This week: the debate over the new Evangelion translation, a lawyer who faced discrimination from childhood, and the 2019 Animator’s Dormitory Project.
Jervon Perkins looks back on one of the first BL manga and how its powerful depiction of surviving assault spoke to him.
TLDR: personal tragedies among the team knocked our schedule off-course, but we’re still dedicated to delivering what we promised. And we’re sorry this update took so long.
A sci-fi josei classic saddled with a painfully ugly adaptation.
A western-inspired fantasy series that, as usual, spends most of its premiere on prologue.
One last check-in before the new season sweeps in.
Want to see all our reviews for the season? This is the page to watch.
“I Tried Thinking About the Common Isekai Slave Circumstances Realistically” (Fantastic Memes, Frog-kun)
A translation of an essay looking at the mentality behind the enslaved love interest trend in light novels.
My sister pointed to the part where the protagonist treats the heroine like family and she falls in love with him, all according to the template.
“Why’d she fall for that guy?” she asked bluntly.
That’s the part of slave light novels that we’re not supposed to talk about openly, I thought, but I gave her a straight answer anyway.
“Because it’s the template.”
My sister was unconvinced, so I went into a more detailed explanation.
Street Fighter‘s Queer Stereotypes Kept Me In The Closet (Kotaku, Maddy Myers)
A dissection of the character Juri, an embodiment of “depraved bisexual” stereotypes, and the impact of that representation.
Part of my dislike of Juri is personal. Juri first appeared in Super Street Fighter IV. The first time I saw her deliver her flirtatious lines to Chun-li, I was firmly in the closet—or, more specifically, I had come out of the closet as a teenager but headed back in during my early 20s. Although I had dated a woman in college, I ended up in a long-term relationship with a man in my 20s. During that relationship, I stopped bothering to tell other people that I had ever been attracted to women. Part of that was because it felt tiring to correct people who assumed I was straight based on the relationship they saw me in. But a bigger part of it was that I felt ashamed of who I was. The portrayal of bisexual characters in media informed my feelings, and that included characters like Juri, who convinced me that coming out could make other people uncomfortable.
Juri was just so sexual. She was not only attracted to both men and women, she had to tell everybody about it, against their consent. She had a seemingly uncontrollable sex drive that was depicted as tied to her love of inflicting pain on others. She wore a tiny handkerchief over her boobs without a bra underneath—just like a bisexual, right? It made me feel disgusted, not with Juri, but with myself.
After decades facing prejudice, lawyer publishes autobiography (The Asahi Shimbun, Ryuichi Kitano)
Taketoshi Nakayama grew up in a buraku community, which have faced discrimination going back to the feudal era, which inspired him to become a lawyer.
He became a chief lawyer in the 1963 “Sayama incident.” In this case, Kazuo Ishikawa, a buraku descendent, was convicted of murdering a teenage girl and other charges and sentenced to life imprisonment.
However, he appealed for a retrial, saying he was forced to confess to the crimes and insisted he was innocent.
A widespread campaign was organized to save him, and in 1994, he was paroled. But he has not been granted a retrial.
Nakayama also represented victims of the Great Tokyo Air Raid in their lawsuit demanding compensation from the government, but he lost the case in 2013.
He was also the lead lawyer for Takashi Uemura, a former reporter of The Asahi Shimbun, who filed a libel lawsuit in 2015 against a university professor and a publishing company over magazine articles that said Uemura fabricated part of his news reports on “comfort women.”
Aggretsuko’s Power Walking Women Are Basically Dragon Ball Z Characters (Fanbyte, Eric Thurm)
Framing the show’s workplace struggles in terms of shonen’s most iconic series.
In addition to being hilarious and cool, the depiction of Gori and Washimi’s walk is a fantastic accomplishment in metaphorical animation — it demonstrates the way in which the two women are literally projecting an aura of power and coordination, which they’re capable of maintaining as long as they do a lot of work first. It’s essentially an anime superpower, a version of the Dragon Ball power augmentation technique kaio-ken that only works while you’re on the way to the elevator.
