Back to the Vaults 02 – Azumanga Daioh (part 1)

Back to the Vaults – Azumanga Daioh (part 1)

I had forgotten that I’d planned to do another of these entries after I finished re-watching Chobits. Its odd, but it wasn’t as enjoyable this time around. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I did still enjoy watching Chobits and plan to do so again sometime down the road, but I suppose that its lost some of its gloss over the years as I’ve seen better titles. Plus, there’s the fact that when I watch, I think, “Smeg! I need to read the manga to get the parts the anime story dropped.” Then I remember that I sold my copy of the manga because of that AWFUL TokyoPop adaptation (It’s not “Plum” you smeg heads! It’s “Sumomo!”) made me cringe something fierce. One day I’ll buy it in Japanese and read it that way.

Azumanga DaiohUpon finishing Chobits, the next anime I pulled from the vault was one I’d never actually watched on DVD passed the first episode — Azumanga Daioh. So why have I owned the box set for how ever many years its been out and not watched it? Well to put it bluntly, to see “Yukari-sensei” and “Sensei” so-called translated into “Miss Yukari,” I got annoyed. Seeing “Chiyo-chan” was cool, but when they put up the image for Sakaki-san with the bubble showing her name in Kanji and and in Hiragana, ADV accurately translated the Kanji to “Sakaki-san” and the Hiragana to “Miss Sakaki” (they did the same thing for Kagura-san). I screamed, stopped the DVD player, and I never watched it again…until now.

So what changed my mind?

Well, I really wanted to see it again, and because of that, I can hold down my vomit at the forced domestication of the names (san’s the use of “chan”) and ADV’s mind-numbing policy of “We can only use it in the sub if we’ve used it in the dub.” So since they use “chan” in the dub, we get it in the sub.

Azumanga DaiohStill, when we got to the episode where Chiyo-chan is a 2nd-year student and not getting any respect, I had to hold myself back. ADV decided to actually use “2nd-year” instead of “junior” in the subtitles and I thought, “That’s odd” because I don’t remember many (if any) R1 DVD’s I’ve watched use the Japanese way of describing school terms (1st-year, 2nd-year, 3rd-year) rather than the American way (sophomore, junior, senior). But, when Chiyo-chan demanded be addressed by a kouhai as “Chiyo-senpai” and the wonderful subs said “Senior Chiyo,” I had my answer. After all, it would be even MORE confusing if they’d said Chiyo-chan was a junior in high school, then had her track down a 1st-year student and demand he address her as “Senior.”

HEY ADV! Get a bloody clue! Using “senior” as a forced-translation for “senpai” is awful! Heck, even bloody Geneon uses “senpai” in the subtitles (at least for the titles I own of theirs). And I think that Bandai does as well on Planetes (need to watch my DVDs there too).

But I digress…^_^;

I swallowed my irritation because this is just such a great anime. I love the girls (the chemistry of the seiyuu is perfect), I love Yukari-sensei, and I just love the wacky events (and sometimes non-events) that happen as we follow these girls through their three years of high school. Its just good, fun stuff and a perfect anime to lighten one’s mood (and even overcome my irritation with ADV’s honorific usage…though to be fair there, the rest of the translations were pretty accurate). Azumanga Daioh is just good stuff.

Sorry about the rant. Eventually, I’ll get around to publishing my “Why Honorifics Are Important in the Subtitles” article. ^_^;;;;;

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