Chaka Cumberbatch’s article about white fandom’s bullshit towards her Sailor Venus cosplay (Which by the way is the best Sailor Venus cosplay. EVER.) set off a train of thoughts which got me thinking about how the US dubbing of anime.
Because I’m always so out of touch with the current, I don’t know if this is still the case but I do know that in the previous decade, anime dubbed in the US which are targeted at children (though some of them are targeted at teenagers back in Japan) have a strong tendency to give the English names to the Japanese characters.
Not only that, the dialogue would even be written to disguise the fact that it isn’t set in the US. That results in some weird hilarity if you’re watching the English dub of Sailor Moon, where the US apparently has signs in hiragana and kanji all over! And there was Raye (The White Rei!) wearing miko robes when… Um, I don’t remember what the reason was given if any.
Now I’m wondering how they justified that episode in the third season where there was a shrine festival and everyone was wearing yukata and then Haruka and Michiru appears with the former genderbending as usual– Yeah, we can also talk about the lesbian erasure in most dubs including the one made in the SUPER PROGRESSIVE FIRST WORLD SUPERPOWER WHATEVER JINGOISTIC LIBERAL BULLSHIT USA.
What does it means for children both white and of colour in the US (and other Western countries when applicable) when they can watch something from Japan and yet once again see white people in it. What does it mean when the producers would see the need to whitewash it for children, and let’s be real about it, they’re thinking white when they think children.
And if you’re like myself who comes from a non-Western country but receive US dubbed anime on your television, what does it mean for us and our children?