Success! Today I finished listening to 硝子のハンマー, a locked-room mystery novel that is the first of the Aoto/Enomoto series. At 604 pages with a perspective switch partway through that made it difficult for me for reasons, I both enjoyed and struggled with reading this in print. Listening to the audiobook a few years after that reading was fun! The length didn’t matter (it took a while to listen to all of it, but there’s not the same sense of fatigue) and the switch in perspective and its attendant issues didn’t bother me because I knew what was happening (and it didn’t take as long to listen to it as to read it). I did of course miss lots of stuff, but that is (as yet) to be expected. I enjoyed listening to this.
I’m usually the “only post thoughts at the end” type, but here’s a couple first episode impressions:
live-action drama Eizouken
Watching this first episode after seeing how faithful the anime is was pretty jarring! As it definitely changes a lot more. After the initial shock though, I think it’s all well-intentioned changes to fit the story into something that works as a live-action drama, and it seems endearing!
The most notable change is that, as I suspected they might have to, the lead actors play their characters in a bit of a different way. The most noticeable is definitely Asakusa.
I think book/anime Asakusa does a really great job of balancing silly/comic-relief type roles with a totally human-feeling shyness and excitability and special interests. Like in a worse show her character design would just read “goofball” or “gremlin” and that would be the end of it, but as-is her drive and enthusiasm really anchor the story.
live-action Asakusa… I think is just forced to play up the “shy” elements way more broadly, because in TV visual language a girl just doesn’t read as shy unless she’s waifish and has glasses, I guess. So instead of just being sort of shy, she’ll like, literally short-circuit like a robot with little sound effects when having to deal with people.
It’s very corny! But the performance remains endearing enough that I think they do manage to sell the spirit of the original in a different medium with different conventions, so if that keeps up for the (surprisingly few) 5 remaining episodes, it should be a pretty fun show!
(other changes include the chase sequence ending in more of a visual setpiece, establishing the zaniness of their school setting and the student council characters more upfront, and this whole aside with the baseball team that I didn’t really understand and kind of just felt to me like a reason to put some male actors in to a show that would have basically none of them otherwise)
Comprehension-wise… they talk fast!!!
But it’s not like I don’t know the story already!
I saw a familiar name in the credits! This first episode is directed by 本多猪四郎, director of Godzilla!
And I think it shows: there’s much more of a focus on like, the pedestrians and destruction and effects of giant monster attacks here than I’ve seen in Ultraman before. It’s usually been more of a “drop kick the kaiju” show than a “run away from the kaiju as it destroys downtown” kind of show, so it was a little shocking to see rubble and death (albeit temporary) shown here.
Also: suddenly it’s the 70s! This cast all have just a little bit longer hair than their counterparts in past shows…
The other thing I noticed is… boy yeah, the Catholic influence is coming in strong! Ultraman manifests as beams of heavenly sunlight a lot, a character overtly wears a cross necklace, and the very premise of the show involves the main character sacrificing his life to save others, and then coming back to life thanks to the grace of
Like… the “Return” in “Return of Ultraman” kind of seems like it’s symbolically the resurrection of Christ at this point.
Something about the context of it being from 1970s Japan makes it just interesting to me, whereas I’d probably roll my eyes out of my head if an American show pulled the same thing. It’s certainly leagues less infuriating pulling that with Ultraman who seems kind of designed for it to start with, than with Superman, but anyway
Comprehension-wise, I think I did more or less fine without subtitles! I’m not sure if the improvement in perception vs. Ultraseven episode 1 is because of comprehension improvement, confidence improvement, or a more straightforward premise, but I don’t mind it!
Tell me more, eye emoji. Does this mean you’ve read it, or seen the drama, or think you might like it?
That was me putting it in a list somewhere with a degree more urgency than I do when someone mentions practically anything for any reason
I’d read the book first, but locked room mystery + first in a series are pluses for me, and the experience of reading through it then listening to the audiobook later on sounds fun!
Nice! If you do read it and like it, the drama is also one of my favorites, so there is the potential for lots of locked-room enjoyment.
