Love Damage: The Viz Video Girl
by Dave Watson, for the Ai-chan Project
Ai Lie Report
Episode One: [i'm here for you] (Viz Dub Version)
(Times are based on zeroing the VCR counter after the Jump Video opening fades out.)
00:01: VIZ DUB: Screen: For Heartbroken Eyes Only...
FANSUB: DO YOU HAVE A BROKEN HEART...
AQUARIAN FANSUB: A SOOTHING GIRL
Great. First thing off the bat, fixing something that wasn't broken. This does not look good. Still more accurate than the Aquarian version, though.
00:07: VIZ DUB: Tape title: I'm Here For You
FANSUB: A Soothing Girl
Now, "I'm Here For You" is a good name for the first Viz volume, which was originally just called Volume One in Japan. However, it obviously isn't the name of Ai's tape. According to Ka-Ping Yee, the tape is entitled "Nagusamete-ageru" ("I'll comfort you"). So, the two of you, survey says BZZZZTT.
Most of the monologue is obviously written differently from the fansub, but still to pretty good effect. Until:
01:14: VIZ DUB: Ai: "I see. It's that bad, huh? Poor guy. There's no way just a video's gonna help you. That's it! I'll stay with you for as long as it takes!"
FANSUB: "You were really deeply hurt by her. You really need someone to mend your broken heart. Okay. From now on I'll always be with you."
Something tells me that "She really hurt you" would have worked better than "It's that bad, huh?", while still fitting the lip flaps (from now on, referred to as "LF"). I also find that the second and third lines in the fansub would have fit perfectly, LF and all. No need to rewrite like that. And, as it becomes obvious later, she really can't offer to stay with him "as long as it takes."
01:52: VIZ DUB: Youta: "I...I do..." (or so it sounds like)
The fansub wouldn't have fit the LF or sounded natural in English, but I think something like "so nice" or "so good" would have.
02:52: VIZ DUB: OP song lyrics--"Ureshi Namida" ("Happy Tears") by Noriko Sakai
Now, Viz Video is infamous for "adapting" song lyrics, with the most infamous examples being the Ranma 1/2 and Key the Metal Idol themes (credited to Trish Ledoux). Someone wised up to the fact that this was not a good thing, and the translation of "Ureshi Namida" is beautifully done. The last couplet gave me a bit of doubt, though:
04:10: VIZ DUB: "I was always watching / Watching a certain person, the whole time"
ROMAJI: "Itsumade demo miteta / Hitori zutto miteta"
FANSUB: "I was seeing forever / Alone I was seeing forever"
According to the Japanese <-> English Dictionary Server:
itsumade: how long?; till when?
itsumademo: forever; for good; eternally; as long as one likes; indefinitely
demo: but; however
miteta: didn't bring up a word.
hitori: alone; unmarried; one person (the last in different kanji)
zutto: consecutively; throughout; a lot
I can't come up with a more faithful equivalent using the above definitions right away, but I think both Viz and the fansub could have done better here.
04:28: VIZ DUB: Episode title--[i'm here for you]
FANSUB: A Soothing Girl
05:20: VIZ DUB: Youta: "Stephen Hawking, I love you, man!"
FANSUB: "Hawkins is dynamite!"
Viz got the name right, but that over-Americanization ("O-A" from now on) was kind of gross.
05:25: VIZ DUB: Youta: "Youta 'Unrequited Love' Moteuchi, you're on a roll! Nothing can stop me now! I've got an angel on my shoulder. Not to mention an angel on my bed!"
FANSUB: "[God] hasn't forgotten Moteuchi Youta, who's lost his love! This must be the Goddess of Love that the gods have bestowed upon me?! The Buddha of Love!!"
Now, during this scene, Youta's lips don't flap, so he is thinking this dialogue rather than speaking it out loud, so there is absolutely no excuse for rewriting this so horrendously! Also, I don't think that this series' audience is so dense that Viz needs to cover up such casual theological references, let alone this badly. By the way, Dallas--crap punctuation.
