Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.
I am reminded of a quote by George Orwell: "In addition to this there is the horrible — the really disquieting — prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words "Socialism" and "Communism" draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, "Nature Cure" quack, pacifist, and feminist in England." Which I suppose is unfair to feminists, but which I find doubly hilarious because
1) The college was a Quaker institute
2) The more, shall we say, interesting individuals who self-described themselves as socialists on campus would go on long and bitter tirades about how disgusting and horrible organized religion is, and how if they ever went to Sunday mass at the campus church they'd only go there to start a fight because those darned religious whackjobs had it coming. I mean, I don't know about you, but if I'm trying to find ammunition against organized religion, Quakers seem like the most impotent salvos I could find.
(Also for any actual socialists in the playpen, I should make clear that I found a whole plethora of socialist individuals during my college experience, ranging from the honorable and admirable to the cranky and North-Korea-idolizing. The cranks make for better stories, but they don't erase the existence of their saner brethren.)
Honestly I feel bad for Mononoke. If Cinedigm is the one to pick up the DVD, that means not only was it stiffed by Disney, but GKids as well. Man, you amputate ONE foot soldier and suddenly everyone's clutching their pearls. Americans, amirite? (Wait...)
My understanding (as someone who does not watch very much anime) is that dub quality with respect to anime has come forwards in leaps and bounds over recent years.
I would agree, to a certain extent. However, I think this progress has come with its own set of problems, which is perhaps best exemplified through the shifting of what I would refer to as Sturgeon's Glut (the cruddy 90% of any art form). When it comes to older dubs, the Glut mainly consists of bowlderized and sanitized husks, where everything has been reduced and dumbed down so as not to harm the kids because as we all know, animation is only ever for kids. Now, on the other hand, the Glut mainly consists of dubs that are so slavish in their devotion to the original, Japanese source text, they adhere to it as literally as possible, without any regard for how unnatural or stilted this may make things sound in English. The problem I have with this is that, despite older shows like Speed Racer and Gigantor being pretty heavily altered for English-speaking audiences, the goal in this was to make these shows accessible to audiences who had no prior familiarity with Japanese media. Even people who don't like those shows will often admit that they served as "gateway shows" and put anime and manga on their radar. However, since any change to any aspect of Japanese media these days is often regarded as tantamount to this and results in people throwing major hissy fits, this has resulted in a lot of anime pandering to the pre-existing fanbase, rather than attempting to draw new people in. In fairness this is a phenomenon that's affecting the anime industry as a whole (lower birth rates and tanked economies tend to do that), not just the dubbing industry, but the end result is that there's very few anime these days that you can sit down and enjoy even if you know nothing about kawaii or doki-doki or even anything Japanese beforehand.
I've been watching a lot of Italian movies lately, and the interesting thing about them is that the dub vs. sub question there is very different because of the way they were produced back in their heyday: since most productions had international casts anyway, they just had everyone speak their lines in whichever language they were most comfortable with whilst shooting their scenes and then produce a series of dubs for different markets, so the Italian soundtrack will have the original Italian actors dubbing themselves plus Italian voice actors dubbing the non-Italian speakers, the English soundtrack will have the English actors dubbing themselves with and English voice actors dubbing everyone else, and so on. (This is true even of major productions like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.)
The result is that there's no one, single, obviously "original" soundtrack to the work in the way the original Japanese is the original soundtrack to an anime - and so I tend to just watch the English dub.
@Arthur: I have a question about Ramsey Campbell. I'm interested in reading him, but don't quite know which of his works is a good introduction. The works of his that are available on Archive.org are
Ghosts and Grisly Things
Night of the Claw
The Count of Eleven
The Long Lost
The Last Voice They Hear
Pact of the Fathers
The One Safe Place
I know you've written reviews for several of these, but there are also some titles I don't recognize. I think Obsession seems as good a place as any to start, but do you have any higher recommendations?
@Arthur: thanks for sharing the Kickstopper link; I found it comparably interesting and enjoyable to your other Kickstopper articles.
Fortunately, I'm also incredibly stubborn, and it takes a lot worse than this to get me to abandon a project (including an audiobook) midway through, so no worries about my putting Annihilation down.
It's just that, so far, I don't have a whole lot of interest. I listened to another chunk yesterday, and so far, the only part I've felt an emotional connection to the story is when the narrator (
didn't affect me, because 1) I'd been forewarned by the narrator, and 2) I hadn't seen enough of her character to feel anything.
I'll carry on with the book regardless, I'm just hoping I get more reason to care about the story and/or the characters.