At Eirtakon this year I presented a panel on a particular interest of mine, awful anime dubbing. It’s one of these things that always gets a good few laughs, especially when you present clips of some anime dubs that, whether through accident or design, are just hilariously inept, completely nonsensical, or downright offensive.
Quite a few people approached me after the panel and asked could they have copies of the clips I played. Since all of them are actually available on youtube, I thought I’d post some of the highlights here.
So we start off with some of the attempts that companies localising anime made to translate the opening for a particular show. Some of these were valiant attempts, others were just epically bad.
- Bow-chika-wow! This opening was recorded by Mark Mercury, a “space, electronic, electro-acoustic, ambient, cinematic” musician”. From the 70s (in case you hadn’t noticed).
- Soldiers of warlords from deep space! Before Robotech, Harmony Gold produced a “concept” english dub of Macross entitled Space Fortress Macross. You have to love the way this song describes the plot of the entire show. Which is a recurring theme…
- Seijushi Bismarck is a funky little show with robotic, rocket powered horses. It was brought over to the states and retitled Saber Rider and The Star Sheriffs:
- So here’s the original Japanese opening to a show called Ninja Senshi Tobikage, remember the tune because you’ll hear it again in a second.. NINJA ROBOTS! NINJA ROBOTS! This has it all. You have to hand it to them, they did a great job of summarising the entire show and re-using the melody of the original OP.
- Back in the 80s, the fantastic film Macross: Do You Remember Love was chopped to bits, given a comedy dub in Hong Kong and released as Clash Of The Bionoids. Check out these clips of “jet jockey in action”.
- Some brilliantly awful clips from the Ziv dub of Harlock.
- I’m a sugar frosted donut…. with cream:
- The dub isn’t the only amazing thing about Black Lion, it was created by Go Nagai after all, but it does complete the experience:
- Wow, just wow. Tecno Police is the archetypal example of the early 80s Hong Kong chop job. Originally planned as a series but then abandoned, the remaining footage was cobbled together and released as a movie in the UK. Some interesting people who would go on to much greater things worked on it, including Toshimichi Suzuki (Bubblegum Crisis) Joe Hisaishi (composer for many Ghibli films) and Shoji Kawamori (Macross). Thankfully, it sank without a trace:
- Whilst Transformers finished its original run over here, in Japan it kept going with disastrous results. Yet another HK dub for the SE Asia and UK markets. There were also quite a few bizarre name changes – Metroplex is called “Phillip”, and Fortress Maximus is known as “Spaceship Bruce” :/
- It’s impossible to describe what happens in Garzey’s Wing, so I’m not going to try:
- Stopthenonsense! It’s Locke the Superman. This is yet *another* Hong Kong dub for the SE Asia and UK markets. A long-running manga given an even longer OVA treatment between 1984 and 2000, the first OVA was dubbed and released as Locke the Superpower:
- In the early 90s, many anime importers got into the habit of inserting copious amounts of swearing into their dubs in order to bump the rating up to 15 or 18. A cynical person would say it played up to the then prevalent tabloid image of anime as “violent japanese porno cartoons”, but that would be ridiculous! Here’s a selection of some of the more extreme examples:
So that about sums it up… or does it? If you find this kind of thing hilarious, I recommend you check out Bad American Dubbing from the Corn Pone Flicks guys, or Mike Tool’s Dubs That Time Forgot panels. I stole some of my funnier content from these guys 😉