05:36: VIZ DUB: Youta: "She's got a face cuter than...what's-her-name, a body finer than...whattaya-call-her, personality better than you-know-who...with style like that, she's my type exactly! And look how she's built!"
FANSUB: "Her face is cuter than Riko! Her body is more exquisite than Rie Miyazawa! She's kinder and more coy than Noriko Sakai! She's got a cute face, a great body...and especially those big tits!"
I can't fault Viz too much here, since very few people in North America know who these people are. With the exception of Ms. Sakai (who only sings the opening theme of this series, and is featured in the omake after the fourth episode), I don't know them myself. But they could have done a little better than that. Maybe using some Western equivalent's names? Or did they consider it, but figure that the name-dropped people might get a bit crazy as a result and send out packs of ravenous lawyerdogs? Who knows? I personally would have left the original names intact and explained briefly who they were somewhere between the company credits and the show at the beginning or the end, like ADV Films did for a cultural reference (with a long story behind it) for one episode of their release of Compiler. I will give Ms. Ledoux one thing here, though: She handled the last line better than the people behind the Animerica Extra publishing of the manga did, and with more class than the fansub.
P.S.: Does anybody know what those banners that appear with each comment actually say? Neither version translates them.
06:10: VIZ DUB: Youta: "Hey, wait! I like those!"
FANSUB: "What's going on? Her breasts shrunk."
A pretty ugly O-A (and this is coming from someone who likes "those" himself). "Huh? What? Why'd they shrink?" would have worked better and fit the LF.
06:35: VIZ DUB: Ai: "Wait a minute. Something's wrong."
FANSUB: "I sound so vulgar. Oh, well."
Since Ai's opening lines aren't really that vulgar and the fansub line doesn't sound natural in English, I can't really fault Ms. Ledoux's rewriting, but it doesn't make it apparent that the "something wrong" is how she's talking. "Why am I talking like this?" would have done the job better, I think.
06:48: VIZ DUB: Ai: "The name's Ai. Video Girl at large."
FANSUB: "I'm Amano Ai, Video Girl. Nice to meet you."
That "Video Girl at large" bit is prime terrible O-A, especially since the fansub is very accurate about this line. I might add that, in the original version, Ai introduces herself by saying, "Ore wa Amano Ai. Yoroshiku ne." "Ore" is the male from of "I," and this is supposed to get across that the broken VCR incident masculinized her speech as well as reducing her breasts. This is one of the common problems of Japanese-to-English translations, so it isn't something I hold against Viz; it's worth pointing out, though, to show one of the subtleties of Ai's character.
07:05: VIZ DUB: "The point is, Youta, Video Girls make their own rules. We can do anything we'd (you'd?) like. Anything. It's all up to you."
FANSUB: "Well, Youta. What should we do? We Video Girls are made as a convenience for men. I'll do things you only wish for."
The first line is what you call an unnecessary rewrite. Not to mention very wrong. Anyone who's followed this story knows very well that Video Girls don't make their own rules, nor do either the original manga or the original OVA script have Ai saying, implying or even acknowledging anything like that at this point. I might add the original Japanese line duplicates the manga dialogue word for word, and KPY's translation is much closer to the fansub's. Bad call, Ms. Ledoux. Maggie Blue O'Hara actually does a pretty good job as Amano Ai (but, of course, nowhere near as well as Ms. Hayashibara in her finest seiyuu performance, IMHO), but I couldn't understand if she'd said "we'd" or "you'd" in the Viz script; those make a big difference here.
07:29: VIZ DUB: Ai: "Yoo-hoo. Wanna do the H thing? You know, hardcore?"
Youta: "H-h-'hardcore'? As in..."
FANSUB: Ai: "Well, for starters we could screw. Screw."
Youta: "SCREW ?! You mean...?!"
