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Urk.

You know, I should have known something was rotten in the Kwanto Province. When I saw that Geneon/Pioneer was putting out the American release of the Revolutionary Girl Utena soundtrack, alarms should have gone off in my head like unto sirens warning of incoming Backfires over Fairbanks during the Cold War. However, I was so enthusiastic about the chance to get a legit copy, I got online and ordered a copy along with ADV's new All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Sound Phase OIVCD.

First the good news: Geneon didn't screw up the front cover art, and the music is the same excellent music released on the Japanese OST and made familiar to fans through (mostly) the DVDs and the Son May bootlegs.

Now the bad news. Whoever did the translations should be taken out and shot, preferably starting with the knuckle joints so they can't screw anything up this badly ever again. This may sound harsh, but there are at least TWO good translations of the song titles and lyrics out there, and there is NO excuse whatsoever for perpetrating such wretched Japlish as "The Revolution of Absolute Destiny" and "Brightened Garden" instead of "Absolute Destiny Apocalypse" and "The Sunlit Garden". Did anyone at Geneon even bother to familiarize themselves with the series at all before going to work on this project? Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the series wouldn't have made this kind of screwup, unless they deliberately avoided watching the subtitles. "Alien Kashira", my ass...and then we open up the booklet.

It's good to have the translations of the liner notes by Saito and Ikuhara, though referring to Saito-sensei as "Comics" is just...bad. The screenshots also look far less crisp than the Son May version, and the lyrics translations...ugh. I don't know what happened here - whether it was just sloppiness or indifference, but this is just shoddy work by a company that has turned out much better. I can only wonder how much better this would have been if Central Park Media (the folks who own the license for the Utena DVDs) had been in charge. It certainly couldn't have been much worse.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
wombat_socho
May. 7th, 2004 08:39 pm (UTC)
The real deal, IMAO
The most excellent site Empty Movement has a wonderful compilation of information on the eight(!)Utena OST albums here, including the title and lyric translations formerly found at the now-defunct Utena Encyclopedia. Fine, fine work.
(Anonymous)
May. 11th, 2004 05:58 pm (UTC)
Saito and "comics"
Query... did they leave the random French in this version? In my (admittedly Son May) copy of the OST, Saito and Ikuhara's titles/what they worked on were actually done in French. Next to Chiho Saito's names they have written "une bande dessinee" (imagine an acute accent over the second to last e) which is of course literally _French_ for "comics" or "a comic strip." On one hand, if they didn't leave it in French, they probably should have since that was obviously an artistic decision. On the other hand, the translation to "comics" is accurate.

Comics, manga, bandes dessinees... they're all the same thing anyway. Different languages. That's all.

I understand being irked with the translation... although the deviation from the CPM translations may have also been intentional. There may be copyrights on the translations; I'm not quite sure how that works.

OTOH, Geneon, formerly Pioneer, has been known on some occasions for some pretty "loose" or sloppy Japanese translations in the past.

--dq@deathquaker.org
wombat_socho
May. 11th, 2004 08:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Saito and "comics"
DQ wrote:
Comics, manga, bandes dessinees... they're all the same thing anyway. Different languages. That's all.

I understand being irked with the translation... although the deviation from the CPM translations may have also been intentional. There may be copyrights on the translations; I'm not quite sure how that works.

OTOH, Geneon, formerly Pioneer, has been known on some occasions for some pretty "loose" or sloppy Japanese translations in the past.


They translated the French that was in the original liner notes. My daughter has the SM version, so I was able to compare. As for copyrighting the translation, I suppose that's possible, and that could be the reason for the screwy (though, as Chris Kern insists, more accurate) Engrish of the song titles and lyrics. I hadn't heard that Pioneer had been sloppy on this before, but I'll certainly be watching out for it now. As for comics and manga being the same...I dunno. I think there's a lot of difference between what's cranked out here by Marvel and DC and what comes over here to be translated by Viz, Tokyopop and the rest, so I find the conflation of comics with manga annoying. ("Hi. My name is Kevin, and I'm a manga nerd." Chorus:"Hi, Kevin.")
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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