Suggestions for Movies that Use Standard Japanese? (Pitch Practice)

I stumbled across Dogen’s Phonetic lessons, and in his fourth video he mentioned watching movies on repeat to basically memorize the movie. Some of his suggestions were Tokyo Sonata, Orange Days (first two episodes), and 12 Kind Japanese. I’m curious if anyone has any other suggestions, specifically anime movies. I’m planning on watching Orange Days, but I wanted to throw in one or two more movies where I would swap them every day (after I watch one for a while). My first thought was 君の名は, which I knew I could watch a countless number of times. However, Dogen suggested against it since the character Mitsuha speaks with an accent (and the voice actress was born in Kagoshima). With that said, does anyone know of any good anime movies that would be good for this? Specifically, ones that mainly use Standard Japanese?

One movie that I’m really looking at is 天気の気. Does anyone know if it would be good since it is based in Tokyo? Has anyone watched it? I’ve researched it a little bit, so going into depth here… It seems that Nana Mori (the voice actor of Amano Hima) was born in Osaka, but raised in Oita - which I believe Oita uses outer Tokyo type accent? Kotarou Daigo (Morishima, Hodaka) was born in Tokyo. However, one of the supporting voice actors was born in Tochigi, which seems to use no accent? All of the other actors were born in either Tokyo or Saitama though. So yeah, this is the main movie I’m looking at right now besides Orange days. Let me know if you think this would be a good movie for phonetic practice.

Another one that came to mind was 5 Centimeters Per Second, and I also saw that Tamako Love Story might be good? I looked at the main voice actors in Tamako Love Story and it seems almost all of them were born in either Tokyo or Saitama, with one or two being born into a different dialect. If anyone knows if these would be good movies, please let me know.

Anyways, the main reason why I’m asking is because I’m able to focus a lot better on anime than drama, which is why I’m pretty bummed about Kimi no Na wa not being able to work out. I also want to make sure that I’m not watching a movie on repeat where I’m studying two (or more) different dialects.

Thanks for any suggestions (and sorry for making a new… long post, I didn’t know whether or not to post this in a pitch accent thread or not).

I liked that movie:

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未来のミライ might be a good one. I don’t remember what the accent is, but it is a nice everyday story. The protagonist is a three year old, so he talks simply, and the adults, too, but he does make some grammatical mistakes.

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Thanks for the suggestions @Zizka @Saida

I’m not entirely sure Confessions is the type of movie I’d be looking to watch over and over (we’re talking 1 time every day for at least 2-3 months). I would definetly watch it once though, just not every day lol. Thank you though!

As for Mirai, that movie looks pretty good, but I looked at the main voice actors and it looks like they weren’t raised speaking Tokyo dialect. Otherwise that would have been a great movie. Thank you though.

I think 君の名は is still good for the contrast at least. And Taki is from Tokyo so you can appreciate the differences.

Tokyo Sonata was really good but also really dry. I enjoyed it but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Terrace House Tokyo is a good one for Tokyo-ben as many of the characters are from there.

Honestly, I find it better to watch things with multiple accents because I feel like you can’t really know an accent until you know how it differs from another one.

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Is that a good standard to have? I hear most Japanese learn Tokyo dialect to some extent anyway.

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Plus, aside from that, they have dialect coaches for a reason.

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@Belthazar @Saida Well see, there’s no way of me personally knowing, which is why I was asking for suggestions. I’m just basing an assumption on where they are raised. I’m new to this anyways, I was just hoping to find a few movies where I know for certain mainly standard Japanese is used.

@alo The thing is, Dogen told me that he would not recommend 君の名は for “phonetics under any circumstances”. I guess he’s saying that having two different main dialects in the movie could cause for some unwanted troubles in the future - mixing dialects while producing language. I’m not against watching it, in fact I’d love to watch it, I just figured I would listen to his suggestion since I’m following his phonetic lessons. Also, I tried watching Tokyo Sonata, I just felt like there wasn’t enough dialogue, and I was starting to get depressed watching the movie for some reason.

Does anyone know what dialect Mitsuha speaks in 君の名は?

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Hida, probably, or something like it.

It’s probably worth watching for spot-the-difference because each of them retain their own dialect when they’re in the other’s body.

