Through the Looking Glass (Translator’s Note: Looking Glass Means Mirror)

Here in the English-speaking anime and gaming internet communities, analyses of translations are never uncommon. Whether it’s to praise a localization or to condemn for whatever reasons such as inaccuracies or censorship, it’s something that comes packaged with media coming from other countries.

One thing we do not see as often though is how Japan reacts to localizations of our cartoons and video games. As such, I’ve compiled a list of some interesting posts, blogs, etc. which look at the world of Japanese-English adaptations from various angles.

Adventures in Localization, MW2 Edition

The most recent thing to come up, apparently the Japanese release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is marred by poor translations overall, which are leading some Japanese games swearing that they will buy the Asian English-language version of the game before this. Sound familiar?

Sakae Moon Street

See this Japanese fan discuss those wild and crazy cartoons from America such as Ben 10, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Code Lyoko! He mostly posts plot summaries and information on voice actors and such, but also posts fanart sometimes, and has a gallery full of his older works. He also speaks some English and has even translated a few posts, such as in his review of the Avatar episode, “The Blind Bandit.”

I think that “Colosseum”, “Macho” and “Sumo wrestler” are loved particularly in the American cartoon. The picture of this film is wonderful. And there are a lot of highlights as for the action scene. I think this action scene is rivaled to “Matrix” or “Ghost in the shell”.

Toph’s character is like a princess more than I had thought. She is keeping the weakness secret on the other side of strength of vender power. I like it. However, of course, she is tough too. And I am surprised because Katara grew up tougher. The director of Avatar wants to show that Katara looks senior compared with Toph, isn’t it?


In the blogger’s own words, “I don’t know why, but translated Japanese things attract me.” Dekadenbiyori is quite unusual though in that it reviews the English translations of Japanese works FOR Japanese readers, something which I imagine doesn’t have the largest audience but is still a fascinating subject. See here as he tears apart the poor localization of the Shakugan no Shana light novel and its inability to not make the main character sound “special.” You don’t need to know Japanese in order to understand his disdain for this translation.

Burning Becky Review

Japanese Super Blogger and Mitsudomoe fan Tamagomago writes a review of a most unusual manga called Burning Becky. The comic’s style is heavily based on American super hero comics, right down to the cover with a logo in the upper left corner as well as English sound effects and the very fact that it’s a manga about a super hero. Tamagomago himself wrote the post as if he were an American speaking Japanese. This one isn’t so easy to read so I’ll provide a little sample. I had planned on translating the entire article here for English-speaking readers to enjoy, but that hasn’t happened. At least not yet.


One of the good points about American Comics is that they’re so dynamic and exciting, one might say that they’re practically illustrations in their descriptive power. This is likely the result of  refining techniques for the sake of including so many characters on so few pages. Of course that’s dependent on the individual artist and so it’s not universal.

5 thoughts on “Through the Looking Glass (Translator’s Note: Looking Glass Means Mirror)

  1. Oh god, I had not seen the Mitsudomoe anime announcement yet. I knew this day was coming, I just did not think it would come so soon.


  2. Code LYOKO is actually French. You can tell because of its essential Frenchness: It makes no sense, but it makes no sense differently from Japanese cartoon writing.


    • Hmm you’re right. Now that I think about it, Code LYOKO feels VERY “French” in terms of the animation style and techniques as well as the pacing of the action.

      Thanks for the correction.


      • It’s easy to confuse because it airs on American TV with an english dub (it might be a Canadian company now that I think on it but I don’t know). This is just one of those weird things French animation companies do. See also Oban (which they dubbed into like every language that exist) and Basquash (which is technically anime but has a bunch of French producers).

        I don’t know if they’re subsidized or what.


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