I watched the movie adaptation of 本陣殺人事件, which I read recently and talked about here.
Happy to report that I did indeed picture the situation correctly! So I guess I can read some Japanese after all…
What I thought of the 1970s Honjin Murders movie
I always had mixed feelings with how English Lit classes would use watching the adaptation as a go-to chill day after finishing discussion on a book, but I gotta admit - it’s got a hell of a lot of charm with the language factor added in. It was super interesting to see both how everything happened exactly how I imagined it, since the description was so meticulous and vivid, and more visually infused with detail than of course I could ever have managed. Stuff like “what does a Japanese bride wear” or “what does a koto sound like” are things I’m not going to be able to picture as well as a full film production can for me, no matter how good the description is, after all.
And it’s a very faithful adaptation too. The Japanese wikipedia page actually enumerates every small difference and I felt pretty smug for having noticed most of them. The biggest change is that it’s not treated as a period piece, so Kindaichi, for example, is wearing extremely 1970s clothes. It also, in an effort to eke more substantial characters out of the story, lingers a lot more on a particular important side character.
In general I’d kind of describe it like – the original novel has a kind-of silly mystery at its core, and Yokomizo grounds it extensively in a specific time and place, rooting it firmly and making it come across more plausible and meaningful than it would be otherwise.
And this movie version takes the same kind-of silly mystery and builds a visually compelling movie around it. Without that same time and pace the novel has, I think it masks the core silliness of the mystery a lot less well, and in general feels a lot less substantial as something meaningful, but it does a good job replicating the same beats in a different way in a completely different medium, and it looks really cool in places.
Very fun with the novel so fresh in my mind, but wouldn’t ever recommend it in the novel’s place!
The copy I have lacks any subtitles at all, but I remember almost everything that happens in the novel still, so it turned out to not really be a problem at all. Remembering all the important unusual nouns that people might talk about helped a TON, and if I missed nuance of what people said… well, I didn’t notice because I’d just unconsciously remember the novel instead.
One embarrassing misunderstanding the movie did shed light on:
Early on, a character is described as wearing an 大きなマスク and I remember not being sure what to picture and being very confused that this big mask covering half his face somehow wasn’t more of a big deal to the people around him.
The movie showed me the obvious mistake - it’s the “mask up” kind of mask, not a 仮面, and I’m a fool.
One detail I’m still a bit confused by is a hollow bamboo shoot - I wasn’t 100% sure how to picture it in the book, and in the movie it was like, tied aloft in a tree as possibly a landscaping / bonsai-adjacent style of thing… but I’m not sure.
In any case again, the central contrivance I pictured exactly correctly and I’m still stoked about that.
Anyway, the only other comment that comes to mind is a complaint that Kindaichi himself came across as kind of boring here! It seems like he does quite a bit less actual detective work, and I didn’t catch his stuttering and cheekiness about it either.
P.S. to add also – the flow of description and order events are shown is completely changed - necessarily since it’s a different medium, but still for the worse. And it makes some sections a lot less vivid, like the scene where the bodies are discovered is long and tense and exciting in the book, but here loses a lot. The snow extremely fake, for one. And it’s hard for the visuals of something like that scene to live up to your imagination running wild.
Other than that, recently my tokusatsu tide has ebbed and my wrestling moon has waxed, so @fallynleaf can probably expect to get tagged in stuff here and in the other extensive thread soonish.
I wanted to watch a wrestling show (with a 耳 済ます’d for the commentary), so I picked the big Cyber Fight Festival show from a month or so ago since it’s on vod now… before realizing that it’s coincidentally a pretty big wrestling weekend for NJPW right now - so I ended up watching Summer Struggle in Nagoya today, and plan to watch Wrestle Gland Slam tomorrow and then Cyber Fight Festival after/during the week (since the latter is less time sensitive since I think I already know who wins the big matches from magazine covers).
