Music Monday – Why you in English?!
It can’t be done -slams hands on the table- the last Music Monday was just to good, it was just a piece of writing so good that it is impossible to write another piece to follow it (being modest as per usual). However, it must be done. Music Monday will not die, I WILL NOT LET IT DIE. So. Here I am again, going to write the unwritable, just for your amusement. Enjoy~ … wait… what? Talent for Love?
Yeah, I just dragged that old thing out. Talent for Love, by Chisa Yokoyama, was the ED to the very first OVA series of Tenchi Muyo! and (again with most of the stuff I write about) was a classic of the 90’s (never saw that coming). Now for once I am not going to fangasm over this series, it’s characters, or the fact that the 90’s were awesome (I feel like that has been made painfully obvious). No, instead I am going to ACTUALLY talk about music (cue shock and awe), but more specifically the songs we all love… and dubs?
Talent for Love was one of those songs which received both a Japanese AND English version, but I never knew there was a Japanese version of the song till late high school (relativity recently – so young~), and had only ever heard the English version – Talent for Love by Sharyn Scott. What is interesting about this is not that I can actually find the Japanese version on Youtube, but that it is identical in tune, and actually attempts to maintain maintain the feel of the Japanese version while allow all us gaijin to understand the lyrics… even if they more than likely unfaithful.
Nowadays this is not all that big of a deal, since most anime that actually reaches western shores has the original Japanese OP and ED left untouched by the fiendish dubbers, but only a few years ago it was quite different. OPs and EDs would be butchered with completely new songs and feature footage from of various segments from the anime spliced together – things like Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and Pokemon to name a few. This was more than likely due to being shown on television and needing to fit into western time slots, so OPs and EDs got cut to a single minute.
It is strange then, that some of the lesser known series that did not make the after school time slots (and by that I mean legendary series) had untouched openings (YuYu Hakusho, Inuyasha, Gundam Wing) or similarly to Tenchi Muyo!’s Talent for Love, just had the lyrics dubbed (Cardcaptor Sakura, Dragon Ball, Rurouni Kenshin).
For me, in MY childhood, I actually really liked most of the songs that were dubbed or (mis)translated, heck most of us can sing the original US Sailor Moon or Pokemon themes with pride and gusto, while others have developed a taste for the interesting translations that give the songs we love that much more meaning.
While there have been cases where localization has made us cry (cue censorship – editing footage, rewritten scripts etc etc), I think that sometimes it is not always bad (please don’t kill me for expressing that opinion). It has provided us with a relatable experience that more than likely made the culture shock less intense. However, I am pretty happy now that I am all the wiser, that I go back and rewatch things as they were meant to be in their original form – be it anime or music. But just for kicks and giggles, note the video below, the opening to Samurai X, Freckles… I mean, the opening to Rurouni Kenshin, Sobakasu. Now you can see how well they stuck to the tune, even if ,when translated, is COMPLETELY different.