Canto Movies Give Me an Appreciation for Fansubbers

More random pictures, 'cause I can.

I guess the first thing is that this will be a long-ass rant that goes all over the place, topic-wise. You have been warned.

The first thing to mention is that Cantonese is a language I can speak fluently, but I can only read/write at a 3rd/4th grade level (this also allows me to be able to read the majority of kanji). I mentioned yesterday that I found a site that lists Chinese movies chronologically, wherein I proceed to weed out all the Mandarin ones. I mean, if I can't understand it without subs, then I might as well be watching it in any language (although I can pick up a bit of it here and there). I started with the 2010 movies, and have been going down alphabetically at this point.

Even though I live in a neighborhood that has a high Asian density, I still have very little exposure to things like new movies coming out, so I was never able to catch up with latest movies. This is why I was ecstatic when I found a page that had what I wanted in English ('cause this probably wouldn't be so hard if I could read Chinese more proficiently).

I realize that most people that read this blog will have never watched a Cantonese movie, but any person that has watched a few of them can tell you EXACTLY what will happen before it happens. Aaro (who watches them with me) is always going WTF when I call out what is going to happen way before it happens. I think that is why my opinion on anime is different than the "general" anime blogs. I'm desensitized to things like "generic" archetypes (though I noticed that other people's opinions have been affecting mine lately...there's nothing like peer pressure huh?), since all Canto movies use the same generic story-writing and characters. I guess I look at the very simple principles, such as, "Did it make me laugh? sit on edge of my seat?" This is done rather than writing it off as something "generic". As long as it stirred my emotions a bit and I came out satisfied, it is alright in my books. I don't think something like a cliche character should immediately mean that the anime sucks. Not everything can be original and refreshing; at one point, it will be a copy of something. What it comes down to is the delivery. I mean, it isn't hard to find remakes of Romeo and Juliet but some are just atrociously done.

I guess I've never before touched on a topic that my title implies this post will be about: fansubbing. So, I mentioned earlier that Aaro watches these movies with me. He isn't Chinese and relies on English subtitles to watch them. Now, I guess another thing to mention about Canto movies is that 90% of them are humor. This combined with the fact that Cantonese has a large amount of slang in common usage probably leads to a translating nightmare. If you were to have zero-exposure to it for about 10 years, you wouldn't even know what people were saying. The spoken language just keeps changing at a fast pace because of the slang. As such, they like to give characters puns as names, which you would need to know the language to really understand. Personally knowing both languages well, I read the subs to see if they matched and I've realized that a large amount of the jokes can't be properly translated easily. That being said, I felt the need to pause the movie every time the subs screwed up and didn't explain the joke correctly. I then realized that, in doing this, I would be doing the same as dropping those TL notes during subbing, the ones that you can't read in time and are then forced to pause. I feel that stopping it down like this really ruins a joke. Eventually, I started letting these minor things slip by as I realized some jokes are being entirely missed by Aaro.

I can only assume that watching anime for someone that understands both languages would be the same. I mean, some anime (like Bakemonogatari) rely on puns and cliches to get the joke across and translating those would be a nightmare. Sure, some jokes don't need much work to get the point across, but it is kind of like the idea that I am only really getting 80% of the anime by watching with fansubs. I guess, in the end, as long as even 80% of the jokes is enough to humour me, I can still walk out happy - especially so if I don't know what I've really missed. (This reminds me of an old story about the frog in the well.)

I've always wondered why so many people are so stingy on how XX fansub group is bad, YY is amazing, etc. With firsthand experience of what bad subbing can look like, I can see why people are stingy. What I don't understand is why they would even look at subs if they know the language. It's like how I wouldn't go trolling the ones that are subbing these movies, telling them they suck. Heck, I wouldn't even have loaded the subs if Aaro wasn't watching it too, and this would never have known that they were bad. So, this leads me to believe that maybe a small minority can really tell the difference, and everyone else just copy-pastes the argument to make themselves feel smart.

I guess, after another long rant, I'm saying that I've learned that the difference between good and bad subbing is huge. It can really affect how much enjoyment you get from what you're watching. I just can't help but think that while watching my anime now, I'm not getting 100% of what is to be offered. If only I could magically understand that language perfectly... C'est la vie~

Side note: If you've got some amazing Canto movie up your sleeve, I'd love to hear about it so that I can watch it.

Extra side random note: The discovery of animenano, combined with me looking back at my older Megaten-based posts, has spurred my need to rant. I've got tons of random rant topics that I'll slowly post out.