Part 01: Japanese Recording
Japanese Commentary of Black Blood Brothers Episode 1 with the original author of the light novel series Black Blood Brothers, Kouhei Azano.
Question: How did you envision [Cassa] when you were writing?
Kouhei Azano: …when I’m writing, I have a lot of thoughts going on, too, but the image of a voice can never hold a candle to actually hearing it. So, it’s almost got the power to instantly replace that image. Well, rather than replacing it, it just really feels perfect…so I really had no particular person’s voice in mind. But that’s also why it was even more of a treat to look forward to. I was coming from a blank place with absolutely no preconceptions, and I could wonder about what kind of person they would cast.
I mean, even like this scene [Cassa fighting Jiro in Hong Kong]. I definitely wrote it myself, but I’m like, was it actually this awesome?…I think, “It’s got great atmosphere. Oh, but I guess I did actually write it…”
Part 02: Subtitles
Subtitles, or “Sub,” in anime refers to when the show is subtitled in a language that isn’t Japanese with the original Japanese audio. Subtitles are not only for animes but for all foreign films. After several movie classes at my high school and my JC, I realized mainstream America fears subtitles (and old films).
Part 03: Lost in Translation
If you have found an anime or manga on the internet, it may be difficult to find it once it has been officially released in the US due to the translation of the title.
An example that I came across was Saiunkoku Monogatari ( “Story/Tale of the Land of Colored Clouds”). When I was in the Philippines, I came across it in English as The Colored Palace. When it was released in the US, it was The Story of Saiunkoku.
Part 04: English Dub
Many anime viewers will argue against watching English dubs, but obviously I am not one of them. I have been watching anime before I knew how to read, so I have grown used to dubbed voices, but it mostly depends on the voices that I like best.
I recently went back and watched the first episode of Sailor Moon. I completely forgot how her mouth didn’t move at times during her most important speech. In many animes, lines are completely changed from their original Japanese. Most of the time, it is because the lip movement is different, but in Appleseed Ex Machina, the creators didn’t think Americans could accept a guy interested in a pink robotic armor:
Briareos: “If it wasn’t Pink, I would be riding in it.”
Deunan: ” Not to be mean but pink was never your color.”
Briareos: “How does it look?”
Deunan: “It’s a prototype, but I should be fine.”
Choosing voice actors is very important. In the 80s, a series of three separate animes were combined to create ROBOTECH. When the first series, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, was released in its original form, Mari Iijima,the woman who played Lyn Minmay in the original Japanese dubbed the English version also. The songs were completely changed–“My Boyfriend is a Pilot” in Macross became “My Time to be a Star” in Robotech.
Series that are long may not necessarily have all parts distributed by the same company. Saiyuki was originally released by ADV Films but the sequels Saiyuki Reloaded and Saiyuki Reloaded Gunlock were released by Geneon. The voices were changed; I quit watching the show, because I liked the original English and could not get used to the new voices nor the Japanese.