I’ll start with Ponyo.
I finally got the chance to watch Ponyo on DVD, an anime by Hayao Miyazaki. Looking at the DVD released by Disney, I see Japanese audio being available, so that’s good. Now, this is Disney, which if you realize, changes a lot of the dialogs in Miyazaki’s movies for the English dub, and even add dialogs not in the original Japanese version. Sure, some of them are subtle, but I think many of the changes make the scenes and characters have different feel and mood than the original. Same thing with Ponyo. When I first watching it, I picked Japanese audio, but the subtitle chosen was for the English dub. I immediately noticed how the subtitle said different things than the audio. I mean one example in one scene, Sousuke says how Ponyo likes ham, and Lisa, Sousuke’s mom said “Just like me” in Japanese, but the English dub said “So she thinks she’s human?” WTF? Another scene, Sousuke said “Yokatta,” but the dub said “It’s my fault.” Again, WTF? Yeah, that’s Disney changing stuff around. More proof that US localization have close to zero respect to the original sources.
Now, switching to the real subtitle for the Japanese audio, it actually is pretty good. I’m biased towards fansub a lot of times because official licensors usually “localize” the subtitle too much, but this one is very good and accurate, other than missing honorifics.
As a movie, Ponyo is the typical cutesy and the innocence of kids. There’s no good guys vs bad guys. All you feel is how cute Sousuke and Ponyo from start to finish. Some say there’s an environmental message. Sure, but it’s not really played out in a significant way (unlike Avatar). The focus remains on how cute the kids are.
So, I’m enjoying the movie. Cute movie, good subtitle, all is great, until the credits roll. Instead of the cutesy Japanese song, I’m listening to the English dub of the song. WTF? I thought I push a button that changed the audio to the English dub. But no, it’s still on the Japanese audio track. Yeah, Disney CUT the Japanese song out, replacing it with the English dub song, coupled with the horrible remix version in the end. WTF? This is a big FAIL! So legally, there’s no way for you to enjoy a complete Japanese Ponyo movie per the original. This is like Disney saying, hey, go pirate the movie instead. Finding Ponyo on bittorrent is not that hard at all, and there are HD uploads too!
Buying Disney’s Ponyo on DVD:
-Very good subtitle quality for the Japanese audio
-You’re paying for an incomplete movie, with the Japanese song cut out completely
-It costs you money
-The subtitle placement is a bit obnoxious. Too high up and the fonts take quite a bit of screen space.
Downloading Ponyo from Bittorrent:
-Cost you nothing
-You get a complete movie. Japanese song intact.
-Subtitle font and placement are ideal, just like most fansub.
-The subtitle quality may vary, but still doesn’t stray far from the original dialogue.
Yeah, there you go. You can pay for an incomplete version of the movie, or download a complete one for free. Which one would you choose? Disney, you suck. What’s wrong with the Japanese song? Are you afraid that people will find it to be superior than your lame remix? Ponyo is an awesomely cute movie, but huge FAIL on Disney.
Next is Kamen Rider W/Decade Movie War 2010.
LOL. Yeah, a stark contrast to Ponyo. I literally watched this right after Ponyo. Kamen Rider W/Decade Movie War 2010 is a double movie featuring the latest Kamen Rider W and the conclusion of Kamen Rider Douchebag… I mean Decade.
Anyway, this movie is set up to be the conclusion for Kamen Rider Decade after the cliff-hanger ending on the series, and the movie starts off with Decade kicking SkyRider, Super 1, and Kabuto’s ass. Wait, WTF? Yeah, that’s not how the series ended. In the series, it ended with Decade fighting the original universe’s (sans the original Kuuga) Riders. So, were SkyRider, Super 1, and Kabuto original or alternate versions? It doesn’t make sense, and throughout the movie, it seems that they were alternate versions as Seto Koji (original Kiva) appeared after Decade destroyed all the alternate Riders (so presumably the original Riders were not destroyed by Decade). If you’re not confused enough, none of the teased scenes shown on the last episode of the series (Tsukasa drowning, Natsumi with a machine gun, etc) were actually in the movie itself. LOL.
So, wait, what happened then between the series end and this movie? Who knows. My speculation is that when Decade was fighting with the original Riders, he was probably told again by Seto Koji that in order to revive everybody and restore all the universes, he needs to destroy all those alternate Riders (creation cannot come without destruction), with the consequences of Decade himself cease to exist once everything turned back to normal. And Tsukasa decided to take that risk, and then pretended to be the “bad” guy as the destroyer so Natsumi would hate him and finish him off.
Sounds kinda deep huh, for a franchise targeted towards kids. Alas, this is the weakness of the movie itself as there are too many holes in the plot. How did Tsukasa befriended the Yuriko/Tackle? How did Yuusuke (alternate Kuuga) regained his consciousness after being bitten by Kivala at the end of the series? Oh, and no cameos from the original Riders other than Seto Koji. Yeah, poor fanservice imo, and certainly doesn’t help the Swiss cheese plots and story.
Mid-way through the movie, they switched to W. On W, it gave us a background on the events before the first episode of Kamen Rider W, and a super cool fedora-wearing-Rider called Skull, which is actually Shotaro’s mentor himself. W’s segment in this movie is well done. It offers quite a bit of backstory to W (eg. the origin of Shotaro’s one liner “Count your sins”). I’m liking W more and more, as it doesn’t seem to leave as many holes in their plot/story as previous Kamen Rider series.
The last part of the movie, where W went to the middle of Decade’s battle and teamed up, is obviously just a last attempt for fanservice. Decade separated W into 2 individual form (Cyclone-Cyclone and Joker-Joker), and did a triple Rider kick. Not that satisfying really.
In short, just a so so attempt to finish Decade, but a great backstory for W.