NOTE: The pilot was also recently screened at Sakuracon 2000 and Anime Central 2000.
Lee Thompson | Hank Wong
Lee Thompson's Report
My primary reason for going to Anime Expo this year was specifically the Legend of the Galactic Heroes panel. I got interested in anime in the early 1980s as a source for science fiction (there was virtually none in the United States at that time) - in 1989 my search for the ultimate science fiction story ended with Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
Why a dub and not a subtitled effort? Simply put, for Galactic Heroes to succeed in the English speaking world, it pretty much has to be dubbed. There is so much dialogue in the series (and the dialogue is carrying the bulk of the storytelling) that at some moments it would not be unusual to be filling half the screen with text - and if you blink you miss a chunk of story. The English "pilot" was produced at the behest of Tokuma Shouten by Outis Productions for two purposes: as a treat for fans and to help find a (serious) buyer in the United States.
The episodes shown were from near the mid-point of the series, episodes #51 and 52 ("Death Match at Vermilion " parts 1 and 2) to be more specific. So, I hear you ask, "how was it?" it was good... as a proof of concept it was great. To put the most common fears to rest, the Galactic Empire did not have German accents and for the most part, the casting was excellent. I felt the voices of Reinhard and Schenkopp in particular were very well cast.
As for what I would change? Yang should sound a little less confident and Julian needs a younger voice actor. For some reason I didn't really like the actor chosen for Oliver Poplan but I appear to be in the minority.
The translation itself was quite good, although there were (as there often are) some rough areas.
I found being able to just watch these episodes to be an uplifting experience. I didn't have to strain to catch the few hundred Japanese words I know... I didn't have to stare at the screen trying not to blink to read all the subtitles...
At this time there is no U.S. distributor and copies of the English dub are not possible at this time. If you want to see this ever come to these shores, write television networks, anime companies, book companies (there are over a dozen novels...) and show the series to friends. Obviously Tokuma cannot condone a "fansub" but heck, give it a try.
ax99.htm / October 21, 2000
Things I liked about the LoGH dub:
- Voice of the narrator was very good.
In general, the voices of the principal characters were good. Frederica sounded a bit forced in her first scene, but she got better as the episodes rolled on. Yang sounded a bit on the confident side, for the most part. This seemed a bit out of character for him, but I didn't seem to mind. Julian sounded about the right age. Mabye a few years older than he should have been, but I'd imagine that he's supposed to be pretty mature for his age. To avoid a spoiler, I'll just say that the scenes with Yang and Frederica were very well done. [Yeah, that's pretty subtle, Hanky-poo - Anonymous Coward] I liked Poplan's characterization (he had kind of a rough-sounding New York accent). I know that not everybody liked this, but this interpretation seemed to fit in with his character. A few of the Imperial Admirals had "British aristocrat" accents...not too bad, as long as they didn't all have bad German accents (which they didn't).
Things I didn't like about the LoGH dub:
- Some of the pronunciations: "Yob Trunhit," "Yulian Mintz."
Translating "The Gale Wolf" as "Wolf der Sturm." (pronounced German-style) That just didn't work for me, especially when the rest of the dub did not use German phrases. "The Gale Wolf" just sounds a lot better to me. The voice acting of some of the minor characters (generally, the admirals that show up on the screen long enough to get blown away) was a bit overdone. Reinhard could have been a little more grandiose. It was not a bad voice, just could have been better. A few of the lines could have been broken up a little better. This might have been due to translation, but it seemed some of the lines were just a bit unrealistically long for a person to say in normal conversation.
In summary: This is one of the better dubs I have seen. I would buy and watch this if more was available. Frankly, my criticisms are probably on the nit-picky side. The only thing I really cringed at was the "Wolf der Sturm" thing.
Quickie Comments from other fans at the panel:
Fan#1: "Above average for an American dub, but still not good enough for me to sit all the way through it" (This fan is known for his outspoken hatred of all dubs. But he liked LoGH so he at least made an effort to watch it.)
Fan#2: "Early Carl Macek quality. Yang did a good job of sounding pathetic though." (fansubber, also has a harsh opinion of dubs in general)
In general, the fans who didn't like it tended to be hard core sub fans who abhor the concept of dubs in general. Not surprising.
Other Notes from the Panel:
- Heck, no matter what people think of the dub, it was very nice to just see the animation in clean, crisp format, after years of nth generation fansubs.
- Dub was done by Ocean Studios based out of Vancouver, Canada. According to Kikakuwa, they were chosen for their prior reputation.
- People who complain about the lack of action in the series should be satisfied after episode 51.
- About the silly fansubs question asked at the panel: It just seems somebody has to ask a stupid question every year (recall the infamous 'Golden Boy' question at last year's panel) But at least this year it seems we have gained a new fan out of it :)
- Tokuma is working on new LoGH anime. Since Kikakuwa mentioned that the VA of Yang was involved, this might be some of the Julian/Yang Gaiden side stories (just a guess).
- Tokuma has been approached by one US anime company about the rights to LoGH, but they turned them down because they felt this nameless US company wasn't being sincere about its plans for the series.
- Currently no plans to release the novels in English. Kikakuwa urged those interesting in seeing the novels published in English to "petition your publishers."
- About the the high cost of LoGH LDs: Because of the relative lack of merchandizing sponsorship, Tokuma is selling primarily via a subscription sales model to a limited number of fans. This is why the LDs cost so much to buy.