The walk is the embodiment of the way Gori and Washimi need to be seen by the rest of the employees. Like makeup, skincare, or fashion, it’s an element of self-presentation that takes a lot of work to pull off successfully — and often, when you’ve done it right, nobody thinks you’ve done any work at all.
But, like a weakened Goku at the end of a long, punishing fight, the amount of work required to maintain the walking technique takes its toll on the two women.
Japanese Fans, Official Translator Weigh in on Netflix Evangelion English Subtitle Debate (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)
A summary of the argument over the recent retranslation choices in Netflix’s Evangelion release.
ADV translates this line to “It means I love you.” On the other hand, the translation on Netflix renders it as “It means I like you.”
The differences carry to the end of the episode, where a depressed Shinji says, “カヲル君が好きだって言ってくれたんだ、僕のこと”. ADV translates the line to “It was the first time someone told me they loved me,” while the translation on Netflix is “That’s the first time anybody’s ever said they liked me. Ever.”
Japanese fans have also taken note of the debate after Japanese news outlet J-Cast reported on the issue. Dan Kanemitsu, the translator of the Netflix Evangelion subtitles, told J-Cast, “This translation was made from the ground up. It has no connection to the previous translation at ADV.”
Users on the pop culture site Nijimen have been having their own discussion on whether “like” or “love” is a better translation in this context. The top-voted comments are translated below.
Kim Kardashian scraps ‘Kimono’ name after huge Japan backlash (The Asahi Shimbun, Gakushi Fujiwara)
Kardashian had planned to trademark “kimono” for her new line of undergarments.
Even Hiroshige Seko, the economy minister, waded into the fray by posting a tweet about the integral part played in Japanese culture by kimono.
“I hope to discuss the matter with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that it appropriately assesses the trademark application,” he tweeted.
His reaction may have been partly behind Kardashian’s own tweet on July 1 acknowledging a change in plans.
“My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name. I will be in touch soon,” she tweeted.
2019 Animator Dormitory Project (GoGetFunding, Jun Sugawara)
By providing housing for animators, the project also hopes to begin redressing the issues of rampant underpayment in the industry.
Thank you so much for your great support for our Animator Dormitory Project!
By providing housing and technical support, we believe that we are fulfilling our role in implementing a safety net for up-and-coming animators.
In 2019, we are taking steps towards our next project, the New Anime-Making System!
We will be tackling the fundamental issue of the anime industry— animators receiving low wages.
The goal of our project is to pay animators by securing a sufficient budget needed for anime production, and returning the profit to animators and staff who are actually involved in the anime-making process.
However, the Animator Dormitory Project is still vital in accomplishing this goal.
The Importance of “I Love You”: Queerness in Evangelion (Fanbyte, Vrai Kaiser)
Putting the new Evangelion subtitles in context of the franchise and fandom’s reaction to queerness.
The English translator’s commentary on the decision referred to a desire to keep the scene open to interpretation. Walking into this situation in a vacuum, it is easy to conclude the following: that “like” is still a word that can be used, particularly among awkward young teenagers, to convey a sense of romantic affection; and that Kaworu and Shinji’s behavior is still so potently flirtatious in their other actions that it carries across their queerness regardless. In a better world, this would be true.
That is not, however, the world as it is. In this world, queer fans have spent two decades graphically aware of the fact that even with direct and unambiguous language in translation, their existence will be denied. It becomes that much more of a betrayal to see that equivocating erasure seemingly justified by a new translation twenty years later.
Translation is always localization, and good translation is always aware of the context of the receiving market when translating concepts (in fact, even ADV went through a process of refining their subtitles from the initial tapes to DVD). That doesn’t mean turning rice balls into jelly donuts. It means that when translating a concept meant to convey flirtatious intent within a much more indirect language, a more potent English phrase is likely called for. Because at the end of the day, the phrase “open to interpretation” is a coded phrase, one simply never used in reference to straight couples.
Tweet: FAKKU announces a spinoff service that will localize yaoi/yuri porn.
Thread: Dissecting the decision to translate “sect” as “leftist” in Evangelion’s new translation, and the debatable accuracy thereof
Spring wasn’t the greatest season, but its high points were awfully high.