Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro is among my favorite movies, so I was pretty excited to hear I was finally going to be able to catch it on the big screen. Like I said, though, there's a catch: according to the front page here, "All titles dubbed in English."
By now I've probably established that I'd rather watch my Japan-cartoons in their native tongue, but in situations like this, I've been known to watch a dub every once in a while. When, I catch, say, Stand Alone Complex on TV, I'll sit down and watch the dub, because the voice work is quite good in the first place. Not my preference, but pretty damn good. The problem is that Manga Entertainment's dub for Castle of Cagliostro (Streamline Pictures did the original, and I never had the privilege of seeing that one) is goddamned awful, to the point where it significantly hurts the film.
It's not even really the performances: it's all in the script, man. They took a shit all over it. Apparently thinking the movie too quiet and gentle, Manga saw fit to add loads of dialogue where there was none before, largely bad wisecracks that completely kill the mood of a couple of scenes. What's worse for the movie is that Manga, in a scaled-down implementation of their old, familiar dubbing practices, riddled the script with minor profanity. Lupin and the gang aren't exactly shooting out the Violence Jack-style strings of "fuckin'! fuckin'! shit! fuckin! shit!", but there are plenty of forced hells and goddamns worked into the script that simply don't suit the mood of the film nor the characters. They'd suit regular Monkey Punch Lupin just fine, but not Miyazaki's kinder, gentler Lupin movie.
I know, I know. I say a lot of bad words myself. The difference between me and Castle of Cagliostro is that Castle of Cagliostro is a family film. A Miyazaki, for Christ's sake. It's a damned good family film, and it's a real shame that the movie's no longer for kids as well as grown-ups and dorks. It's a motherfucking bloody-murder tragedy that some douchebag decided to ruin the mood in the name of a little bit of what the suits call "edge". People. Allow your blue skies to remain blue, is what I'm saying.
This is why Miyazaki sent Disney that goddamned sword. I'm debating whether or not to go to the movie: on the one hand, I'll probably never get a chance to see this movie in the size it deserves again. On the other, I'm not sure I want to see an old friend in such bad shape.
But then, I'm something of a purist about this movie. A little passionate, you know? Your results may vary.
I usually end up at the chiptune shows and I want you guys to know that this here upcoming chiptune show is gonna be on a boat. That's pretty chill. Should you buy a ticket? IF THAT'S YOUR KINDA THING!
Once upon a time, there were men who dared translate videogames, and lo, they did reprogram yon computerprogram, they did edit its text. Upon completion, they did descend, these bespectacled, backpacking Moseses, from the top of Mount Moe, carrying in raised, victorious arms pink stone tablets labeled YE EROGE(YE LITERARY TRIUMPH, WITH OR WITHOUT SMATTERINGS OF YE PORNOGRAPHY, BUT FORSOOTH YE PUREHEARTED CARE NOT FOR THE STIRRINGS OF THE LOIN, ONLY THE INTELLECTUAL PURSUIT OF YE EROGE). Seeing not the grace of Nekomimi Godman, these men threw these tablets-- their robot maid little sister unrelated by blood newborn babies-- to yon heathen masses, and so it was that the virgins fell into dishonor. The bottom-feeders set immediately to making yon illicit copies! OUR ANGELS' WINGS ARE CLIPPED!
Fuck, I can't talk like this anymore. The visual novel translation scene is utterly fascinating: as the Universal Law of Internet Drama will tell you, the smaller a community gets, the bigger, more personal, and more frequent the drama becomes. This shit is basic. So what happens in the visual novel translation scene? It's an incredibly tiny niche group doing a pretty thankless job: the scripts are huge, the project rarely gets done, and when it does-- by the nature of the Internet-- nobody actually buys the game. This pissed one group off so much that when they translated a lousy game that nobody cared about, they brought out a Final Solution: BREAK THE SUPPORT DISC. Though there was a swift retraction, this Rube Goldberg Kill-It-To-Save-It Anti-Piracy Mechanism was too funny to die, and so was born into memehood. Next time you feel the need to discuss piracy, just say "BREAK THE SUPPORT DISC" instead, and you'll feel all better!