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That’s a great idea. Although, I don’t think I’m far enough along to be able to do that yet. That’s something definitely I’ll do in the future. I think Dogen recommends watching a movie on repeat to get a feel for the dialect and the language. At least that’s what it seems like. He did say once I have a strong understanding of the movie and the dialogue, he said to add in a second movie. So I think it’d make sense to try “spot-the-difference” then. Thank you!

Also, by chance have you happened to have seen 天気の子? I’m assuming most of it is Tokyo dialect considering it takes place in Tokyo, but I was maybe hoping for a confirmation on that (that the main characters use standard Japanese). I know I’m probably overthinking all of this, and either way, I’ll benefit. But once my mind gets stuck on something that’s just how I am :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks

If you’re signed up for the course then you should follow the advice of the 先生. :wink:

He knows what he’s doing so you may understand the reasoning behind it later on. I was coming at it from the perspective of learning the accent on my own.

I get the latter. Not to spoil anything, but there is an underlying theme of hope if you stick with it.

As to the latter, it basically breaks down like this:

  • During the part while he’s at work, there are some really good examples of how they talk in an office setting. For more of that, check out this video on “A Day in the Life of a Japanese Casino Worker”. Specifically 失礼します and お疲れ様. You may want to run that video by Dogen if you can as well.
  • The scenes at home have good examples of how you would talk at home. ただいま and おかえりwill be burned into your brain. Plus, the emotional subtext when the marriage starts to fall apart reinforces the exact way they talk to each other and their child.

There are a few more but I think that would get too spoilery.

Overall, I really liked the movie, but I don’t think I could watch it multiple times.

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Yeah, as I got better at hearing the dialects I could appreciate this way more. Especially the way his friends gloss over it as “Taki is talking funny but that’s just him being weird again”.

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Thank you!

Yeah, I’ll definitely finish out the movie, but when I was thinking about watching it on repeat I knew I couldn’t do that.

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One cool thing to look out for is how あたまだか or なかだか can turn into へいばん or become less
pronounced when they’re stressed or not paying attention.

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Of course. :stuck_out_tongue: I wasn’t particularly listening for dialects, though. Oh dear, I might just have to watch it again.

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Haha, well if you do you should let me know. Although, I don’t think there is any point in me debating what movie I should watch anymore. I just need to pick one since I’m just stressing myself out lol. So I’ll end up using this movie since it seems it best fits what I’m looking for :slight_smile:

@alo Ooh okay thank you for letting me know! I appreciate it - I just started studying phonetics a short while ago too, so thanks for the pointers. I’m really glad I found out about how important it is because I kinda just saw it and ignored it for awhile. I’m glad I looked more into it.

I’m not so sure about movies but the tv series 日本人の知らない日本語 (Nihonjin No Shiranai Nihongo) wasn’t too difficult to follow most of the time. The whole series has been posted on YouTube.

The YT channel Ask Japanese is usually pretty easy to follow as well.

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Aye, I’ve been watching that, when I have the time. Most of the characters have fairly strong accents, though.

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True, the foreigners do but I found it easier than most things to understand for some reason.

As somebody who also watches (a lot) more anime than dramas in Japanese (partly coz dramas are harder to get hold of, and plus, most of the dramas I watch are in Chinese, see…), I guess I’ll try to help? In all honesty though, I think you just need to pick an anime (not necessarily a movie, just a series) in which there’s a lot of fairly formal dialogue. Formal dialogue usually means standard Japanese, and the accent should be the Tokyo accent unless the seiyuu is from another region. Really, the impression I have is that unless the show needs to emphasise that certain characters come from certain places or that they have a certain type of personality, the standard accent is the default. However, at the end of the day, I’m no accent specialist. I just assume that the accent I hear is standard, and I avoid imitating the ones that are obviously different (especially because I don’t know how to imitate them :joy:).

I’m just gonna list some of the anime I’m familiar with (not everything on the list will be an anime I’ve watched) along with some of the characters in it who I believe speak with the standard accent:

