An anime by any other name…

Today I thought about what is one of my favorite instances of the Pokemon anime: the sequel to Mewtwo Strikes Back. I don’t mean the second movie, I mean the special released in America as “Mewtwo Returns.” However, when I talk about it, I usually refer to it by the English name given in its Japanese release, “Mewtwo Lives.” Further still, the actual Japanese title is “Mewtwo! Ware wa Koko ni Ari” or literally “Mewtwo! I Am Here.”

That’s three titles for the same work. This happens pretty often with Pokemon too, such as in the aforementioned second movie (Lugia Bakutan, Revelation-Lugia, and The Power of One) and in the case of To Terra/Toward the Terra/Terra E, though that’s a somewhat unusual case. Usually I follow a hierarchy of English Name Given By Japanese followed by Japanese Name and possibly the American-given name if it makes it easier to understand. In that respect, I still say “Erementar Gerade” instead of the more sensible “Elemental Gelade.”

It can get kind of confusing though, and I wonder at what points exactly should I conform to convention for the sake of others. Do I from now on refer to Mousou Shoujo Otakukei as “Fujoshi Rumi?” I know that when writing reviews or academic papers, the American release title takes priority over everything else, which makes perfect sense, though I find myself somewhat resistant to using it.

Though I am thinking of referring to “Muteki Choujin Zambot 3” as “The Invincible Zambot 3” rather than the literal translation of “Invincible Superman Zambot 3.” I know it’s based on the Italian title of “L’Invincible Zambot 3,” but I think it has a nice ring to it and isn’t as awkward as using “Superman” in the title. This also goes for “The Unchallengeable Daitarn 3.”

“The Invincible Zambot 3.”

We’ll see.

PS: Zambot 3 really isn’t invincible at all.


3 thoughts on “An anime by any other name…

  1. Couldn’t “choujin” be translated as “superbeing”, which doesn’t sound as silly as “superman”?

    I always thought the “invincible” part of Zambot 3’s title was a throwback to the tendency of 70s super robot series to have ridiculous titles like “Super Electromagnetic Robot Combattler V”


  2. Superbeing and Superhuman are still okay, just not in the context of Zambot 3, I think, because it’s a robot and all.

    And Invincible Super Robot is stretching it a bit.


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