Web Crush Wednesdays: ColeenaWu

It’s no news to anyone here that I’m a huge fan of good translations. Honestly, who isn’t? It’s quality translations that lead to both an increase in interest in other cultures and media produced from said culture, as well as an increase in quality from the translation community as a whole. Both are super important aspects to a world that is increasingly opening its borders to each other. Although the cultural sharing that goes on between America and Japan is nothing new, what is new is how much VOCALOID—essentially voicebanks (with adorable personifications for each) that music composers can use to add vocals to their songs without using their own or employing anyone else’s—is starting to get into the American market.

Ranging from collaborative apps from Domino’s Pizza, western PS Vita ports of previously unavailable rhythm games, and even VOCALOID cameos showing up in popular web shows like Bee and Puppycat, the American market is in closer contact than ever with the counterculture of Miku Hatsune and the other singers that make up VOCALOID. Yes, I admit some of these songs can be rather tragic in quality, but surprisingly a majority of them are really good. Today, I want to celebrate one of the many, many translators of these VOCALOID songs, ColeenaWu.

webcrush pic Continue reading

Studio Ghibli + Level 5 = Profit

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is an upcoming RPG for Playstation 3 developed cooperatively by Studio Ghibli (Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away) and Level 5 (Dark Cloud, Dragon Quest VII, Professor Layton). Oh, be still, my beating heart! If you are like me, upon hearing about this marriage you imagine their offspring as crazy combinations such as My Neighbor Layton and Castle in the Dark Cloud. Then, you will begin to worry that maybe this is one of those things where amazingly awesome thing ‘A’ plus awesomely amazing thing ‘B’ equals tragedy. You know, like pancakes and hot-tubs, or hunting and furry-sex. Sure, every human being since 1997 has thought of doing it every day, but none of us are crazy enough to actually try it. Well feel free to blink your skeptical eye, my friend, because Ni no Kuni looks fucking amazing.

I should clarify that a bit. If you love the magical, adventurous, and heartfelt nature of Studio Ghibli films, and you also happen to love the challenging, strategic, and immersive gameplay of Level 5 games, then Ni no Kuni is fucking amazing.

Spoiler warning! I talk about the game’s introduction and dramatic question! Skip past the next picture if you do not want to see. Continue reading

Web Crush Wednesdays: GakiFiles and Downtown

Do you like schadenfreude? I, for one, practice schadenfreude daily and today’s Webcrush combines this with two of my most adored things: good translations and Japanese television. Essentially, it’s perfect.

In Japan, the ‘variety show’ style of show that seemed to die out in America  during the Seventies is still running strong and none is better

than Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (Literally “Downtown’s ‘This is No Task for Kids!!'”). This is known more affectionately to me, as this is the title it was introduced to me under, as ‘Batsu Game’. Batsu directly translates to ‘punishment’ and from that I’m sure you can gather some sense of what the game entails. The players are assumed to have lost a bet—although in this series, I’ve only seen the actual bet once or twice—and thus must suffer through a punishment game for it. Usually it’s something simple: playing rock-paper-scissors and the person who loses gets slapped in the face. Downtown takes it to a whole other level.

Downtown itself is a manzai comedy duo formed of Hitoshi Matsumoto (who plays the role of the boke: the stupid one or “funny man”) and Masatoshi Hamada (the tsukkomi: the “straight man”). They’ve been around for at least twenty years, so they know their shit and know exactly how to get each other to continuously lose in their batsu games. Notice I said ‘continuously’.

Yes, folks, the thing that sets the Downtown batsu games apart from several other ones is that they are a legitimate event. Stretching far beyond a single prank, these punishment games of theirs last for a full, 24-hour day and utilize a full cast of other comedians and stars from Japan along with elaborate sets (the last batsu game used an actual intercontinental airport, just to give you an idea). The only rule? They can’t laugh for the duration lest they suffer divine retribution on their buttocks.

Now, as I stated before, this Webcrush isn’t only for the series itself, it’s also a very fangirl-y appreciation post for the sub-ers who take the time to

translate the show almost perfectly. In short, I want to be like them when I grow up. You can tell they have a love not only for the show and its victims, but also for the Japanese language. So here’s to you, GakiFiles! May you continue subbing and giving us all the gift of laughter at the expense of others!

If you’re interesting in watching one of these games—and you really should be—visit their site here. My personal favorite is the High School Batsu, but each game is different!  Just make sure you have some time on your hands to sit down and watch it: each game takes at least an hour and you may get addicted.