[LAEM] Can we accept an American Evangelion?

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master_lloyd
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Postby master_lloyd » Wed May 13, 2009 10:18 am

The whole thing's been sitting in development hell for years. Although WETA have been sitting on some sweet arse EVA designs. So provided someone somewhere drums up some revenue, tacks on a director and a couple of writers, it could happen.

Unlikely though.

Someone needs to send Steven Spielberg a copy of this show, I mean he seems to be making live-action versions of everything else he's seen. Oh sure he'll fuck it up, but it'll get made.
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Postby Timstuff » Wed May 13, 2009 11:44 am

PuppetChaos wrote:And now, thanks to many of the anime fanbase now working their way into the jobs where they now translate and edit for English-language release, so we get some of the most awkward translations, because they so desperately want to capture the 'original feel'. I used to read manga, but I recently picked one off the shelf, and the comic book in question had the most awkward sentence phrasing and terrible choices of words, and weird uses of Japanese idioms that make no sense in English... and ugh. I don't want to have to use a "Japanese Cultural Guide" to understand a comic book about ninjas and wizards. Another example is the Haruhi anime's use of the term 'moe'... while it doesn't have a direct translation in English, it does have many words for the different connotations... the word 'cute' would've perfectly covered what Haruhi was saying. And you have the benefit of using an actual English word that you don't need to explain, because it's an English translation! Astounding! ...I want Ted Woolsely back, he might've changed things, but his changes didn't suck... and he understood 'English language sentence structure' :| [/translation rant]


You've really touched upon a pet peeve of mine, because this is something that has annoyed me about anime fans for a long time now. If there are words in the English language that a Japanese word can translate to, then freaking USE them instead of changing languages in mid sentence! The "otaku approved" translations that we're seeing more and more of would be better described as "partial translations," because the actual sentence structure is crap, and a lot of words aren't translated. Even when you're looking at a Wikipedia article about an anime now, you'll find it's full of words that aren't translated. One example that I've picked up on lately is the word "Seiyu." Seiyu is just a Japanese word that means "voice actor." A normal person would write "He is the voice actor who played character X." A hardcore otaku, however, would say "He is the seiyu who played character X." Yeah, saying "seiyu" makes you sound more 1337 to your fellow wapanese nerds, but to everyone else, they'll look at you with a look of confusion and / or annoyance.

It's for this reason, that I'm not scared of occasionally calling anime "Japanese cartoons" or calling manga "Japanese comics," depending on who I'm talking to. If using two words in English is more effective in a conversation than using one Japanese word, then I don't see why I shouldn't. I don't have a problem using terms like "anime" and "manga" to distinguish Japanese cartoons and comics from their American equivalents, but I do feel like the line has to be drawn somewhere, especially when translation is involved. The whole point of a translation is to make a work more accessible, and when you leave words un-translated just because they don't have an exact translation in English, you are just going to annoy people who are less nerdy than you.

As you said in your post though, Evangelion does not have the kind of pull in the US that a franchise like Transformers has, which means that if LAEM gets made, it's going to have to sell on its own merits and not any perceived "nostalgia" attached to it, and that means they're going to have to make it more accessible. As you pointed out, anime fans aren't always the most reasonable lot, and as such, the filmmakers should be ready to take a lot of criticism from them early on rather than running to them for approval for every little deviation they make from the source material. The fact of the matter is that if every Evangelion fan went to see LAEM on the first day, it would not be enough to pay for the movie, so they're going to have to reach far beyond the established fanbase.

That doesn't mean fans are going to be marginalized during the production-- like with any adaptation, the filmmakers will need us to generate buzz for the movie. However, the idea that the movie will be a meticulously accurate fan pleaser is simply not what's going to happen, because what this movie needs to be is a crowd pleaser, just like with any movie with a budget over 100 million. That doesn't mean that fans won't like the end product, but some fans are a lot easier to please than others. They're not going to throw away the chance of getting non-fans to watch just to keep the hardest of the hardcore fans from complaining, because chances are they're going to complain anyway.

master_lloyd wrote:The whole thing's been sitting in development hell for years. Although WETA have been sitting on some sweet arse EVA designs. So provided someone somewhere drums up some revenue, tacks on a director and a couple of writers, it could happen.

