Monday, July 14, 2014

Lost in Translation: Card Captor Sakura

Hello again everyone, last week I talked about a few of the changes made in the dubbing of Yugioh.  Most of those changes were superficial and had very little to do with the main plot of the story or were part of a filer arc(as was the case with 5Ds).  This week I'm going to talk about a series who lost something a bit more substantial in its dubbing for Saturday morning television, Card Captor Sakura. 


A few weeks ago I gave a very general description of this series but for this we need a few  more details. The main character of this series is an elementary school student named Sakura who lives with her father who rarely ever appears and older brother who is a high school student.  The remaining cast of note includes her friend Tomoyo(Madison in the english dub) who films all of Sakura's adventures and provides an endless supply of magical girl outfits, her older brother's friend Yukito and Syaoran a competitor for the capturing the clow cards and the romantic paring of Sakura.

In the english dub of the series all of the romantic relationships play out how one would expect.  Sakura has a crush on her older brother's best friend and Madison likes Sakura's brother.  As the series progresses Sakura switches her affections to Syaoran and the two end up together at the end of the series.  The version that aired in America was 39 episodes long and focused heavily on the capturing of the clow cards.

The original Japanese version and the English dubs for Australia, Canada and the UK are a bit different.  To start off with they are 70 episodes long and the episode order differs from the American dub with Syaoran's arrival delayed by several episodes and an entire second plot arc.  These changes alone significantly alter the plot of the series as a whole when compared to the minor editing of the original Yugioh series.  However another major change was made in the American dub from the original Japanese, the relationship charts for the two series are very different.

Tomoyo got more than a name change in translation
Sakura's relationships remain unchanged with her interest in Yukito shifting to Syaoran.  In the original series Tomoyo isn't just Sakura's best friend but is romantically interested in her.  This makes her filming of Sakura's battles and all of the outfits she makes much more interesting to think about.  The other major relationship change is along a similar axis, Yukito and Sakura's brother are friends in the American dub but in the original series they are a couple and Yukito rejects Sakura's confession by admitting that he loves her brother.

a healthy relationship between 2 young men

These relationship changes while not vitally important to the main plot of the series do in fact alter the implications of a great number of actions.  It is however easy to see why these changes were made.  The series was shortened and reordered to appeal more to the young boys who were the primary target audience(the same audience for whom Yugioh was aimed) and it is honestly amazing that a dub was even made for that audience at all.  The relationships were redone since romance is not particularly interesting to young boys, the shortening of the series cut off much of the development of the pairings, and most likely do to a concern that parents might disapprove of non heterosexual relationships in children's TV(this aired in 2000 when this was much more of a taboo).

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