Well, let me tell you about an even more brilliant bunch of dudes, and an even better method. The Leaf Game Translation Group just finished up their translation of the PS2 version of To Heart 2, and they don't want to see people pirating it. They really hate pirates, you see. Like, a lot. From their website:
We'd like to make one thing clear, though- we hate pirates. If we
find this site linked, or the translation project even mentioned on any
websites which condone piracy (this includes forums which don't
immediately ban members who discuss piracy), we will immediately halt
all work on the project and take down this site. No, we're not kidding.
A flamboyant statement of a completely ridiculous and unlikely threat like this, if you're familiar with Internet Drama, doesn't say "I care deeply about this project" so much as it says "PLEASE, PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO ME." So we have these characters established. They hate piracy, and they love drama. What would be the best way to hate pirates and start drama?
Well, to start off, you don't give out the translation: you only give it to your buddies who you know won't give it out, and you hope it's safe. In their words:
We decided to give it only to people we know extremely
well and trust to not distribute to pirates, and have told them to
distribute it, if they wish, to only others who are likewise familiar
to them. Who are these people? Well, if you know them well enough, they
might just tell you. Or even give you the translation. If not, well,
We will NOT be distributing it via direct download or, god forbid, anything to do with P2P.
This is their right and their prerogative: it's horrible for the translation scene
and worse for the poor people who actually bought the fucking thing in
hopes of playing it in English, but it's their right.
Now how do you start drama about it? That's easy! Post an epic, hilarious treatise on your boards! A money shot of lulz, as it were!
However, we had announced here that we would be
considering what to do. It'd be just rude to vanish, and so as a
courtesy to the people who've been here all along, we announce what
The result is this: Bloggers we've never heard of
condemning our decisions, 4channers trolling us, translators of other
game making stupid accusations that could be clarified with quick
glances at older threads, and in general, people who'd never heard of
us showing up and just being rude.
The thought that these people
might have got their hands on the result of our love, the very avatar
of our love, sends shivers down my spine.
I have no doubt at all that this was the right decision.
THE VERY AVATAR OF OUR LOVE. Man, this plan worked great for them, because I don't even care about this game, and I laughed my ass off so hard at this whole situation that I had to become the blogger they've never heard of condemning their decisions and a 4channer trolling them. That's a double! Like Bruce Willis running down a hallway and punching a terrorist in the face, Leaf Game Translation Group, I call this operation-- SUCCESS.
UPDATE 9/11: Man, a lot of people must have gotten all up on this story-- UPDATE 9/12: I hadn't been on Fandom Wank for a couple days!-- because like triumphant warriors, the Leaf Game Translation Group has made their boards registration-only. As such, you can't read the original posts. I didn't think to cut/paste the full posts (one of the very first Internet Drama Rules), but obviously I'll leave up the excerpts for posterity. In that spirit, here is the Leaf Game Translation Group's final word to us all:
Influenced by the reactions to our decisions and various comments
posted all over the interweb, we have changed our minds. The
translation shall remain unreleased to the public. Everyone who already
has it has been contacted and asked to not distribute it further
We'll have to consider the text of To Heart 2 lost to history. Meanwhile, back in 1979: what would Crystal King do?
My rule for AB reviews is "be personally anecdotey". With that in mind, here is an awkward little story tangentially involving Arcana Heart, a game I've talked all about from a proper point of view anyway, and a more proper review of Persona 3, a game I've been too busy playing to bother talking about up until now.
According to this lovely headline, the upcoming New York Anime Fest will have its very own maid cafe, and it's hiring! Finally, the emblematic otaku spectacle comes to me. I have to wonder what this is going to look like for the US con scene as opposed to the Japanese otaku scene; perhaps they'll all be wearing Naruto headbands? Will Linkin Park AMVs be playing on the TVs? Will the maids hold an impromptu "which of our maid dresses is the best" contest, and form lifelong grudges over the results? How many times will creepy dudes attempt to seduce the maids with a smuggled-in box of Pocky, telling them "there's more... back at my room"? How often, percentage-wise, will it work? Should my friends and I all come in wearing Otokojuku-style school uniforms and take over the cafe, serving tea with a sideways glare and a "THE HELL DO YOU WANT, ASSHOLE? A REAL MAN EARNS TEA IN BATTLE."?
How much do you figure they'll have the balls to charge for a simple cup of tea? Okay, that part isn't different at all.