Unlikely though.

Someone needs to send Steven Spielberg a copy of this show, I mean he seems to be making live-action versions of everything else he's seen. Oh sure he'll fuck it up, but it'll get made.


The idea that Evangelion is going to be a 150 million dollar indie film is pretty much just a fantasy. Just like any big project, it's only going to happen with a big studio backing it. It's not about "securing investors," it's about getting a studio studio to green light it.
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Postby Reichu » Wed May 13, 2009 12:36 pm

@Timstuff: Trading words across the language barrier is as ancient a practice as any. Yeah, sometimes it is just gratuitous and impedes communication, but there are other cases where words get used because they have a use. "Seiyuu" probably gets used because it's a short and sweet way to convey "Japanese voice actor", which is nice if you're in a culture (the anime fan culture) that is constantly referencing the voice actors in various language dubs. "Anime" and "manga" have similarly come into English usage because of convenience. Sure, you can use "Japanese whatever" if you think the people you're talking to won't understand you otherwise, but it's a bit presumptive to think (most?) people only use these words because they're Waps.

Also, I agree with the sentiments about translation. You really do have to be good to smooth out all the Engrish -- so some fan translators might be honestly trying to do their best, and they just need more practice -- but leaving that shit in intentionally is just bad. Like all things, though, there are some blurry middle grounds. ("Is this acceptable or not...?")

Ah, well, carry on.
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Postby master_lloyd » Wed May 13, 2009 1:03 pm

Timstuff wrote:
master_lloyd wrote:The whole thing's been sitting in development hell for years. Although WETA have been sitting on some sweet arse EVA designs. So provided someone somewhere drums up some revenue, tacks on a director and a couple of writers, it could happen.

Unlikely though.

Someone needs to send Steven Spielberg a copy of this show, I mean he seems to be making live-action versions of everything else he's seen. Oh sure he'll fuck it up, but it'll get made.


The idea that Evangelion is going to be a 150 million dollar indie film is pretty much just a fantasy. Just like any big project, it's only going to happen with a big studio backing it. It's not about "securing investors," it's about getting a studio studio to green light it.


I didn't really mean it like that. More that to make it happen someone would have to spearhead the project and pitch it to the studios. Isn't that how movies are made? Some world-weary waiter dragging his forlorn script around every producers house in Hollywood? Or is that just a cliche from the movies?
Neon Genesis Evangelion (from the Greek Ευανγελιον, meaning "Gigantic robots piloted by mentally ill children")
Eva Facts:
-Gendo's final silenced line to Ritsuko was "I'm going to shoot you now."
-Nagisa Kaworu kills a kitten every time you masturbate.
-Kaji's first and last name was Kaji

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Postby PuppetChaos » Wed May 13, 2009 1:52 pm

@Reichu. I'd say a lot of what words to use should be handled on a case-by-case basis. Some stuff it'd be much more sensible to use more Japanese... like in, let's say, using the word "Shogun" in a samurai epic. But if it's a science fiction movie with laser beams and spaceships, changing "Shogun" to "General" or "Admiral" works better.

So, yeah, it's all really about what works best in the final product.

@Timstuff. I agree wholeheartedly. Some of my favorite translations of anime and games took a lot of liberties with the source, but that made them all the better.

Like FF6 and Chrono Trigger... the US version of Kefka was even more psychotic and morbidly funny ("Son of a submariner!" "Wait? Do I look like a waiter?" "Nothing sounds better than thousands of people screaming in unison"), so when he nuked the planet, it made all the more sense than just being a typical RPG villain. Or Chrono Trigger's name changes... Ozzie, Flea and Slash ftw.

Some good pages on this subject:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_equivalence
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Woolseyism

Plus, the most awesome translation ever: http://www.flammie.net/vse/things/rad/index.htm
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