Summer Struggle in Nagoya thoughts
While it’s not the most remarkable show (still lead-up to the Grand Slam, we’ll see how that goes), it was good to just sit and watch an Ishii match (and a Tanahashi match) again. I love both of those wrestlers, and among the bevy of reasons to be a bit ambivalent about NJPW these days, I think a major one for me is just that stalwart card highlights like Ishii and Suzuki are naturally shifting slowly more into the background as time moves on.
It was good to hear Milano Connection A.T.'s voice again, too! It’s interesting to hear Japanese commentary slowly start to like… do what commentary is meant to do for me as I pick out more. Now they really do help me key into what moves to expect. Their unison E- whenever EVIL almost hits his finishing move (that is also called EVIL) is wonderful, for example. And I can even pick out some details I didn’t know, like this being Ishii’s first singles match with Bullet Club EVIL. Or I heard them say 地元 talking about Okada, and sure enough - He’s from Aichi.
Along similar lines, but visual (still 100% related to my studies and SRS and stuff though), I saw Takagi’s entrance:
and thought (while suppressing the lingering suspicion he’d look even cooler with the old belt) “wait why is he wearing the Takeda clan’s mon?”
Turns out, Takagi’s from Yamanashi, and the domain that’s now Yamanashi Prefecture is 甲斐国 (Kai), which is where the Takeda clan was based, including the famous Sengoku general (and subject of the Kurosawa movie Kagemusha) Takeda Shingen, who’s the reason I put that mon in my anki deck.
So as a dude who clearly is into the place he’s from, it makes sense as a symbol to use, and in fact - here’s a tweet of him visiting a shrine dedicated to Takeda Shingen.
(Come to think of it, 鷹木信悟 and 武田信玄 are awfully similar names with a shared kanji as well)
Anyway, pretty cool unexpected connection for me to come across!
A last tidbit is I caught a phrase from commentary that must come in handy a lot during Bullet Club matches (blurred since it does kind of spoil the ending of a match):
I’ve also taken to listening to a couple episodes of the NJPW podcast on my weekly grocery/shupro run.
A bit more thoughts about the wrestling podcast
It’s got 1 guest per month, with an interview split up over the weekly episodes, and the guests so far have been Tanahashi, Nagata, and Makabe, which unfortunately for me, means the guests have each been hoarser than the last, with worse audio quality to boot. So my listening comprehension during the interview sections is very much questionable!
I assume at this rate the next month will be Tomoaki Honma calling in from a ガラケー on speakerphone.
My favorite running bit is that, to further apologize for the completely impossible quiz from a few episodes ago, they replayed audio of the person’s confused commentary, and also read out a professional commentary version to try to show exactly how it ended up so incredibly misleading.
The recommended match to watch for one of these episodes was this 2013 one between Shinsuke Nakamura and Kota Ibushi (I really really wish there was a free link I could share), which I’m pretty sure was my first full wrestling match ever!! So obviously I second the recommendation! (Plus it won Best Bout, so there’s that)
There was a time in ~2015, when I was aware that wrestling was deeper and weirder than I thought, and I was intrigued by it, but all I knew to do or was willing to commit to at the time was search for Shinsuke Nakamura on dailymotion or whatever and watch matches that way, with no other context. So I’ve got a vague memory of my first one being Nakamura vs. some goober (lol), and the other possibilities (mainly the big Wrestlemania match with the crown), while certainly ones I saw at the time too, never quite gelled 100% with my memory… and this does! So I’m 90% sure this was my first full match.
I’ve had it playing on the side why they type this… man… remember when Nakamura was the coolest person in the world? Remember what wrestling crowds sound like??
Anyway – no joke, those scattered pirated matches got me through some tough nights, Nakamura signing with WWE made me try out the network, and the rest is history. So anyway, it was a really cool and strange feeling to hear about this match on the podcast!
I’m excited to hear what you think of CyberFight Festival! I wrote a little bit about the Kongoh vs DDT match, if you want more context for that one, but it does spoil the entire thing, so I recommend reading after you watch, haha! But you might already have some idea of at least Kenoh’s throughts going into it, if you were reading his shupro column. Super Sasadango Machine from DDT also busts out one of his trademark powerpoint presentations during his match, so you should get some reading practice there as well!
