Haruko wasn't the kind of mother that wins awards. She wasn't the kind of mother who inspires praise. Yet she was the kind of mother who loved her child, reluctant though that love was, with all her heart and soul. In the end, there is no questioning that the love of this mother was true all along.


Mother #5: Kiriko Aoi of Godannar (Cool Mom.)
Child: Anna Aoi.
Voice Actress in English Dub: Laura Chapman.

Let's face it, most mothers aren't very permissive. Most mothers are protective and try to keep their children safe at home, especially their beloved daughters.

Kiriko Aoi is not that kind of mom. With an occasional willingness to zap sense into her daughter with electric shock, Kiriko is a woman willing to trust her daughter's happiness to an older man she works with and to let her daughter fight monsters in a giant robot under her command. Through the dangers of battle and marriage, Kiriko never tries to smother her daughter in protection but rather tries to teach her child to be as strong and capable a woman as her mother.

When Anna's marriage is threatened by the return of an old love of Goh's, Kiriko tries her best to keep her daughter from leaping to the wrong (or possibly right) conclusions. When she wants to pilot a giant robot, she makes Anna prove her ability first. Kiriko tries to help Goh to be a good husband and she's always available to give advice and fight to help them both.

As moms go, Kiriko is a pretty cool lady with a tough attitude and a hands-off approach to raising her teenage daughter. Yet, with a daughter as headstrong as her mother, what other approach could she take! Kiriko is always there when she's needed and accepts her daughter's unusual life choices with an open-mind. In the end, she's a mother and a leader who shows trust.


Mother #6: Michiru Satomi of IGPX (Team Mom.)
Children: Team Satomi (Especially Liz, Takeshi and Amy.)
Voice Actress in English Dub: Kari Wahlgren.

Not all mothers are family! For the racers of Team Satomi, Michiru Satomi is much more than an employer. She's a capable team mom.

Early on, Ms. Satomi struggles to keep her team together by seeking out a willing sponsor for her rookie team, working as hard as she can not just because the team was her grandfather's dream but also because she cared for the happiness of the racers. Although she was inexperienced at first, Ms. Satomi grew with her team as IGPX progressed, helping them to overcome their challenges.

The speech she gives early on after her struggle to find a sponsor shows all of them how much they mean to her and her frequent caring moments toward her racers give them all a sense of family. For Amy especially, Ms. Satomi serves as a surrogate mother and the reason she has the "family" and friends she does. Without Ms. Satomi's trust, Takeshi wouldn't have had the chances he had to grow as a racer. Her willingness to seek out unusual people to help the team, like Ichi the mechanic and Andrei the coach all demonstrate her value and ability to bring others together.

Although Ms. Satomi really doesn't get played up as a motherly figure in IGPX, I think she's a good example of the leader who acts like a mother to everyone.


Mother #7: Tohru Honda of Fruits Basket (Surrogate Mom to All!)
Children: The Soma Family (Especially Yuki in the manga.)
Voice Actress in English Dub: Laura Bailey.

Like I just said, not all mothers are family. Sometimes, they are just strangers who stumbble into the lives of cursed people.

Tohru Honda follows her own mother's example constantly, acting and advising in the way her own mother would have. Perhaps Tohru's mother Kyoko possesses her daughter when no one's looking? Nah, it's just Tohru doing her very best to be as good a mother to everyone as her own. No one in the Soma family picks up on this more than Yuki Soma. While at first he tries to classify Tohru as a potential girlfriend, ultimately in the manga, though the anime didn't get quite that far, he chooses to think of her as a mother figure. He needs someone to give the unconditional love and respect his own mother failed to give him.

But all of the Somas benefit from Tohru's mothering. The wild Kyo is slowly tamed by her kindness, the shy Kisa emerges from her silent shell and every other zodiac member benefits just from knowing Tohru. When Kisa follows Tohru around like a baby chick, prompting Kyo to comment on how annoying it must be, Tohru's only response is to grab Kisa, hug her and proclaim a motherly love. In the manga, she even reaches the heart of Akito!

Through all of her struggles, Tohru never fails to act in a loving manner. Fruits Basket would not be an anime worth watching or a manga worth reading without the mother's love of Tohru Honda.

Now, for the sake of balance, here is the worst mother in any anime I've seen.


Worst Mom: Shinsen Tennouzu of Speed Grapher.
Child: Kagura Tennouzu.
Voice Actress in English Dub: Pam Dougherty.

There are countless sick bastards and twisted bitches in the world of Speed Grapher and some of them are main characters. Yet only one is a pure-sick mother of one very unlucky girl. Shinsen Tennouzu might not be the one who subjected Kagura Tennouzu to the horrors of becoming the "goddess" for a perverse playground of forbidden pleasures but she surpasses the man she let into their lives by leaps and bounds.

Shinsen sees her daughter as a parasite sucking the youth out of her. She believes her daughter's beauty and youth are things to be destroyed. So she starves Kagura, going so far as to order her driver not to give her money for food or to take her to a place to eat. When a kind teacher finds out what Shinsen is up to, the mother from hell has lesbian sex with the woman and bribes her to keep quiet. She never shows signs of caring about Kagura. Even when she believes her daughter might had been involved in an "incident" at the twisted club, she only expresses anger about her man not following her rules.

Despite always having her daughter's love, in the end, Shinsen never gives her daughter true love in return. As a mother, Shinsen Tennouzu is the worst mom ever!

So remember this my readers! You're mom must be better than Shinsen! So go give her a hug or at least a nice card and let her know you think you're lucky to have been born.

Well, that's it for this post. Sorry for the long one but I hope you really enjoyed reading! Please consider buying all of these series! I strongly recommend them all for fine dubs and fine plots!