Both are wrong. Ai's original line is "Jaa...toriaezu ecchi shiyou ka. Ecchi!" (exactly identical to the manga), which KPY translates as, "So...let's do something diry. Dirty!" Now, for those who don't know, "ecchi" is the Japanese way of saying the Western letter "H"; in this context, specifically the first letter of the word "hentai" (perverted), and the closest equivalent in English is "naughty." This line also uses the word as a verb and a noun (the second being Ai calling Youta an "ecchi"). Viz's version does make a valiant attempt to justify the letter "H" that appears over Youta's face, but face it--it's a lie, and anyone who knows me knows that I utterly despise lies. I would have had her saying something like "Let's just do something hentai, okay?" with Youta replying, "Hentai? You mean...?" I don't think that very many fans, regardless of how long they've been watching anime, don't know what "hentai" means.
After Youta asks, "Okay, the truth now. What are you?" and Ai replies, "I told you, I'm a Video Girl.":
09:05: VIZ DUB: Old man--"Only the purest of heart can rent from us, you know. It's not often that someone can shed tears for a friend. Especially when they themselves are suffering from heartbreak."
FANSUB: "This store only shows itself to people with a pure heart. For example, a person with a heart that's so pure he would cry at another person's misery even if it would cause more of his own."
The fansub makes an important point that Viz's doesn't: "...even if it would cause more of his own." Why Viz skipped something that significant, I'll never know.
After the Gokuraku flashback and Ai saying, "It's 'cause you needed me that I came out. Didn't you hear the video?":
9:28: VIZ DUB: Youta: "I don't know what you're talking about!"
Ai: "Oh, you do, too! 'Youta the Loser' [how she first read the Kanji in his name] is right. No wonder she ditched you!"
Text: Unrequited love
FANSUB: Youta: "That's not what I wanted to hear from you!"
Ai: "You're too nit-picky! That's why you're never popular with girls [the literal alternate reading of the kanji in Youta's full name] and get dumped so easily!"
Viz's version is far too rewritten. It definitely gets Youta's original mood and feelings wrong.
VIZ DUB: Youta: "So what if she doesn't like me? So what if I'm a loser? If you're trying to cheer me up, it's not working, so you may as well just leave. Get out of here! Go on, scram!"
FANSUB: "Excuse me for being dumped! Excuse me for being unpopular with girls! If you're not going to comfort me, and instead just preach, I don't want you around! Come on, disappear!"
Ms. Ledoux, there is a difference between feigned indifference and verbally striking back in anger about the subject. Learn it. The second part is just plain wrong. And just who in the hell says things like "scram" nowadays? There's O-As, and there's stupid, archaic ones. All said, poorly done.
10:58: VIZ DUB: Moemi: "What? I-I-I can't...I'm sorry. The guy I like is...handsome."
FANSUB: "The love I'm after...it won't work out because the person I like is very popular."
Another identical line to the manga. KPY translates the word "moteru" as "be popular," not "handsome." I would have used, "Well...I can't. It wouldn't work. The guy I like is...popular."
11:50: VIZ DUB: Ai: "I was a world-class chef until your dumb video machine broke me!"
FANSUB: "You're mean! I've been made with the skills of a gourmet chef!"
Ms. Ledoux, it was not immediately apparent to Ai that the VCR was responsible for her cooking now being awful. Why insert something that wasn't there in the first place?
12:55: VIZ DUB: Moemi: "You know who I mean, don't you? Now it's your turn. Be honest."
FANSUB: "You can tell me now, can't you? I've said it, Moteuchi. Now it's your turn."
In the Viz translation, Moemi is saying that she knows Youta knows she's telling him about how she feels about Takashi (she didn't mention anybody's name when she talked about him). Anyone who follows VGAi knows that Moemi is classically oblivious to things like that, which makes the dub translation of that line doubly wrong.
13:33: VIZ DUB: Ai: "You lecher."
Youta: "Hey, speak for yourself, okay?"
