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After finishing my whole review about Detective Conan, I realized I’d forgotten to revisit one particularly interesting aspect of the show for either the “bad” or the “ugly” section.  But while thinking about it, I realized that this isn’t a problem that is singular to that series.  Other shows have issues with this as well.  And what’s this problem that I’m talking about?  I’m talking about characters who are supposed to know English, speaking horrible English.  Also known as…”Engrish”.

 

And this one might be the worst offender of them all...

Meet Jodie Starling.  She’s American.  She’s an FBI agent.  She’s also posing as a high school English teacher in Japan so…no one knows she’s an FBI agent?  I don’t really know how that one works but oh well.  Unfortunately for her, she must not have gone to a very good school in America (or any good schools actually…) because her English sucks!

 

At least have some effort be put in.  If you want to have an American living in Japan that’s fine.  But when you cast for voices, you should make sure that the person you cast can speak with some sort of American accent.  Doesn’t matter if it’s Southern, Midwestern, Texas, Boston…who cares.  Her American accent comes first, then the Japanese one.  She isn’t a Japan-born citizen living in America.  She’s an America-born citizen living in Japan!  Was it really too difficult to find one person in Japan who was born in America and is fluent in Japanese?  Was it?

 

At least it's better than "A secret makes a ooman, ooman"...

But the “Engrish” doesn’t stop there folks.  Usually I can take a little bit of Engrish in songs.  A little bit.  It can be funny.  Rarely can a stand a full song of Engrish.  Red Fraction by Mell is pretty much as close as it gets to an Engrish song that I can take seriously.  The top offender in this category is the songs of Beck Mongolian Chop Squad.  At least the ones that are in English anyways.

Out of anything, I wish they explained the franken-dog. They need a spin-off about him.

The worst offender has to be the song “Moon on the Water: Full Moon Sway”.  The version that Sowelu sings anyhow.  Now Sowelu is a gorgeous singer and I’m not faulting her for her voice in any fashion.  This song has the potential to be very gorgeous and lyrically it’s made more gorgeous in the English version (actually singing wise…it’s horrendous) because at least the effort was put forth to try to make sense of the song.  Now I understand poetry is supposed to be symbolic and metaphoric.  But symbolism and metaphors are no excuse for poor grammar.  And being from another country is no excuse for it either, especially when you’re working in a profession or on a project that calls for you to know what you’re doing.  I understand having a character mess up on words if they’re a student in an English class and I understand having a basic non-English speaking characters speak poor English.  Those are deliberate choices made for those specific people.  But if you’ve got songwriters writing a song completely in English I’m pretty sure that a line like “I was fool, I couldn’t let myself to go…” would get corrected somewhere along the way.  I’m pretty sure the line is supposed to be “I was sure, I couldn’t let myself go” but what do I know…?  I’m not a songwriter.  What’s worse is that the series the band is marketed to an American audience and is apparently popular in America.  In the real world this just wouldn’t be possible.  Because most people would laugh at the blatant “Engrish” and pass it up for your basic song that actually make sense.  Let’s face it…even the theme song to this show doesn’t make sense.  I love “Hit in the USA” and I love the Beat Crusaders but really…can someone just tell me what any of these words mean?

 

“I never dreamed before

I’m gonna knock the door

Into the world of perfect free (you ain’t no lonely)”

Really?  No one has a clue?  I’m not surprised.  Though if I’m going by the context of the series my best guess would be that the song is about following your dreams, breaking down barriers, and making it big (specifically in America).  But there wasn’t anyone who could’ve written that song with better grammar?  No one?!

 

Look, this doesn’t only go for anime.  If you want to feature characters that speak various languages in your shows or write a song using a different language, by all means go for it.  But people aren’t stupid.  You’re show is going to hit another audience and having a native English speaking character speak broken English shows through.  Or a native Spanish character speaking broken Spanish with a French accent.  Those things make a difference.  Take the time to learn a proper amount of grammar before you decide to write a character that speaks a language that you don’t know.  Or better yet, hire or find a person that will be willing to help you out with your scripts and/or casting.  It’s not a difficult task.  It just takes a little more effort and if that means that your product is delayed a bit then so be it.  Better a delayed product with clear effort put in it than a haphazardly done finished one.

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Now this isn’t going to be a full series review as Nekogami Yaoyorozu is a relatively new series.  Anime wise.  The manga’s been around since 2007 but I’m only reviewing the anime here.  Crunchyroll so far has two episodes up but without a premium membership to the site, you can only watch the first one.  So here’s a basic rundown of the show.

 

Nekogami Yaoyorozu is about a young cat goddess named Mayu who is banished the realm of deities called Takamagahara.  The series picks up as four years after this point in time and Mayu is currently living in an antique shop.  She’s been stripped of most of her abilities as a deity as well.

 

This show is a comedy and stylistically it feels like yet another cutesy, Lucky Star type series.  So if you like a show like that, you might be interested in Nekogami Yaoyorozu.  The comedic style also runs similarly to Lucky Star.  It feels slightly sporadic and silly and very little of what’s going on makes much sense.  I love comedy, but my personal choice of comedy usually isn’t the Lucky Star brand of works.  While it’s cute, there usually isn’t much substance.  So it’s a good thing to watch if you’re in a down mood or had a stressful day.  It’s a type of show where you don’t have to think much about what’s going on.  Just accept that you probably won’t understand all the scenarios and you should be fine.

 

The one thing that stuck out to me as interesting were the various gods presented and the relationship between them.  You’ve got Mayu, a cat goddess, and her fiance who’s another cat goddess (Sasana).  Yes.  Cat goddess…their parents apparently arranged for their marriage without checking the gender of each others child.  It’s a relatively quirky moment in the series.  Not a “laugh out loud” moment, but definitely one you’ll at least chuckle at (and possibly face-palm as well…because both children were clearly female and it’s weird that the fathers would set them up without knowing the other child was also female).  The god of harvest, Gonta (a fox god), the granddaughter of the god of darkness, Meiko, and the goddess of poverty, Shamo.  And the one who has to put up with the insanity between all of them is Yuzu.  Now I claim the relationships between all the characters are interesting for a few reasons.  The “romantic” relationships are fairly funny but the way they relate to each other as deities is just fun.  The rest of the deities act as protectors over this town and so when Shamo (goddess of poverty) shows up, they feel that their sole duty is to throw her out of town.  There are many rumors that surround her about her abilities such as she can make a stock market crash just by passing by it, or by being in your presence she can cause you to feel lethargic or to lose track of your money or possessions.  And it’s even rumored that she was the cause behind the Great Depression.  So when the other gods confront her they can only think of fighting and getting rid of her.  All in all this leads to an adorable scene where Shamo shows the level of authority she has.  She even has the other gods and goddesses bowing to her.  Though she sounds stern at first she then reveals that she’s actually proud of the work that they’re doing and that she’ll leave the town…only to then decide to stay because she wants to beat the video game she’s playing.

 

This series is definitely adorable and the comedy isn’t the funniest, but it has it’s moments.  If cute and quirky is something you like in a series, you’ll most likely enjoy this one.

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