Editorial: Love but Intolerance

Teen Ponies by TheUnicornLord

In this season between the seasons on The Hub, we should speak about the last season. No, not how good or bad the episodes were, nor how you enjoyed them—I want to talk with you about Europe and season 2. “Wait,” some of you might say, “there is not such thing as season 2 in Europe!” But, strangely enough, there is a season 2 in Europe. Before you object that “season 2” is just the name of the British broadcaster for the second half of season 1 (caused by their weird airing schedule), I must point out that with “season 2” I really mean season 2.

Through several calls and email exchanges with Viacom Europe, SDI Media, and some of the dub voice actors, I got to know that the tapes of season 2 have already been finished since December 2011. Yes, I was curious when I saw clips from the Daring Do episode at Hasbro’s booth at the Nuernberg Toy Fair and asked Hasbro when we would get to see this episode. Currently it looks like we Europeans won’t get season 2 until 2013.

“What the hay,” you wonder, “the tapes are ready to air, but they will not do it?” Well, do not search the fault with the companies, search the fault with yourselves. All companies, who are involved in the dub version see just one picture: We the fans hate My Little Pony!

Stop! Everypony calm down and listen to the explanation. A dubbed version takes time, additional work and care. How would you feel, if you received only negative, destructive comments? How would you feel, if hundreds of people didn’t give a flying feather for your hard work and said that you chose the wrong job? How would you feel? Disappointed and miserable.

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Let’s take a look at the dubbed versions. Germanic and Roman languages are complicated, and things you can say easily and concisely in English, like “fail, literally,” will end in a word monster in German: “Ein Fehlschlag im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes.” To be honest, due to the luxury of the Internet and illegal downloads of the show, a lot of us Europeans got snooty and turned into “dub nazis,” who have the opinion that the English dub is the UBERDUB and all other dubs are not worthy to exist. You don’t know how often I read antipathies against Julia Meynen on discussion boards, who is the dub voice of Twilight. Many of us European fans often attack the staff behind the dub directly and below the belt. What no pony thinks about: The staff behind the dub are also hard working human being who earn their money to survive.

The latest wave of hate I watched, was following the RegioFree DVD release. Instead of being thankful for having a legal opportunity (besides the already legal streams on the Viacom sites) to watch the show, people complained about the “bad” quality and high price of the DVD. To quote Fluttershy: “Boo hoo hoo!” Bronies, you are whining. Be thankful for the effort of EDEL to release a risky product. Yes, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” is a risk, since all official numbers say that no pony watches the show or enjoys it. You object, but that is the hard truth. Officials primary see the hate against the show and that fans only use illegal methods to watch the show. I am getting a bit polemical here; sadly it is the ugly truth.

By the end of the month, Viacom is airing a whole day of My Little Pony on Nickelodeon Germany—but instead of their first plan that also we older male fans could be involved in it, they changed the day’s topic to connect G1 mothers with G4 daughters, the target audiences. We all are ungrateful for the hard work the staff does. That SDI Media redubbed in Germany 60% of the episodes after they noticed our existence was rejected by us fans with the trolling phrase “Freundschaft ist Magisch.” What is wrong with you everypony? Where is the love and tolerance you preach? Why don’t you want to give a helping hoof to the staff behind the dub?

Every dub is unique, has its own cutie mark. In the German dub, Spike quotes Goethe’s Faust and invents new insults, the Polish dub has a male Spitfire, the Dutch Rainbow Dash is 24 percent cooler, the French Rarity is lovely, and of course everypony wants to be lesbian for the Swedish Spitfire. Instead of acting like neighsayers, show Hasbro and your local dubbing staff that we care for My Little Pony. We want to show the charming character of the series to everypony. It is intolerant to withhold this terrific animation work to those who don’t understand English. So please, everypony, show your love for the dub and show Hasbro that they can end the hiatus of season 2 with no regrets.