Regarding NJPW, I’m glad you had fun watching Summer Struggle! You picked a great one for commentary, honestly, because you got to hear what Shibata had to say while his ex-soulmate fought Tana. Chris Charlton was tweeting occasional translations, but I’m sure that Shibata said plenty more that was also worth hearing!
If you want another NJPW recommendation for Japanese commentary listening practice, Dangerous Tekkers vs Naito & Sanada for the tag belts on July 11 might be worth watching. It’s a very fun match (albeit a little self-indulgent, but in a way I personally enjoyed), but one of the highlights is that Hiromu and El Desperado are on commentary together for it. I watched Despy walk out to sit at the commentary desk with Hiromu, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a powerful longing to be fluent than I did in that moment. If you do listen, please let me know if they spend the entire time flirting, haha!
I think that Nakamura vs Ibushi match was one of the first matches I watched, too! I also started watching stuff on dailymotion, except I was looking up major matches for the Golden Lovers and sort of working my way through the timeline. It was a pretty steep learning curve, because when I started off, I didn’t understand really anything anything about wrestling, including basic things like, uh, how pins worked. I really should rewatch some of those matches now that I understand more!
I’m actually considering making a thread here for recommending wrestling for listening/reading practice. There actually is a fair amount of great stuff available for free legally, but it can be hard to navigate it for folks who don’t know how to start. The thing that I think wrestling really has going for it as listening practice is the fact that you don’t need to understand the commentary in order to follow the story and enjoy the match, but everything you do understand makes the experience even better. That makes it listening practice you can attempt at any level of Japanese skill because it doesn’t punish you for not understanding something.
Truth be told, Chris Charlton surely gathered plenty more than me! Both because my listening comprehension still isn’t really up to snuff when it comes to nuance, and because Shibata strikes me as a man of few words. He’s (very sadly) a career I juuuuuuuuust missed out on since 2017 was the year I started watching NJPW seriously with the G1, just a few months after that match. So amid the hubbub of a wrestling match (and kind of bad audio mixing), I only picked up the rough vibe of stuff he said.
I say go for it! There was a wrestling thread here a while back, but regrettably it closed. I bet you could eke more longevity out of it with the (legitimate) listening practice excuse as a reason to have it in the more active parts of the forum! And it seems like you’ve got a receptive audience if your study log etc. is anything to go by!
More than shows in the last few months I might have missed, I’d kind of like to try to wrangle some kind of deep dive into プロレス history. The most enjoyment I ever got out of WWE was just the Network’s backlog, and now I might have the tools now to work out some interesting stuff to watch for the Japan side of things to start put matches to names… Probably outside the realm of general recommendations though!
Wrestle Gland Slam - WATCH OUT SPOILERS
I enjoyed the whole show (and Dangerous Tekkers continues to be the best possible out-of-nowhere heartwarming love story which is great), but I LOVED the main event!
The entire High Fly Flow → Takagi hanging on stopping him like Daredevil stopped Namor → Kamigoye to shake him off in honor of Ibushi → second high fly flow → kickout sequence was A+++ and engaged me 100% in what was happening.
I hope Ibushi is 100% recovered soon, but I can’t help but love and root for Tanahashi and have a deepened respect for Takagi after the match.
I sure hope someday Japanese crowds can (safely) vocalize again though because boy a mute Kaze Ni Nare is a bummer and not being able to boo EVIL at the end just felt weird.
Anyway, since I split time between being my mind wandering from so much wrestling and being too enraptured in the wrestling to pay attention… it probably wasn’t very good listening practice, but hey! It’s still a really big plus to mostly be able to understand “I’m incredibly exhausted and talking to a giant crowd so I’m pausing a lot and enunciating” post-match wrestler promo register!
I just found out Shonen Jump does some pretty great voice acted manga reading of their shorts on their youtube channel. Here’s a fun romcom one of a demon having to seduce a hero as a mission from their superiors in hell. These are so well done. Wish I could read a whole series like this .