FANSUB: Ai: "You pervert."
Youta: "Dummy! I was not [thinking anything perverted]!"
Obviously another stupid rewrite. "Hey! I wasn't doing that, dummy!" would have done better.
The audio engineer for the dub probably had a ball with the remote control scene, since Ms. O'Hara's voice really was fast-forwarded, rewound and slowed down in this version. Nice touch.
14:33: VIZ DUB: Ai: "I'm only a one-month rental, okay? There's only so much tape in there, and special effects mess me up!"
FANSUB: "My 'running time' is one month. That's my limit! Don't ever push fast forward, that shortens my life!"
Obviously special effects do mess her up, but I think that pointing out what fast-forward does was most important at this point. Terrible rewrite. Almost makes me overlook Dallas' punctuation glitch.
Pre-bath scene, after Ai says that she can wash his back:
16:35: VIZ DUB: Youta: "But what if I don't want you to?"
FANSUB: "But there's nothing in the books about how to take baths with girls!"
Youta is obviously holding one of those dating guide magazines as Ai drags him down the stairs. If Brad Swaile had spoken in the same frantic pace as his previous line, "There's nothing 'bout bathing with girls in this!" would have worked. There were no visible LFs, so why not?
17:02: VIZ DUB: Youta [in response to the phone ringing]: "Go away! I'm not home!"
FANSUB: "Who's calling at a time like this?!"
There must have been a better way than this.
17:11: VIZ DUB: Takashi [on phone, to Youta]: "We're gettin' together today, remember?"
Ai: "I'm waiting!"
FANSUB: Takashi: "I wanted to talk to you about what happened at the park today."
Ai: "Hey, the water's ready now!"
Most likely, what Takashi really said was just "About the park today--" before they were interrupted. And what sense does it make to get together "today" when it's now night time? The discrepancy in Ai's line is obvious. "Listen, Youta, about the park today--" would have fit Takashi's LF just fine, and "The water's ready!" would have fit the pause perfectly. Bad rewrite. No cookie.
18:15: VIZ DUB: Ai: "I guess he wasn't ready for the Full Monty."
FANSUB: "Looks like it was a little too exciting for Youta."
Gee, Sarge, was the reference to that goddamned movie really necessary?
18:42: VIZ DUB: Takeshi--"Look, no offense, but you're really not my type."
FANSUB: "Sorry, you're not my type."
Takeshi is not the sort of person to say "no offense." He is supposed to be a bit cold and blunt. "Look, I'm sorry, but you're really not my type." would have been more like it.
In the bath, after Youta talking about how Moemi prefers Takeshi (over him):
19:23: VIZ DUB: Ai: "Still, that doesn't mean she dislikes you. That means you've still got a chance."
FANSUB: "But still, she didn't come right out and say she didn't like you. So you still have a chance."
Seems nitpicky, but the first seems like just speculation, and the second makes it clearer with "...she didn't come right out and say..." And you don't see Ai's mouth in this bit (nice hips, though dB), so LF weren't a problem.
Bath scene, with Ai putting Youta in a wrestling hold where she is sitting on top of his head:
20:09: VIZ DUB: Youta: "I know it's kind of pathetic, but...her butt feels really good right there."
FANSUB: "The sensation of her butt on my head feels kind of good, but...I could regret this."
The last part of the fansub rings more true to the situation than the first part of the Viz translation does. "Her butt feels nice on my head, but...I could regret this" would have worked better.
20:39: VIZ DUB: Youta: "When she does something, she does it 150%, like it or not."
FANSUB: "Well, she was trying to be considerate and do the best for me."
Does this really need to be explained?
21:31: VIZ DUB: Insert song lyrics--"Message" by Nav Katze. My favourite VGAi song. Again, the lyrics are beautifully translated. At least one thing was.
21:42: VIZ DUB: Takashi (flashback)--"Look, sorry, but you're really not my type."
