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
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
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.
"Nani, nani, Minako-chan?"
"I just ran into Kirokuri-kun a few minutes ago! Sugoi!"
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:
"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.