October 05, 2008
Just writing to say thanks for your review and commentary on Shingu. It just finished a run (dubbed only) on Comcast on-demand. The last time I gave up on it after a few episodes because it seemed so stilted; perhaps that is just the dub, but the way some of the characters spoke just seemed to much like a teleprompter in use with artificial cheer injected. Except for Nayuta...
If all you've heard is the dub version of the show, you've missed much of the fun. I listened to the dub for a while, but I couldn't listen to it for long.
The voice actor who did Muryou was awful. Just the pits. He made Muryou sound like an arrogant prick, which is the opposite of how he comes across in the Japanese version.
And if you listened to the English dub, then you missed out on the Japanese voice work for Nayuta, which was absolutely sterling. And of Kyoichi, who has the same seiyuu as Kyon in Haruhi. This part is even more fun than that one.
You also missed out on Kugimiya Rie doing a non-tsundere loli in the voice of Futaba, Hajime's younger sister. (And Kyouko, Hajime's mom, has the same voice as Akane in Ranma 1/2.)
Generally I am a believer that the Japanese sound track is nearly always better than the English dub, but in this case there isn't any doubt whatever about that. The Japanese voice work was head and shoulders above the English dub.
Anyway this time I caught every episode, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm not sure it would be in my top 5 list, but its definitely good, and I'll be keeping an eye open for a affordable disk set at some point. I think I'd like to watch it subbed.
It's already out as a budget thinpak, for $45. That's what I got. It won't be getting any cheaper than that any time soon because Nozomi is not interested in engaging in cut-throat pricing like some release houses I could name.
So there's really no reason to wait, and it is worth that price.
May 17, 2008
ANN had an article (SPOILERS) the other day about Shingu which said some things about it I found frankly astounding.
I strongly disagree with the guy's opinion about the music. I think the music is outstanding. But what really blew me away was this:
Shingu did not do well in Japan, having been beaten into the ground in the ratings from nearly the first episode and finally truncated to 26 episodes (from its originally planned 39).
The series doesn't feel truncated to me. It really feels as if it happened the way the director wanted it to happen. How in hell could it have originally been planned for 39 episodes? I think he must be wrong about this.
October 30, 2007
You know, with all the times I've watched Shingu, Secret of the Stellar Wars, I've never listened to the dub, until now.
Just for the hell of it I think I'll listen to a few episodes. I seriously doubt I'm going to want to watch the whole thing that way, though. First thoughts:
The English voice of Hajime is excellent. Toshio and Jirou are also excellent. Yamamoto-sensei I'm not as thrilled with. And the voice of Muryou was terribly cast, and badly directed.
Muryou is a very even-tempered characters, mild mannered. There are only a couple of times in the series where his voice gets sharp, and only one time when he gets outright angry and yells at someone.
In the Japanese original, in the second episode during the duel on the roof with Moriguchi, Muryou's calmness almost comes across as disdainful. It certainly is part of what makes Moriguchi see red. In the English dub, Muryou comes across a lot differently. He sounds angry. It's wrong.
I haven't heard enough of Nayuta's voice yet to know whether it's going to be good, but it's unlikely to stack up against Paku Romi's work in the Japanese, which was absolutely brilliant, one of the best voice performances I've ever heard.
Futaba's voice was a pleasant surprise; much better than I expected.
A disappointment, but not a surprise, is that they're botching some of the names. Futaba's name is getting pronounced as foo-tah-bah -- which is wrong. It's ff-tah-bah, clearly, in the Japanese dub, or almost so. The "u" sound in the first syllable is seriously deemphasized.
I've got it going with the original Japanese subtitles while I'm listening to the English dub, and one of the big differences is the names people use. Where Moriguchi uses "Subaru" in the Japanese original, he uses "Muryou" in the dub. Even sempai to kohei, they wouldn't really be on a first name basis given that Moriguchi is massively suspicious of Muryou and is actively trying to kill him. (Or something close to that.)
Generally speaking, first names are getting used a lot more than they really should be, not just that particular example.
Reason I'm paying attention to the dub is that I'm giving a copy of Shingu to someone as a gift tomorrow, and he isn't likely to watch it with the original Japanese. I want to know how much the series will suffer when watched in English. So far, the answer is "not much". Dubs are almost never as good as the original, but this one seems to have been done pretty well.
UPDATE: If I had been involved in the casting, I'd have swapped the voices of Moriguchi and Muryou. And I'm not really happy with Setsuna's voice. Not at all.
