-Z- (Z@Gundam.Com)
Thu, 25 Nov 1999 17:35:47 -0800

At 11:45 11/25/1999 -0500, you wrote:
>>What a ridiculous assertion! One need look no further than Star Trek to
>>see that characterizations can be done quite effectively with speech
>>patterns in English. Spock's distinctly "logical" delivery is so widely
>>imitated as to be a cliche now.
>OK, you are right. However, in Japanese, it's not just the accent and
>delivery but things such as how they address themselves and others. For
>example, there are about a dozen different ways to say "I", each with a
>different feel. Relena uses watakushi; Heero, Trowa and Wufei ore; Quatre
>boku; Sally and Zechs watashi.

There's a dozen politeness levels and a few regional accents (with their
associated social connotations) and varying degrees of formality, too. But
all that can be covered by finding the corresponding demographic in the
target language. Or creating a characterization of similar eccentricity if
the role is that of an outsider and thus has no corresponding demographic.

That's a combination of good translation, good writing and good acting.

The problem is that the voice overs are done by a closed shop, none of whom
I would deem to be very good actors.

>It's hard to explain, but I guess I'm trying to say that Japanese depends
>more on the actual difference in words rather than accent or delivery. (for
>example, if Heero is to say "die" to someone, he would use "shine". Duo
>would use "shinjimae". Relena "shininasai".)

You'd get the same effect in English by word choice. Heero might say
"waste" or "off", Duo "croak" or "kick" and Relena "pass away" or expire"....

>>The problem with dubbed anime is that the voice actors are never allowed to
>>develop any characterizations. They're too busy just trying to get the
>>dialogue out to the beat dictated by the mouth movements. The closest they
>>ever get to true voice acting is copping a funny accent or weird laughter.
>I agree with this part. Although since the voice is recorded after the
>pictures in almost all Japanese anime, the Japanese voice actors are
>basically in the same boat... Maybe the difference is that Japanese relies
>more on word difference than delivery of the lines for characterizations,
>making their job easier.

I think they just get people who can act ... and then LET them act.

>I once asked a friend, a fairly well known Japanese voice actress how she
>learned to synchronize her lines to mouth movements. She said it's an
>acquired skill, and quite different from normal acting. (She also does

Any actor worthy of the name can learn a new form or style of
delivery. It's part of the job of being an actor. Voice over work is more
than just reading lines, which is the impression I get when I hear a lot of
what passes for voice acting here in America.


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