Second part in comments.
I’m a bit too busy for a full update, but I just watched 竜とそばかすの姫 and dang dude.
No spoiler review
This movie was gorgeous! It’s about a shy girl with social anxiety about singing who becomes a famous virtual reality singer and her connections with the people around her + the online “beast” she becomes interested in.
So I missed a ton of information in this movie because the animation and music were absolutely incredible. My attention during any scene in the virtual world was just non-existent because I was swept up in the spectacle of it.
I think the plot itself also got swept up in the spectacle of it all lmao, with some weird moments and parts that just felt like they were in the movie to make things more complicated. I had a really hard time following the deeper moments of this movie!! I hate narrated information without matching visuals (the new evangelion did this to me as well) or subtitles and this movie Had That.
The real world parts of this movie were great and easy to follow! And probably the most coherent.
I also have absolutely no idea how any of the virtual reality worked, but it sure was breathtaking.
For most of the movie, I thought her love interest was going to be the Dragon beast and I thought all the moments with the abused kids was the love interest with his younger brother hfhfuijfwjifojw it literally took me seeing him watching the other kid on the screen to realize it wasn’t him. I hate this because I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t Suzu getting to secretly know her love interest’s sad and difficult secret past LOL. I sure did invent a whole romance novel in my head I guess.
Also about the abused kids: that subplot was definitely implied but it still felt like a sudden swerve. I loved the resolution of it though.
The scene where Suzu sings as herself in the virtual world was super powerful and worth the weird plotting it took to get there.
Ok if anyone else has seen it I’m dying to know what the heck happened to those abused kids at the end??? LIKE did Suzu call the police? Did she get them to safety? Did she just show up and stand threateningly and then their dad never beat them again??? What the heck
I just finished my eighth audiobook of the year, the second in the 魔女の宅急便 series! I’ve found that I liked listening to the second book more than I liked reading or listening to the first book, but I’m not sure how I would have felt if I’d read book 2 in print first. I liked the first one, but it’s not something I’d reread, while I could see myself listening to the second one again someday if the urge strikes.
Comprehension-wise, I think these are just right for me. The reader speaks clearly and not quickly, and the content is generally uncomplicated in a way that makes it easier for me to follow along even without having read it in print before.
Joining this out of a recommendation!
No sure goals for now, but I should definitely do more listening practice because my listening ability is even worse than my grammar (and that one is proper bad, I tell you).
Planning to search for some YouTube with JP subtitles videos and maybe some podcasts (though those I imagine will be hard since they won’t have subtitles).
If anyone has any recommendations for an absolute beginner like me, that can only catch the odd word here and there, spam me as much as you’d like!
Some do! For example here’s a beginner one.
Not a podcast but this youtube channel has a bunch of videos explaining random things with illustrations. There’s a bunch of different beginner levels to choose from.
For podcasts, Nihongo con Teppei is probably the classic recommendation. No subtitles though as far as I know.
I don’t know about podcasts with Japanese subtitles, but it’s possible you could find ones with transcripts? Either way, good luck finding stuff that matches your current aims!
Today I reached the halfway point on my drama-finishing goal! My 10th drama raw finished this year ended up being 天国と地獄 ～サイコな2人～. I had no expectations of liking this at all (more because it looked like I’d have too much trouble understanding it with all the plot, but also because it looked depressing), but I ended up really liking it a lot.
Ease of understanding: ★★★½
It was definitely hard for me to understand at times. The cop dude with the rumbling growl was a particular struggle. However, I got enough to enjoy it, and enjoyed it enough that it pulled me right along even when I missed things. It made me cry more than once, but I never ended an episode feeling miserable or sick about the state of humanity. (It’s one where people get brutally murdered sometimes, so that was a real possibility.)
I’m glad I watched this one. A good time!
