Put yourself in a distributor’s shoes. Here’s yet another licensed show come in from Japan, and man, is it a bore. The animation house that sent it over honestly doesn’t seem to care much, either. But this dub’s still got to get recorded. How’re you gonna make the recording session bearable for everybody in the studio? In Ghost Stories‘ case, the now-departed ADV Films took the piss out. Like Team Four Star or the Auralnauts, they ridiculed this dour Goonies-esque plot with a non-stop stream of snarky ad libs.
The full-length series is available on YouTube, but here’s the highlight reel for those with less precious time to kill. Fair warning, though: ADV’s objective was to make this dub inappropriate in every way it could be. So, there is no shortage of nasty language and mean humor.
ADV was also behind the American version of Cromartie High School, and the significant creative liberties they took earned that show a spot in our list of “Dubs That Actually Improve The Anime.” This riff on Ghost Stories, however, hearkens to an earlier and even more lawless era of anime imports, when outfits like Manga Entertainment were dubbing cheaper, schlock-y B-movies like M.D. Geist without a whole lot of supervision. This led to a practice of “fifteening” anime, where the dub teams would add an excessive amount of (often nonsensical) cursing to an anime in the interest of earning a 15+ age rating. You know, to make sure that “Not your daddy’s cartoons!” sticker was accurate.
Few cases of fifteening were as blatant as the Angel Cop dub.
And these out-takes from the Patlabor recording sessions reveal a bit more of the temperament of the mischievous minds who’ve worked on these outrageous mis-translations.
If you ever riffed at screenings your college anime club put on, then kudos! Your “contributions” weren’t all too far off from those put forth by working professionals at these officially-sanctioned sessions.
Even sub purists submit to “incredibad” dubs. What other ridiculous translations have tickled you? Drop your recs in the talkback. Maybe we’ll be crazy enough to feature them.
Featured Image Credit: Discotek Media