UPDATE: They've changed the character of Muryou. It's not just the voice performance; they've rewritten his lines to make him more edgy. I don't like it.
UPDATE: Shun's voice is not bad at all. A bit unexpected, but I think it works for me.
UPDATE: Badness, but it's a spoiler:
The last one is particularly egregious. Nayuta uses a telekinetic blast to save Hajime from the Zaiglian operative, and warns Hajime first. It sounds like she's in the same room and shouts "Duck!" But she's actually in the next room and there's no connection between the two of them. (Yet. She hasn't put a hole in the wall yet.)
Bad, bad, bad. There's one more coming up, where Nayuta sends a telepathic message to Hajime and we see her while she's doing it. Her mouth doesn't move. I wonder how it will sound.
UPDATE: Alas, Nayuta's English voice is only barely adequate. It's not as bad a casting choice as the voice of Muryou, but she just cannot measure up. I didn't think she would; no one could match Paku Romi's original.
UPDATE: The English voice of Nayuta is giving it a good try.
UPDATE: The voice of Jiltosh sucks royally. What a horrible casting choice!
UPDATE: OK, I think I've had enough.
October 12, 2007
August 23, 2007
Author has some examples of face faults by Nayuta in Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars. As such things go, they're not very extreme. But I like this particular image of Futaba:
Author also talks about being freaked out by the one-and-only panchira in Shingu. I can't for the life of me understand why!
August 21, 2007
I mentioned the other day that there are good sides and bad sides to having commenting enabled. Right now it seems to be going well on Chizumatic, and let's hope it stays that way.
I find myself frustrated right now because Author doesn't allow commenting. I fully understand why, but it leaves me in the position of having to quote essentially all of his most recent post about Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars so that I can respond to it. Alas.
Anyway, mild spoilers, so it's under the fold.more...
He's doing this just to torture me. I know it!
By the way, my criticism of the Shingu OP has nothing to do with whether the song is any good. It happens I think it's "meh" but that's because I'm not a big fans of ballads.
My criticism of the OP is of the visuals. There are two problems with it: it's dull, and it doesn't tell us anything at all about the series.
August 15, 2007
For his 19th wedding anniversary, Author's wife got him a copy of Shingu. If that's not love, what is?
UPDATE: I don't drink anymore. I stopped drinking 13 years ago and I'm not tempted to start again. Alcohol wasn't good for me. I'm better off without it.
But before alcohol became a problem, it was a beverage, and often a pleasure. I used to really like good cabernets; that was my favorite wine.
I remember one time, round about 1977, I was on a road trip and went through Napa Valley, and visited Beaulieu Vineyards and took their tour. And, of course, I visited their store afterwards and bought a few bottles. BV was actually my favorite wine at the time, and I picked up one bottle of their 1973 "Private Reserve". Cost me $30 -- which would be about $100 today. (It would have been even more expensive at a store.)
Eventually there was a special occasion and I opened it and shared it with some friends. And it was magnificent.
What was different about it? It's hard to really put into words, of course. I don't recall that it tasted different than a regular cabernet. It was more like it was richer. It was the same flavor but more so. A truly remarkable wine. I'm sure it can't be found anymore, and anyway it would be past its peak by now. But it was what all wine should be, but of course isn't. (The vineyards would love to do it if they could, but no one knows how to do it consistently on a large scale.)
After drinking that wine, regular cabernets tasted watered down. Kind of thin, really.
Something like Haibane Renmei is qualitatively different from other shows. There's never really been anything like HR, before or since. It's not only really, really good, it's also unique.
Shingu isn't unique. It isn't even really all the original. It's more like that magnificent cabernet: the same as a normal one, but richer, more intense. It's what all shows should be like -- but somehow, they aren't.
July 31, 2007
July 30, 2007
In the sixth episode of Shingu, at one point Hachiyou's grandfather and Nayuta's father talk to Hajime about something that happened in ep 4 (which I'm not going to describe). Nayuta sees this, and calls him away. He comes over to her, and she asks, "What did my father say to you?"
And Hajime says, Musume o yoroshiku tte sa.
Musume == "daughter"
o is the object particle
yoroshiku is a very versatile word. In this case it means "please think well of" or "please take care of".
tte is a quotation particle.
But the icing on the cake is sa. It is like trailing yo, an emphasis, but when a man uses it, it indicates that he thinks what he's saying is obvious. So what Hajime said was:
"Please look out for my daughter," obviously!
He's teasing Nayuta gently, and she knows it. Her response is "Baaaka!" What he's really telling her is to mind her own business.
I love the sa terminal!
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