I finished some stuff:
アグレッシブ烈子 (the three seasons out so far)
Aggretsuko was my first serious attempt at watching a show with Japanese subtitles a long time ago (a year? two years?), and in the time sense it’s gone from the ambitious option to the safe one, which is cool! Now I’ve got no problems with Japanese subtitles (thanks mainly to video games), but the problem with no subtitles at all is it’s a lot easier to stop exercising when I can say “boy I could sure 澄ます my 耳 better if I weren’t on this exercise bike,” and it helps to have the subtitles to focus on visually. So I focused on polishing off the rest of this for a while.
It’s pretty fun! I don’t have that much to say about it, it’s just a pretty good, mostly grounded (although increasingly less so as the series goes on) about a regular OL who lets off steam via karaoke. My favorite part was it tends to give characters redeeming qualities, my least favorite was it’s maybe a little too mundane to be excited about sitting down and watching, and I’m still not sure how I feel about the romance arcs or where I want the story to go in the end.
a few more movies:
幽霊屋敷の恐怖 血を吸う人形 (The Vampire Doll)
This one’s a gothic horror movie, very much in the style of Hammer productions like The Horror of Dracula. I’m never been the biggest Hammer fan (from my limited experience with them), and generally feel like I like some of the aesthetics and performances a lot but find the movies kind of dull and a bit too straightforward and… that’s how I feel about this too!
But there’s some novelty in seeing those same kind of tropes in Japanese, and I was mostly able to get away just fine without subtitles, which was fun. In the latter half of the movie it turns into an investigation and from then on I had more trouble though, especially with one disinterested bureaucrat who provides some crucial backstory - I had to rewind and turn on subtitles for him.
One translation point I was amused by: there’s a part where a character whispers in the protagonist’s ear, and the protagonist says, shocked, どそう?!
I turned on subtitles to make sure I understood that correctly as “土葬?!” and found that the subtitles translated that as “not cremated?!”
I guess “X was buried” would be a bit less of a surprise from an English perspective, after all!
The last two Female Prisoner Scorpion Movies (Beast Stable and Grudge Song)
All the Female Prisoner Scorpion/女囚さそり movies are ones I can’t really recommend without reservation, since they’re very much exploitation movies with the nudity, assault, violence and misery that often entails, but they’ve all got at least just enough interesting things going on to be potentially worthwhile, and the series is elevated by Meiko Kaji being extremely cool and good at theme songs.
I probably wouldn’t say these two final ones are the best of the series, but they fit in.
I watched Beast Stable without subtitles, supplemented with a Japanese synopsis (which clarified some important things, like how what I thought was maybe a contraction of あなた was actually あんちゃん which certainly changes the context of a pregnancy!), and I remember it as being quieter and seedier than the previous movies.
I watched Grudge Song with English subtitles so I could exercise with the fan on. It’s by a different director than the other three movies and feels diluted in some ways (part of it is more about “guy who is into Scorpion” than Scorpion herself, for example). The general pattern of a Scorpion movie to me is like, an hour + of female suffering making me question why I’m watching it, followed by like 10 minutes of cool revenge that gives me an about-face, and this one’s very much that. The capping revenge is indeed very cool (even if they try valiantly and completely fail to use slo-mo to make a critical reversal look plausible)
The best part of both of these movies was the very beginning of Beast Stable when she’s escaping from a cop who handcuffs her to his arm, so she cuts off his arm and then runs away with the arm still dangling from the handcuff.
Also, for fun I changed my recommended movie on the thread’s wiki to カメラを止めるな! (One Cut of the Dead).
I saw this a while back because people on twitter mentioned it was very good and fun and one to watch without knowing anything about it beforehand and… I agree! It would be a total crowd-pleaser in pretty much any venue I think (even for folks skittish about horror), and that seems born out by its stupendous success vs. a tiny budget.
as promised, CyberFight Festival 2021
I enjoyed it!
It’s very long, and watching it in bits a couple months late while knowing the most important results already and while kindof anxious to finish it because I don’t want to fall behind on the 5 Star GP that’s starting up isn’t the best environment to see it in, but the wrestling’s really good and it was fun to see the three promotions together like that!
