Image Credit: 芹野いつき from Pixiv
Americanization in imported media should have been a practice that we’ve abandoned long ago. Sure, we get stubborn folks like Capcom who insist on relocating series like Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney) from Japan to Los Angeles and digging a deeper hole for themselves as the series progresses, but for the most part nowadays, especially in anime, you hardly see downright stupid crap like calling onigiri “jelly-filled doughnuts” as if western children have no idea what a ball of rice is (hint: ‘MURICANS HAVE RICE FIELDS TOO)… right?
Unfortunately for today, the practice of shielding our children from other cultures still persists in some anime aimed at the kodomo — shounen crowd that we manage to bring over here, though thankfully it’s a lot less than what we got several years ago. We have the unfortunate 4Kids titles (we can never, ever talk sense into old guys who think they know what kids like), and some other titles sprinkled here and there by companies that really don’t have much respect for anime as a cultural form of foreign animation, other than as a marketing vehicle towards kids. It was worse back during the 90s and early 2000s, when my (and many others’) beloved Cardcaptor Sakura got chopped up into the putrid Cardcaptors.
You’d think Doraemon, a very iconic JAPANESE anime/manga that gained popularity all over the world as such, would be able to remain Japanese when it’s finally able to make its way to the United States and be able to escape that sort of xenophobic treatment. Haha, yeah. right.
Image Credit: yum from Pixiv
Eat your burgers, Apollo
Everything about this Doraemon that’s coming to our waters is gonna be set in the United States, name changes and all. A bit strange for a character that’s considered the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs animated cultural ambassador. Not only that, but it’s going to have a bunch of 4Kids-esque edits such as the removal of tears and changing chopsticks to forks. The worst part of it is, some people are actually defending these edits because it’s for kids, so hurrrr it doesn’t matter.
So kids aren’t allowed to be aware that other cultures exist besides American culture? American kids don’t deserve the right to learn about cultures other than their own? They’re too stupid to comprehend chopsticks, rice, and foreign currencies (sorry, but I’m kind of laughing at the latter considering western kids have no problem playing the localized Pocket Monsters franchise with its fictional currency, because actual foreign currency like yen in the Japanese games is so much worse)?
I just love it how dub sympathizers always play the “it’s for kids” card whenever things like Americanization comes to play in an anime. So what? Is there any point in doing these edits then other than xenophobia? Because I’m pretty sure there are plenty of American children’s cartoons that take place in countries like China (Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat) or delve into Spanish culture and the like, but when it’s a Japanese anime that’s aimed at children [and up], it’s suddenly OK to be xenophobic fucktards and act as if kids can’t relate to the content because the characters aren’t surfing after school, going home to their skyscrapers, and putting ketchup on all their food.
Image Credit: saya from Pixiv
And you know what? “Kiddy” content can be good too. Believe it or not, most of Studio Ghibli’s films are aimed at children. If Disney suddenly decided to do pointless edits and change the (often fantasy) locations of those films to America, people are going to care. One Piece and Cardcaptor Sakura are both beloved anime aimed at younger audiences and people were pissed when they received shitty dubs the first time around. Heck, even the Pocket Monsters anime was massacred in the United States back then, even though OLM censors and Americanizes itself nowadays, and the people who were actually aware of it cared.
Sure, a good number of kids would probably watch anything that’s animated, but that’s no reason to expose them to the lowest common denominator of shows — especially when all you need to do is make the characters speak their native language and be done with it. :/ I’d love to be able to watch a cartoon or anime with my child one day without forcing myself through that sort of bullcrap. I watched and enjoyed the Japanese version of Cardcaptor Sakura and Pocket Monsters the Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back with my little sister, so I personally know it’s possible for children to enjoy foreign entertainment without the Americanization and butchering.
As an Asian-American, I find it fascinating that people think that chopsticks in an animated series would be too confusing for children. I’ve lived in America and have eaten with chopsticks all my life. Am I too foreign for this country or what? I think the saddest part about this is that the Japanese companies that produce the 2005 version of Doraemon are possibly the ones allowing this shit to happen.