Different in flashback than it was originally (see 18:42). Make up your bloody mind!
23:22: VIZ DUB: Ai: "It's okay, Youta. I'm here for you. I'm right here."
FANSUB: "Cheer up, Youta. Cheer up. Never give up."
23:51: VIZ DUB: Youta: "That's when, for the very first time, it finally hit me. Our time together wouldn't be forever."
FANSUB: "Unlike before, I feel a little lonely about the fact that her 'running time' is limited."
This is the critical dramatic moment in the first episode of this series, and the Viz translation has been handled with all the delicacy of a longshoreman slinging bags of fertilizer into a cargo hold. Ms. Ledoux, how DARE you? It is lines like this that made me mad enough to start this webpage and spread awareness of the fact that the people who are expected to fork over their cash for these things are being lied to. And Viz can call it whatever they like; a lie by any other name will smell just as bad as any other dog turd stuck in front of your face.
24:31: VIZ DUB: Ending theme lyrics--"Ano Hi Ni..." ("To That Day") by Maki Kimura. Well done. Shame about the script.
24:52: VIZ DUB: Song credit. ERROR. "Ashita wa Ashita" is sung by Masakazu Katsura, and the lyrics are written by Toshi Taguchi.
26:27: VIZ DUB: Preview of episode #2. I'll comment on the individual lines as they properly appear. But If it's not immediately apparent to those who are familiar with the E. Monsoon fansubs that the previews in those were funsubbed, you know now. But, at 26:58, in the Viz dub, Ai says, "Youta, what are you up to?" She doesn't say that at the same spot in the episode. Were these different in the original Japanese version as well, or was this yet another example of Vizification?
27:37: VIZ DUB: Title--The Mysteries of the Jump Cretaceous Era Aizaurus
FANSUB: THE JUMP CRETACEOUS PERIOD: THE STORY OF AMANO AI
So which is more correct, and why an AiZaurus? Sounds pretty damn stoopid.
27:44: VIZ DUB: Youta: "Today I'd like to share with you something very special indeed. A creature first spotted in the latter half of the 20th century. Observe. A very fine specimen, don't you think? Of all the creatures of that era, the Aizaurus is among the most formidable. Ladies and gentlemen, she may look domesticated, but...SHE'S A KILLER!"
FANSUB: "Tonight we'd like to examine the facts about the cute girl characters of the Jump Cretaceous Age in the late 20th Century. And here it is. So, it's from the ‘video phylum' and is the species ‘Aisaurus.' The emergence of the ‘Aisaurus' played an epoch making role within the Jump Cretaceous Period."
Now, given the setting, which of the two of these sounds more plausible to you? Youta's descriptions of the 'Aizaurus' features in the Viz sub are a bit more faithful, but they sadly sustain the carny-huckster tone set in the above example. Ms. Ledoux, what the hell were you thinking?
28:17 and 28:36: Where's the Ai-chan Screams that were in the original? Considering how quiet it is the second time, that is yet another poor decision on the part of Viz.
28:39: VIZ DUB: Youta: "Wasn't that interesting? The world is full of natural wonders, and truly the Aizaurus is one of them."
Ai: "You wish!"
Youta: "The end."
FANSUB: Youta: "What did you think? As you might agree, the ‘Aisaurus' was the largest and strongest of the cute-girl monsters in this century."
Ai: "That can't be true!"
Ai (in a cute voice): "The end."
A sorry end to a sorry translation job.
CONCLUSION: Remember, these are all mistakes I found without being too nitpicky about it. And there are an awful lot of them, aren't there? I'm looking forward to going through eps. 2-6 about as much as I look forward to dental surgery, but, like I said, it's necessary to help identify the problem and find a way to stop it happening again in the future (remember, the next favourite anime that gets mauled like this could be yours), so onwards through the slime.
Return to Love Damage: The Viz Video Girl
Ai Lie Reports.
Return to Watson's WorldWideWasteofTime Page: Music and Anime.