Readers' Letters By Readers. MikeEnjoyed the article on Lone Wolf & Cub, but one thing stuck in my craw-the comment about the level of profanity in AnimEigo’s translation of the films...
Enjoyed the article on Lone Wolf & Cub, but one thing stuck in my craw-the comment about the level of profanity in AnimEigo’s translation of the films.
We took extreme care to properly match the Japanese expletives with their English equivalents, the same kind of totally anal obsessiveness we employ in all aspects of our translations. Keep in mind that these films were pop-culture action films, not period dramas, and thus the language isn’t nearly as courtly as a non-Japanese speaker might imagine.
Also, it is common practice when translating films to tone down the language. We particularly don’t do this. Our goal is to present to the English viewer the exact same emotional experience as the Japanese viewer got. If this means that Mifune Toshiro has to say “fuck,” then so be it!
CEO (Chief Expletive Officer)
I think you are guilty of a grievous error in judgment when you bash Shogun Assassinin your otherwise excellent article on the Lone Wolf and Cub films. Yes, under ideal circumstances, foreign films should not be edited together, dubbed, or re-scored. However, this was 1980. VCRs had barely begun to catch on. New World wanted to release a terrific Japanese film to the American theatrical market. Unfortunately, it is eight years old, a sequel, and the general American public is not very receptive to subtitled films. What to do? A few things:
- Edit in some of the previous film to explain what’s going on
- Add narration to further explain the confusing proceedings
- Dub it
- Re-score it so it will feel more like a new film rather than one nearly a decade old
All of these things were done with great care and reverence for the material. Adding narration from the child’s point of view was an excellent idea. It is very touching hearing a child talk sadly about the killing that surrounds him. The new score is very effective. The dubbing is also quite good-I was quite astonished to see you say that it was bad. Anyone who has seen more than a handful of dubbed Asian action movies should know better.
The result-in 1980, and on video a few years later, many Americans were treated to a work of art that they otherwise may never have gotten a chance to see. Shogun Assassinmay offend purists, but it is a well-crafted companion piece to the Lone Wolf and Cub series that served the general public (and this viewer) as a terrific introduction to foreign film in general and Japanese samurai cinema in particular. It is a beautiful and admirable effort that does not deserve to be forgotten or gratuitously bashed.
Not only that, but purists had to wait an extra eighteen years or so to see the film.
Keep up the good work,
Regarding Terry Gilmer’s article about a Film Threat... I recall that some fourteen years ago a certain publisher told me that back when he was in high school, he printed his first issue and never paid the printer. He was finally compelled (against his will) to sell off his entire record collection so he could pay the bill. Coming from such auspicious beginnings, it’s a shame to hear that the magazine is having money trouble. And I saw the premiere of the publisher’s awful film, “Guy from Planet Z” (or whatever it was) at the Majestic Theater in Detroit. The crowd hated the film so much that they started throwing beer bottles at the screen. As the film ended, I found the filmmaker collapsed by the side of the projector, completely drunk. I asked him what he thought of his film. “It’s crap,” he mumbled, “total crap.”
New York, NY
Each and every time I open the mailbox and find a fresh issue of CdC I am newly amazed at how good it looks. The content hasn’t changed much. It’s still the same insightful, entertaining, and illuminating commentary I’ve come to expect from your publication. But now there’s more of it arranged attractively.
I was particularly moved by Terry Gilmer’s account of the Film Threat subscription scandal in the most recent issue. Once again, you’ve crystallized my thoughts eloquently. It occurred to me after reading the article that CdC was sort of the karmic antidote for that other rag. They disappeared without a trace, taking our money in the process. Yet, CdC keeps on coming, even though I can’t recall sending any money to renew since I paid $5 so many years back.
Therefore, please find enclosed a check for $20. $8 for one of those boss new t-shirts and $12 to assure the continuance of my subscription. I would say, “keep up the good work,” but I am sure that such a cliché is needless as nothing but good work has come to me from Riverview. Thank you for the good times, best of luck in the future and God bless Mike White, Cashiers du Cinemart, and America.
Back to Issue 11