Sentai Filmworks have come under fire for changes made to the English dub for To Love Ru, where a line was seemingly changed to have one character accuse another of being a misogynist. A writer for the series has defended the changes, and claimed they had no “hidden agenda.”
Bounding into Comics reports that episode 4 sees an exchange between Lala Satalin Deviluke, and Rito Yuki. Lala reveals she is a poor cook, Rito (attempting to avoid becoming the King of Deviluke) says he will not marry someone who cannot cook.
Characters Mikan and Zastin object, and here is where the issue arises. According to a third party upload of the episode (below), Mikan states in the Japanese dub “What? That’s so old fashioned.” In the English dub, Mikan says “That’s misogynistic!!”
Considering the fan-service heavy nature of the show, the line change can certainly be considered out of place. The tone of Mikan’s voice also suggests she was disappointed in Rito, while the English dub has her sound more angry and insulted.
Sentai Filmworks script writer Holly Segarra addressed the issue on Twitter. In a series of tweets, Segarra defended the change, citing the difficulty in matching dubbed lines to the the mouth animation flaps, and that there was “no 1:1 trade when it comes to translation.”
However, she did state that subtitles were for “purists” in a seemingly positive manner, and expressed her enjoyment of both “depending on the show.” She also stated she “put a lot of love” into her work, and had “no hidden agendas.”
“I wanted to put this out there cause I know folks are mad at me, (and honestly I hate making anyone mad) but there’s some difficulties in dubbing you may not be aware of that can effect choices; such as syllable count, animation mouth flaps, and rhythm.
Ideally we keep it as close to original translation as we can but dubs just aren’t that simple they have to flow and work with the animation. For you purists out there subs are definitely for you and I personally like both depending on the show.
My job as an ADR writer is to make things sound natural, & avoid sounding too stiff. There’s no 1:1 trade when it comes to translation. It involves a lot of puzzle solving & spending tons of time with the material. I put a lot of love in my work, I promise no hidden agendas.”
Some replies to her comments still took issue with the use of “misogynistic”, feeling it changed the tone of the original line too much, or was politically motivated.
The situation almost perfectly matches issues some have had with Funimation’s English dub work. In 2015, Funimation’s English dub of Prison School changed a line to insult another character as “one of those dumbass GamerGate creepshows.” While the original line was deriding, it had nothing to do with the GamerGate movement, whether it was considered a “consumer revolt,” or an attempt to oust women from the video game industry (depending who you ask).
2017 also saw questionable changes to Funimation’s English dubs of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and My First Girlfriend Is a Gal. 2019 also saw unfavorable changes to Interview With Monster Girls, and YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of This World. You can find out more information on all those changes here.
Coincidentally, YU-NO‘s change also featured an insult changed to calling another character a misogynist. Even the uploaded of the To Love Ru clip titled the video “Sentai pulls a funimation and puts their political opinions in the To Love Ru dub”.
The reaction to Funimation’s dubs resulted in a greater demand for more accurate English dubs, especially without changes to reflect modern politics, or alleged political soap-boxing by the dub script writers.
Can you think of another line that would have worked? Would you prefer inaccurate lip flaps if it meant more accurate lines? How would you change about English anime dubbing? Sound off in the comments below!