I bought a Love Hina DVD box last week. It was fairly cheap and I thought it could be fun to re-watch the anime, since it’s been been quite a while since I first watched it. Then I put the first DVD in and saw the Swedish subtitles…
Most translations in movies, anime and manga from Japanese to Swedish are direct translations that usually are really good. These, however, are translations of the English dub of the series. The DVD only come with Japanese audio (which is what I wanted), but the subtitles are based on the English version. It’s very annoying. When there are silent moments in the anime, the subtitles keep rolling with Keitaro thinking things or saying more things.
The same thing happened to me when I bought the UK version of Mononoke Hime. That movie had both English and Japanese audio and English subtitles. For some reason the subtitles were the same as the English dub, so when, in the Japanese version, the protagonist looks at his arm and sees the “demon mark” and goes “*gasp*”, the English version (and the subtitles) goes “OMG! The mark is still there!”. Or when a village is invaded and people just scream and run in the Japanese original, they have to “explain” what is happening in the English version: “Oh, no! They are invading the village! Run everybody! We have to run because they are invading the village! We have to run or they will hurt us! Run!”. I can’t watch that DVD with the English subtitles enabled. I just get too annoyed. It’s like they can’t handle any silence or anything that isn’t explicitly explained in the English dub. In my opinion it ruins the original.
It reminds me of when a friend of my sister’s told me about Kevin Costner’s movie The Postman, where all the characters went “Oh, look, it’s the postman. He brings us hope!”, “Thanks for bringing us hope, Postman”, “The postman brings us hope!”. Very subtle. Obviously I never bothered to watch the movie after hearing that.
I can almost forgive them for the crappy subtitles on Mononke Hime since it actually had the English dub on it, but Love Hina only has the Japanese audio. Why on earth would they just translate the English subtitles when they obviously don’t match the audio?! The Love Hina DVD box is released by Noble Entertainment in Sweden. I’m never buying any of their releases again. “Yeah, let’s cut the costs of the only thing that makes this product worth buying in Sweden - the Swedish translation.” Good idea! At least I got the box on a sale so it was pretty cheap.