The Sunred Translation

Sunred was forsaken by the fansubbing community for a while after it hit, which is why I am thankful towards ANBU for being heroic enough to make this comedic gem available for English speakers. But along with praising their work, I do have a few bones to pick. Because that’s just how I roll.

But let’s start with the good. The translation they’ve stuck onto this show nearly perfect. While not 100% accurate, it captures the feel of the dialogue wonderfully. This is important, since Sunred derives a lot of its humour from just how conversational the script is, so a translation that reads exactly like normal English does wonders in helping the humour cross that often-difficult-to-breach linguistic boundary. It really is a shame that professional DVD translations don’t often reach this level of quality.

However, I think their translation localizes too much. Another thing that makes Sunred funny is how deep it plunges its heroes and villains into the stereotypically mundane Japanese lifestyle. As such, making the characters pay for things in dollars, as well as citing American brands as opposed to Japanese ones robs the show of its cultural flavour. Sunred thrives on references to local and nationally known things. This is a show that has three songs devoted to the city in which it takes place in, Mizonokuchi. I appreciate that they’re trying to communicate this same level of familiarity to American viewers by switching in American references, but it’s pushing things too far. They also make the characters swear too much. This is what I meant by “nearly perfect.”

Also, if they’re really shooting for professional quality on these things, why are they still doing ugly hardsubbed karaoke? Even the most newbie of new groups have gone to 100% soft subs.