It’s the middle of December again, which means it’s time to begin reflecting on my anime-watching experiences from 2014 as part of the multi-blogger 12 Days project, spearheaded by The Cart Driver this year.
I think this will be my 8th year I’m participating in such a thing (you can see the titles of previous-year posts from 2007 to 2012 via Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine – 2013’s list wasn’t captured unfortunately) so I should be experienced in writing posts for it but I still seem to run out of topics more than halfway through the process, mainly due to the declining amount of series I manage to finish during a calendar year. I tried to plan ahead this time around so I’m more confident that I’ll cross the figurative finish line than I might have otherwise.
One series that I watched with the SCCSAV Classics group this year was Ghost Stories. Of course, we watched the English dub done by ADV in the mid-2000’s for more humor than the Japanese track could have offered.
Ghost Stories‘ dub was entertaining for us, partly because of the sometimes out-of-place American cultural references (celebrities, political figures, even other voice actors in one episode). We were surprised at how offensive the dialogue got in some portions, especially in the last few episodes. The basic plots for its 20 episodes were pretty generic on their own – the kids investigate and seal escaped spirits using methods that the main girl Satsuki’s late mother left behind in a diary – so having the dub on helped keep our attention enough to complete the show over the course of two months.
If you were familiar with ADV’s stable of voice actors during its prime, you probably recognize the top four names in Ghost Stories‘ English cast list: Hilary Haag, Chris Patton, Greg Ayres and Monica Rial. The ADR director was Steven Foster, someone who got some flack in recent years for how fan favorite shows like Penguindrum were handled. (I bought Sentai Filmworks’ first Penguindrum set in late 2012 and didn’t like it when I found out it had dubtitles – the dub script used as subtitles for the Japanese track.)
In a 2007 interview with ANN, Foster said “the Ghost Stories thing was fun, it was a wild experiment. If they ever find another show where they say ‘go wild with it’, then sure, we’ll go ahead.” Apparently the Japanese licensors were fine with the show’s pop-culture-referencing adaptation and it made for a more fun-to-watch version.
I’ve seen a couple other shows with the Classics group through an English dub in Infinite Ryvius & the first part of Planetes, though normally I usually don’t watch anime dubbed on my first go around when I’m seeing it on my own – unless I hear beforehand that the English track is worth turning on. (Flawfinder made an updated list of dubs he likes earlier this year – I’ve started Baccano! & Black Lagoon dubbed and plan to continue with them that way.)
By the way, I ended up watching the majority of Kill Me Baby (another Foster-directed dub) in English and I liked it for the most part, mainly for the chemistry among the three main voice actresses: Hilary Haag as Yasuna, Luci Christian as Sonya and Rozie Curtis as Agiri.