I don’t have that many specific thoughts, but Yuka Sakazaki and Miyu Yamashita are of course great, Kongo vs. DDT was fun, and Endo seems unfairly sculpted and talented.
The match where I paid the most attention to the commentary for was the junior tag, which helped put names to faces I remember from N-1 Victory prelims.
I’m not as familiar with the big names in the non-Tokyo Joshi triple main matches, but it was really fun to hear the crowd erupt when Mutoh hit the moonsault, and nice to hear Kenta Kobashi on commentary.
@fallynleaf , do they post backstage comments anywhere? I think the only thing I’m really missing at this point from the Cyber Fight umbrella promotions is a way to hear promos, but I’m not sure where to look.
(WaniKani failed to post this the first time I tried, so I hope it doesn’t accidentally double post!)
Unfortunately I don’t have a great answer for this because I don’t normally seek out the videos, but for VOD shows, the comments get added to the video uploads, and I believe a lot of the backstage comments get posted on twitter. There’s a text transcription of all of the comments on the results page on the DDT/TJPW website, I think (and NOAH’s are on their own website). Normally I just read Mr. Haku’s (for DDT/TJPW) or Hisame’s (for NOAH) translations, so I haven’t tried too hard to find the originals myself. Some content also gets posted to youtube, but most backstage comments don’t make it on there. Press conferences are also on youtube.
I don’t follow Stardom as closely, but it seems a bit similar, because I believe they also upload post-match promos to twitter and post transcriptions on the website, but don’t add the post-match promos to the actual video uploads (only the pre-match ones). So if you have practice with that, I don’t think the process for finding the CyberFight ones is much different!
Oh, also, I forgot to mention this a few days ago, but did you catch the word during Wrestle Grand Slam that caused a bunch of controversy? (Under a cut because this discusses a slur).
I didn’t catch this when I was watching the show live because I was too tired to really focus, but Evil called Shingo an オカマ. If anyone is unfamiliar with this word, here’s an article about it.
A lot of Japanese fans were (understandably) really upset about this. As a result of the controversy, NJPW cut this part from the translation video they uploaded. Chris Charlton, who was doing live translation in English, translated it on the spot as “sissy,” but he didn’t clarify any more than that, so a lot of English-speaking fans only found out about it from reading posts from Japanese fans on twitter.
I’m really disappointed in Evil for using this word, though I am glad that NJPW at least bothered to cut it. The peril of improving your comprehension is that sometimes you hear things that you wish you didn’t
I unexpectedly finished my 11th drama raw last night as well, あなたの番です! I only had an episode and a half left, but I’ve been inching my way through the second half of this one for over a year now, so actually pushing through so much at once was surprising.
Ease of understanding: ★★
I liked the first 10 episodes fairly well way back when, and then the second 10 episodes I liked less well. It got harder and harder to understand because there are so many characters and they’re always talking about each other… I had very few people’s names firmly in my head, and there was so much plot going on… but luckily (?) I didn’t like it that much by the end, so I didn’t care as much about missing a lot. By the end all I could think was, this is a certainly a show that makes choices all right!! At the same time, I did feel a strong need for answers to stuff that was going on, so it did something right, at least.
I guess I’ll have to look around then. I don’t have the same problem with Stardom so much because of those pre-match promos they slot in during a lot of the (non PPV) shows. They always come across as a little rushed and innocuous, but even just a little “hey here I am and here’s what my deal is” can go a long way.
And it’d be a bummer if I were missing out on the King’s Road equivalent of like, New Japan wrestlers complaining about Zima or asking for title shots via love confessions and birthday sashes
I didn’t catch EVIL saying it in the moment (I’m not sure when it happened - I assume not in the video package? and I have a time zone and sleep schedule where I can basically never watch Japanese wrestling live so it might have been edited out already anyway), but I knew the word and heard about it after the fact. Not being native it’s hard to tell exactly what level of offense to take, and I’ve maybe unfortunately read too much 80s manga to be too shocked by it on a personal level in that kind of a situation (and it’s not like I thought a dude who just says “EVERYTHING is EVIL” so often and gave his finisher his own name would have much of a way with words… whereas I’d be devastated and heartbroken if someone like Tanahashi said it) but it’s definitely a bummer! And editing it out is the right move I think.
