The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: June 15th, 2002

Dubbie vs Subbie vs Purist, and General Gripes

By: David Graņa

My submission is actually a two-part article, the subjects of which are very little related, yet are those which I feel need to be voiced, as they have become somewhat of a nuisance to me.

Dubbie vs Subbie vs Purist

I'm a recent converter to one of three major "camps" that seems to exists within not only Sailormoon fandom, but anime fandom in general:

1. The "dubbie", an otherwise naive person who enjoys the dubbed (non-Japanese language) version of a show, and either refuses to acknowledge the original, or does not want any part of it.

2. The "purist", that rabid individual, lurking in every channel or web-group, who vehemently insists on the purity of the show and will strike you down if you even suggest otherwise.

3. The "subbie", which encompasses everything else, including acceptance of both versions of the program without fear of reproach or admonishment.

It is with a heavy heart that I now admit I once belonged to the "purist" group, especially in regards to Sailormoon. I would cast evil glances whenever the name "Darian" was mentioned, and my skin would cringe and crawl on recital of the terrible speech given by "Princess Serena" on discovery of the Silver Crystal. Luckily, however, I have broken away form this mold, and now consider myself to belong to the "subbie" group. No more do I waste time trying to argue one way or the other why "Kunzite" is better than "Malachite", or [SPOILER?] why the Soldiers should have been depicted on crosses in the Black Moon arc.

My argument for this change of heart? One, I'm tired of all the arguing; as a 21-year-old, soon-to-be graduate of college, my feelings toward anime and manga have waned somewhat, to the point that my emotional drive is not what it used to be. But this change has been in effect for close to a year and a half, and it is because I realized that, while the English version loses many stylistic points (please, at least be consistent with attack names and transformation sequences), DiC and Cloverway have the rights to the properties, and can modify them as they see fit.

Granted, others are allowed to voice their opinions for or against either version. My opinions are that both are wonderful, well-written (in most cases) interpretations of what Naoko Takeuchi originally envisioned to be a parody of "Power Ranger"-esque programs. The Japanese cartoon has its strengths, as does the English version. The problem with the purist community is that any change is seen as a terrible blight; the fact of the matter is that DiC and Cloverway, for the most part, made changes because they saught a different interpretation of the material. Thus, we are introduced, for example, to a female Zoycite who is a complete bitch, and who performs her tasks with utter cruelty and lack of contempt for life, something which I enjoyed over Zoisite (the original) and his dull mannerisms. Or the interpretation of Rei as an evil, "I hate Serena" brat who secretly wants to lead the team. Frankly, this remodification of her character adds a lot to the story, rather than! having everyone agree with Usagi and her hair-brained schemes.

Yes, the English version has its problems, as I mentioned before, which mostly stem from the companies' inability to remain consistent in their translations. Arguing against a certain interpretation, however, is akin to destroying the process by which new stories are invented and new character ideas are formulated. I applaud DiC and Cloverway, therefore, for taking the risk of reinventing certain characters and providing a new spin on a tale that, no matter how much is altered, will forever remain a classic.

Topic 2 - General Gripes

No, not "grapes", gripes - in this case, regarding the multitude of texts, web-sites, fan-fics - what have you - in which the authors feel the need to mix otherwise perfectly flowing text with little dabbles of Japanese.

You all have seen this before, I'm sure: "Konnichiwa! Thanks for coming to Usagi-chan's webpage, home of the kawaii Sailor Senshi and their hunky Tuxedo Kamen! Arigatoo!"

Why, may I ask, is this done? As if straight up saying that Sailormoon is a Japanese cartoon is not enough, these "geniuses" feel they must exhibit their Japanese prowess by reiterating Japanese phrases they picked up from the cartoons? This does NOTHING to improve the authenticity of the information, nor to enhance the Japanese quality of the site. Rather, this "creativity" only serves to get in the way of the reading, disrupting the flow in a most subtle and bothersome manner.

People, if you are writing an English page, use ENGLISH. I am American-born with Cuban ancestry, and I would never go around saying, "Hey, amigo! Muchas gracias for the help on my homework yesterday. I did muy bueno on the exam because of it." No, no, and no, it just sounds stupid, and is an insult to my language. Imagine how I feel when Americans do the same with Japanese language - it sounds ridiculus, and honestly, it does nothing for me.

However, this is nothing compared to the atrocities I have seen in fictions. I could allow web-pages, as these are usual a scan-and-go medium, but in fanfictions, where you actually have to READ entire passages, such interuptions are uncalled for and a waste of my time.

"Ne, Usagi-chan!"
"Nani, nani, Minako-chan?"
"I just ran into Kirokuri-kun a few minutes ago! Sugoi!"
"Hontoo? Lucky!"

What if I wasn't familiar with "nani", "sugoi", or "honto"? I'd hit "delete" faster than that stupid bird can cut across the coyote's traps. I don't want to read about how well you can use Japanese words you picked up somewhere in an otherwise English story. I won't think you any less a fan if you were to instead write:

"Hey, Usagi!"
"What's up, Minako?"
"I just ran into Kirokuri a few minutes ago! How cool is that?"
"Really? You're so lucky!"

Or some such. Now, the whole honorific deal (chan, san, kun, etc.) is a little too tricky, and I tend to tolerate these more than anything. But please, for the sake of my sanity, and that of those around me when I inevitably explode in confusion, just write it all in English. It will make sense, really. Just try it.

Comments on this article can be sent to: David Graņa.

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

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