  • That is a very urgent topic for Russian brony-community too, I must say. As soon as it was announced that Russian version of season 2 will be premiered fall 2012 controversy around quality of Russian localization rose again. But it is not the dubbing (of season 1) itself we blaming, fans found the majority of Russian voices very well fitting their characters (not all, of course, but still), songs arranged & performed decently…

    The pretty much only down side of localization – is translation. It was sometimes simply ungrammatical! Or the picture we see on screen could not be connected with spoken lines as well (just one example of many: fountain on which Philomeena was sitting in the episode “A Bird in the Hoof” was clearly referred in the translation as a tree), etc. It’s just so low-quality it hurts…

    We highly appreciate work of voice actresses (and actors), songwriters, singers. But we can’t stand all that awful translation mistakes which spoil all the hard work they put into producing Russian version.

    Currently there is site-petition under development in behalf of all Russian MLP fans who want to express their concern about unacceptable quality of *translation*. We will express our gratitude for the voice actresses & singers as well! But our main goal is to raise the awareness about the aforementioned low-grade translation quality problem.

    We believe that such series as “MLP: FiM” deserves much better approach to its localization (translation mostly) so that people not speaking English may still be able to perceive the magic of the series in the closest way to original possible.

  • Uu

    First of all, that’s a well written article that shows some good points of how the fans actively hinder themselves from getting a localized Season 2 in Europe. But looking at it from the point of view of a “normal” tv show, there probably wouldn’t be a Season 2 either even if there wasn’t the large fan following for the show since the demand is so low.

    It’s not like the fans try to actively block the airing of season 2, it’s more like an opportunity that’s not taken by them. And why? Because many fans don’t care. They found out about the show on the internet and watch it there. Maybe they take a look at their local dub and deem it worthless because it doesn’t match the quality of the original. But the people who bitch about it online probably don’t watch their dub anyway nor do they want a Season 2 in their country.

    The audience the show gained from the internet isn’t comparable to that of a normal kids show. That’s why people make their own plushies and merch, they don’t get the same kind of attention like they would from an adults show because it is a kids brand after all. And that’s also the reason for the miscommunication between fans and the people behind the show in Europe. The only way we, the ones who want their localized season 2 to get it is to comply with the ways Hasbro offers it to us. Ie buying their DVDs and kiss the local staff’s bum so they feel appreciated…

    I for one don’t care much for my dub (german), even though I think it’s alright, but I have a friend who only watches MLP in german so a german Season 2 would be in his best interest. But people like him seem to be the minority in the fandom.

  • ShadowTani

    I dunno, the show still appeal to it’s intended audience, no?

    That the dubs didn’t catch the bonus fanbase isn’t surprising considering they gave it the same cheap treatment they give any other non-Disney assumed-kids-only show.

    The American studio aimed for a broader audience, the dub studios did not. Is as simple as that. They reap what they sow.

    So the problem isn’t only MLP FiM related, MLP FiM just gathered more criticism because it was assumed to be a pure kids-only show and got production quality thereafter when it actually had a rather passionate adult fanbase.

    As for the piracy problem – they only let you buy from the US iTunes, which don’t allow customers outside US to buy. The only alternative is to buy the DVD’s from eBay etc. – which for several reasons aren’t an ideal alternative for many. So that fans outside US are hesitant or clueless about getting a licensed copy isn’t odd.

    However, I agree people should stop being so darn vocal, and then I mean overall – not just in regards to the dubs. I find myself facehoofing badly too often at some of the complaining and less-than-mature behavior that takes place at the various official sites – the Hub even had to hire moderators to deal with all the off-topic pony content. Hasbro has been incredible patient with us in that regard I must say.

  • DemonioBlanco

    the dub most of the times will not be as great as the original (exept in some exeptions where the original product isnt that great and the dub team really care and make the best work), things like changing voices actors, and bad traduction choices, but for the kids is perfect.
    im not going to make some one love the show showing him the dubed version.

