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Author Topic: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?  (Read 492 times)

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Offline kosarei

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Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« on: January 24, 2017, 09:16:20 PM »
Anyone watched Hanada shounen-shi here?

I searched using the keyword Hanada shounen-shi but could not find any results.

I have a question.

I really love the Anime.

One day my Japanese friend said 'if you don't know Japanese, you can not say you fully enjoyed this animation.'.

But I think I really enjoyed the anime.

Do you think there is such a huge difference between watching Anime in Japanese and in English?

Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
k - (K)azuya Uesugi / Touch & o - (O)scar François de Jarjayes / The Rose of Versailles, & s - (S)pike Spiegel / Cowboy Bebop & a - (A)rale Norimaki / Dr.Slump & r - (R)ei Ayanami / Evangelion & e - (E)dward Elric  / Fullmetal Alchemist & i - (I)chigo Kurosaki / Bleach

Offline Forlorn Serpent

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2017, 09:24:20 PM »
I think your friend was confusing language with culture. Even though they are basically a mixture. If you don't know the culture, as in the language component that was used in the anime, you will miss certain things that outsiders fail to notice.

Do translations transfer the exact message? No they don't. But I say 80% is sent across.

But I think your friend was just being a snob.

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Online Manimal

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2017, 09:28:48 PM »
Not heard of Hanada till now but looking it up it seems like one of those shows that doesn't really translate, much like the other long running series no one subs.

I think there is always something lost in not understanding the language, all the puns and humor based on the words, even when the subs describe it, it still doesn't fully register all the time.

Listening to Japanese music you lose a whole lot, but also focus on the voice and melodies more. Like the tones, that's why I love it so much. The sounds, and vocal tones...it can still make artists like Utada Hikaru and Seiko Oomori click on the same level as other stuff, though lyrically it sucks to miss out on Seiko's great writing. Like a Japanese Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen would not have the same effect of course without the words, but Jap tunes are so integrated with my other musical selections that  doesn't matter anymore. I just like how the words sound mostly.

But back to anime I don't feel it's that important, will you lose stuff watching dubs? Sure but I don't think it effects ones enjoyment if you prefer it that way. Things will always get lost in translation but what can ya do eh?

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 02:11:54 AM »
Translations and dubs may give you a slightly different story due to the things "lost in translation" that only make sense in Japanese (like puns, for example), but to say that you didn't enjoy a media simply because of those things is outright preposterious, and I agree that your friend sounds a little snobbish to say so. Just because what you enjoyed might have been slightly different from how it would be understood linguistically or culturally doesn't mean it didn't immerse you and that you didn't FEEL something from it.

Honestly, people who try to act like such purists get on my nerves. It degrades translation and localization as arts and writes them off as bastardizations and almost criminalizes enjoyment of these "impure" works. Ugh, I hold back the urge to roll my eyes as I type about that ideology.

I understand where it comes from, though, from back in the day when dub translations were garbage and voice actors were inexperienced here in the West, so western releases of things like anime and manga were...rough. Yes, it's true that language provides a perspective, but to dare suggest it as a requirement is so exclusatory, like "how dare you like this thing I like! Let me make it complicated to determine if you're a 'real fan'!" Like, wtf is a "real fan" anyway?
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Offline kosarei

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2017, 06:24:35 AM »
Forlorn Serpent, Manimal, MahluaandMilk, thank you guys.

I read your all of your replies.

I really appreciate your replies.

All of your advice are very helpful to me.

Now I know how stupid my question was and I don't care what my friends said. :)

Manimal, it was very good to me.

I recommend you to watch hanada.

It is funny and touching anime.  :thumbsup:
k - (K)azuya Uesugi / Touch & o - (O)scar François de Jarjayes / The Rose of Versailles, & s - (S)pike Spiegel / Cowboy Bebop & a - (A)rale Norimaki / Dr.Slump & r - (R)ei Ayanami / Evangelion & e - (E)dward Elric  / Fullmetal Alchemist & i - (I)chigo Kurosaki / Bleach

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2017, 10:39:24 AM »
It's not a stupid question, so don't feel bad for asking it. In fact, it's quite a discussion and many people in the community disagree. I guess the three of us just stepped forward most quickly and happened to be of the same opinion. As I said, the other side, which would say as your friend did, does have some valid reasoning.

I think it's more just the way your friend framed it, like "you can't enjoy it unless you understand everything about it." On one hand, that makes sense, but on the other, there are many things that people sometimes don't understand that they enjoy. For example, I think lightning storms are absolutely beautiful, and I understand the basics behind how they happen, but I don't understand the intricacies of the meteorological situations and such. If I did, it might deepen my appreciation for the phenomenon, just as knowing Japanese might help you appreciate the show/manga more than you did before, but things like art, storytelling, character, and even voice acting, regardless if you're a sub or dub person, can all be appreciated.

Another example is that I often listen to music in various languages, including my mother tongue of English, but also Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, and Russian--languages which I may only know very little of (despite having been studying Spanish for about four years), and yet I can appreciate the skill of a singer despite their language not being mine. I'm also a person who likes to appreciate a culture through its own lens, and again, doing that helps me understand and enjoy more.

