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What Makes My Skin Crawl?

January 28, 2008

Really bad dubs.  It hurts my ears when I hear really bad dubs for movies that originated in a different country.  Main case in point being anime from Japan.

I was watching Howl’s Moving Castle this weekend and saw the preview for My Neighbor Totoro.  The way they said “Totoro” made my skin crawl.  Suffice it to say, I watched Howl’s Moving Castle with the original Japanese voice cast and English subtitles.  Funny how it’s okay for me to listen to Japanese pronunciation of western words but not vice versa.


I heart Hayao Miyazaki’s films.  I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read the novels by Diana Wynne Jones on which some of his anime is based.  I think that’s a short term goal for 2008, read something by Diana Wynne Jones before the Miyazaki movie comes out.  Part of the reason why I want to read Howl’s Moving Castle is that there was quite a bit of ambiguity and not enough closure for my taste in the anime version.  I know that’s asking for a lot and why mess with near perfection, but I have to say that it’s pretty cool that a movie version actually makes me want to read the book.  I’m usually in the school of the book is way better than the movie and reading the book is far more fulfilling in the long run, so I tend to read the book first and lament the missed parts in the movie.  Who knows, maybe this is a positive new trend for me, watch the movie then read the book.  Seems to have worked in getting me hooked on Harry Potter.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2008 7:25 pm

    I so agree about anime! I think that’s why I never got into it. Because except for Dragon Ball on NGN and Crayon Shinchan on KIKU, neither of which are my kind of story, all the other anime I remember being on tv when I was a teen was dubbed. And, oh my god, the way those people pronounced Japanese names. I also have trouble watching cooking shows when all those chefs who go to such lengths to correctly pronounce French or Italian words butcher really easy Japanese words like panko. Seriously, what is so hard about panko? Or daikon?

  2. mona permalink
    January 28, 2008 7:47 pm

    lol. it hurts my ears too. i watch my fair bit of anime and usually opt for the original language with english subtitles. because dubbed versions sounds so stupid. the inflections, the exclamations, the bad pronunciation… i’ve watched my fair share of american movies dubbed into korean and that is annoying too.

    i did not know about diana wynne jones. there’s something else to add to my (long) reading list.

  3. January 28, 2008 7:58 pm

    I heart Hayao Miyazaki’s films.///

    I heart his films, too. Spirited Away is one of my favorites. I’ve read Jones either but I will rectify that soon enough.

  4. January 29, 2008 2:57 am

    Yay! Another Miyazaki fan! I first watched all of his films in Japanese with subtitles, so indeed, the dubbing — is ugly, even though I know only four or five Japanese words, it still sounds bad.

    I read the Wynne- Jones’ books FIRST — so initially the anime bugged me because it wasn’t quite the storyline (and we know how sniffy I get about movies-that-don’t-follow-plots), but they turned out to be surreal and fun stories on their own. BTW – She’s writing a third Howl novel, so hurry and catch up!

  5. January 29, 2008 12:12 pm

    My son has watched “Nausica and the Valley of the Wind” at least fifty times. He adores it. We listen to the English versions (obviously) and I’ve gotten pretty used to them. They are such complex beautiful and unusual stories – we just love his work.

  6. GoodMD13 permalink
    January 29, 2008 12:44 pm

    I love Howl’s Moving Castle. It is my favorite. I am a rare person that the dubbing does not overly bother me. One reason why I love Howl’s Moving Castle is the fact that Christian Bale is Howl. And then hearing Jonathan Taylor Thomas play a raccoon, was also very amusing.

    You will find the movie and the book are very different from each other. Howl is one of the few exceptions where I liked the movie over the book. I love reading books and then watching a movie to see how it was adapted.

  7. GoodMD13 permalink
    January 29, 2008 12:47 pm

    Note: JTT was a raccoon in a Ghibli film Pom Poko, which I cannot recommend to anyone.

  8. Jolene permalink*
    January 30, 2008 12:11 pm

    You should definately read Jones book. I read it after I saw Miyazki’s film and it helped to clarify some the story. For instance in the book Sophie’s sister has a bigger role, and there’s more of a love triangle between Sophie and Howl. I recommend reading a book after the movie so that you don’t pre-judge the storyline. And sometimes movie adaptations become their own story independant of the original story, which is always a nice surprise. (For instance, Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park” was remade in 2000, with Frances O’Conner, and even though some of the plotline details are not faithful to Austin’s original story it’s still a great movie on it’s own.)

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