  • Konosuba: uh… I think more or less everyone? Kazuma came from Tokyo in the story, if I remember correctly. Darkness is supposed to be a noble, so it’s very unlikely that her Japanese isn’t standard. Megumin’s Japanese is probably a little weird because she needs to be chuuni, so she uses a lot of pompous archaic structures. Aqua was supposed to be the goddess in charge of Japan, so I would expect her accent to be standard… basically only the random guy Kazuma meets when he enters the guild for the first time doesn’t have a standard accent, and you can tell because of the rolled Rs. He’s supposed to look like a classic tough guy.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: Raphtalia is always speaking teineigo and keigo, so I’d expect her Japanese to be very standard. Melty as well, because she’s royalty. The weapons shop ‘oyagi’ definitely doesn’t use standard Japanese. It’s probably to emphasise that he’s from another country or that he’s a country bumpkin living in the city. The slave merchant has a strange accent too. For the rest… probably standard.
  • Darling in the FranXX: I have no idea because I saw this anime before I started learning Japanese, but since the story happens in a dystopian world in which children are basically factory-produced and trained, I’d think everyone has a standard accent. Except maybe Dr Franxx. He’s old and clearly from another era, so his speech is probably different.
  • Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor: uh… most likely everyone speaks with a standard accent? Most of the story happens in a very prestigious school, and the Tokyo accent is definitely the ‘prestige’ accent, so… yeah.
  • Re:Zero: I’m not that familiar with this one, but Rem almost definitely speaks standard Japanese because she’s always using keigo. Probably Emilia too. Roswaal has a weird manner of speaking, so it’s not likely that he uses the standard accent. I have no idea about Subaru because I don’t know what region of Japan he’s supposed to be from.
  • Problem Children Are Coming From Another World? (or something like that): all bets are off for this one. One of the characters is an ‘ojou-sama’, so she’s likely to speak with the standard accent because that befits her social status as a wealthy heiress. Black Rabbit probably speaks standard Japanese as well since she’s supposed to represent the authority of the creator of the Little Garden, and standard forms probably match her rule-abiding, sweet character better, but I can’t be certain.
  • Overlord: no clue, really. Many of the characters in Nazarick should have a standard accent, since they were ‘created’ by Japanese players in the story. The ones who use the most formal speech (Albedo and Demiurge) probably have standard accents. Shalltear’s speech tic is based on an Edo courtesan dialect, so IDK if the rest of her accent is meant to sound archaic. Given how huge the story world is though, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many different accents to account for geographical diversity.
  • Hyperdimension Neptunia: I think all the main characters (i.e. the people on the same side as the protagonist, Neptune) probably speak standard Japanese. They’re supposed to be in the virtual world after all – since the story’s premise seems to be ‘what would it be like if game consoles were human?’ – so there’s no real reason for them to have varied accents. Probably only the villains (the two whose names start with W and A in particular – I’m sorry, I really don’t remember) have non-standard accents.
  • How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?: this one is clearly set in today’s Japan, but I really don’t know about the accents because I can’t tell if they chose to ‘localise’ the story in a particular part of Japan. Hibiki (the protagonist) uses a lot of structures that I think are from the Kansai dialect, so her accent might not be standard. (Her seiyuu is half-Japanese, but hey, no discrimination – I’m just saying that IDK if that has anything to do with it, because maybe that impacted where she grew up and so on. A lot of comments on the YouTube trailer in which she appeared said she had a very nice voice, and that it’s amazing how natural she sounded as a new seiyuu.) I’d expect the accent of her best friend, Ayaka, to be the same. Akemi is a rich girl, so maybe she uses the standard accent (stereotypical, but I think that’s usually accurate for anime). Gina is supposed to be Russian, but her Japanese sounds very normal, so I guess one can assume she learnt textbook Japanese. (The backstory is that she learnt it from anime, but most of what foreigners hear outside Japan is the Tokyo accent, so it’s logical.) As for all the other characters, who are basically instructors in some capacity… I have no clue.

There are definitely other series that are worth looking at, but I can’t think of them right now. Like I said though, I’m not an accent expert, so you might want to run background checks on the seiyuus and so on before watching a show in order to learn the accent. Again though, like I said, I personally just listen to the characters and imitate those whom I like and whose accents seem ‘normal’. I avoid imitating those whose accents stand out. So far, at least for Shield Hero, whenever I look up a word in the transcript and compare the pitch accent against what I hear, I find that it’s the same, at least for those characters whom I think speak ‘normally’, so I think it’s a fairly reliable technique, even if it’s not perfect and I’m not able to verify anything with an expert/native speaker.

To sum up, I think you just need to pick any story in which

  1. Standard Japanese is likely to be appropriate (i.e. social environment doesn’t require too much slang, and some level of formality is necessary at times)
  2. Accent and origins are not key to telling the story (because that makes varied accents unlikely)
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