(Cut for length)
You actually are missing out on that sort of thing if you don’t watch the Stardom pressers and post-match comments! One of my friends started translating the press conferences and some post-match comments recently so the rest of us can enjoy it, too, and it’s pretty amazing how much gets completely left out of the subtitled shows. There was some hilarious stuff with Maika and Himeka’s feud with Giulia and Syuri, where Giulia was trying to argue that Maika and Himeka are too close, because they spend time watching Tom and Jerry together and that sort of thing (what a romantic activity!), while Giulia and Syuri just go out to family restaurants together sometimes.
Syuri and Konami’s whole feud was pretty much entirely missing from the pre-match promos, too, because Oedo Tai stopped doing them… . So the press conference stuff was absolutely essential, because Konami read out this really touching letter she’d written about how much Syuri meant to her (they have a lot of history, pre-Stardom), and it moved Syuri to tears.
I guess at least I’ve personally found the officially translated/uploaded stuff to not be enough to really enjoy Stardom’s stories. I haven’t had to really seek out the other stuff myself due to having an extremely dedicated friend who does all the work for the rest of us, haha, but there’s a whole lot out there to watch if you have the time/ability/energy to track it down and translate it.
With TJPW/DDT, most of my knowledge comes from following DDT/TJPW English Update, who retweets most relevant/funny stuff for both promotions. It saves me from having to follow all of the wrestlers and keep track of everything myself, and ironically I actually get more TJPW/DDT content this way, through unofficial means, compared to what I’d be getting if I was following Stardom on my own and just watching what they officially subtitle and upload to their video library. But of course, keeping up with stuff that way can be kind of demanding, because there’s a lot of content, and the nature of twitter makes it hard to go back and catch up if you fall behind. But Mr. Haku is really good at summing up important things about feuds and characters, and even pointing out some Japanese culture details during shows, so it’s pretty easy to start watching and pick up on things quickly with a little aid from his account.
I haven’t gone back to check, but I’m assuming it was either in the ring, or in his backstage comments afterward, which played at the end of the show. They did cut rather abruptly during his post-match comments. It might still be in the upload of the full show, but you probably won’t find it anywhere else.
Yeah, that’s why it was so striking to me how upset the native Japanese speaking fanbase was over it. If the Japanese fanbase thought it wasn’t okay, to the point where the company edited it out, that says a lot to me about how acceptable the word was in that circumstance. I personally have a pretty low tolerance for wrestlers saying slurs, unless it happened in the past and they demonstrate clear growth since then.
It doesn’t help that we know that some NJPW wrestlers are homophobic thanks to Shibata’s leaked text conversations with his mistress. (In case you didn’t hear about this, Shibata himself wasn’t homophobic, but apparently he mentioned that Zack had, uh, gotten drunk and used a translator to say that he was gay, and a few wrestlers (unnamed) didn’t react well to it. Zack played it off as a joke afterward). There are just enough little bits and pieces of evidence here and there that suggest that the NJPW environment isn’t the most LGBTQ positive, despite some of the very gay stories that some of the wrestlers have chosen to tell. And when someone uses a slur, generally it’s because that person either thought the word was acceptable to use, or it “slipped out” because the person was thinking it even while knowing that it was an unacceptable word.
This is a long-winded response, sorry! Basically, with all of that factored in, at this point, I don’t think I’m personally willing to give Evil the benefit of the doubt here. It could be that he just made a very unwise decision in an attempt at heeling, but it’s really hard for me to get invested in a wrestler who thinks it’s acceptable to employ homophobia/transphobia as a heel tactic. Thankfully, there are plenty of other NJPW wrestlers to root for instead. I do hope Evil learns from this, but if he never issues an apology, it’ll be hard to know if he did.