Monday, July 7, 2014

Lost in Translation: Yugioh

Hello everyone, last week I talked about some of the other anime I watched growing up and mentioned in passing differences between the japanese and english versions of some of them.  Specifically I mentioned Yugioh, which as many of you probably know was edited a bit to be more child friendly.  This week I'm going to talk about how the various series of Yugioh were localized "creatively".
hands up or we'll point harder

The most famous instance of localization in the original Yugioh series was the removal of guns, particularly from a single scene during Duelist Kingdom.  This scene depicted Kaiba escaping from his office or house while being pursued by his own employees who now work for Pegasus.  This change was most likely made due to concern over guns appearing in a children's TV show which is understandable. To be honest the scene still conveys the same general idea and the change is relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of things but this single change is often cited in lists decrying 4Kids dubs of shows. 

Later series of Yugioh have also been localized by 4Kids and one of the most extreme led to an interesting story of mine.  One afternoon me and my roommate at URI were talking about Yugioh 5Ds and ended up discussing a particular duel.  This duel takes place in an old west type town and all of the duelists end up using cowboy themed cards.  Our discussion was going along quite well until I mentioned how cool I thought the end of the duel was. My roommate suddenly got confused and insisted that the duel hadn't actually been won by the heroes and that it had ended when the villain attempted to run away part of the way through.  I had remembered he villain trying to run away at the end of the second episode of the duel but knew that the match continued in the third episode.  After both of us confirmed our confidence in our stances we did what any reasonable pair of college students would do, we looked it up online.  Our research quite easily explained our disagreement, in the original japanese version the duel is 3 episodes long and ends with the heroes winning the duel, but in the english dub the duel only lasts 2 episodes and isn't properly completed.  Further examination of the third episode shows why it was removed from the english dub

maybe it's this guy in the mask his long wild hair could encourage delinquency in children

This is a screenshot from the 3rd episode of one of the holograms pointing a gun at the villain.  Basically the last 5 minutes of the duel involves the villain trying to decide whether or not to risk the outcome of the duel on a piece of information he already has while having a hologram of a gun pointed at his head.  This scene was most likely considered too graphic for Saturday morning cartoons and wasn't exactly removable since it is the grand finale of this duel.  So the editors took advantage of an earlier part of the duel where the villain realizes that he is about to loose at a children's card game and runs away on his ATV motorcycle thing.  They simply allowed the duel to end when the heroes catch up to him and edited the ending of episode 3 onto episode 2 to resolve everything.  After learning this me and my friend could understand our different memories, I had watched 5Ds subtitled(yes all of it) and he had been watching it on Saturday morning on 4kidz Toonzai which was of course the english dub. 

Many anime fans passionately hate this kind of editing and claim that is damages the original work.  This is true to a degree but the rarely mentioned counter point to that is that there are reasons why companies edit out questionable content.  Some parents are concerned about their kids seeing violence on TV and it is easier to simply slightly edit a show than it is to face the lawsuits those parents or public interest groups might start.  Also worth noting is that for most of these shows the target audience are small children and their parents, and while anime fans may want to see the series unedited we are such a small and hard to please demographic that we are not a major concern to these companies.  This isn't intended to say that editing is completely fine just that it is much more reasonable than most anime fans would claim it to be. 

1 comment:

  1. They did stuff like this in dragonball (all 3) they did release unedited versions in English for DVD.