  • filledwithsolutions

    So what exactly are locals supposed to do?
    Post online about how much they like the voices? Or buy dvds they dont want? The show exists to sell products, not get huge ratings.
    AFAIK merchandise is doing fine in Europe hence they get all those blind bags and the magazines, etc. Im sure its a huge hassle, but if Hasbro really wants to move dvds they should include dual audio tracks.

    If their idea was that older fans who had already seen every episode, probably multiple times, would react positively to a huge change in a show they love, then they really have no understanding of our demographic.

    All that being said, all of the localized clips Ive seen on youtube were pretty cute.

  • NeatNit

    I just want to say that in my country (Israel), dubs are crap.

    That was a HUGE generalisation. No, some dubs are awesome. Penguins From Madagascar, for example, has an awesome Hebrew dub, as do many cartoons. And it’s never the writing that I’m bothered about, I notice the problems in translation and I notice that they took the extra time to translate it as best as possible, and you have no idea how I appreciate this. It’s true for just about every TV show.

    What I hate is the god-awful acting, and the casting. Those are just below all standards in way too many cases. As I said there are some awesome dubs out there, where it’s obvious they took the time to pick the right VAs and take extra takes as necessary. But the more recent Fairly Oddparents dub, for example (the show’s been airing in English for years, and only recently have they dubbed it), does not do the show ANY justice. If I was one of the staff who’ve worked on the original show, I would be OFFENDED by the casting and acting of the dub.

    The point I’m getting to is that I don’t really know about your German or Swedish or French dubs, but there’s a chance they DO deserve this reaction. Then again there’s a chance they don’t. I like to believe they’re good dubs, but obviously I’m in no position to tell :)

    (PS there is, as far as I know, no Hebrew dub of MLP in production. I have a yucky feeling it will be one of the bad ones, though… Hope I’m wrong!)

  • I don’t see what the Europeans are complaining about. Sure, it’s their dub, they understand their language better than I do, but if we brazilians had a dub just like the european ones have, I would be grateful.

  • Yavos

    Kinda late, but I want to add my own thoughts as well.
    I am one of those german bronies who appreciate our local dub. They really thought about which voice actors should dub which character. They all manage to keep their original character.

    Of course the voices are different. We are not used to it (if we know the english version), but you can get used to it, if you give it a try.
    I don’t like the german voice actor for Spike, but that’s a personal problem (mostly because I get the impression he’s dubbing some character in like any anime series shown on tv I know). He’s doing his job great. Even though I think he could try to sound a little different from usual. ;)

    There are also translation “errors” which hurt, if you know the original. Cutie marks were translated to “Schönheitsflecken” (beautie spots), but it was inevitable. Using “cutie mark” itself would be disturbing for all these little girls who don’t understand english. Translating it in it’s original meaning would make it hard to make it synchronous with mouth movements. They really did their best at it and I don’t know at all how they could’ve done better without leaving the english words which would be disturbing to all these little girls, as I already said.

    The only thing I really can critisize is the german voice actors lack a bit of the passion the english voice actors show. I don’t know if these voice actors actually know about the original dub, but I think they don’t. Or at least most of them. And I’m pretty sure they weren’t told where to show special expressions.
    I think if someone really would care about great dubs (not only good ones), they’d double check it before approving it. But sadly it seems voice actors in Germany don’t have that much time to get into character (since they don’t really earn much for their job) and nickelodeon or whoever has the german rights for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic doesn’t seem to want to pay an extra fee for some enhancments.

    Next problem I see about supporting them is these DVDs we can buy in Germany contain 3 episodes with only german dubs. I’m not willed to pay more than 7 € for such a DVD without any further extras (which is already pretty much) and I will wait until I get them for that money. I’d still prefer a BluRay release with 1080p resolution and at least two languages, though. I’d appreciate some extra features, as well.

    I hope some of these people in charge might read this and consider thinking about it.