It's a very deep and well-meaning question. What does it mean to enjoy, and what does it mean to understand? How are they related? Does one require the other?
"My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking for others!"--Marquis de Sade
"A loss of innocence / one hand to wash the other / be a perfectionist / you're nothing if you're just another"--TBM, "Goodnight"
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Offline 50 Words for Paipis

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2017, 11:27:15 AM »
Your friend is way exaggerating it. But, yeah, there's a lot of stuff that doesn't translate that would enhance your enjoyment. Wordplay, words with multiple connotations. Plus, some of it can appear contrived when it's translated. Not an anime example, but the translated version of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami uses the phrase "older married girlfriend" verbatim about 200 times and I have a feeling there is a Japanese slang term which refers to exactly that.

But, obviously, if you're here, you enjoy anime. And you don't seem to know Japanese, so. And also there is the very real possibility that it would ruin your appreciation of some anime because the dialogue is actually terrible.

Offline Operative13

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 12:45:28 PM »
They say those who are native speakers of a story's language has the best experience because they do not have to think too much about the actual language and thereby can free their minds to gaze upon the more intricate details. Imagine if a Japanese wanted to enjoy the words of a Shakespearean play. Same analogy how we as English-speakers still have a hard time translating Japanese wordplay.

Still I'm not of the idea that you have to learn a certain language to enjoy certain things. I can enjoy stories from other countries without needing to understand a single word spoken. German, Hindi, Korean, etc. It doesn't matter. You can enjoy it... but technically you aren't getting the full experience. Time spent reading subtitles is time that could be spent studying the cinematography, the facial expressions, the hand gestures, all sorts of details you'd otherwise miss watching straight through.

Give-or-Take, you can enjoy things as they are. But it's more about enhancing the experience rather than missing out. Like how I always tell my pals on their 30fps computers that they could have a better gaming experience if they upgraded their systems to run 60fps.  :sure:
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Offline Shinpi Tekina

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 01:11:35 PM »
 :thumbsup:

Offline Shinpi Tekina

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2017, 01:22:18 PM »
things i dislike in subtitles is when like they say sensei they put teacher instead like we can't pick up what it means you know and other stuff. off note I can't believe i used to be into dubbed anime i was just mainly into dubbed because bleach then i found a fellow otaku at my school and told me to watch it subbed to get ahead of the dubs.

also i did have a conversation like this with him trying to remember what he said but he speaks Japanese hmmmm
i think it was a long the lines well he compared it to like well i'm try to replay how the convo went

nvm, about operative13 post can't you basically know that feel that full experience watching it dubbed?

Offline Operative13

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2017, 02:19:54 PM »
It's a Give-or-Take, just like I mentioned.  ;D Some people watched dubbed specifically because they don't like staring at just the bottom portion of the screen. Then again, dubs have a tendency to cut down on dialogue and information for the purpose of animation synchronization. You find that the dubs don't always say the same thing as the subs, leading to parts of the story that don't make sense at times...  :unsure:

It depends what's important to you the most. Are you someone who listens to plot? Or do you crave the animation style? Do you want to have a laid-back experience and simply not have to actively think? Or do you not mind the hectic chatter that takes place?

It's an advantage the native language of a story always has over others: the ability to comprehend quick, simultaneous conversions, all the while taking in the complex actions of the characters. We take for granted what we understand in English shows wherever multiple people are talking at once, so when it comes time to translate the same conversation to another language, you can empathize with the frustration of having to muddle through all that translation.  :ninja:

Really, as English-speakers, we as anime fans mostly enjoy anime with a handicap, that handicap being the language barrier. We've simply gotten used to wearing that handicap every time we watch anime, much like how a blind man's gotten used to walking around with just a stick. Eyes would make make things much easier, but our stick is enough to get us where we need to go.  :-\
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Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2017, 02:42:41 PM »
No, but you'll probably miss a lot of things like cultural references, kanji puns, phrase puns, name puns, and other sorts of wordplay that the Japanese language enables you to do. That's why English dubs for shows like Monogatari or Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu wouldn't really work

Offline 50 Words for Paipis

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2017, 03:02:15 PM »
It's a Give-or-Take, just like I mentioned.  ;D Some people watched dubbed specifically because they don't like staring at just the bottom portion of the screen. Then again, dubs have a tendency to cut down on dialogue and information for the purpose of animation synchronization. You find that the dubs don't always say the same thing as the subs, leading to parts of the story that don't make sense at times...  :unsure:
The opposite is also true. Sometimes the dubs have to add words which means it's riddled with redundancies, and with the shorter lines that have to condense information, it ends up just being inconsistent and clunky.

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Is it necessary to learn Japanese to enjoy Anime?
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2017, 11:47:07 PM »
Not to mention that sometimes the dubs will translate things a certain way that changes the story slightly, almost making something new out of it. I'm not even referring to the god-awful 4kids localization here, but in general.

Gonna be a little controversial here and say "I'm a dub fan", but hold your fire guys: It's honestly like 67% because my ears can't handle a lot of female seiyuu's voices. They're too high and hurt for me to listen to.
"My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking for others!"--Marquis de Sade
"A loss of innocence / one hand to wash the other / be a perfectionist / you're nothing if you're just another"--TBM, "Goodnight"
Got Ecchi? Join us.